Congratulations! You’ve been invited to interview at your top choice MBA program. You want to be sure to ace the interview the same way that you aced your application and essay.
You need to prepare for your interview. No matter how solid your past interview experiences have been, and how sure you are that you can invent dazzling answers under pressure, it’s still recommended that you invest some time in interview prep. These tips are appropriate not just for the pre-interview stage, while preparing at home before the actual interview day, but can be used to keep calm and confident at your b-school interview, and can be used for job interviews as well.
It’s time to get to know yourself a little better…
1. Know your qualifications: Your interview will probably include a section about your strengths and weaknesses. You should decide which assets and difficulties you want to focus on and which ones to keep away from. You can guide the interview in a way that focuses on your strong points, using anecdotes to support them. Be sure that when you discuss a weakness you can talk about ways that you overcame or are working on overcoming it. Support your assertions with stories.
2. Know your experiences. Be sure that you know all of the information on your resume cold. Your interviewer will have reviewed your resume and will have it at hand. You need to know dates, positions, responsibilities, awards, etc. and how to expand on them. Again, use stories to emphasize important moments in your life and how those experiences furthered your goals and your decision to apply to this MBA program (and attend if accepted).
3. Know your goals. Your interviewer doesn’t want to hear your laundry list of short and long-term goals. They want to know how you decided on your goals and exactly how you plan on achieving them. You should be able to explain how your college or extracurricular activities and/or current job responsibilities contributed to your goals and how an MBA will help your attain these goals. Give a lot of consideration to the answers to these questions. Your interviewer will want to see that you’re a person with a plan who is also logical and thorough.
4. Know your program. Research the b-school’s curriculum, faculty, student life, extracurricular activities, etc., before your interview. This will give you the tools to articulate your special fit and what you will contribute to your target school. Take the time to visit the school’s website, communicate with alumni and students, and visit the campus. These steps will go a long way in helping you know where and how you’ll fit into the program.
5. Know what you’re looking for. One of the jobs of the interviewer is to decide if you are a good fit for the target program. Be prepared to answer the following questions: Why is this the perfect b-school for you? What attracted you to this particular program? What special things will you bring to the next b-school class?
6. Know how to stay calm during your interview. Practice positive visualization techniques. Picture yourself answering all of the interview questions in an impressive manner. Imagine yourself entering this b-school full of confidence and sure of the part you will play in the class. This skill will help you keep your wits about you not only during your interview, but in other stressful circumstances as well.
You want to keep these ideas – your qualifications, experiences, goals, and ideas – at the front of your mind and on the tip of your tongue. These are the secret ingredients to interview success and what will bring you one step closer to acceptance at your target b-school.