Applicant Question: Tips for MBA Admissions Interviews

On December 5, 2010, in Business School, by Jeremy C Wilson

Every person applying to business school has both good and bad parts of their application. So as an applicant, it’s in your interest to not only to formally submit a strong application but also to submit one that both highlights the good parts, while also mitigating the bad parts. One way to do that is by delivering a strong interview, especially at schools, like Kellogg, where everyone gets a chance to interview with the admissions committee (or alumni/students who represent the admissions committee).

Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten a pretty large number of questions about interviews from aspiring MBA and JD-MBA applicants at Kellogg. Given the applicant pool for top MBA programs is highly competitive, filled with applicants applying with perfect GPAs and GMAT scores, not to mention rigorous analytical work experience, my belief is that you should always be very well prepared for interview.

Below, I’ve listed a couple of tips that I’ve provided to applicants. While they are general pieces of advice that many of you have heard before, they’re things are sometimes still easy to forget, so I’ve provided them here for reference.

1. Research. In any interview, you should know the organization you’re interviewing with, in the case the MBA program (or dual degree program if applicable). Research the ins and outs, and not only of the organization itself, but also the industry and the school’s top competitors.  And you should also be prepared to demonstrate that knowledge by talking about it analytically, not just factually.  That means mentioning programs, people, events, clinics, culture, and recent program changes, and then discussing how that compares to other schools.

2.  Fit. Further, you should be crystal clear on how all of the research you’ve done relates to you and ties into your specific application. Talking generally about pros and cons of a school is easy, but figuring out where you fit in will take some additional work. Ultimately schools want to admit students who not only want to be there but also who will thrive in that specific environment. So it’s highly beneficial to understand how you can benefit from programs at the school. Practically, that means talk about the nuances that make it unique, why those nuances are important to you specifically, and why you would excel as a result of those things.

Be sure to check back for more interview tips over the upcoming weeks before round two interviews begin.

Good luck!

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