Following the initial screening of applicants, most leading business schools invite candidates to the “second stage” of the admissions process – the admission interview. Approximately 30%-50% of applicants are usually invited to interviews. However, some schools, such as Kellogg, interview all applicants prior to submitting applications, as an integral part of the admissions process.
Usually, candidates can choose between on-campus or off-campus interviews. If the interview is conducted on campus, the interviewer may be a member of the admissions committee (for example at Cornell) or a student (for example at Wharton). Off-campus interviews are usually conducted by alumni.
Business casual dress usually includes khaki pants, a button-down shirt and black shoes. In the winter, a sweater may be worn over the shirt. Some candidates prefer adding a tie and/or jacket.
ARINGO offers a professional interview preparation service, based on systematic collection of questions used in prior interviews, and on interview simulation practice. To start the process, please fill out the information request form.
The admissions committee allows interviewers significant leeway with regard to the style of interview and questions asked. Therefore, learning as much as possible about your interviewer in advance is recommended: what is his/her style? What is his/her background? Which questions has s/he asked in the past? Students, alumni, forums and admissions counselors can provide this information.
We strongly recommend preparing extensively for your interview. In our experience, those candidates who devote tens of hours to preparation are those who do the best on interviews. Preparation should focus on selecting and phrasing your key messages and expressing them orally, under pressure. Conduct as many mock (simulation) interviews as possible: with alumni who have experience interviewing, with friends and family, with professional advisors and with other candidates. Mock interviews will not only provide quality feedback and ideas for improvement, they will also help you feel comfortable and confident in an interview setting and practice your English in case it’s not your native language.
- Obvious but important – be on time! If you are late, apologize.
- Turn off your cell phone and any other mobile device before the interview.
- A common mistake is giving long-winded answers to questions. Speak briefly and to the point.
- Be positive. Try to avoid words such as “no”, “impossible”, “isn’t” etc. Almost any message can also be phrased in a positive manner.
- Truth wins. The more honest you are, the stronger impression you will make – not only in what you say but in giving an impression of confidence and calm.
- Strengthen your answers by offering specific examples.
- Be prepared to answer the three basic questions: Why MBA? Why at our school? Why now?
- On-campus interviews are sometimes preferable – it depends on your abilities and which school you applied to. Carefully consider the choice of on-campus vs. off-campus interview according to your situation.
Your admissions interview will likely be just the first of a long series of interviews that you will have in your years at business school. Regardless of the result of your application, it is recommended to ask your interviewer for feedback after you receive a response from the school regarding your candidacy. Use this feedback to improve your performance on future interviews.
The ARINGO Team