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Prepping For A Kellogg Interview

As I prepare for my upcoming second business school interview (self-initiated for Kellogg), it’s useful to re-hash how my first interview went so I can improve my performance and chances of admission at Kellogg. There were many times during the previous interview where I heard myself talking and simultaneously imagined facepalming myself, so it would be nice to avoid that in the future.

The interview process itself for Stern was very straightforward. I had reviewed the list of potential interview questions and looked at the more recent interview reports, so I (theoretically) knew what to expect. On the day of my scheduled interview, just as others had described, I arrived on-campus, received a folder of information customized to my academic and extracurricular interests, chatted with the other waiting applicants and then met with an admissions staff member.

The interviewer was pleasant and set a friendly tone for the interview, starting with a softball question about one of my more unique hobbies. I had anticipated walking through my resume first, so I kind of swung at this question a little off-balance. I could’ve conveyed my passion for this hobby more, but I gave a sufficient answer. Then, we dove into the standard interview questions: why an MBA now, why Stern, career goals, walk me through your résumé – those I answered reasonably well, having honed my answers through the application process.

Where I ran into trouble, though, was a string of questions that asked me to describe my strengths and weaknesses and how others might perceive me in a few different contexts. I had prepped answers for these questions, but for some reason I decided that my prepared answers weren’t compelling enough, and I answered on the fly. It worked for some of these questions, but not for others, particularly when some answers might have conflicted with others. Then, I became conscious of my posture, shifted in my seat, and continued my imaginary facepalming.

Still, despite my apparent blunders, the interviewer was very encouraging, so I stopped rehashing my answers and remained motivated and engaged for the rest of the interview. Mercifully, the interview approached the end and the interviewer asked if I had any questions about Stern. Here, I regained some ground by asking questions that demonstrated the amount of research I did on Stern and my interest in attending. When I left the interview room, I thought I would not be surprised for the admissions decision to go either way. Thankfully, I got in – maybe I didn’t do as poorly as I thought and/or the rest of my application was strong enough.

Looking forward, I will need to do a better job of just being natural and not worrying about saying what I think the interviewer and school want to hear. I believe I am a good fit for the schools I have applied to, so I just need to demonstrate why I think so. Part of improving my interviewing performance will come in the form of trusting my preparation and candidacy, and another part will be to treat the interview as a friendly, two-way conversation. If I can do that, I will have given my admissions chances one last boost.

This post is adapted from Just Ship, a blog written by an anonymous MBA applicant who has a GMAT score above 760 and is targeting six or seven of the top ten business schools. You can read all of his posts at Just Ship.

“Just One of 4,653 Applicants Trying To Get Into A Top B-School”

“Why I’m Not Applying to Harvard Business School”

“The Deafening Silence Is Broken: An Invitation to Interview from NYU’s Stern School”

“Why An Applicant Interview Requires A Different State of Mind”

“All Is Quiet on the MIT Sloan Front”

“A ‘Yes” from NYU Stern. A ‘No’ from MIT Sloan”

“Kellogg Gets His (Likely) Final Application”

“A Rejection from Columbia B-School”