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Interviewing At Chicago Booth and Wharton

I can finally see some light at the end of this very long tunnel of pre-MBA exam prep, test-taking, app and essay writing, interviewing, waiting, worrying, and just plain ‘ole stress.

So here’s the status of my round 1 applications going into the weekend before Thanksgiving (alphabetically):

Chicago – invited to interview; interview complete

HBS – dinged without an interview

MIT – won’t send interview invites until around December

Stanford – nothing yet

Wharton – invited to interview; interview complete

After being invited to interview at Wharton and Booth within a day of one another, I ‘ve completed both interviews within the past 5 days. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind but I am generally pleased with the results how things have gone (the actual result won’t be apparent until I get final decisions).

Chicago Booth Interview Recap

Chicago Booth gives you two main interview options: to interview on campus with the admissions committee (which includes 2nd year MBA students) or to interview in or near your city with a Booth alum (where available). Living in Los Angeles makes alums from virtually any school that I would ever apply to locally available.

While I would love to visit each school that I’m submitting to, neither finances nor time will permit such a tour. I opt for local interviews whenever possible to be judicious with my finite time and financial resources.

I applied for my Booth interview right away and was paired with an alumnus within 24-48 hours, just as their admissions website promised; +1.  The night prior to my scheduled interview, I got a buddy of mine who is a recent JD/MBA graduate of and alumni interviewer for The University of Chicago to give me a mock interview.

My friend took it kind of easy on me, asking some basic behavioral questions coupled with the standard goals/why MBA/why now/why Booth questions. I wish he had been a bit tougher.

My interviewer chose a fairly laid back meeting place. I blocked out my schedule for that day and made sure to arrive with about a 30 minute lead on our appointment–half of which I burned up finding parking blocks away and then walking to the establishment.

Not a Clear Read

While very polite, my interviewer was not easy to read. They were also quite skilled at the job at hand. I got lots of behavioral questions peppered with interpersonal and “get to know you” probes that came in the midst of deceivingly random small talk as we navigated the meeting place.

I was comfortable with what was being asked of me and did not trip up or get stumped by any of the questions. I did, however, receive some constructive feedback on one of them. It was good feedback.  I also felt that the feedback came more from a spirit of genuine affinity than a “gotcha” sort of thing; yet, you never really know what someone is thinking.

While I generally feel that I did well in the interview, even the slightest hiccup can cast doubts in such a competitive, subjective process as this. I guess we’ll find out how “constructive” that feedback was come mid-December.