16. Don’t sidestep glaring issues. Were you fired? Horrendous academic record? Calmly take responsibility where appropriate and focus on how you have overcome the issue. Never give excuses.
17. Don’t try too hard to show how great you are. You will come across as insecure at best and worse, as arrogant.
18. Don’t lie! Avoid exaggerating the facts. It will come back to haunt you.
19. Don’t go into an interview unprepared. Interviews vary significantly from program to program (some are 30 minutes while others last meander for over 3 hours).
Most importantly, know your story (your essential brand) and make sure you don’t leave the interview without communicating key points of why you are unique and interesting. It’s your value proposition. Ensure that you specifically make the case for why you fit into the program and what you will bring to enrich the student community. It’s possible to face an ineffective interviewer. Still, you have to be prepared to lead the conversation back to major points that reinforce why you are a great fit for their program. Being clear on the four or so brand themes you wish to cover and having specific short stories to reinforce them will help you leave the interviewer with a strong sense of who you are.
Chioma Isiadinso is the author of “The Best Business School Admissions Secrets” and the founding CEO of EXPARTUS, a global admissions consulting company. She has more than ten years of admissions experience and is a former admissions board member at Harvard Business School and former director of admissions at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Public Policy and Management.