Harvard | Mr. Strategist
GMAT 750, GPA 73%, top of the class (gold medalist)
Harvard | Mr. Brightside
GMAT 760, GPA 3.93
Harvard | Mr. Australian Navy
GMAT 770, GPA 3.74
Berkeley Haas | Mr. All About Impact
GMAT N/A, GPA 63%
Harvard | Mr. Forbes U30 & Big Pharma
GMAT 640, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Asset Manager – Research Associate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Ross | Mr. FP&A
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. 10 Years In Finance
GMAT Not Required / Waived, GPA 2.65
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
NYU Stern | Ms. Civil Servant To Fortune 50
GRE Writing May 31st, GPA Undergrad: 3.0, Graduate: 3.59
Harvard | Ms. Social Enterprise/Healthcare
GRE 324, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Ms. FMCG Enthusiast Seeking Second MBA
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
Stanford GSB | Mr. Former SEC Athlete
GMAT 620, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Mr. Supply Chain Photographer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
MIT Sloan | Ms. Designer Turned Founder
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Ms. Not-For-Profit
GMAT TBD, GPA 4.0
INSEAD | Mr. Big Chill 770
GMAT 770, GPA 3-3.2
Harvard | Mr. Captain Mishra
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Ross | Mr. Dragon Age
GRE 327, GPA 2.19/4.0
Wharton | Ms. Type-A CPG PM
GMAT 750, GPA 3.42
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Young Software Engineer
GRE 330, GPA 3.60
NYU Stern | Mr. Indian Analytics Consultant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Ms. Start-Up Entrepreneur
GRE 322, GPA 3.4
Columbia | Mr. RAV4 Chemical Engineer
GMAT 750, GPA 3.62
Wharton | Mr. Big 4 M&A
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5

Why An Applicant Interview Requires a Different State of Mind

Interviews are another piece of the application puzzle and another opportunity to show how great of an addition to a business school’s class I will be. At first glance, I thought that since interviewing relies on many of the same themes, thoughts and stories I used to write essays and fill out applications, it wouldn’t require too much additional preparation. But, the format of interviewing requires a different state of mind – one that I hadn’t paid much attention to until I started practicing interviews with someone else.

When I first did a mock interview with a friend, we both noticed that my answers were a bit stiff and formal, like a canned response. The content of my answers was fine, but it didn’t allow my personality to shine through. After a few more questions, I finally realized that I had been speaking like I was writing essays. In fact, my friend observed that an interviewer “shouldn’t be able to hear the commas” while I spoke. Not good. Especially with an interview coming up before the end of the year.

In essay writing, it’s fine, and probably preferable, to include structured sentences and paragraphs to convey a complete picture. But, an interview is an informal conversation, a set of brief back and forth questions and answers designed not only to convey my story but also a sense of how I think on my feet and respond emotionally to different situations. As much as essays can give a sense of a person, speaking with someone can connect people in a way that reading written words can’t – assuming I don’t speak like I write.

My essay-writing mindset positioned me to receive an interview, but it won’t help me receive an offer of admission. In the end, I just needed to stop heavily filtering what gets sent from my brain to my mouth, like I do in everyday life.

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.

Previous posts by Just Ship at Poets&Quants:

“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”