Stanford GSB | Ms. 2+2 Tech Girl
GRE 333, GPA 3.95
Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Digi-Transformer
GMAT 680, GPA 4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Healthcare Operations To General Management
GRE 700, GPA 7.3
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. Engineer In The Military
GRE 310, GPA 3.9
Chicago Booth | Mr. Oil & Gas Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 6.85/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seeking Fellow Program
GMAT 760, GPA 3
Wharton | Mr. Real Estate Investor
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Chef Instructor
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Climate
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. New England Hopeful
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Harvard | Mr. Military Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 3.9
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Chicago Booth | Mr. Private Equity To Ed-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Gay Singaporean Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. BB Trading M/O To Hedge Fund
GMAT 710, GPA 3.23
Columbia | Mr. Old Indian Engineer
GRE 333, GPA 67%
Harvard | Mr. Athlete Turned MBB Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. Civil Rights Lawyer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.62
Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Environmental Sustainability
GMAT N/A, GPA 7.08
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Trucking
GMAT 640, GPA 3.82
Ross | Mr. Low GRE Not-For-Profit
GRE 316, GPA 74.04% First Division (No GPA)
Harvard | Mr. Marine Pilot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.98

The Top Incubators & Accelerators

job interview

Acing The Recruiter Interview

Think getting into business school is hard? Just wait until you have to compete against your peers for a coveted internship or job. That’s the harsh reality shared by Dr. Kimberly Whitler, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, who was previously vice president of marketing at PetSmart and Chief Marketing Officer for David’s Bridal. Indeed, those first and second semester interviews will be the highest pressure, highest stakes situations you will experience in business school.

“…although your MBA brand is important,” Whitler writes in Forbes, “your first job post the MBA will play as much, if not an even more crucial role in determining the trajectory of the rest of your career.” Even more, sitting down with recruiters makes those interviews with adcoms feel like a coffee chat with an old friend. Here, Whitler observes, you must “present yourself as agile, smart, strategic, analytical, creative, collaborative, likeable, professional, and poised in 30-45 minutes (no pressure).” Even more, Whitler warns, “interviewing ability is uncorrelated with a GMAT score; nobody is born with the ability to interview well. It is an acquired skill that takes a lot of practice—that most students can’t fathom and significantly underestimate—to master.”

Recently, Whitler (along with first year student Ellen Regan) sat in on campus interviews held by E.&J. Gallo and Johnson & Johnson to gain some insights on what top brands expect – and the thinking behind some of their questions.

For starters, Whitler notes, candidates should adapt their pitch to fit the goals of the interview. “Typically an interviewer is trying to get a sense of four things when speaking with a candidate: interest, fit, leadership, and skill,” Whitler shares from the E.&Y. Gallo interview. “Make sure you can answer the following questions: Can you articulate why you are interested in the industry/company/role? Can you demonstrate that you understand the core values of the company? Have you been a leader in the past and are you well positioned to lead people in the future? Do you have direct or transferable marketing skills that can add immediate value?”

At the same time, students should also clarify, early in the question, that they share the same understanding as the interviewer, particularly in questions involving particular cases or technical questions (i.e. How would you increase the penetration of brand X?). “Because these questions don’t provide a lot of direction,” Whitler points out, “it’s imperative that the interviewee articulate the assumptions they are making when answering the question. For example, if you were asked to improve the positioning of Tide, you’d want to state what you think the current positioning is, what you believe would need to be improved, and then provide the improved positioning.”

In addition, Whitler advises students to provide a marketing framework for their answers. By this, she doesn’t mean to use something like product, price, place, and promotion as the backbone of the answer. Instead, a framework involves pinpointing the purpose of the question. “Those who standout during the interview process learn how to identify what the interviewer is asking and then quickly “package” a persuasive response in a structured and organized manner (e.g., “there are five attributes associated with a superior brand. First…second…etc.”),” Whitler emphasize before adding a caveat. “Keep in mind most interviewers are speaking with 5-10 students in a row, so the clearer you can be in your communication, the more memorable you will be.”

Finally, Whitler cautions against falling in love with a certain go-to strategy or assuming one-size-fits-all. “If you are interviewing with multiple companies in the Marketing/GM space, you will need to have a good understanding of the industry dynamics within which the firms compete,” she counsels. “This is critical because marketing strategies are not universally effective—or even legal—across industries. For example, in-store product sampling, common in CPG, would not be an appropriate technique to recommend for a company in the pharma space where samples are provided via doctors.”

In a similar vein, give your answers in an objective, third-person tone. For this, Whitler uses the example of explaining why a particular brand is great. Here, you want to avoid a response that relies on personal experience. Instead, Whitler offers a fact-driven alternative: “I believe Apple is a great brand because of the following four attributes: 1) they go beyond meeting consumer needs to actually create consumer needs that change consumers’ lives – for example, the iPod changed how consumers engaged with music ….2), etc.”

For additional advice from Whitler on preparation or using other frameworks to answer questions, click on the Forbes links below.

DON’T MISS: How To Prep For An MBA Interview

Source: Forbes, Forbes

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