Being invited for a business school interview is exciting and nerve wracking, and usually leads to intense preparation. In addition to practicing responses to core questions, refreshing your school research and reviewing your application, what else should you do to get ready?
Understand Your Candidacy.
Presumably, at this point you understand your strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. Before you interview, think again about your key themes and what you most want the committee to know. (You are a first-generation college graduate, your eclectic work experience makes sense and is not indicative of a lack of focus or interpersonal issues, you are calm under pressure, you are passionate about healthcare because of your personal struggles, etc.) Keep these themes in mind, so that you can weave this content into the conversation, just like you did in your essays.
Prepare the Right Way.
On top of the basics, like your goals and interest in the school, be ready to talk about your interpersonal skills, leadership philosophy, failures and interests outside of work. It’s crucial to have specific anecdotes and illustrations in mind – it’s not enough to just say that you are awesome, and everyone loves working with you. Why? What role did you play on your last team? Jot down notes about stories that you can share, but resist writing out complete answers. You need to stay nimble and genuine, which is impossible if you memorize your responses.
Perfection is Overrated.
One of your primary goals in your business school interview is to connect with your interviewer. If every response is completely polished you might not seem authentic, making it harder to bond. Also, seriously – no one expects you to be perfect. It’s fine to be nervous, for instance, and also completely ok to pause for a minute to gather your thoughts. As long as you demonstrate effort and avoid big mistakes like these, it’s really ok to have a few wobbles.
Know When to Stop.
At a certain point it does more harm than good to have that 15th mock interview. You don’t want to become canned, or lose your ability to listen to your interviewer and be present in the conversation.
Getting a business school interview is great validation. It means that the school likes what they see so far, and that they are excited to get to know you. Relax and let your true personality and enthusiasm shine through as much as possible – and congratulations on being invited for a business school interview.
Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than 14.2 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.