Highlight These Traits In Your MBA Interview
Selling yourself on paper is one thing, but selling yourself in person is another.
The MBA interview is a critical aspect that may determine whether or not you get accepted to a B-school or rejected.
Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at U.S. News, spoke to MBA admissions officers on what qualities they say applicants should highlight in MBA interviews.
Experts say knowing how to eloquently explain your experience is more important than the size of the accomplishment itself.
“Oftentimes, candidates think that they have to have this monumental achievement in order to impress the admissions committee, and it’s not about the size,” Soojin Kwon, admissions director with the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, tells U.S. News. “We’re trying to understand how you think about things and how you think about yourself.”
In a LinkedIn post, Matthew Parker, co-found of RefundNote – a financial services company, says “clarity is king” when it comes to MBA interviews. The first step? Get to the point.
“Interviewing remains a manual process for most companies, and it is quite laborious,” Parker writes. “Companies of all sizes are interviewing hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Due to the process, recruiters and hiring managers loathe an interviewee who “speaks in circles.” Give straightforward answers.”
Knowing yourself makes it a whole lot easier to sell yourself.
Experts say offering thoughtful reflection about your career goals can help you stand out among other applicants. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to have your career planned step-by-step.
“We don’t feel that people need to come in with a life plan already mapped out, but we do like to get a sense for how people think about the decisions that they make,” Chad Losee, managing director of MBA admissions and financial aid at Harvard Business School, tells U.S. News.
And that comes with knowing how your past experiences have helped shaped you today.
“It’s being able to have perspective about the things that you’ve done and the import of those things, because there’s value in everything that an applicant might have done in their career,” Kwon tells U.S. News. “It’s knowing how that translates into something that will be valuable in your business school experience, in life and in work.”
Even though an interview is meant for you to talk about yourself, there’s a fine line between coming off arrogant and conveying humility.
Experts say humility can go a long way in the MBA interview – especially when it comes to questions about failure.
“I don’t think you’re ever penalized for being open and honest with that question,” Patrick Mullane, executive director of HBX, Harvard Business School’s online education platform, tells U.S. News.
In an article for Poets & Quants, Malvina Miller Complainville of Fortuna Admissions, says that the key to answering a question about your weaknesses is to answer with humility.
“Present yourself in a positive light by focusing on your personal growth, lessons learned and ability to be introspective,” she adds. “Showing how you’ve stretched yourself in the past can be a compelling success story.”