How To Prep For The HBS Interview

Getting Hired As An MBA Grad

You’ve earnedyour MBA. Now it’s time to make that degree count.

In a US News piece, corporate recruiters and career specialists at major MBA programs offer their take on how MBA grads can get hired.

Mastering Interviews

It’s important to build your interview skills and prep yourself in how you’ll respond to difficult questions.

Naomi Sanchez, assistant dean of MBA career management at University of Washington’s Foster School of Business, says it’s important to not get derailed by a difficult interview.

“I’ve had students who’ve been told their answers are not good,” Sanchez tells US News. “Don’t lose your composure. Continue trying to respond in a positive manner. Engage with the interviewer. You can ask back, ‘Did I answer your question?’”

A good rule of thumb for interviews is sticking to the “rule of three.”

“No recruiter wants to hear you drone on and on in response to a question,” Carmine Gallo, Senior Contributor at Forbes, writes. “Simply put, the human mind is only capable of recalling three to five main points in short term (working) memory. Don’t overwhelm your listener with a list of twenty-eight messages. Keep it to three. Give a recruiter three reasons to hire you; three ways your skill will help the company make money; three highlights from your resume.”

Emphasize Teamwork

Companies are increasingly looking for candidates who can work well in teams.

GMAC’s Corporate Recruiters Survey Report—an in-depth study on what recruiters look for in MBA grads—found that the most in-demand skills for MBA grads are communication and teamwork.

Kristina Liphardt, Americas campus recruiting leader for MBA recruiting at EY, says her team often seeks candidates who can show they can “team.”

“One component of our interview day is having candidates sit in a room, and we give them an actual business scenario to solve while they’re observed,” Liphardt tells US News. “We’ve had instances where someone will have interviewed really well till that point, then they get to this exercise, and they will either rise or fall based on how they do.”

The exercise is meant to demonstrate candidates’ collaborative skills.

“Maybe someone will sit back and be very quiet, and you will see others say to that person, ‘Hey, do you have any ideas you want to contribute?,’” Liphardt tells US News. “Another candidate might suggest a way to solve the case, and a team member might say, ‘Oh no, that’s a bad idea.’ In consulting you have to team well, so you need to demonstrate these skills to get hired.”

Show Other Interests

Having relevant business experience is important, but it is becoming increasingly common for MBA grads to demonstrate other interests as well.

“We’re starting to see more MBA students designing portfolios, not just a resume but a much more creative and holistic portfolio around who they are as a leader, their academic background, skills and experiences,” Sjoerd Gehring, VP of talent acquisition and employee experience at Johnson & Johnson, tells US News.

Sources: US News, Forbes, GMAC

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