What Kind Of Business School Applicant Are You?

How To Approach MBA Video Interviews

B-schools across the world are experimenting with new ways to better know candidates during the admissions processes.

One of those avenue is the MBA application video assessment—a live format video essay or interview.

“Over the last five years, a number of top MBA programs have added a video component to their applications in an effort to get to know applicants better beyond what can be found in the written submissions,” Eileen Chao, of Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting, writes for P&Q. “While the intent behind video essays seems straightforward enough, applicants often find themselves a bit intimidated by the whole thing and aren’t quite sure how to best approach the live format.”

Using Video To Your Advantage

For admissions officers, the benefit of a video assessment is clear: it’s another way to test an applicant for their aptitude and personality.

“With videos, candidates will have to show their ‘true self’ and would not be able to ‘outsource’ this exercise to others,” Virginie Fougea, director of MBA recruitment and admissions at INSEAD, tells Find MBA. “We understand that more and more companies are recruiting through this sort of exercise.”

But for applicants, video can also be used as an advantage.

Fougea tells Find MBA that an applicant with a strong video can help convince admissions officers of candidates to take a chance on someone they are on the fence about accepting.

“We have been better able to evaluate profiles that are more atypical,” she tells Find MBA. “Some candidates literally come to life on the screen…we can look them in the eye, and realize their drive and passions.”

The best way to “come to life” on screen, according to Chao, is to be yourself.

“Programs have incorporated this component as a way to get to know you, your personality, and your fit with the school, so above all, be yourself,” Chao writes. “Reflect on your own experiences and answer questions honestly, instead of thinking, ‘What do they want to hear?’”

Practice—The Right Way

A number of experts say when it comes to the video essay, practice is everything. However, there’s a right way to practice and a wrong way.

Esther Magna, principal at Stacy Blackman Consulting, advises applicants to prepare by practicing succinct responses to questions that are available.

“Record yourself answering these questions,” Magna tells Find MBA. “Have a trusted friend review your responses and tell you how you’re coming off. Tweak your style accordingly.”

Chao says it may feel uncomfortable practicing in front of a camera, but it’s a necessary and invaluable way to practice for the real thing.

“Examine your test run to make sure you’re clearly visible and audible,” she writes. “Check that your expressions are coming across the right way. Finally, examine the content – did you articulate your MBA story, personality and experiences in a clear, compelling and succinct manner? There is always room for improvement so ask a trusted friend for help if you need another opinion.”

Sources: Find MBA, Poets & Quants