Interview invitations have recently been released for Harvard Business School, Chicago Booth, and Wharton (see more about our Wharton TBD support below) and continue to roll out for many other schools including Kellogg and Columbia Business School.
Now is the time to prepare for this important final stage in the application process. First, congratulations are in order if you have already been invited to interview at your target school(s). The hard work on your applications, essays, and GMAT/GRE/EA has gotten you this far, but do not rest on your laurels.
The interview is one of the most important parts of the process, and it is crucial that you take the time to prepare adequately. While some of you may be particularly apprehensive about the virtual interview process, with proper planning and plenty of practice, you can be ready to tackle this new format.
First, all of the usual interview basics hold true in a virtual interview. Here are Personal MBA Coach’s top 5 MBA Interview Tips.
1. Prepare your stories. Research the questions that each program most commonly asks and develop your stories in advance. Do not spend too much time setting up the situation when forming your behavioral question response. Instead, focus on the key steps you took and how you excelled in each example. We find that bulleting works best here.
Keep in mind the skills you want to emphasize and adapt your stories as needed. Typically, you can easily alter four to five stories to answer most top questions. Assign each story to possible questions in advance. Remember the following three components when crafting your stories: Situations, Action, Result.
2. Research each MBA program’s interview process. The way business schools treat the interview process varies. While fit is always key, some schools delve much deeper into certain aspects of your application and background than others do.
Along with determining the focal points that certain schools may target, you also want to have an understanding of who will be interviewing you. Your interview may be conducted by an alumnus, admissions officer, or even a current student. Doing this research will help you prepare accordingly while easing your nerves during the MBA interview.
3. Determine why you want to attend the school, thinking specifically about the program’s culture. School-specific interests and knowledge are crucial. Be sure that you are ready to discuss the aspects that drew you to each program. Additionally, you should illustrate your understanding of the program’s culture and explain how you will thrive on and add value to campus.
4. Make sure you can articulate your MBA goals clearly. Be prepared to clearly and concisely explain what you hope to accomplish in your career, why this path excites you, and how you will be successful. Arrive ready with specific examples to show how you plan to leave your unique mark. If you need more guidance on MBA goals, take a look at our blog here.
5. Show enthusiasm, bring questions, and be yourself. While a video call may feel different from an in-person MBA interview, much remains the same. Your body language is important, so maintain good posture. Also try to minimize distractions. Put your devices in “do not disturb” mode so you can channel all of your attention to the conversation at hand. Be sure to smile, ask only positive questions, be enthusiastic, and relax. Remember that your background got you this far, so just be yourself.
To help you prepare for some of the unique challenges of a virtual interview, Personal MBA Coach reached out to a few of the former MBA Admissions Interviewers on our team for their top tips!
- Look into the camera or webcam, which is often placed higher than the normal vision. In addition, practice your set up with a friend or family member in advance of the interview to make sure the equipment is staged properly and functioning. Finally, be careful when using virtual backgrounds. Depending upon the video capabilities of your system, virtual backgrounds can place a strain on the system and make for either the person’s head or the background to fade in and out. – MJ, Former Wharton Admissions Director
- Treat a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview – dress as you would if you were going in person, have a quiet and clean space with good lighting in which to conduct your interview, and of course, be on time! – Julie, Dartmouth Tuck, Former Admissions Interviewer
- It is crucial to emote a bit more on virtual interviews since you do not have the nonverbal cues you would have in person. Be sure to modulate how quickly you are speaking, pause at the right time, smile, and express excitement. While using hand motions can be great, avoid too much movement which can be even more distracting on virtual interviews. – Karys, Yale SOM, Former Admissions Interviewer
Just as with any interview, practice and planning are key! Personal MBA Coach has former M7 interviewers lined up to do mock interviews with you. Plus, mock interview support is included with all Personal MBA Coach Comprehensive Packages. Our clients have told us this is one of the most valuable steps they have taken to prepare and clients who use our interview preparation services enjoy a 70-85% conversion rate.
Personal MBA Coach also offers à la carte group interview sessions for Wharton, providing candidates a unique opportunity to practice this difficult interview. We have former Wharton TBD interviewers to conduct these sessions allowed candidates to practice with an interviewer who has evaluated more than 70 applicants at Wharton and knows exactly how to help you ace the TBD.
About Personal MBA Coach:
Founded by a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan graduate who sits on the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants Board of Directors, Personal MBA Coach is consistently ranked #1 or #2.
We help clients with all aspects of the MBA application process including early planning, GMAT/GRE/EA tutoring, application strategy, school selection, essay editing, and mock interviews. Our team includes a former M7 admission director and former M7 admissions interviewers.
Last year, our clients earned more than $5.5M in scholarships!
Scott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and founded Personal MBA Coach 13 years ago with the goal of providing customized one-on-one support. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants and is invited to speak at MBA Admissions events globally. Our clients have been accepted to all top schools globally with a 96% success rate. They received $5.5M in total scholarships last year.