Interviews are the last hurdle before admission. They can make or break it and it’s probably fair to say that maybe only half of the bulk going to interviews will be accepted eventually.
However, I do not believe interviews are about skills, or about the candidate’s worth. Interviews are the single subjective step in an admission process. To put it shortly, I think that if one goes to the interviews, it means the admission commitee has already approved that you’re good enough to study there; but interviews are to evaluate if you’re fit for the school.
And it’s not so much about competition (although we know it is).
To me, fit is a bit like love: it has to go both ways or it won’t work. A motivation one can put into logic and describe well in essays, will not “sound” or “look” right in a face-to-face interview unless one is truly convinced about the benefits of a b-school for oneself.
My interview preparation method:
- Review the reasons why you applied to the school at the first place.
And review your essays. As interviews take place somewhere around a month after the application submission, you may need to refresh.
Have these reasons changed? The thought process of an MBA application doesn’t stop when the file is submitted and it’s likely that you’ll better know what you want from b-school at the time of interviews. As a result, some of the b-schools you originally applied to may be less relevant than others.
- Now that you know why you can take from the school, review what you can give to the school, and preferably something more than your successful career and fat IQ. Of course this point is about how unique you are, but also how willing to share this uniqueness you are.
Does your style of sharing match the b-school’s style for this? For instance, an introverted person may not like a b-school which likes to put individuals on the spot, or a driver may feel frustrated at having to “carry” a group of other people who think differently.
- Then think of what you would like to tell the b-school about yourself. Something that’s not in the essays, though preferably related. Who are you? What matters to you?
Also think of what you would like the person in front of you to tell you about the b-school he/she represents.
To come back to my original comparison with love.
Going to an interview, for me, was like going to a blind date. I knew both brides (b-schools) from their CVs. I knew that I could bring something to both, what each could bring to me and, to be honest, it was a bit of a head (LBS) vs. heart (HEC) call.
The blind dates proved decisive.
During the HEC two interviews I had with alumni, I felt the conversation flowed naturally. Although I was on the spot with the usual questions, my answers were straighforward and I could tell that the interviewers were having as much a good time as I was. I was genuinely thrilled (but not so surprised) to find that I was accepted to the programme… just 2 days before my LBS interview.
It’s possible that this annoucement weighted badly on my performance at the single LBS interview. I was litterally out of reasons why to go there. I knew I was capable to go there, but I had no motivation to. The interview ended up being as boring as it could possibly get without insulting anyone, and my application was unsurprisingly rejected.
HEC interview presentation sample :
Following some demand from a few readers, I’m uploading my interview presentation (PDF format) :
31 Comments »
A few tips for the HEC interview presentation :
- Pick a topic you like and feel passionate about. Whatever that is. What’s important is that your personality goes through. Don’t forget that this presentation will lead to the more meatiy part of the interview.
- Don’t overload your presentation. The important part is you, not the dozens of slides or data that you’ll put together. Given the time length of the presentation (10 mins) avoid putting up more than 10 slides.
- Finally, review your presentation with a friend. An outside eye is fundamental in detecting unclear or useless elements. This review is also important to check if you’re OK timewise.