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How to prepare for your business school interviewFollowing the initial screening of applicants, most leading business schools invite candidates to the “second stage” of the admissions process — the admission interview. Approximately 30%-50% of applicants are usually invited to interviews. However, some schools, such as Kellogg, interview all applicants prior to submitting applications, as an integral part of the admissions process.

Usually, candidates can choose between on-campus or off-campus interviews. If the interview is conducted on campus, the interviewer may be a member of the admissions committee (for example at Cornell) or a student (for example at Wharton). Off-campus interviews are usually conducted by alumni.

Dress Code

For on-campus interviews, business attire is recommended and often required. Business attire includes a suit, tie and black dress shoes (thin-soled, with black socks). Business casual dress usually includes khaki pants, a button-down shirt and black shoes. In the winter, a sweater may be worn over the shirt. Some candidates prefer adding a tie and/or jacket.

Preparation

Good preparation is the key to success at admissions interviews. Discussion groups, students, alumni, books and admissions counselors can all be helpful in learning as much as possible about the school’s methods and approach towards interviews.

We strongly recommend preparing extensively for your interview. In our experience, those candidates who devote tens of hours to preparation are those who do the best on interviews. Preparation should focus on selecting and phrasing your key messages and expressing them orally, under pressure. Conduct as many mock (simulation) interviews as possible: with alumni who have experience interviewing, with friends and family, with professional advisors and with other candidates. Mock interviews will not only provide quality feedback and ideas for improvement, they will also help you feel comfortable and confident in an interview setting and practice your English in case it’s not your native language.

The Interview – 8 Basic Tips

  1. Obvious but important — be on time! If you are late, apologize.
  2. Turn off your cell phone and any other mobile device before the interview.
  3. A common mistake is giving long-winded answers to questions. Speak briefly and to the point.
  4. Be positive. Try to avoid words such as “no”, “impossible”, “isn’t” etc. Almost any message can also be phrased in a positive manner.
  5. Truth wins. The more honest you are, the stronger impression you will make — not only in what you say but in giving an impression of confidence and calm.
  6. Strengthen your answers by offering specific examples.
  7. Be prepared to answer the three basic questions: Why MBA? Why at our school? Why now?
  8. On-campus interviews are sometimes preferable — it depends on your abilities and which school you applied to. Carefully consider the choice of on-campus vs. off-campus interview according to your situation.

After the Interview

Send a brief email to your interviewer thanking him/her for devoting the time to your interview.


This article is a guest post courtesy of the Aringo Admissions Consulting research team. To read the full article and get more great MBA admissions tips, visit:
http://www.aringo.com/interviews.htm.