The Tuesday Q&A: How to Handle the HBS 2+2 Interview

QUESTION:

I’m a senior in college and I have an interview for the HBS 2+2 program. Since I have limited work experience (a couple of internships), can I focus on how I’ve led extracurricular groups at school? And what else should I focus on while I prepare?

ANSWER:

First off, congratulations on getting an interview for HBS 2+2. That is a hiiiighly selective program, so getting an interview is no joke. Wahoo!

So, what should you discuss in that interview?

Well, since you’re a college senior – which exactly who this program is targeting – no one is expecting you to have a long resume, full of management roles. But because this IS an MBA program, the adcom is expecting you to have management experience, in some capacity. After all, you’re studying to become a manager… and they need to see that you can hack it.

So you should absolutely bring up any and all leadership experiences you’ve got, whether it’s from jobs or internships you’ve held, or groups you’ve led.   And, like any MBA admissions interview, you’ll want to make sure you’re leading with your “greatest hits” – the 2 or 3 best leadership/management stories you’ve got.

Everyone’s got a few, and you should know yours backwards and forwards. By the time you sit down for that interview, you should be comfortable enough with those stories to apply them to any question that comes your way, whether they’re asking about your greatest accomplishment, you’re greatest failure, or a time you had to lead a team without all the necessary information.

Other than that, the HBS 2+2 interview is going to run like any other, and the same rules will apply: get comfortable with your stories, give the adcom more than just a verbal run-through of your resume (they’ve got it in front of them, folks!), and ask lots of questions.

Oh, and don’t forget: the interview isn’t over until you’ve shaken hands, said your goodbyes and you’ve physically parted. Everything else that happens while you’re together is being reviewed, so keep your game face on until you’re safely tucked away in the elevator… alone.

GOOD LUCK !

— Jon Frank

What B-School Teaches You… That the Real World Can’t