The Tuesday Q&A: The Toughest of all Interview Questions


What are you supposed to say when an interviewer asks you what other schools you’re applying to/interviewing at? Should you be honest? What if those schools aren’t ranked as high? Can you somehow dodge this question?


This is one of the toughest questions to answer, for sure.  But there is a GREAT strategy to it.  Check it out:

On the one hand, you won’t wanna tell the interviewer that you’re looking at a bunch of places that are MORE prestigious than his school is.  If you do, the interviewer may think you don’t like them or worse, that they’re your fall-back school.

But on the other hand, you won’t wanna tell the interviewer that you’re looking at a bunch of place that are MUCH LESS prestigious than his school is.  After all, then, he might think “Gosh, we’re too good for him, we’re out of his league,” etc.

So somehow, you need to split the difference.  Be smart.  If you are in a Stanford interview, explain why you’re only looking in California.  And obviously, Stanford’s the best general management program in Cali.  If you’re in a Wharton interview, say you’re only looking at finance schools (CBS, Stern) and obviously Wharton is the best of the bunch. For Yale, you’re looking at all places with non-profit programs, but obviously Yale is the best.

We always tell people to frame it in the genre of schools you’re interviewing at, and that the one you’re interviewing for is THE BEST.

Make sense?
Goooood luck,

— Jon Frank

Not sure how to handle your MBA interview? Watch Jon’s LIVE Mock Interview with Beat the GMAT.
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