Tuesday Q&A: All About the MBA Interview
October 22, 2013 :: Admissionado Team
Okay friends, it’s that time of year when we attack the MBA Interview from all possible sides, guns blazing. You are going to become such an MBA Interview expert by the time we are through, you will be schooling everyone else out there on how to get it done. We hope that you get SICK of hearing so much about the MBA Interview. Yep. That is our mission right now. To make you queasy from stuffing your face at the buffet of knowledge we are about to spread out for you.
Okay, enough of the chitchat. We heard your questions loud and clear: there are some things you want to know about the MBA Interview. Here to answer your top 4 questions about the MBA Interview is Jon Frank.
How long should our answers be for normal interview questions?
When it comes to everyone’s favorite, “Walk me through your interview,” you shouldn’t spend more than 4 minutes total. So practice that. You don’t want to spend the entire interview rehashing a resume he has probably already seen.
And for all the others… 2-3 minutes. MAX.
You don’t want to bore the guy. A good interview is a conversation. It’s relaxed. Informal. Feels less like a back and forth Q&A, and more like two people hanging out, talking. (Kind of like this!)
Much like your essays, the best stories/answers are concise. Use your words wisely and say the most stuff in the least amount of words. Make your interviewer laugh. That’s always a good sign. And ask questions. Get them talking about themselves. MBAs LOVE talking about themselves. Why just the other day I was talking to this MBA and the funniest thing happened to me…
What’s a good answer to the question “what other schools are you considering?”
In general, omit any schools that would be obvious preferences to the school you are interviewing at (like if you interview at Haas, try to avoid mentioning you are applying to Stanford). Don’t say “none” because everyone knows that’s not true.
No matter what, if you are pressed, don’t lie. If you get caught in a lie, you’re done. Also, most interviewers can tell when you’re not being genuine.
And always make sure they know THEIR school is your preference. “Yeah, I’m also applying to Darden but because of my desire to break into ZZZ field and YYY program at Ross, this is obviously my number one choice. I love the idea of joining AAA group and I’ve been a Michigan football fan since birth. I want to be at Ross.”
Get the picture?
How do you answer “what’s your back up plan if you don’t get in?”
1. With a back-up plan.
What IS that going to be? Don’t go in with the attitude of, “well, I’m going to get in so I’m not worried.” That just looks immature. Every smart businessperson has a backup plan, after all. So figure out that plan. Will you go back to your old job? Will you join a new company? Think it out, plan it out, and know that you’re going to have to talk it out.
2. With a show of absolute determination to do an MBA—if not now, then later.
“I’m gonna go back to my company and take on more leadership experience, take advantage of our expansion into blablabla market, etc. And I’ve been asked to lead project CCC. So I’ll do that, and I’ll join [insert group here], and then I’m gonna come back and apply next year. My goal is and always will be BLA. And THIS school is going to get me there for YYY reasons.” You show ‘em that you’re definitely gonna do this thing. It’s on your radar. It’s all a part of your master plan.
Are there any weaknesses we should avoid revealing because they would be absolute deal breakers?
Personal weaknesses are viewed as inherent characteristics—like being a jerk, being unkind, being angry, impatient, careless.
So, yeah, don’t talk about being a jerk or having anger management problems. But everything else is totally fair game. As with everything, it’s all about how you case it.
The best weaknesses are ones that are also seen as strengths:
I’m a big-picture guy. But because of that, I sometimes miss out on the details.
Or, I’m a people person… but because of that, I have a tough time disciplining employees.
We know you’ve got more questions, and we’ve got lots more to say. Check out some of our other articles for more info, and be sure to stay tuned for future posts and webinars to help you rock your MBA Interview.
—Jon Frank, Admissionado Founder