August 11, 2019

INSEAD MBA Video Interview

INSEAD

Shortly after completing your INSEAD MBA online application, you will receive an e-mail notification from Kira Talent with a unique link to complete 4 video interviews. Your link will be also available on your dashboard within the application system. The video should be seen as a unique opportunity for you to share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are. The Admissions Committee is interested in obtaining an authentic view of you as a person, to see how you think on your feet and how you convey your ideas.

The video interviews do not replace the face-to-face interviews with Alumni.

Your application will be considered as complete and ready to be reviewed only once we have received your answers to the video interviews. Please complete your video interviews at your earliest convenience and no later than 48 hours after the deadline to which you are applying. We strongly recommend however that you complete this step before the final date to allow yourself some time to prepare for this exercise.

The MBA admissions overview link includes detailed advice from INSEAD admissions covering timing, practice, and technical requirements.  Advice direct from INSEAD adcomm:

  1. Get ready by practicing. You can practice as much as you want. Practicing will enable you to convey authentic and genuine answers. Practice questions are not shared with the Admissions Committee;
  2. Test your camera, your microphone, then forget the technology and look at the camera as if you were talking to the Admissions Committee;
  3. Although we ask you to wear business or business casual attire, the Admissions Committee will not judge your look or your background;
  4. You may want to prepare a notebook next to you to write down your key ideas; you will have 45 seconds to prepare each answer; you will then have 60 seconds to share each answer with the Admissions Committee.

For something like this, where you’re going in a bit blind… the goal is to be “Stump-Proof.” What does that mean? It means, you need to show up on D-Day, and be prepared to be asked ANY four questions, and not get stumped, get all cotton-mouthed, and sweaty, and flub your way through those 60-second clips. Easy enough right?!

Hardly. Being “stump-proof” is hard. Some folks are born with it. For the rest of us, it takes some work. And luckily, there is work we CAN do to chip away at this challenge.

Step 1.

Practice… COLD. Get familiar with this by getting your recording device setup (it can be Quicktime, whatever video recording option you have, keep it simple), and then find a list of “interview questions” from somewhere, and keep it handy. Then, get dressed as you will be, get your room prepped the way it will be on the day you’re gonna record, don’t cheat this, take it seriously. And then pick a RANDOM question off that list, give yourself 45 seconds to prepare an answer, and then record a response in 60 seconds. Guess what, 9 out of 10, it’s gonna suck. Great. Do it again. Pick another question, ideate for 45 seconds. Not 46… 45. Then record for 60 seconds. Guess what? This one’s gonna suck just as bad. Great. Do it again. A third time. Guess what? This one may also suck. No problem. You’ve just taken a CRITICAL first step. At what? Breaking the seal. Popping the cork. Lighting the fuse. Congrats, and move onto Step 2.

Step 2.

Now… sit back and relax and process it for a second. Take a look at your videos, make some basic observations, but don’t get too hardcore just yet. Just focus on big stuff. Do you look confident? Do you seem likeable? Those may be the two biggest things to consider first. And then… how good is your answer? Just… observe for now. The fun stuff comes next. Did I say fun? I meant most definitely UNFUN stuff.

Step 3.

Now comes the part where you dig in a bit. And consider what these cats can possibly ask you. They’ve given you some clues. First, the meat itself: “share your passions, your motivations and who you truly are.” But second, “how [well] you think on your feet and how [well] you convey your ideas.” So, passions, motivations, what you’re all about. Here are some tips. Think about telling a STORY from your past (can be any story) that captures PERFECTLY… who you are, in a nutshell. Now, we used the word “perfect” to imply just one response, but actually, there are many ways to slice this. One story can reveal something about what MOTIVATES you. Another story can reveal something about what’s unique about your PERSONALITY. Another story can reveal something about what you LOVE more than anything on Earth, and what that says about you. Lots of stories. Find a bunch, that all say different things, and practice 60-second versions of them. DO NOT write down scripts, you can absolutely OVER-REHEARSE and decimate these. Just riff, tell stories, be entertaining. The point is not to IMPRESS, and it’s not to be STRAIGHTFORWARD… it’s to COMPEL. Either through persuasion or by being entertaining. There are no points for being dull. None.

Do this a bunch of times. Try to come up with twists on questions. “What citrus best captures who you are?” “Would you rather X… or Y”? “If you had one X to take to a desert island, what would it be and why?” … you get the idea, there are millions of these out there, spend a little bit of time, get into that headspace, and get acquainted with this mode of thinking. And get good at delivering a 60-second response. But, and here’s the key, your bullets should mostly be LOADED such that the question doesn’t actually matter. The goal is to be comfortable enough with your go-to ANSWERS that the questions itself can quickly be spun to get you to the response you’re already poised to give. The folks who seem like NATURALS at this? That’s what they’re doing. They’re just so good, it seems like it’s a trait. It isn’t. It’s a matter of comfort. And it’s a learnable skill.

Step 4.

Practice with new questions, new types of questions, and get as comfortable as you can, to the point where the prospect of being thrown a question and having 45 seconds to prepare an answer doesn’t phase you one bit. Don’t show your practice videos to a bunch of people, too much feedback can short circuit your system and cripple you. Maybe pick one trusted guy and get some insights, but don’t go beyond that.


You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of  ISEAD’s application essays.

Learn more and explore each step of the INSEAD full-time MBA application process here.

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