“If you were given £50k to improve your current company, what would you do?”
“Who is your favourite business leader and why?”
“Tell me about a time someone in your group was failing, and what did you do to rectify the situation?”
Nailing your MBA interview is really just an extension of a successful overall application. During both your MBA written application and interview, you need to remember these three words – Tell your Story. Business schools receive an abundance of qualified applications, so by the time Admissions has screened applicants to the interview stage, they are seriously considering accepting you.
The MBA interview addresses:
- Who are you as a person?
- Do you fit with our business school?
You need to successfully demonstrate who you are as a person in order for Admissions to assess your compatibility with the school. And this is just as much about you as the applicant – Admissions knows the business school best, so you truly need to showcase your personality and display an honest perception of yourself so that Admissions can make a decision beneficial to both parties.
So how do you “Tell your Story?”
I found these three things helped me immensely when preparing for my MBA interviews:
- Jotting down 3 – 5 adjectives that best described myself and my strengths and reflecting on past experiences that exemplified these adjectives.
You are definitely going to be asked to reflect on your past personal and professional experiences and achievements, so it’s best to have these prepared beforehand. Anyone can say they have leadership qualities but not everyone can quickly rattle off three times they displayed leadership traits.
- Being Natural.
You need to come across as natural and comfortable (they go hand-in-hand). I am fortunate to be comfortable when speaking with people, but a lot of this came from my job as I was constantly interacting with unfamiliar colleagues and clients. It’s the skill of quickly becoming comfortable with people that you need. Strike up conversations with strangers. Go make the pretty woman or handsome man at the tube stop laugh.
- Being Confident.
Confidence, confidence, confidence. Doing exercise 1 above will help tremendously with your confidence during the interview. Be proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. Be excited for your interview and show it. Prepare and ask questions. But always remember there is a fine line between confidence and cockiness. The latter is a huge turn-off.
Highlighting your strengths, being natural, and being confident are honest and excellent ways to “Tell your Story.” At the end of the day, you could be the greatest person on paper, but if the interviewer still doesn’t know who you are after 30 – 60 minutes, he or she will have serious hesitations about recommending you. You’ve made it to the interview stage, so be proud of your story and the person you’ve become. Showing your true colours is oftentimes best in life.
Suresh is a student in our 2016-17 Full-Time MBA class.