Much the interview process may be distasteful to some, it does represent a prime opportunity not only to put a face and personality behind the name and credentials on your application file, but also to express your qualities and intentions in person. By taking some time to prepare, deciding ahead of time what to mention and what to omit and practicing, you can save yourself a great deal of stress and ensure you are at your best when everyone is looking at you.
The questions they ask are generally predictable. Usually, they're interested in what you've accomplished and experienced (academically, personally, professionally) and why you made the choices you did. If they have read your file ahead of time, sometimes they simply want you to explain your application essays in more detail, live and in person. At other times, interviewers will only know credentials. For cases such as these, be prepared to tell your story for the first time. While some questions differ from one school or interviewer to another, most questions will include something resembling the following:
1. Why do you think now is the right time to pursue an MBA?
For most questions, interviewers are looking for specific examples from your past and concrete arguments for why you made the decisions you did in your life. For this specific question, interviewers are looking for responses using examples from your academic, personal, and professional life. For tackling this ind of question, we would advise focusing on the strengths of that particular school and pairing them with your own ambitions. Answer the "Why Now?" query with well-considered reflections on both your short-and long-term objectives. Admissions committees also want to verify that you are serious about attending their particular program and why.
2. How will you fit into our program? what will you bring?
Because most business schools try to keep their class sizes relatively small, they have a tendency to start resembling small businesses. It is a good idea to show that you researched the school, identifying specific aspects of a school, like their curriculum, class size, facilities, faculty, or alumni network. Coursework usually involves a substantial amount of teamwork, and as many courses actually use teamwork a context for development. In other words, teamwork is largely unavoidable, so it behoves you to prove that you are a good team player and leader. This would also be a good opportunity to mention your most successful team experiences. Emphasize organizational, leadership, and social abilities and above all, express yourself confidently. Admissions representatives look for applicants who appreciate not only the value of the program, but also the program's values, culture, and overall and add to it.
3. How will you do in the real world after you graduate?
Of all speculations, this might be the most difficult, but it is also probably one of the most unrealistic. After all, many MBA candidates change their specialization during the program. So relax, they don't expect you to tell the future. What they really want to know is, after you've graduated, how will you represent their program to the "real world"? For MBA programs, and universities in general, reputation is extremely important, and graduates can either add to it, or bring it down. Your interviewing abilities give them some insight into how you will probably do in the job market. It may seem hard to believe, but listening skills, professionalism, and confidence are the three qualities for which admissions officers are on the look out, as they seem to be good indicators of future success in the business world?
There is no way of saying exactly how long the interviews may last. If the admissions committee happens to be busy, the interview may last as short as 15 minutes. For some programs or interviewers, one hour is often the minimum, with the maximum sometimes reaching longer than two hours. Because you have to have some idea of length in order to prepare properly, assume that most interviews last between 30 minutes and an hour.
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