For all those who’ve got interview calls or are expecting one soon, here’s an interview preparation strategy you can follow to ensure that you are all set to knock their socks off (or do something similar with another part of their attire).
Step 1: Get a partner in crime
Find a friend who is mature and knowledgeable enough to go beyond giving you biased sugar-coated feedback. If this friend is familiar with MBA interviews (current student, alumnus), even better. If one of your immediate family members works as a current admissions committee member from the school you are applying to, that’s the best. Ummm…ok, conflict of interest issues popping up, so let’s ignore that last possibility for now.
Step 2: Do your independent homework
Share your MBA application with your friend and allow her a few days to review the entire application thoroughly. Don’t speak to her and explain your reasoning at this stage. Allow her to build a picture based on whatever she sees on paper (or the monitor, laptop if she’s environmentally friendly like us).
Simultaneously, think about specific questions that you are expecting from the interviewer based on 3 areas:
– whatever you’ve written in your apps (resume, essays) [recos could be a tricky area]
– school specific topics
– general queries
Step 3: Mock-Interview 1 – School and Application specific questions
Ask your friend to do a little research on the school. Depending on her enthusiasm level, here are a few areas for both of you to build up the knowledgebase and raise the level of awareness – the official website, discussion forums, chat transcripts, first hand info directly from students/past students. Ask your friend to build a highly customized list of queries based on your profile and essays.
Have the first mock interview. From our experience a thoroughly researched and well-structured interview can be wrapped up in an hour and a half (including feedback).
Step 4: Mock-Interview 2 – General questions
Take some time off. No, don’t pack your bags and head off to Goa. Just a day’s break should be good enough to recharge batteries. You can work together with your friend to come up with a list of commonly asked queries. You’ll find plenty of these on the web.
You can now have the second mock interview. This can be completed in an hour. Set aside some time for feedback and self-analysis.
Some interviews might occasionally touch upon business cases and guesstimate questions (though this is more common for MBA jobs in consulting rather than in MBA admissions). So be aware of what it involves so you aren’t caught off-guard.
Considering that your friend and you are doing this for the first time (the interview I mean), there’ll be some unfinished business. The questions may not be all-encompassing, the feedback may not be top-notch, the overall experience may not be exactly what you’ll get when you are face-to-face (or phone-to-phone) with your interviewer. But your preparation will help boost your confidence and you’ll know how to address a majority of questions that come your way.
Does the approach work? We think so, as we’ve been using the same methodology (fine-tuned over time) with several candidates and the conversion rate has been very (VERY) good so far. So if you can’t find that friend, we are always there to help. Check out our MBA interview prep service.
Any other tips or fundas that you’ve picked up from friends or discussion forums that you felt were interesting, unusual or just plain crazy?