A Guest Post by Vera Marie Reed
The growing number of MBA applicants every year makes it difficult for potential students to figure out how they can stand out in the sea of applications. The process for applying to a business school can be a very intensive and extensive process. Although there are many steps to getting accepted to an MBA program, students should never overlook each moment they have to impress the admissions recruiters. From making sure your application is in tip-top shape to preparing for the GMAT, each step in the application process should be given enough preparation and review. One of the most crucial parts of the application process is the interview. Here are the most tried and true tips to practice to beat the interview:
- Practice, Practice, Practice: This strategy is without a doubt the most useful and most recommended for prepping for the MBA interview. Practicing for the interview can help you be more confident when the actual day comes and being over prepared is always better than being underprepared. Consider setting up mock interviews with friends or family members where they act as the interviewer. Look up the most common MBA interview questions for them to use and take it a step further by dressing up in the outfit you plan on wearing. Have your mock interviewer give you feedback on every aspect of the interview such as your actual answers, your clothing choice, and your body language. You might even consider recording your mock interview so you can watch yourself later and figure out where you can improve.
- Research the Program: Another important technique for perfecting the MBA interview is to make sure you research the school and program you are interviewing for. There is nothing worse than going into the interview and not knowing anything about the program’s specifics. Familiarize yourself with the school and program’s learning objectives and academic goals. You might also want to look up notable alumni as well as any achievements or awards the program has received so that you have some points of reference. Once you have thoroughly researched the program think about how their specific program fits into your career goals as well as how you think you can contribute to the program’s academic reputation. Being familiar with all the information about the school and program can show that you are enthusiastic and highly interested in acceptance into the program.
- Be Aware of Body Language: Positive body language is a forgettable factor in interviews. Although you might have all the right answers for your interviewer, the wrong hand gesture or stance could change your interviewer’s perception or could send the wrong message. Make sure to practice your handshake and your posture during your mock interview. Practicing “power stancing” can help you build confidence and help ease your nerves. The most important thing to remember about body language is to at least appear confident even if you are very nervous.
- Ask Impressive and Quality Questions: Now that you have prepared for answering your interviewer’s questions it is time to prepare a few questions of your own. Remember to be considerate of time as they will usually ask if you have any questions in the last few minutes of the interview. Create a list of three to five questions that can be quickly answered but are not answers you can find on the program’s website or information packet. Ask compelling and quality questions such as what the interviewer thinks is the best aspect of the program for students or how do they think that the program’s curriculum compares to others.
- End It With A Note: After the interview do not forget to send your interviewer a handwritten thank you card. This is a small gesture that can show dedication and specific interest in the program. You only get one chance to make a first impression but you also want to end that first impression on a good note. You can mention anything interesting you may have discussed during the interview or ask any additional questions that you may have forgotten about.
Overall, preparation is key for a successful MBA interview and remember the interview is not the only factor that recruiters look through. Often recruiters are also looking to see how candidates deal with high pressure situations, a telling sign for how someone will work in an academic and career setting. During your MBA interview just remember to be as calm as you can and be confident that you have even come this far.