F1GMAT: How can we prevent nerves from affecting our performance in the interview?
ZoomInterviews: There’s no substitute for preparation when it comes to feeling more relaxed and comfortable in the interview. Many applicants underestimate how much preparation it actually takes to have polished and compelling answers. When you feel confident in your answers, this helps to lower your nervousness. Another reason applicants get a case of the nerves before and during the interview is because there are elements of the interview that they can’t prepare for. Even if they have done their research and prepared their questions, there is always an element of uncertainty around how the interview will actually be, as well as the level of sophistication and professional polish that needs to be brought into the interview. This is where actually seeing current MBAs give examples of effective answers and/or working with a professional interview coach that specializes in the admissions interview can be particularly helpful.
F1GMAT: When the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for us”, what questions can we ask?
ZoomInterviews: The questions you ask are a great opportunity to finish the interview strong. Have 3-4 thoughtful, well-researched questions to ask. Balance questions about the interviewer’s b-school experience (e.g. “What did you enjoy most about your experience at Wharton?”) with questions about their perspectives on the school (e.g. “How would you describe the culture of the school?”) Weave your research into your questions, by briefly prefacing your questions (e.g. “I spoke to several alums who had made comment about the strong collaborative culture at the school. Have you also found that to be your experience here?)
Don’t ask the interviewer personal questions such as “how are you paying for your student loans?” (in the instance of a student interviewer) or “with the recession hitting financial services hard, are you concerned you’ll lose your job?” (in the instance of an alumni interviewer). Keep questions focused on the interviewer’s thoughts and perspectives on the school. To engage in small talk with the interviewer, use the ‘30-day Rule’ – it’s appropriate to discuss events and happenings that have occurred in the last 30 days or that will occur in the next 30 days (e.g. travel plans, a wedding your attending, the weather, a great restaurant you just tried, projects coming due, etc.)
F1GMAT: On completing the interview, should we thank the interviewer or can we send a thank you note instead?
ZoomInterviews: You should thank the interviewer for his/her time at the end of the interview and also follow up with a thank you note. At the conclusion of the interview, state something similar to the following: “I really appreciate the time you’ve spent speaking with me and getting your insights/thoughts on the school. I’m excited about the program. Make sure to get the interviewer’s business card in the end of the interview.
Keep your thank you note brief yet tailored. Mention something notable about your conversation with the interviewer that particularly resonated with you. Reaffirm your excitement for the school and state that you are looking forward to the next steps in the process.
Recommended Resource: F1GMAT's MBA Admission Interview Guide
1) Booth School of Business
2) Columbia Business School
3) Ivey Business School
4) Johnson Graduate School of Management
6) Kellogg School of Management
7) Stanford Graduate School of Business
8) London Business School
9) Harvard Business School
10) MIT Sloan School of Management
11) Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Team Discussion Strategy + Interview Tips)
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