It’s a great time of the year to express gratitude, so if you’re one of the lucky few to be invited for an MBA interview, be thankful. Are you ready?
The most important thing to remember when interviewing for a slot in an MBA program is to be yourself. Schools are mostly looking to diversify their incoming class with a wide variety of individuals and there is nobody just like you. There are however, other people who may appear to be similar to you at first glance. For this reason, a good exercise when trying to be yourself is to think about what differentiates you from others from a similar background or experience base. Sure, you might be “just another banker,” but there are probably other things in your personal or professional life which make you unique.
Personal is the key word here.
Don’t just position your story from a professional angle, which increases the odds of sounding like someone else, but rather include personal details from your life which nobody else can likely mimic. You are the collective experiences of your entire life, not just what you have done for a living. It’s the personal details which will add the herbs and spices to your career experience and provide a perspective that is at least in some way, different from anyone else’s.
Another basic process to remember in any MBA interview is to focus on how your uniqueness is a perfect fit for your target school’s offering.
Schools like to understand that their offering and your offering will dovetail together in a happy, symbiotic mesh. When students are happy, they do well and when they do well, the school benefits. Don’t just research a school’s website; also go on a visit or chat with alumni to get a really deep view of how they operate, their personality traits and their culture. If you show up with a very thoughtful view of why you think you would fit well within a school, you will make a lasting impression.
Speaking of lasting impressions, the other basic rule of thumb for MBA interviewing is to be courteous.
This encompasses everything from dressing appropriately, to being on time, to being courteous when answering questions and being respectful. Also, make sure you follow up with a thank you note, either via email or snail mail, to remind your interviewer of your appreciation and also perhaps, of how you demonstrated a good fit!