If you applied during round one, you are hopefully by now receiving interview invitations from some of your target schools. While preparing for this stage can certainly be a stressful time, most applicants find excitement and take comfort in being identified as someone the schools want to talk to. Some of the most common questions you will likely face will be about your strengths and weaknesses. Are you ready to answer them?
Paul Lanzillotti, founder of the Amerasia Consulting Group, walks you through how to handle your MBA interview. Learn how to answer representative questions; structuring your thoughts using "stories" versus the "pyramid principle" and connecting all aspects of your MBA application for your interviewer.
This in-depth video is approximately 1 hour and 20 mins in duration.
Today is one of those days on the calendar that tend to stop everyone in their tracks and dominate the headlines. Nevermind that the Kellogg Round 1 deadline is tomorrow or that some people found out today that they were admitted to MIT - no, it's all about the HBS Round 1 notification deadline. Interview or ding? Rather, interview or ding or deferral, as that appears to be a popular option this year as well. Let's make sense of things and offer some advice on how to respond from here. We'll group it result-by-result.
The row about Wharton's new behavioral interview questions is mostly bullshit.
- Tell me about a time when you worked in a group to complete a task, which required you to consider the opinions or feelings of others.
- This is what I tell my clients.
- This is a leadership question that asks you to detail a story.
- Story answers always follow this (trademarked) format - SCARA - Situation, Complication, Actions, Results, Applicability
- Hint: Leadership action means that you are leading other people - so you are in a team - being a good team leader requires considering and reconciling opposing opinions.
- Results are both quantitative and qualitative.
- See if you can take your answer and loop it back to the school.
- If you can't answer a question like this, with 3 to 4 examples, well then, we wouldn't have applied to Wharton ...
- Describe a time when you contributed to a team that didn't have a clear or appointed leader.
- This is what I tell my clients. See the above. Just tweak to cover a power vacuum where you stepped up.
- Every decent applicant should have an answer to this for every school. Think about it, chances are that you already answered this question (correctly) in your essays. It's not rocket science.
- Explain a time when your ideas were challenged, when you had to defend your opinion and/or approach.
- This is what I tell my clients. See question number one above.
- Mix this one up and provide an outside of work example - if you have not done so already.
- How would you describe your leadership style?
- Oh snap, this is basically question number 1.
- A good answer here means providing an example. The same example you could use for question number 1 above.
- The only tweak I would make is to use a Pyramid format, instead of SCARA format above.
- How would your colleagues describe you if you left the room?
- If you were the CEO of your company what would you do differently?
- Dizzamn, questions 2 and 3 here are remarkably similar to the "new" "behavioral" Wharton question 2 above. You can't fool me Wharton.
- For question 2 here - your colleagues would describe you as a leader who steps up to fill a power vacuum. Then they would provide an example - an example very, very similar to the one you would give in question 2 above.
- For question 3 here - you would talk about stepping up as a leader to make sure there was clear organization. Then you would provide an example - an example very, very similar to the one you would give in question 2 above.
- Please give me an example in which you exemplified leadership?
- Please describe a team situation that did not work?
- Questions 4 and 5 here can be answered by the example provided in question 3 above.
As an MBA admissions consultant I often have to take a step back with my clients. Over the years I have learned a lot from my clients and have come to realize that the definitions of proper interview dress or attire varies by region, country and even culture.
This is the deal, and I dissuade anyone from thinking anything to the contrary:
- Wear a dark colored suit (Grey, Black, Charcoal) with a white or light blue shirt.
- Wear a tie that has as little design or pattern in it at possible. Solid colored ties are good.
- Wear shoes that are polished with dark socks. By shoes I mean dress shoes with dark laces, not “comfort” shoes, timberlands or Uggs. By dark I mean dark blue or black.
- Do not wear anything that is tight-fitting or shows body parts excessively. This is an interview not a club.
- Cut the tags off your clothing. Nothing says Men’s Wearhouse $199 special than tags still sewn onto the sleeve of a jacket. Don’t laugh too much, I have seen this as an MBA admissions interviewer. It tells me the applicant is clueless at worst or knows a good sale when he sees one at best.
- Get a shave and a haircut……shower.