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Understanding MBA Interview Methods

MBA interview methodsFor the most part, applications have been submitted and admission committees are working to identify the candidates with whom they would like to conduct an interview.

As a candidate, it is important to understand that there are two different types of MBA interview methods (application focused and application blind interviews) and to know how each works.

Harvard offers a good example of the first type of interview, an “application drill down.”

Here, you must know your application inside and out, because you will be expected to map your answers back to what you’ve submitted earlier.

For instance, you may be asked questions like “What were your responsibilities as a Business Analyst at Morgan Stanley?”  or “You said that you gained leadership experience on your trip to South Africa, tell me more about that.”

To prepare, be sure that you are comfortable talking about each of the experiences that you’ve shared.

Also, make sure that when you do relay information about these experiences that you don’t give only facts and figures, but also convey your motivations and thought processes.

Be prepared to also talk about new materials that you have not covered in your application.

The second type of interview is the “application-blind” interview. Most schools using this method focus primarily on your resume.

Some schools like Wharton are shifting to more behavioral interview questions instead of simply asking you to walk them through your resume.

Here, you will be asked questions like “Tell me about a time when you had to work with a difficult person.” or “Give me an example of how you lead a team.”

The questions center around leading a team where you failed, experiencing conflict in a team and how you dealt with it, convincing others of a divergent opinion, and handling different personalities.

To prepare for such an interview, applicants need to spend time revisiting their personal and professional experiences and identifying solid stories that they can use to respond to these scenario questions.

As a candidate, it is critical that you step back and determine which type of interview you will be facing.

Doing so will tell you what you must do in order to prepare and to be able to make the most of the face time that you have with the admissions committee member.

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