BusinessBecause spoke with 10 MBA students and grads from 10 international business schools to give you the inside view on your admissions interview.
Ujjval Patel, Yale School of Management MBA ‘16
Format: The interview is with a second-year MBA student and lasts for 30 minutes. Most are conducted on campus.
Top Tip: Don't try to tailor what you say to what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Be authentic and let your personality come out.
Questions: On my resume, talking about difficult situations, why Yale, and why an MBA.
Zsofia Banuta, IE Business School MBA ‘14
Format: My interview was conducted by a representative from IE's admissions office via Skype. The atmosphere was friendly but the pace was quite fast, so there was really no time to think. I definitely had to concentrate a lot!
Top Tip: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, have an open mind and let your imagination fly.
Questions: There are some questions which are quite unorthodox. I was asked: How many wheels were there at the last airport I traveled from? Which celebrity would you choose as your mum? Which animal would you choose to be?
Elspeth Rollert, NYU Stern MBA ‘14
Format: The interview felt like a conversation more than anything else. It was held in an admissions officer’s office and lasted approximately 30 minutes.
Top Tip: Email a thank you letter to your admissions officer after leaving the interview. In it, reinforce the key points that you made.
Questions: We started the conversation casually, chatting about the origins of my name. This led into a discussion about my essay and why Stern was a good fit for me.
Ankit Punn, HEC Paris MBA ‘16
Format: There are two interviews with two different HEC alumni and, regardless of the performance in one, each applicant has to undergo both, face-to-face or via Skype.
Top Tip: You have to prepare a presentation on a chosen topic for both interviews.
Questions: Be ready to explain why you have chosen HEC in particular.
Filipe Castro, CEIBS MBA ‘17
Format: The interview is either held at CEIBS' campus or via Skype. Typically, you’re interviewed by at least two different people from the school’s staff. Since the questions are very open-ended, you set the tone.
Top Tip: Above all, you want to convey a consistent message of your motivation for choosing the MBA program.
Questions: Specific to CEIBS, I was asked about my previous experience with Asian cultures, my proficiency in Chinese languages, and why had I chosen to take an MBA in Asia.
Harish Sivashanmugam, CUHK Business School MBA ‘17
Format: I had two interviews via Skype with the associate dean, Michael Ferguson, and the director of recruitment, Lawrence Chan.
Top Tip: CUHK gives a lot of prominence towards the character you display. Be confident and natural, as though you are speaking to a peer. As much as they are selecting you, you are selecting them too.
Questions: How I saw the world, how I wanted to grow, and my future goals.
Kerranna Williamson, EMLYON Business School MBA ‘14
Format: I was interviewed by the head of international admissions over Skype. The discussion was comfortable and not too formal. I could tell that the interviewer wanted to get to know my personality.
Top Tip: Have questions to ask the interviewer but make sure these are not questions that you could find answers to on your own.
Questions: I was asked about my professional experiences, my motivation to do my MBA abroad and what I hoped to get out of it.
John Sakakini, George Washington School of Business MBA ‘17
Format: My interview was held on-campus with one of the admissions directors. It was formal and felt like a job interview, but it grew more light-hearted.
Top Tip: Look up facts and tidbits about the school, which will help impress your interviewer.
Carla Buda, MIP Politecnico di Milano MBA ‘16
Format: My interview was held through Skype with a member of the admissions department.
Top Tip: I know it’s a huge cliché, but be yourself. MBA recruiters are looking for diversity. Most applicants have impressive backgrounds, [but] what will distinguish you from the rest is your personality.
Questions: Why I chose Italy and why I chose MIP. The final question — “Why do you think you should get selected for this MBA” — really gives you the opportunity to sell yourself.
Maksudul Ali, Copenhagen Business School MBA ‘16
Format: Our program manager, Gitte Jakobsen, interviewed me in a small boardroom in the MBA building.
Top Tip: The Copenhagen MBA is a small program and the staff take special care to get to know each of us personally. The interviewer is not just someone asking questions, but someone who will be your advocate throughout your MBA journey.
Questions: Why Copenhagen? What would you like to do after your MBA? One of your referees said this about you, can you talk about that a little?
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