With interview invitations from a number of programs already on their way out to Round One applicants, we wanted to offer some more advice on this element of the admissions process. Last week we posted some very basic etiquette information that will help candidates ensure that everything is in order on the big day. Today, we turn our attention to some steps one can take to prepare for the interview itself.
1) Know what to expect. This might go without saying, but interview types and duration vary across programs. For instance, nearly all invited Stanford applicants interview with alumni, while on-campus Wharton interviews are conducted by second-year students (and in rare cases admissions staff). Candidates for Columbia admission participate in an informative resume-based chat, while HBS and MIT interviewers have in-depth knowledge of the applicant's entire file. Thinking carefully about the format of the interview and the person conducting it will influence the sort of questions you might come prepared to ask and help you arrive at a mindset conducive to success.
2) Review your materials. Because it's important that you reinforce your positioning during the interview, reading over your essays and reflecting on the themes presented in your application is a great first step in preparing to speak about your ideas and objectives.
3) Tell them something they don't know. In addition to reinforcing your existing message (a critical component of most interviews), the interview is also a great time to expand or add new information to your file via the interviewer's notes. Have there been any major developments in your candidacy that you should share? Have you visited the campus or spoken with students since submitting your written materials? Have you made any strides toward your goals? Even if just an example from work or an activity that relates to the interview question but didn't fit into your essays, it's a great idea to approach the interview with the goal of enhancing the admissions committee's knowledge of your candidacy.
4) Anticipate and practice. Though it's impossible to predict the exact questions you will be asked, the type of interview and historical data will provide some great clues as to the sort of information the interviewer will be seeking. The Clear Admit Wiki could serve as a great starting point, as it features detailed firsthand interview accounts from applicants to the top MBA programs. After arriving at a list of possible inquiries, it's a good idea to not only reflect on what you might say in response, but to actually practice articulating your responses, explaining your goals and recounting some significant professional and extracurricular experiences.
Best of luck to all those who are eagerly awaiting invitations and preparing for interviews! For more information about Clear Admit's school-specific Interview Guides visit our shop and access immediate downloads of all the latest interview questions for your target school. For more information about our tailored one-on-one mock interview services, feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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