As we wrap up our dissection of the business school interview, we cannot over-emphasize the importance of self reflection. Make sure you are spending time not only recalling your work history and personal experiences, but how they have shaped you and why you have made decisions in the past. Getting to the why is the most revealing part of the questions which may include:
1. Tell me about a time when you failed.
This is a classic and one that comes up often. Being able to share perspective on a significant setback or failure demonstrates maturity and humility. If you are unable to talk about a failure, it might give them a reason to send you back into the real world for another season or two, so best to give this one some genuine reflection time.
2. Tell me about a time where you had difficulty with a team/Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your superior/Describe a conflict you have been through and how you handled it.
These questions are all similar and have even more variants, but they are simply trying to figure out how you will handle yourself once you are thrown into a study group of 6 or 7 other type “A” achievers all with something to prove in business school. One of the most important things schools are trying to figure out in the interview is: would their students want you on their team? Think of good team role examples from your life to offer.
3. If you were your direct manager, what would you do differently?
Good business leaders are always ready to make a call or a tough decision. Having an opinion and being able to articulate it is a good skill to demonstrate in an interview.
4. What industry publications do you read?
Make sure you are doing your homework leading up to the interview, part of which is to read on a daily, weekly or monthly basis the WSJ, FT, BusinessWeek, Forbes, or Barron’s, etc. Also make sure you are watching the nightly national news and not only keeping up with local or national current events, but also global events.
5. What questions do you have about our program?
Of course you will be prepared with thoughtful queries about the program. Hint: people like to talk about themselves, so have at least one question that allows them to share their opinion about, and not necessarily their knowledge about the program. Feel free to have your questions on a notepad which you prepared in advance. There’s nothing worse than having the stress of an interview leave you blanked out at the end when this question inevitably arrives. Also you might consider using this time to touch on something you feel was missed in the interview that you want them to know. Remember, it’s your only chance to make your case in person! One last tip: dress appropriately and brush your teeth.
We wish you all the best as you interview with your target schools and hope you get in to your dream school.
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Scott Bryant has over 25 years of professional post undergraduate experience in the entertainment industry as well as on Wall Street with Goldman Sachs. He served on the admissions committee at the Fuqua School of Business where he received his MBA and now works part time in retirement for a top tier business school. He has been consulting with Veritas Prep clients for the past six admissions seasons.