What is a “Good” Weakness to Put in Your MBA Application?

SAT/ACT“What are your weaknesses?”

Most MBA applicants find this to be the most difficult question to answer.

As professionals and entrepreneurs, we are trained to put our best foot forward in order to sell our businesses and ourselves. We think and rehearse how to best present our strengths, while hardly spending any time considering our weaknesses. Understandably, addressing this question during one’s MBA application essay or interview usually proves to be quite a challenge.

Asked to identify his weaknesses, a typical MBA applicant will ask him or herself two questions:

1) What should I avoid mentioning?
Everyone worries about giving an answer that will reveal a fatal flaw to the admissions committee and hurt one’s chances at being admitted to an MBA program. Thus, a frequent mistake is to answer this question using a fake weakness – saying something like, “I am too smart,” or, “I work too effectively,” does not really answer the question and will just irritate your audience. Presenting yourself as unrealistically perfect will also diminish the genuine strengths you have, and create doubt in the accomplishments you have discussed throughout the essays or the interview, as it makes you appear incapable of an honest self-assessment.

Another similar no-no is to blame somebody else for your weakness. Do not attribute a weakness solely to your work environment, personal circumstances, or ethnicity – this comes across as a reckless generalization and will not add any value to your case. It will also only shift the conversation into a negative tone and counter the strong, optimistic vibe that you want to be associated with.

2) What exactly are they looking for?
Admissions committees are looking for applicants who will greatly benefit from attending their school’s MBA program, and who can contribute to the experience of other MBA participants. Using this as a guide, the weakness question should be used to demonstrate character traits of self-awareness, ability to learn from failures, and open-mindedness to effectively use feedback and criticism.

An applicant should identify specific skills and knowledge gaps that he or she will need to work on in order to reach her post MBA goals – ideally, specifics of the target MBA program in terms of courses, culture, or community should be matched to these potential growth areas.

Executing this answer properly will put forth an honest reflection that shows genuine interest in a school’s MBA program and convinces the admissions committee that the applicant has really researched the school’s offering. Effectively demonstrating your potential to gain from, and contribute to, an MBA program through your personal story will help convince the admission committee of your fit with their school. Filling in details of how you have addressed your identified weakness or how you are in the process of doing so will also help show how proactive you are, and how you will greatly benefit from this particular MBA program.

A final tip: whenever you are asked about strengths and weaknesses in one question, whether in an essay or an interview, you must allocate time and space as evenly as possible between talking about the two. Most applicants spend 2/3 or more of the space they are given for strengths leaving little room to develop the weakness portion of the answer. This type of answer will look like it was just glossed over, and that the question was not answered adequately – it will also not allow you to make a proper case as to why you will benefit from the program.

A good answer to the “weakness” question strengthens your case to be admitted to your target MBA program even as you identify a real weakness. Skillfully weaving stories of your personal experiences, self-reflection, and vision through discussion of this weakness will make your profile unique and compelling to the admissions committee.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Written by Edison Cu, a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for INSEAD.

How to Show Fit During the Interview Process at Kellogg

Kellogg School of ManagementIf you have received an interview invite to the prestigious Kellogg School of Management, then congratulations! Kellogg has historically been known as a program that really focuses on admitting “real people,” and thus, is one of the few top MBA programs that strives to interview every candidate. The program has long been known for its strong student community and this thorough interview process goes a long way in determining if potential candidates can make the cut in this area.

Hopefully, you have already conducted tons of research to prepare yourself for the big day. You know the ins and outs of the school’s academic programs, have a good handle of the recruiting advantages, and even have a comprehensive list of the top extra-curricular activities you’d like to lead. In addition to these factors, understanding the importance of fit at Kellogg is critical in identifying what the program looks for in potential candidates and how you can best position yourself for interview success. Let’s examine some key ways you can showcase fit to your Kellogg interviewer:

Intellectual Ability
This is business school, after all. Kellogg is looking for the best and the brightest, so it is important to project that you can hang academically, as well as bring a diverse point of view to the classroom. Utilizing professional anecdotes here can certainly do the trick, but the structure and style of your communication can also go a long way here.

Problem Solving Skills
Kellogg is looking for problem solvers! Whether in your personal or professional past, the school is looking for the type of people who can not only take on a challenge but also solve one. As a Kellogg MBA, you will be expected to solve some of the most challenging global problems in business, so showcase your track record here. For extra points, highlight instances where you solved problems in a group setting.

Leadership Experience
Although Kellogg has long been known as a top business school that emphasizes teamwork, leadership at the school is equally important. Focus specifically on your individual contributions as you regale the interviewer with your leadership experiences. Keep in mind, particularly for younger candidates, these experiences do not need to be limited to the professional side. Share your most impactful leadership experiences whether they are social, academic, or professional.

Values and Motivations
Kellogg is looking to admit people, so don’t be afraid to share personal aspects of who you are and what you value. A large part of your evaluation will be whether your personality and vibe can fit in at Kellogg, so don’t try to be anything other than yourself.

Extra-Curricular Activities
The Kellogg MBA is built on engagement, and as such, the school is seeking candidates who have shown a track record of engagement in the past as this signals a likelihood of being similarly engaged at Kellogg, and later on as an alum. Clearly articulate how you have engaged yourself in the past, as well as how you plan to engage yourself in the future as a Kellogg MBA. Be specific here, and make sure you have more than one example of your engagement goals at the school itself.

Interpersonal Skills
The ability to work with and lead others is core to all aspects of thriving in the student community at Kellogg. Although this may be the last criteria shared, it may actually be the most important. Don’t be afraid to include examples of how you have engaged with others in all aspects of your life, but remember, Kellogg will have a discerning eye for those inauthentic in this aspect of the evaluation. Also, how you carry yourself in person will be another key indicator if you have what it takes to join the Kellogg community, so keep this in mind.

Follow these tips so come interview day, you will be able to breeze through Kellogg’s interview process and put yourself one step closer to that MBA.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here.

How to Ace Your Business School Group Interview

Group MBA Admissions InterviewWe all know that the last step in the business school admissions process is often the most stressful: the admissions interview. Well, some schools are adding a new, daunting wrinkle to this already difficult step, the group interview.

One of the first schools to really popularize the group interview is the University of Michigan Ross School Of Business. For anyone applying to Ross or a different business school that offers a group interview, let’s break it down and offer some advice for how to succeed in a group interview.

First of all, it’s important to note that Ross doesn’t define their interview as a “group interview.” They call it a “team based activity,” the goal of which is to “give the admissions committee insight into your teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills.” How does this group activity work? The process is well laid out by Ross’ Admissions Director Soojin Kwon:

“Applicants who are invited to interview will have the option to participate in a team exercise. Participants will be randomly assigned to a group of 4 – 6 people. They will engage in a 30 minute interactive exercise. The first ten minutes will be introductions and an ice breaker. During the next 20 minutes, participants will work together to develop a three minute “presentation” that incorporates a set of randomly distributed words. A member of the admissions committee will observe the team’s interaction and discussion. Their focus will be on how you work and communicate in a team setting. No advance preparation is necessary, and no business knowledge is expected.”

So, how can you succeed in your own MBA group interview? First of all, don’t panic! You can’t game the interview, or figure out how you can “crack” it or really even prepare much for it other than having a basic game plan of what you want to do when you go in.

What should you do? Be a team player! Communicate well. Listen! Don’t think you can dominate the discussion and the admissions committee will be blown away by your leadership skills. Support your team mates. Encourage them. Celebrate great ideas. Don’t be afraid to take a “follower” role and let someone else be the “leader” for a bit. One of the big focus areas at Ross right now is positivity, so keep that in mind throughout the process, whether you are applying to Ross or a different MBA program – you want to be a positive member of the team. You want to be a positive leader. You want to bring more to the team and you don’t want to take anything away or cause any negative interactions.

The good news, for some, is that the team activity/group interview is optional right now. So don’t worry if you can’t make it to campus or one of the international locations for the event. If you can make it work, however, you absolutely should – it’s important to have as many positive interactions with admissions committee members as you can. It will also give you a great chance to check out the campus and meet other potential students. And don’t forget to use the tips above to make it a successful team activity.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or click here to take our Free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation! As always, be sure to follow us on FacebookYouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Admissions 101: You Don’t Go Into the Interview with a Blank Slate

Today we introduce a new series on the Veritas Prep Blog: Admissions 101. From time to time we’ll dig into various basis strategies for getting into the world’s top graduate schools, blowing up some dangerous myths along the way.

Today’s piece was inspired by the wave of HBS 2+2 Program interview invitations that were sent out yesterday. (Congrats to all of our clients who were invited! There are only about 200 of you!) Soon after learning he had been invited, one of our clients said, “I’m halfway through the door. As long as I don’t screw up the interview, I should be in.”

Well, that’s not exactly how it works.


It’s easy for an applicant to look at last year’s HBS 2+2 Program admissions statistics and think, “Wow, if they invited around 200 people and last year they admitted more than 100, all I have to do is be in the top half of interviewees and I’m in!” That line of thinking assumes that the admissions process is a perfectly linear one in which the committee cuts down the applicant pool and then starts fresh with the remaining applicants, forgetting everything they already know about them as they go into the interview. This sort of “admissions amnesia” just doesn’t happen.

In reality, the admissions office right away knows that it won’t admit a large number of applicants (for whatever reason: lack of fit with the program, underwhelming grades, no evidence of leadership potential, etc.), so it makes sense for them to just cut those applicants out of the process right away, since interviewing everyone just isn’t practical. (When you go on a first date with someone and just know right off the bat that it won’t work out, you don’t keep seeing them for a while.) So, they cut down the pool to a more manageable number before sending out invites.

But, as interview invites go out, they already have well-formed opinions about the remaining applicants: “John has terrific leadership experience but we wonder about his quant skills… Mary has very interesting career goals but we’re just not sure if an MBA is right for her… Tony brings it all to the table and looks like a very promising candidate.” They go into the interview with these opinions and questions, and in large part the purpose of the interview is to help them confirm what they know and find out what they don’t know.

(We should note here that HBS is somewhat unique in this regard. Many top schools conduct interviews blind, meaning that the interviewer hasn’t extensively reviewed you application. And other schools allow everyone to interview, rather than conducting them by invite only. However, this “the process isn’t perfectly linear” point still applies. It all gets fed into the final decision.)

Then — and here’s the important thing to remember — they then feed that information back into your entire candidacy, and they then decide on what to do with you. You could walk into the interview with them already loving you, and do just okay in the interview, and still get in. You could go into the interview with the admissions committee having lots of questions about your fit with the school, and you could earn rave reviews from your interviewer, but ultimately be rejected because of those questions that were raised before you ever walked in the door.

Both types of examples are very common among applicants. Every year we hear from applicants who say, “I thought I bombed the interview, but I still got in!” and “I was AMAZING in the interview, and my interviewer even said so. So why did I get dinged?” It’s because the interview is just one part of the process, and it’s compared against everything else in your application before a decision is made. Every part of your application matters right up until the moment when a decision is rendered.

What does this mean for you? For those HBS 2+2 Program applicants, it means that some are already well on their way to being admitted, although they don’t know it yet. For others, it means that their odds aren’t great, but at least HBS saw enough in them to give them an interview, so they’re still very much in the game. For that latter group, the interview will obviously matter more. Since you don’t know which camp you’re in, you need to prepare for the interview like it matters a ton. But know that everything in your application — your GMAT score, your essays, your letters of recommendation, your undergraduate work, and your work history — will still matter a lot.

To learn more about the HBS 2+2 Program and what they look for in college undergrads, call us at 800-925-7737. And, as always, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

Top Ten Weirdest MBA Admissions Interview Questions

The admissions interview is one of the most important parts of the business school application process, because it’s the only time that the admissions office get a chance to meet the real, live you. Business schools rarely employ the “stress interview” technique, trying to make you squirm and seeing how you perform under pressure. The process is stressful enough, and they’re more interested in getting answers to their questions and getting to know the real you, than in seeing how well you can stand up to stress.

Still, every year we hear from applicants who were surprised by weird MBA admissions interview questions. Most often these come from alumni interviewers, which makes sense since they come from multiple industries, have different levels of experience conducting interview, and sometimes are keen to “try out” some interview questions they’ve heard on the job.

Just to keep you prepared for the slight chance that you may encounter these questions, below are ten of the most unusual ones we’ve ever heard:

  1. Sell me this pen.
  2. Look at this painting. What does it mean to you?
  3. If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
  4. How many golf balls are in the air around the world, right now?
  5. Why would [school name] ever want to admit you?
  6. What’s the best email address you’ve ever seen? Why?
  7. If they did a movie about your life, what actor or actress would you choose to play you?
  8. Are you a dog or a cat person? Sell me on why that animal is better.
  9. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
  10. I’m trying to land an airplane but don’t know what to do. Talk me through it and help me land.

You’ll notice that these questions are all over the place. The common thread running through the most useful ones is that they all have to do with YOU, while some of the other ones are just plain unusual. Either way, if you encounter such a question, know that how you react to it matters just as much as what your answer is. So, keep your cool, pause for a few moments (Don’t fear silence… it’s a powerful communications tool!), and have fun with your answers. If you want more help, Veritas Prep offers MBA admissions interview preparation as a standalone service.

Have you ever been asked a weird or unusual interview question, either for admission or for a job interview? If so, let us know!

Five Ways to Know Your Admissions Interview Is Going Well

By the time you get to the interview in the MBA admissions process, you’re probably already miles ahead of where you were just a month or two earlier, when you first started preparing your business school applications. Still, while you’ve perhaps become an expert on yourself, your interview skills may be a little rusty (or, maybe you never fully developed them in the first place).

While no two interviews are the same, we’ve conducted enough of them (and have prepared enough clients for them) that we know how to spot one that’s helping your cause vs. one that’s going down the tubes. Here are some signs that your admissions interview is going well:

  • You come off as confident without being arrogant. Many interview experts stress that you need to project confidence, while others tell their clients they absolutely cannot come off as arrogant. They’re both right, and you need to strike a balance between the two. You don’t want the interviewer to feel sorry for you as you sweat through every question and answer, but as little humility is always appealing.
  • Your answers are succinct. Perhaps the surest sign that an interview is going badly is when you find yourself rambling through answers. This means that you weren’t prepared for the question, or you have an answer but can’t present it in a brief, coherent way. Your answers should be conversational, but should always have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and should take no more than a minute or two each.
  • You manage to get all of your application themes on the table. If you go into the interview knowing that you need to really drive home your leadership ability and your analytical skills, for example, then you absolutely must do that by the end of the interview! Interviews often start off with “Walk me through your resume,” or “Tell me about yourself” — this is a great way for you to hit on your key themes right away.
  • It’s a two-way conversation. Interviewers will vary greatly in their style, but you ideally won’t do all of the talking during your interview. Comments such as “That’s interesting, tell me more,” and “That’s pretty impressive,” are good signs that you’re getting through to your interviewer.
  • … but it’s still an interview. Ideally, you will be able to strike a smart balance between having an enjoyable conversation but still maintaining the structure of the interview, making sure that your themes are covered and that your interviewer covers everything he needs to cover.. After all, when your interviewer is done he needs to answer some questions about you, and he can’t do that if you’ve just spent 45 minutes talking about politics and football. Make it enjoyable, but remember that it’s still an interview!

If you’re now preparing for your admissions interview and want some expert help, take a look at Veritas Prep’s MBA interview preparation services. Also, Your MBA Game Plan contains dozens of sample MBA interview questions to help you get ready. Good luck!

Veritas Prep in the Wall Street Journal


Last week the Wall Street Journal’s Diana Middleton wrote a great piece about things to think about while juggling a full-time job and the MBA application process. (Hopefully, in this economy, you still have a job to juggle along with your applications!) In “Getting Back to School,” she covers six important things applicants should do.

The article outlines six important steps you need to take in the process, from strategically planning the timing of your applications to gracefully departing from your job once you leave for business school. When Diana spoke with us, we emphasized one thing that many applicants don’t do enough: keep working on their candidacies even after they’ve submitted their applications.


“Wait,” you’re saying, “Once I send in my applications, I’m done! I can finally relax and stop hounding my supervisor for letters of recommendation and quit asking my friends to read my essays over and over.” You’re right that the deadline-driven stress of the application process is then over, but there’s still plenty that you can do. Two things you should do (and think about) were covered in the article:

  • Work harder in the office. If you keep working hard and seeking out new challenges and growth opportunities, then you’ll have more to talk about if you are invited to interview with your target schools. If you’re waitlisted, achieving something new in the workplace will give you a good reason to update the admissions office and boost your candidacy. And, if you’re rejected, then you’re already on your way to building an even stronger application next year. When it comes to your career, you should never let up on the gas pedal, but you especially don’t want to do it at such an important juncture in your young career.
  • Prepare for the interview.By the time you’re invited to interview (and hopefully that happens!), you should know your application inside and out. Some schools conduct their interviews “blind,” with the interviewer only knowing your resume, while other schools’ interviewers will know your entire application. In either case, anything that you put on your resume or in your application is fair game, and you should expect to be questioned about any of it. Also, it’s your job to know what the school’s interviewers tend to ask — you have enough time to prepare that nothing should catch you off guard.

Taking these steps will help to maximize your success this year, or — if you’re not successful now — they will give you a head start for next year.

If you’re still researching schools and deciding to apply, or are getting ready for your own admissions interviews, download our 15 free Veritas Prep Annual Reports. If you’re ready to craft your own winning application, call us at 800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today!

Round 3 Admissions Update from Wharton

Yesterday the Wharton admissions committee posted an update on its blog for everyone who just applied in Wharton’s third admissions round. Since they understand that waiting on one’s application status can put an applicant on pins and needles, Wharton’s admissions officers are deliberately over-communicating about what Round 3 applicants can expect in the coming weeks.

First, know that if your status currently reads “Received” or “Complete for Round Three,” then you are in good shape. “Received” just means that the office needs to match up your hard copy submissions with your electronic files, and within a week or so you should see your status change. “Therefore,” says the admissions committee, “please allow the Operations Team until Thursday, March 12 before inquiring about the completeness of your application.”

Regarding interview invitations, Wharton will start releasing them on March 30, and will continue to release them until April 9. So, once your application status is “Complete,” there’s no need to even check it again until the end of this month. Also on April 9, Wharton will notify all Round 3 candidates who have been denied admission.

Finally, if you are invited to interview, you must complete the interview by April 23. All interviewed applicants will receive their final admissions decision by May 14.

If you are invited to interview with Wharton and would like some professional assistance in preparing for the big day, Veritas Prep offers MBA admissions interview preparation services. Until then, good luck!

Wharton Round Two Admissions Interview Invitations

Yesterday the Wharton admissions office posted an update on its blog to let applicants know that the school will release all Round 2 interview invitations by tomorrow (Feb. 19).

The admissions committee explains:

The Admissions Committee has already begun releasing interview invitations and will continue to do so daily until 5:00pm EST on Thursday, 19 February 09. Due to the nature and complexity of the admissions process, there is no particular order in which invitations are released. Complete details on how, when, and where to schedule an interview will be provided at the time of invitation. Candidates who are not invited to interview and are no longer being considered for admission will receive a

HBS Round Two Admissions Interviews

Last week the Harvard Business School’s Dee Leopold posted a short message on the HBS admissions blog about the timing for Round Two admissions interview invitations:

On February 9 we will send out invitations to interview. The invitation will come in an email from HBS MBA Admissions and will contain detailed instructions about how to sign up for interviews both on campus and in hub cities. Please be assured that if we see you haven’t signed up for an interview by the end of the week, we will contact you by phone…thus there’s no reason to be anxious about lost emails, etc.

Shortly afterward, I’ll update you here as to how many invitations have been issued and how many we expect will go out between February 10 and the April 2 notification date.

Note the second part. While a majority of interview invites will likely go out on Feb. 9, don’t despair if you don’t hear anything on that day. The admissions office will be working through thousands of applications, and they may not get to yours for another few weeks or more.

Visit Veritas Prep for more information on Harvard Business School and how to ace the MBA admissions interview.

UC Berkeley (Haas) on Admissions Interviews

Peter Johnson, the Director of Admissions at the Haas School of Business, recently posted a message on the Haas blog to answer some questions and soothe some nerves regarding Haas’s admissions interview policies.

On the blog, Peter writes:

Contrary to popular belief, there is no fixed percentage of applicants who are interviewed, and chances of admission for those who do interview are based on the strength of the entire application package and the interview. In the past few years, between 25% and 30% of all applicants have been selected to interview–but keep in mind that this percentage has varied each year. It’s simply a reflection of the strength of the candidates in a specific round.

Although it’s a positive sign to be invited to interview, it doesn’t mean you’ll get an offer–but it does mean that the Admissions Committee saw enough strengths in your application to be seriously considering your candidacy, so it’s always a good sign!

Note that those percentages are just historical norms. You can consider them rough guidelines in terms of trying to determine your chances this year, but the number will always bounce around. So, spare yourself the insanity and just focus on nailing your admissions interview, rather than trying to calculate your chances! To that end, be sure to listen to the school’s admissions interview tips podcast.

If you would like more assistance in preparing for your MBA admissions interview at Haas or at any other top business school, take a look at Veritas Prep’s MBA admissions interview assistance package.

Dartmouth (Tuck) on MBA Admissions Interviews

Today Tuck’s Associate Admissions Director, Karen Marks, wrote a post on the Tuck blog about how the admissions office handles MBA admissions interviews. Her post says a lot about how the schools views applicants and how interviews fit into the overall Tuck admissions process.

Unlike many other top business schools, the Tuck School of Business has an open interview policy, meaning that any applicant can schedule an interview rather than waiting for an invitation from the admissions office. Tuck really looks at whether or not you schedule an interview (and make the trip to New Hampshire) as a strong indicator of your interest in the school. Marks explains that you are by no means ruining your chances of admissions by not scheduling an interview and visiting the campus, especially if you face circumstances that would make the trip difficult (e.g., you live far away, have tight finances, or have other obligations that prevent you from traveling). However, if you’re serious about Tuck, know that the most powerful way to show this is by visiting the campus and conducting an on-campus interview.

Regarding interview format, there’s a good chance you will be interviewed by a second-year student. Marks makes a point of emphasizing that these interviews carry just as much weight as those conducted by Tuck admissions officers. And meeting a second-year student gives you a great chance to further get a feel for how well you’ll fit with the Tuck culture.

Finally, Marks attempts to put an end to anxiety that domestic applicants feel over whether or not they get invited to interview by the Tuck admissions office. She sums up it all up by saying:

The bottom line is that it is definitely a positive sign if we invite you interview, in that it indicates our desire to learn more about you, but don’t read too much into it if we don’t extend an invitation. Most domestic candidates schedule their own visits, and we are unlikely to prompt you to do so.

So, don’t stress over whether or not you’re invited to interview with Tuck. But, if you follow their (and our) advice and schedule your own interview with the school, then this should be a moot point!

If you’re preparing for your interview with Tuck or any other top business school, Veritas Prep’s MBA admissions interview preparation service can help you maximize your chances of success.

MBA Admissions Interview Tips

Since many top MBA programs have started to release interview invitations for Round One, we thought it would be a good time to review some basic principles for how to effectively approach your MBA admissions interview:

In your interview, you want to come across as personable, confident, interested, interesting, and sincere. For everyone one of these descriptors, think of the opposite. No one would want to be surrounded by arrogant, tentative, indifferent, dull, or phony people. In short, you want to convey that you are who you said you are in your application, and you want to show the interviewer that you’re someone who would make a great classmate in business school. Yes, this may seem daunting, given the application themes that you already want to communicate. Most of these personality traits, though, should come through if you can relax and simply be yourself.

For the most part, your interviewer will set the tone of the discussion. As described earlier, some will be laid back and interested in getting to know you personally, while others will want to drill down on specific parts of your resume or application. Obviously, how serious or informal you are will largely depend on the person across from you. Your job is to make adjustments accordingly, and to answer the questions that they ask. But you must make sure that by the end of the interview you have covered the main themes that you came in with. For instance, you may have a laid-back, “get to know you” kind of interviewer who doesn’t ask you the kinds of pointed questions that would allow you to talk about your strengths. If this is the case, it’s perfectly appropriate to say, “By the way, there are a couple of things that I think make me a good fit for this school. I’d like to talk about them and hear your thoughts,” before the interview is over. You don’t want to be too transparent, but all but the most inept interviewers will appreciate the fact that there are certain ideas that you

HBS Interviews: Dee Leopold on Round One

The other day Dee Leopold posted a message on the HBS admissions blog regarding the school’s upcoming wave of Round One interview invitations. HBS will start contacting applicants to set up interviews on November 12, with many of the interview requests going out the following week.

As HBS and other top schools often do, Leopold reminds applicants that the timing of the interview invite is strictly a function of when the application is reviewed in the process — it’s not a reflection on the strength of one’s candidacy. There’s also no rhyme or reason in terms of alphabetical order, geography, or the date when the application was received. In other words, don’t bother trying to divine your chances based when you receive (or don’t receive) an interview invitation!

Leopold finished the post with a plug for the updated entrepreneurship info on the HBS web site. A few times lately we have heard HBS representatives emphasize the program’s entrepreneurship-related content… Something to keep in mind if you are an HBS applicant with a sincere interest in this area.

For more advice on applying to HBS, visit our Harvard Business School information page. For more advice on how to nail your HBS interview, take a look at our MBA admissions interview preparation service.