How many applicants are interviewed? Similar to many elite business schools, SOM grants interviews on an invitation-only basis. However, with just a third or fewer of applicants interviewed, simply receiving an invitation is a strong signal of the admission committee’s interest. Of those interviewed, more than half receive an offer of admission.
Who conducts them? Interviews are offered both on campus (by admissions officers or by current students) and off campus with alumni. In both instances, the interview is “blind,” in the sense that the interviewer does not have access to the candidate’s application materials. The interviewer is only provided with a copy of the candidate’s resume. Interview invitations may go out at any time throughout the round until final decision date.
How does it work? The SOM interview will be fairly conversational, and the interviewer will try to keep you at ease and connect with you throughout. On average, interviews will last 30 to 45 minutes. Interviewers will try to keep it closer to 30 minutes, and they will try to take notes throughout the interview, so do not let those facts distract you. If the interviewer is a bit distracted while feverishly trying to take notes, this is not a sign that you did or said something wrong.
What are they looking for? SOM typically takes a standard approach to its interview questions, and will generally have you walk the interviewer through your resume. This is done either through several specific questions, or by directly asking you to walk him or her through your curriculum vitae. Interviewers are generally seeking the behavioral aspect of your academic and career history—why you made the choices you did and if you think you made the correct choices along the way.
They also want to see if there is a clear, unifying theme connecting your past to your present to your future. If the interviewer is an admissions officer, there is a greater chance that a curveball question or two will be thrown in there as well, though that will be interspersed with walking through your resume.
How should I prepare? During the interview, you need to be an expert about yourself and your history. This may sound obvious, but many miss the fact that you have to not only know the rote facts as listed on your resume, but you also have to be prepared to answer what your thought process was along the way—particularly as you switched from one job to another.
What should I ask? At the end of the interview, you will have an opportunity to ask questions of the interviewer. This is a great time to ask questions that you could not gain complete insight into in your previous research. There is not anything curriculum- or community-related that will be out of bounds, so make use of this access wisely. This also helps to show your level of commitment to being an SOM student. However, if you do not have any questions, do not feel the need to craft the perfect, clever question to impress the interviewer, as he or she will see through that. Just keep it simple and honest.