Aug 15, 2018

How to Nail Your MBA Admissions Interview

A couple weeks ago we shared an "Interviewing at Tuck" blog post all about interview logistics. Now that you know what’s ahead of you, we wanted to share a few tips to help you nail it. While Tuck’s interviews are meant to be a conversation, they should still be taken as seriously as you would a job interview. Follow our advice and you’ll be in great shape!

Relax. Tuck views interviews as an opportunity to not only get to know you better, but also for you to get to know us too. On the flip side, don’t relax too much. Most of our interviews are conducted by second year students. Accordingly, some applicants assume that since they’re being interviewed by someone they see as a peer it’s okay to slouch, slip into slang, or reveal information they probably shouldn’t. While we certainly want you to feel comfortable and be yourself, remember, no matter who conducts your interview, you should approach it in a completely professional manner. 

Be yourself. The Admissions Committee wants to know the real you, not who you think we want you to be. It’s hard to speak convincingly about your experiences and goals when you’re busy trying to get into the interviewer’s head. You’ll risk coming across as canned or insincere. We want to know who you are, what drives you every day in and out of work, and why the MBA program at Tuck is key to achieving your aspirations. For most questions, there is really no right or wrong answer. We are most interested in what you really think.

Know yourself. In the interview, we hope to hear more examples of the types of experiences you have had in both your personal and professional life, and to get a sense of your demonstrated record of achievement, your interpersonal and communication skills, and your focus. Think about the types of questions you are likely going to get in advance (e.g. what your goals are, why you want to get an MBA, why you want to come to Tuck, leadership roles, your strengths and weaknesses, etc.). Then think about specific anecdotes from your past experiences that illustrate these topics. In describing the anecdote, explain the situation, what actions you took, and the result. Just don’t become so over-practiced that you sound like a recording.

Research. In addition to knowing yourself, know Tuck. Asking questions in the interview that could be easily answered by looking at the school’s marketing materials or website does not create a good impression. It could highlight that you're not ready or worse, you aren't interested, because you couldn't be bothered to check out our basic profile. Plus, this will leave more time for your more individual and complex questions. Think about what it is about Tuck that compels you to apply. Be sure to articulate this in a way that clearly tells the interviewer that you understand Tuck and how you envision yourself being part of the community.

Listen. Remember to listen carefully and answer the questions being asked. Some applicants are so excited to make particular points that they don’t offer them at the appropriate times. Further, your answers should be specific and include sufficient details to make your point, but remember to be concise. The interview is short, so make the most of it. Once you have made your point, stop. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to provide a complete picture of yourself. (On the contrary, be aware that your interviewer will know when you’re avoiding a question.)

Other things to think about; keep industry specific jargon to a minimum (your interviewer might not have the same background you do), body language matters (including eye contact), be on time and respectful of your interviewer's schedule, and finally, be confident, not arrogant. 

You can do this! See you in Hanover!