The business school interview represents yet another step toward reaching your MBA dream. It is an excellent opportunity to explore a prospective program and to convince admissions officers to choose you. Here are five tips to help you make the most of this very important meeting:
1. Dress appropriately
Business schools typically maintain a corporate environment, particularly for official meetings. If you already own a suit, great! If you intend to purchase one, dark blue or charcoal gray in a high-quality material is an excellent choice for your jacket and pants or skirt. Select a shirt color that complements the suit, and follow the same rationale for your tie, an accessory that is highly recommended for male candidates. Choose jewelry sparingly – a pair of modest earrings, a simple necklace, or a small bracelet, but not all three.
2. Arrive early and prepared
Show your interviewer that this meeting is a priority for you. Plan and practice your travel route to your business school interview in advance to avoid any potential obstacles. If you arrive before your scheduled appointment, review your talking points once more. Bring a briefcase or a portfolio with a copy of your application, school materials, and any notes you may have made during meetings with current students or alumni.
Then relax. Drink a glass of water. Take in your surroundings. Locate the bathroom and give yourself a pep talk in the mirror if that helps! Do whatever it takes to put yourself at ease. Here are some more great tips on how to interview for grad school admissions.
3. Tailor your message
Each school wishes to know why you are interested in its program and why the program should be interested in you – specifically, not generally. Reference each school’s particulars, and take care to avoid confusing programs.
For students applying to just a few universities, this may be easy, especially if the programs contain similar features that appeal to you. For applicants casting a wider net, write your points down. For instance, you might create a one-page document for each school with clear-cut reasons for your interest in its program. If you have difficulty identifying these points, consider preparing with an adviser, peer, or tutor.
4. Ask questions
Toward the end of your business school interview, when your interviewer asks if you have any questions, ensure you say “yes” and follow up with intelligent ones. Prepare at least three questions about the MBA program whose answers can provide you with more insight into it. Do not make any inquiries that can easily be answered by studying the school’s website, like “What is the average class size?” or “Is there a study abroad program?” Your questions should demonstrate that you have researched the school, with queries like, “How is the average class divided into sections and into assigned study groups?” or “How is the core curriculum arranged throughout the first year?” Demonstrate that you are not just ready for business school, but for this program. Demonstrate how intrigued you are to learn more. These are the the top 5 questions to ask in an admissions interview.
5. Send a detailed thank-you note
Write a thank-you note on stationery for each person with whom you interview. Ensure you include a detail or two about the conversation you shared. Let your interviewer know that you appreciated the time you spent together and that you listened to what he or she had to say. Here are 3 things your must do after an admissions interview.
Along with these five tips, simply remember to be yourself! Business schools seek a variety of students in order to fill a well-rounded class. There is no single way to be an MBA student. Be punctual, prepared, and professional, and you will be well on your way to success in business school and beyond.