This weekend, on-campus interviews kick off at University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid Soojin Kwon has some reminders for MBA applicants on how to shine during your interview, and also shares Ross’s perspective on why the team exercise, though optional, is so important.
Based on their experience with Round 1 interviews, the admissions committee is stressing the following points for the next round of interviewees:
- Make your answers clear and succinct. This is an important skill. But don’t come across as scripted.
- Answer the questions that are asked. This will differentiate the scripted interviewees from those who aren’t. It’ll also demonstrate listening and thinking skills.
- Do your research. Know why Ross, why XYZ career (pre- and post-MBA).
- Don’t agonize over how you can differentiate yourself, or the fact that you work in a non-business field. If you tell your unique story, and follow Tips 1 – 3, you’ll go a long way towards making a positive impression.
How you present yourself, and your ability to react and respond gracefully in unfamiliar situations, weigh heavily in both the MBA admissions process and later on when recruiting kicks up. Kwon points to data collected by the Graduate Management Admission Counsel’s most recent Corporate Recruiters Report, which indicates that employers consider communication as the most important skill set for new graduate business school hires.
Finally, the director offers some frank advice about the currently optional team exercise. “Opting-in sends us some important positive signals: (1) that you embrace opportunities to shine; (2) that you are comfortable with ambiguity, since you can’t control the team exercise experience; and, (3) finding the right fit is important to you,” says Kwon, noting that MBA recruiters are also looking for these qualities.
From our perspective as MBA admissions consultants, you should never pass up the opportunity for face time with the admissions committee. Allowing them to get to know the real you, beyond the version on paper, is critical to your chances of receiving an offer of admission.
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