Our clients often ask us if they should write thank-you notes to their interviewers. While handwritten messages of appreciation will always be a classy move—and we certainly encourage applicants to write such notes if they’re so inclined—an email message is just as acceptable in this day and age.
Plus, you know it will get to your interviewer more quickly, perhaps before they need to turn in their notes or (if they’re part of the AdCom) make a final decision about your candidacy.
The most important thing is to ensure you have your interviewer’s contact information. This is especially critical if your discussion is taking place on campus and you won’t know who your interviewer is going to be until you arrive. Don’t forget to ask for that person’s business card when you’re wrapping up!
If you’re interviewing with a local alum, then you’ll have already been supplied with their email address.
As for the content of the message, you shouldn’t feel the need to go on and on. There are only two must-includes: 1) thank the interviewer for his or her time and 2) reiterate your interest in the program. If you can throw in a sentence or two that references something you talked about, all the better.
But a thank-you note is not the place to try and sell yourself any further or write another mini-essay. The point is to show that you’re excited about and thankful for the opportunity to be considered for a spot in Program X.
Some AdComs need to make accept and denial decisions very quickly, so you shouldn’t let more than 24 hours go by before you send your message. If you interviewed in the morning, send it before the business day is over. If your talk was in the late afternoon or evening, get your email out first thing the next morning.
If you have to type out a quick message from your phone because you’ll be traveling back home after the interview, please don’t forget to read things over carefully to ensure spellcheck or auto-correct didn’t do you wrong. You don’t want the last impression you leave to be a negative one!
Finally, don’t worry if you don’t get a response after you’ve sent your message. Some schools have strict policies regarding post-interview contact with applicants and don’t want to risk their communication being misinterpreted.
Have MBA hopefuls been accepted to their dream programs without writing any sort of thank-you note? Yes, of course. But showing that you have manners and are aware of the proper etiquette is never a bad move—it’s just the right thing to do.
Remember: Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than absolutely essential.