When conducting a negotiation, it helps to understand the needs and challenges of the person on the other side of the table. You also can apply this thinking to your MBA interview by considering the issues that could keep an admissions officer up at night.
Admissions teams worry about whether the students they select will be able to make meaningful contributions to the class and community, obtain employment, and represent the institution with integrity. Whether you interview with a member of the admissions committee, a graduate, or a second-year student, it is helpful to think about your MBA interview from the admissions team’s point of view.
Here are some of the stakeholders that admissions officers are ultimately trying to please, so keep these groups in mind during the interview process:
The Career Management Center
Essentially, admissions officers are betting on how well you will fare in the recruiting process. If they admit candidates who struggle with recruiting, you can be sure the career management team will beat a path to the admissions committee’s door to voice their complaints. Therefore, be sure to present yourself professionally and develop career goals that make sense given your work experience and the program’s resources.
Much of the learning in an MBA program happens within your peer group. All students must have something valuable to share with their classmates, whether it is their Excel wizardry, their knowledge of business negotiations in China, or their ability to create persuasive presentations. Give your interviewer a sense of the value you will add in the classroom, on project teams, and in extracurricular activities.
Faculty and Staff
If you have been invited to interview, the admissions team already thinks you can handle the academic rigor of the program. The interview provides a glimpse of how you will handle yourself in the classroom and on campus (as well as in post-MBA roles). Will you be a student who monopolizes conversations in the classroom and in group projects, or will you be an active and supportive listener and teammate?
A school’s brand lives on through its graduates. Alumni interact with current students during the recruiting process at many schools—and also in their companies as new recruits join their firms. If new hires from their alma mater do not represent the brand well, alumni will let the admissions committee know!
The University at Large
Universities thrive because their schools produce engaged and successful alumni who give back. Will you be a “net giver” or a “net taker”? The admissions committee looks for students who have made positive contributions to their undergraduate institutions, companies, and communities. Highlight examples that demonstrate that you will be a graduate who is looking to build a lifelong partnership with the school.
Our talented team of Stratus counselors have experience serving on admissions teams and conducting MBA interviews as well as successfully navigating the interview process at top MBA programs. We are available to discuss your individual situation in a free consultation. In addition, visit our blog for more guidance on preparing for MBA interviews!