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MBA interview tips

Recommendations and Interviews

Most business schools require an interview and three recommendations. These give you an opportunity to show your skills, personality, and drive in a way that test scores and transcripts do not.

It is useful to have an idea of what you consider to be your greatest strength and why before you go into an interview. Although the interviewer will most likely ask some pointed questions, you may also encounter something as broad as "So, tell me about yourself." Either way, you should have in mind what you want to convey about who you are before you go into any interviewer. What are your strengths, what are some examples that show this, why are you right for that particular business school, why is that particular program right for you? It shows particular organization and forethought if you know some specifics about the program to which you are applying and can explain why those features fit well with your personality/ career goals. For example, if you are applying to the Wharton school, through some simple research you will discover that they consider themselves particularly strong in international business. Perhaps you speak several languages, are a foreign student, or have work experience with a company does a lot of business abroad. These are things you should have prepared to discuss in advance. Consider yourself in control in an interview. Answer the questions that are posed to you, but have in mind a few key things that you want to convey, and make sure that you get them in. You want use the opportunity to show how you are different from the thousands of other applicants, not to blend in to the crowd. Also, don't waste time discussing things that are already clearly indicated on your application. You can elaborate if the topic illustrates something about your character and preparedness for the b-school experience, but you cannot afford to be redundant.

The same applies to the recommendations that you choose. Choose three diverse individuals to recommend you. All should know you well, but in different capacities. One professional, one personal, and one academic is usually a good combination, but you will know what's best when you sit down and consider what traits you want the committee to see and who best recognizes those in your character. It is often a difficult decision to decide whether or not you should let your current employer know you are leaving by asking a supervisor for a recommendation. This call is different in each situation, but keep in mind that most employers today hire with the knowledge that their smart, young employees will seek further education after a few years. Whatever the case may be, you should, of course, choose accomplished individuals who write well. It says a lot to the committee when impressive people are impressed by you.

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