Applying to Business Schools
A personal interview is valuable to the admissions committee because it is the best opportunity for them to assess your personality along with one particular skill: your ability to communicate. The admissions committee wants to get an idea how well you will handle the interpersonal aspects of attending business school. And from your responses they will assess both your English communication skill and your personality. Are you able to react quickly and respond to the questions with confidence? Are you able to remain professional and calm in a stressful situation? How might you behave in a similar situation – perhaps in a classroom setting or group project? Although the interview questions themselves may be focused primarily on your skills, knowledge, experience and vision, the content of your answers is not as important as your presentation of them. The following are some tips from our interview manual to get you started. For more advice, contact Ivy League about our interview class and mock interview service.
Function of the Interview: Although the topics covered in interviews often resemble those covered in essays, the purpose of these two application components is quite different. While the reader of essays is focusing primarily on your professional skills, knowledge, experience, and vision, the interviewer is primarily focusing on your English communication skill and your personality.
Tips from our Interview Manual
- Schedule interviews with as many schools as possible, starting with some warm-up interviews at lower choice schools. Interviews are the best place to show your personality and your passion. Interviews can tip the scales in your favor, especially if your spoken English is better than your TOEFL score indicates.
- Schedule your interviews on campus if possible, since this shows your initiative and your commitment to the school. If you lack English speaking confidence, consider scheduling alumni interviews in India instead.
- Prepare spoken answers to all of your essay questions, but don’t memorize your answers. You will sound too stiff and formal and the interview may become awkward. Give short answers that highlight your main points, then allow the interviewer to ask follow-up questions to get the details.
- Be ready to answer some unpredictable questions. These are used to see how well you think on the spot. Keep your confidence high and don’t worry about giving the “right” answer. (Ivy League’s interview manual gives samples of these questions along with advice on how to deal with them.)
- Learn the interview etiquette that is most common in English-speaking countries. This includes shaking hands, making small talk, smiling, showing a genuine interest in the person and making eye contact.
- Don’t apologize for making English mistakes. Just keep going and watch for signs that the interviewer understands you. As long as he or she understands you, your grammar is not that important.
- Write a thank you letter within a week of the interview. This is professional and expected behavior.