Chicago Booth Interview

My first in-person interview! I had an invite pretty early on, but the interview itself took a few weeks to arrange.

Anyways, I met with a ‘0x alum, who joined MBB after graduation and recently left for another company. The meeting was held in a coffeshop downtown.

Alumna was very positive, nice and friendly. Really, my best interview, it was very informal, but I still was asked all the traditional questions:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • The most challenging project
  • Why did you change the jobs
  • Why MBA/Why Chicago/Why now
  • What are my ST and LT plans (got into great details here)
  • How will you contribute
  • etc.

Everything was very convesational, I made a point to show her that I’m very familiar with the school, professors, curriculum and overall reputation.

Actually when I was in Big4 and she in MBB, we worked for the same client, the one that she recently joined, so we shared some memories about some funny specifics working there. She shared her experience with the school, I asked a lot of questions and I think I really clicked with my interviewer. If that’s the type of people Chicago admits, then I’m sold.

Well, now we wait. Fingers crossed.

Today we are all French

What a horrible day for the world. In a day like this it’s important to not back up and stand for the values terrorists try to attack. Together we are strong and will not let fear subdue our determination to make the world a better place.

Stay strong France, stay strong humanity.


Thoughts on MBA Interviews

After the second Skype interview I feel like I can give some advice:

  1. Be dressed appropriately from top to bottom, that will help you feel comfortable.
  2. Ensure that your video is clear and light is set right, so that your interviewer can see your face and your emotions, don’t be a moving blur.
  3. Check your microphone! This is very important as many laptops lack quality microphones and require some additional work in order to guarantee high-quality voice input. I have used mic on my Bluetooth headphones, while still employing laptops speakers (I don’t think interviewing with headphones in your ears looks any good).
  4. Make sure that your camera is on the same level as your eyes, so that you won’t be looking down when glancing at the monitor. I used my GMAT books for that!
  5. You should look into the camera, not monitor! I only glanced at the monitor in order to see the interviewer’s facial expressions and be able to tell their reactions and adjust accordingly.
  6. TURN OFF your phones! Ask people not to bother you for 50-60 minutes (interviews are shorter, but allow some extra time just in case).
  7. Have your Resume and memorize it.
  8. Sit straight and smile!

Interview question flow:

About yourself > Resume > Why triplets > How will you contribute to the school > Behavioral > Wrap up.

I want to comment on ‘Wrap up’, I am talking about the two following questions: “Is there anything else you want to share?” and “Any questions for me?”, while the second is quite trivial (yes, prepare your questions and use this one to make sure that interviewers knows that you did your research, his answer should build on knowledge you already have), the first one is a great tool to add stories / information you feel can improve your standing, it’s basically like an optional essay, but make sure your story ties in nicely into MBAnarrative and gives a reason to choose you, don’t try to brag. Really, from now on I will be finishining any interviews with “I would like to add” and share more about my candidacy!

And, I think one should never answer “I have nothing to add” or “I don’t have any questions for you”!

Anyways, I created a cheat sheet for myself, feel free to use and contribute with ideas:

Interview cheatsheet.pdfInterview cheatsheet

Excel file on Dropbox.

UCLA Anderson Interview

I have received the invitation almost immediately after they started sending them out, being an international student I was offered a Skype interview and a variety of dates, quite convenient to be honest. Unlike Kellogg, Anderson’s interviews are conducted by second-year students, who pass trainings before becoming a part of admissions team.

My interviewer has added me on Skype one hour prior to our interview time, which was nice, because with Kellogg I was worried, as I had been added a few minutes before the thing, making me uncomfortable.

Interview with a student feels different from an interview with an adcom member, I felt like it was more relaxed and not a ‘checklist’ we had discussed some of my points and he added his thoughts on them, which was great!

The questions were quite traditional:

  • Walk me through your resume
  • Why MBA
  • Why UCLA
  • Why Now
  • Tell me a story you convinced somebody
  • Anything you want to ask?

Overall, I felt that interview went quite well, learning curve at work!

So, here’s the updated status of my applications:

BS status 241015

Bloomberg Businessweek 2015 ranking analysis

Ok, a disclaimer: I really like it! Do I agree with it? No. Do I love the fact that they actually tried to address the problems they had? Yes.

Before we start:

Bloomberg BW 2015 ranking

I’m really interested in rankings and the fact that I scored most popular MBA rankings on the first day of this blog should say a lot about that.

As I have written just a few days ago their methodology was really bad, I assigned a score of 2/10 to it and recommended to stay away. No more!

I think there is no point in discussing changes in rankings of schools, because no school in top-25 has the same rank they had last year and that’s not because the schools changed, but because of the methodology.

Methodology

Well, this is the source reason for all of other changes, the methodology is substantially different from the old one, which was as follows:

Student survey (45%), Employer survey (45%), Research (10%)

Quoting my main points against it:

“Another ranking I don’t use, as I wrote before, research has nothing to do with the quality of Business school and 45% weight to graduating students? Seems like there might be some bias going on.

Any school that invests more time and money to “experience” will get a higher place than rigorous programs, that might explain how Duke Fuqua came before M7 + Tuck. It’s important to remember that students that get into Fuqua are different from those in HBS in terms of expectations, hence it is easier to satisfy them, while HBS students might consider getting into MBB and not PE/VC a fail (many of them come from MBB already).”

That didn’t even touch on every problem with the methodology, but overall correctly reflected my unwillingness to spend time using/discussing/thinking about Bloomberg BW ranking.

New one is much better: it incorporated the best points from other methodologies, but stayed true to BW survey based nature:

Employer Survey (35%), Alumni Survey (30%), Student Survey (15%), Job Placement Rate (10%), Starting Salary (10%).

Employer Survey (35%) decreased from 50%, but seems the approach didn’t. What I think is missing is ’employers rating’! Probably, the employers themselves should be ranked as some are more demanding than others, an MBB has higher expectations than a regional advisory, in former you compete with the cream of the crop and the latter is more diverse in terms of ability of employees, hence it’s easier to shine there. Maybe the students should be asked to rank their employer among direct competitors? I mean, some thought should be given to this, there are a lot of opportunities for improvement.

Student Survey went from 45% to 15% and, as expected, Duke fell down and HBS got higher, actually they swapped places, from 1th to 8th and vice versa. Funnily, these are the exact two schools I discussed in my blog a few days ago!

They added Alumni survey and gave it a considerable weight, after 2 happy years at their school, people lose the euphoria and are better able to assess the role the school has played in their professional lives. Still, different people have different expectations, Chicago is placed 29th and I’d like to know why exactly to better understand how Alumni survey works.

Introduction of Job Placement Rate. Ok, this one I don’t like much, they say that: “We define job placement rate as the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment within three months of graduation, out of all graduates who sought it.”  And that’s a great approach, but let’s use common sense test, let’s compare an ultra-elite HBS (ranked 35) with some 2-3 tier school from the same region, so BU Questrom (31). So, how comes? Well, I don’t know exactly, maybe HBS graduates, even the ones seeking a job, after not being able to find a high-level position they expected, just choose to continue they searches or try to start a business or just take some time off, because they can afford it? I don’t know, but it seems unlikely that HBS students are less employable than Questrom students (no offence meant), so direct comparison of two is wrong and some adjustments should be made. Probably similar to what I have proposed in Employer survey discussion above.

Starting salary is another comparison point introduced this year and honestly it’s great, they have taken into account regional and industry variance and adjusted properly (at least they say so). Actually, now that I think about it, this in combination with Alumni survey can partially act as an ’employer’ rank that I proposed above! (see ‘Adjusted’ below).

Research was dropped, a brilliant idea that doesn’t need any more discussion.

Final ranking is calculated as weighted sum divided by top school, so the top school has 100% and every other school is compared to it. Interestingly I’ve recalculated and got different results, probably they went deeper than just top level rank analysis (and that’s great, but I wish they shared their calculations), but still I like mine better:

School BW 2015 Recalculated Adjusted*
Harvard 1 1 1
Chicago
(Booth)
2 5 11**
Northwestern
(Kellogg)
3 2 3
MIT
(Sloan)
4 4 5
Pennsylvania
(Wharton)
5 7 7
Columbia 6 8 9
Stanford 7 3 2
Duke
(Fuqua)
8 9 6
UC
Berkeley (Haas)
9 6 4
Michigan
(Ross)
10 14 16**
Yale 11 12 10
Virginia
(Darden)
12 10 14*
UCLA
(Anderson)
13 13 12
Dartmouth
(Tuck)
14 11 8
Emory
(Goizueta)
15 15 15

*using Alumni survey and Starting salary I have adjusted Employer surver report (higher the salary higher the expectations) and Job Placement report (higher the alumni survey and salary higher the prestige of jobs).

**these schools placed lower due to low alumni survey rankings.

But that’s just a fun exercise – don’t put much though into my recalculations, as I don’t have actual survey results they have used and seems like Alumni survey results need to be reassessed. Anything that has ‘survey’ in it should be evaluated very closely and I hope they will do just that.

What I really like is that they actually update and improve their methodology and are not afraid of that.

Anyways, I think that rankings are just that – rankings, consider them in your initial research, but never make the final decisions solely based on rankings.

Useful links:

Old methodology in detail: link

New methodology in detail: link

MIT Sloan first invites

Deadline for Round 1 MIT Sloan applications was on September 17, 2015 and today they started sending out invitations, seems like they are sticking to their last year approach of inviting most of U.S. based students in first wave and International students in the second wave. Most students were a bit discouraged by such a long wait, longest in last three years:

Event 2015 2014 2013
R1 Deadline Sep 17, Thu Sep 23, Tue Sep 24, Tue
First invites Oct 20, Tue Oct 20, Mon Oct 25, Fri
Final invites Nov 9 (?), Mon* Nov 7, Fri Nov 15, Fri

*We will begin sending out interview invitations in mid-October and continue until the week of November 9th, at which point each applicant will receive an updated status.

It’s worth noting that invites are sent in 2-3 large batches, here’s a quote from GMAT club for 2014 and 2013 process:

helloschool:

Monday Oct 20, 2014: first invites
Tue-Friday Oct 21-24, 2014: almost silence
Monday 27, 2014: large # of invites sent out
Tue-Friday Oct 28-31: some invites
Wed Nov 5,2014: another large #of invites sent out (most international applicants got invites in this batch)
Friday Nov 7, 2014: some invites and ding/waitlist notifications

Friday Oct 25,2013: first invites
Monday-Friday Oct 28- Nov 1 2013: large # of invites sent throughout the week
Monday-Thursday Nov 4-7 2013: complete silence
Friday Nov 8 2013: some invites
Friday Nov 15 2013: some invites and ding/waitlist notifications

So don’t panic, there is plenty of time to receive an invite and even if you don’t, remember that your world will not end without MBA: did you know that Jack Ma was rejected by Harvard 10 times?

And also, remember that Sloan asks for another essay to be prepared by invited applicants, here it is:

A second, short-answer question will be asked only of those invited to interview:

The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice. Please share with us something about your past that aligns with this mission. (250 words or fewer).

– See more here.

Good luck and don’t lose your drive!

If you want to keep updated or vent, join gmatclub’s MIT Sloan thread or chat.

Kellogg interview

Ok, this is my post, but I have already updated AboutResearch and Test Scores pages, I want to start by reflecting on my journey so far and bringing you up to date.

So far my status is as follows:

BS status

So, Kellogg was my the first school to interview me,

Location: Off-campus, Skype

Interviewer: Adcom

Duration: 45 minutes

Questions:

Why that undergrad school?
Why Kellogg?
Why MBA?
Why now?
Your most significant achievement at work?
Why you changed your job?
Is there anything else about yourself you want us to know?

Overall impressions:

The interviewer was very friendly and nice and allowed me to answer all the questions in full. This was my first interview and to be honest I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been, two major problems I’ve encountered: time limit, really 45 minutes is not enough and she had to intervene a few times, because I was taking way too much time; the other problem was the last question, for some reasong I couldn’t answer it perfectly and mumbled a bit.

I hope my application as a whole gives a better impression, and it also includes video answers that I tackled fairly successful.

Anyways, I am relieved and waiting for December to receive the results.