Since my last post a lot has happened in terms of my path towards my MBA, so I will summarize these events and bring my blog up to date in 1-2 posts.
The Dec 14, 2015 week was quite rich on decisions for me as evident from my previous post. But no day during that week was more memorable than Monday, the day of my UCLA decision and Tuck interview. Most schools schedule the calls based on geo locations of admitted students, so Asian and European students are among the first to see that magical +1 … on their phone screens, so I was quite confident that my Skype interview with Tuck will not conflict with my UCLA call (if I was to receive one). So after coming back from work I set up my Skype, got dressed up and added my Tuck interviewer, in a few minutes the call was made and I was facing my interviewer, a member of adcom. Very sweet and friendly lady was looking at me, while being located on the other hemisphere (just think about that, progress is an amazing thing!), but the picture froze and then again, we had difficulty hearing each other, so we decided to turn off the video, then tried to call again, then again, then I called her from my phone, then she called from hers, this was quite a challenging interview, and I would lie if I tell you that I can write good enough to sparkle in you that feeling of frustration that I had in the beginning. On top of that, when we finally overcame technical issues – I got another call, I tried to cancel it, but my phone decided otherwise and answered it while putting my first line on hold, and guess what, it was a call from Anderson! They informed me about my acceptance and congratulated me on it, I had to rush that call so that my interviewer didn’t have to wait for me listening to god know what kind of music. I think that I’ve noted a bit of disappointment in my Anderson caller’s voice, as I didn’t sound very exciting though I truly was, but on top of that I was trying to figure how to rush the call without hanging up. Now that’s some juggling I had to do.
Not the best experience in theory, but thanks to my interviewer being so nice and positive what should have been a horrible memory turned out to be a very exciting and fun interview to remember and by the end of it I was relaxed, though worried that I couldn’t fully demonstrate who am I and why they should take me.
Got an invite to Tuck (November round)! Feels so great! Really love the school and the people there. I spoke with quite a few alums, they were really among the most responsive ones. I especially, appreciated the honesty with which they answered my questions and their patience, as I am someone who gets to the heart of things and don’t like to have unadressed concerns. I will write a separate post about my experience with alums/current students within the research stage of application.
But now, a few words on my Duke interview: it was a few weeks ago, but I was quite busy, so my post is a bit late.
I was paired with an alum, who workes in MBB, we met in a coffee house next to his office, actually the same chain of cafés, where I met with Booth alumna, seems to be popular among MBB’s. But unlike my interview with Booth alumna, this interview was more formal, he had a list of questions in mind and our interview was more like a Q&A session than a conversation, thought quite relaxed; what I didn’l like about this is that sometimes he would ask about topics that we discussed before, so we discussed topic A, then B, then C, then A, then C etc. a bit haphazard.
The questions were as follows:
- Why MBA/Why Duke, asked me to elaborate why I can’t reach the goals mentioned without MBA and how MBA will help to adress these problems.
- Name three qualities that your collegues would have used to describe you.
- Tell me a leadership story
- Most recent success story
- … (some other standard questions I can’t remember)
- Name 3 strenghts and weaknesses, elaborate.
The Q&A part took around an hour and then we spent another 15-20 minutes discussing his experience at the school and I asked him some questions to better understand Fuqua. This conversation made me like the alumnus, he was quite open and answered all of my questions.
So, now the wait!
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
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.
After the second Skype interview I feel like I can give some advice:
- Be dressed appropriately from top to bottom, that will help you feel comfortable.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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!
- 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.
- 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).
- Have your Resume and memorize it.
- 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:
Excel file on Dropbox.
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:
Ok, this is my post, but I have already updated About, Research 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:
So, Kellogg was my the first school to interview me,
Location: Off-campus, Skype
Duration: 45 minutes
Why that undergrad school?
Your most significant achievement at work?
Why you changed your job?
Is there anything else about yourself you want us to know?
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.