Sunday, February 25, 2007

2 More Interview Reports ... (Fuqua and HBS)

Hello all, I hope the application season is continuing to go well for everyone! I am happy to be heading to the end of the proverbial "road" and at least being done with everything I can do from my end and leaving the rest in the hands of fate and destiny.

Everyone keeps asking me how my interviews are going, and my honest answer is "I don't know". It's really difficult for me to gauge my performance, because I basically go in there and just talk and come out and thats about it. How do other people out there rate their interview performances?

Ok, now onto the actual interview recaps:

HARVARD: I did this interview on-campus (HBS actually sets a time and place for you to be, no choosing). The interview was early in the morning, so I showed up to the Admissions office and they directed me to another building where my interview would be held (by a part-time faculty who is on the Admissions Committee). I found my way to the lounge and waited and then my interviewer came and got me. (I think most ppl know this, but in case they don't, Harvard is one of the few places where the interview is not blind - the interviewer has thoroughly read your application). We went into a conference room and there were no pleasantries "Hi, how are you, blah blah blah", it was immediately "So, you made a pretty big career change, talk about it". I was a little dumbstruck for 1-2 seconds but I think I got out a good answer. Other questions:
-You've only been working in a corporate setting for a couple of years, how are you going to feel sitting in a finance or accounting class with peers who have spend 5 or 7 years immersed in those fields? Are you going to be intimidated?
-How does your company do _________?
-Tell me about your company, and your company's consumer
-What do you think XYZ recent happening in the news?
-A LOT of company/functional area specific questions involving finance, operations, product, etc. - I think he was trying to see what knowledge I had and would be able to contribute to my section while discussing cases
-Why Harvard
-A time when I turned a bad team situation into a good one
-And for the last questions he asked what I would have wanted him to ask that he hadn't. I said I'd like to outline my strengths as I see him and we discussed those.
There was no time to ask him any questions about Harvard. Overall the interview was about 30 minutes and I left with a decent feeling, but who knows? After that I had lunch with students, which was helpful and attended a class with a friend of a friend. The class was Strategy and was interesting, but I did feel like the time allotted was not enough to adequately cover all the aspects of the case. Then again, who am I to say? Overall, of course the facilities are impressive and it's interesting that there is a full campus instead of just a single building like at some other places.

FUQUA: I interviewed on-campus with a 2nd-year student. My day started early as I attended a class on accounting which started at 8 in the morning! The class was interesting, but students definitely seemed less engaged than they had been at HBS. However, this probably can be attributed both to the fact that it was 8 in the morning and that we're talking about accounting here. Fuqua is undergoing construction (which they really don't need since the building is already big and nice - ah, the cost of Real Estate in North Carolina), which won't be done until Fall 2008. After the class I sat and chilled in the lounge with other applicants until my interview. my interview came and picked me up from the lounge and took me upstairs to a conference room (I think in the Career Management Center). The interview questions (that I can remember):
-Tell me about your career change
-Why is now specifically a good time for your MBA
-Why Fuqua
-Tell me about a bad leadership experience
-What are your strengths
-Tell me about a good and bad team experience
-After you graduate in 2 years what do you think your peers and faculty would say your biggest impact was in your yeras here?
-What specifically are you looking for in a business school?
-What do you think your contribution would be to your learning team?
-Anything else you haven't told me?
Then I asked him some questions about Fuqua and that was it. All in all it was about 35 minutes, which he commented was "one of the shortest interviews he's ever done!". Of course, this made me very nervous and uneasy, and so I asked him if this is a negative point and he said "no no, not at all. It's good because I can tell that you've practiced and/or interviewed before because you got across the pertinent information without rambling". So I think it went well. After that I had lunch with students and a tour of the building. All in all a good visit and a quick turnaround (Decisions will be out March 8th!)

That's about all for now ... only one more to go (NYU - still no word from Stanford, but no big deal). I am excited to not be travelling and have the work be out of my hands and into the hands of the AdCom soon! Hope everyone is well! :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Interview Reports thus far

Hello all!

I'm a little over halfway done with my interviews (5 down, 3 to go) so I thought I'd write what I remember of each of them as a reference to others. To pre-empt this, I have a pretty horrible memory, especially since as soon as I was dont with one interview I started preparing for another and basically blocked the last out. So, here goes ...

ROSS: This was a phone interview so I had emailed my resume in when I scheduled the iview. I called up the number provided and my interviewer answered the phone directly. We made some small talk about the weather and then dove right in. The standard tell-me-your-story question was next. So I talked through my background, professional history and career change. Then, why MBA/why now. Then, why do you think Ross will fit into your plans? I talked a lot about the MAP program and their focus on collaborative learning. The hardest question was "So it seems like you've been effective at leading a number of organizations throughout your career. What do you think has made you such an effective leader?". I stumbles for the first 5 seconds but then finished strong. At the end I asked a few Ross questions: Why my interviewer picked Ross (fit, teamwork), what he liked best about the school, what he thought could improve (Career Services for smaller companies), and what he thought about the transitional period until the new building (ok since they are in the EMBA building). Overall a decent interview, but as my first, of course, my answers weren't as well developed as they could be. I also found a phone interview to be awkward so if you have the option to do an on-campus I would recommend that. The total time was about 30 minutes.

KELLOGG: This was local with an alumni (who is a consultant). We met at a coffee shop. I wore a suit, and when she got there she was like "Oh yeah, I should have told you to be casual", but no biggie, I think it put me in a better mindset. I had emailed the interviewer my resume so she had brought it with her. We started off doing the standard, tell me your story, why MBA, why now, why Kellogg. She pushed back a little on the structure of one of my long-term goals, and I have to say she had a valid point and told her this. Also she asked about what I would contribute to a team and how I would be a leader at Kellogg. I was mentioning general leadership stuff and she pushed back and said specifically at Kellogg how would you be a leader so I gave examples of clubs I would want to take leadership roles in. (This interview is a little harder to remember). I then asked her about Kellogg. Why did she pick Kellogg (she was choosing between Wharton and Kellogg and just felt a better fit there), what she feels about being 10 miles out of Chicago (she said ok and that it actually builds more community in the first year), etc. The time for this was about 45 minutes total.

COLUMBIA: I loved this interview, also with an alumni. I was able to schedule my interview very soon after my notification and my interviewer submitted my report a few days after we spoke. She said she didn't want to hold up my decision, which I appreciate. Anyway, we met at a local lounge during one afternoon. She let me ask questions of her first, but kept responses short when I asked her things like why she chose Columbia because of course I would have to answer too! I gave her my resume, which she quickly scanned, we did the standard tell-me-your-story, why MBA, why now, why Columbia. One that she said is that the school is pretty finance heavy, especially because it is located in Manhattan and thats what a lot of the surrounding community is. She also drilled down into my goals a bit to see if I wanted to go into Consulting or into Industry. She also asked what other schools I applied to and basically I said a sprinking of the top 10. I really enjoyed talking to her and the interview definitely made me want to go to Columbia more. The interview was pretty short, about 30 minutes maximum, but I think that is just the character of the interviewer (because she had an interview scheduled 35 minutes before mine and got it done before I came in).

CHICAGO: This was also a local alumni, at her office. I really enjoyed this interview as well. It started with her telling me about the structure and timing of the interview. We chatted about my story, which she found interesting. We talked about what field I would like to work in when I graduated. Then why MBA, and especially why now. And standard why Chicago? I talked a LOT about the flexible curriculum and how the classes/clubs appeal to me and my goals. She interrupted me a few times to agree with what I was saying and each time I still had more to say about the school. She asked about a team experience that was going down a bad road and how I dealt with it. She also asked about a time when I was an effective leader and how specifically at Chicago I would be a leader. I then asked her about her experiences and how she picked Chicago. I also asked her about if job opportunities are more centered towards the Midwest. I also asked her if people live in one central area or if they are sprawled out. Then she asked me the dreaded "Where else are you applying?" question. I hate this questions so I stumbled my way through it. Overall, pretty good interview, about 30 minutes, made me want to go to the school more.

WHARTON: I went to campus for this interview. I had lunch with students and then my interview. I skipped the class visit and tour because of my travel plans and because I have been to UPenn a number of times before. The student lunch was good, I would recommend that everyone goes. It really helped me to get a feel for the school. It seems like there are SO many opportunities and that students are just going going going for two years, which sounds awesome to me. The waiting room was packed with interviewees, some nervous, some chilling and laughing. When I got there in the morning I had dropped off my resume so my interviewer had it when she came out to call me (exactly on time!). We went into one of the conference rooms in the back and she explained the timing and structure. Same standard questions. And then talked a lot about leadership and teamwork. Tell me about a good teamwork experience and a bad teamwork experience. Tell me about one of your strongest leadership experience. If you come here, what legacy do you think you will have left behind in your two years here? What do you think professors and your fellow students will think your greatest contribution has been? She then asked if there is anything else I think the AdCom should know (she is a second year student that sits on the AdCom) and asked me for questions. I gave her the standard ... and if she thinks the large class size is a plus or a minus. This interview also made me want to go here more.

OVERALL: I think things are going pretty well. To be honest, it's hard for me to gauge interviews. I just talk and hopefully I'm hitting points they want to hear. One thing that I've consistently heard is that most Career Services Offices aren't as adept at matching students with smaller companies/more specialized interests and that they are all working on it. No one has asked me about my "lack" of work experience, which is nice, and all have appreciated my career change and depth/number of extracurriculars.

Only 3 more to go (NYU, Duke, Harvard - ADVICE please???) and then time to relax until decisions come rolling in. Yay!!

Hope everyone is doing well out there ... this process is almost coming to an end!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Invited to Interview at ....

NYU!

Man, this is getting really crazy. I'm trying to keep myself from getting overwhelmed.

In other news, I will report on my interview experiences thus far later, but nothing too crazy. Pretty standard you know? Why MBA? Why Now? Why X School? Tell me about your Career Change? Long and Short Term Goals? What Clubs? etc etc

Friday, February 9, 2007

2 More Interviews Coming Up ...

So I have my Kellogg and Columbia interviews coming up quite shortly ... any words of wisdom?

ps - Sorry I have been bad about responding to comments, etc. Work has been nuts along with all this interview prep, and I just haven't had the minutes too ... but will soon!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Invited to Interview at ....

... Columbia!!

I got the "check your status" email today. I also got an email with details to schedule my Kellogg interview a day or two ago ... man ...

I've done one interview this week already and I have 6 more to go by February 23rd ... talk about stressful!

At work ... more to come later

Monday, February 5, 2007

Getting geared up for Michigan!

I have my Michigan interview coming up quite soon and I'm in the final stretch of preparation.

Any last minute words of advice? (Phone Interview)

Thanks!