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!


VenusDiCyndi said...

wow!! 5 interviews down~! i finished my Wharton interview today and it was a great experience. Now I really really want to join Wharton and keep my fingers crossed til Mar 22nd~ I agree with you on the Ross phone interview. It was really weird to interview over the phone. I definitely prefer interviewing in person, making eye contacts. Not knowing what his reactions are other than the tone of the voice bothered me a lot. Have my Chicago interview on this Sat and I'll be done with the interview scheduled for now.
GL with the rest of interviews and share ur stories with them as well.!!

Iday said...

That's quite a list :)
I'd suggest u take a break or something, but after seeing ur progress over the past few weeks i am sure u really enjoy having ur hands (and bags) full :)

All the best for the last 3 interviews. Something tells me ur admit count is gonna be as good as ur invite count :)

ScareCrow said...

You are hitting the ground running :) All the best for next interviews and RESULTS =)

Stacy Blackman Consulting said...

Thanks for the great interview details. I have linked to you today as we wrote about a few common interview questions.

Clear Admit said...

Hello GirlsMBA,

Congratulations on what sound like great interviews! Despite the disclaimer about a 'horrible' memory, you've recounted many questions clearly:) Would you be willing to post these reports to the Clear Admit Wiki for the benefit of other applicants? You can do so by clicking here, or, since you have 5(!) reports, you could simply e-mail the text to (we’ll be sure to link back to your blog when we post your information).

Thanks and best of luck in the MBA admissions process!


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