45-minute interview with the first 30-minutes focused on him asking me questions and the last 15 reserved for my questions and a more free flowing discussion. Blind interview with a second-year student. The interviewer was from Germany and had a pretty strong accent, which was a bit unnerving. This also meant there were a few nuances that wouldn’t have happened in other interviews, i.e., he was unfamiliar with what an animal shelter was so didn’t understand one of my volunteering activities and asked what it was.
The interview was actually really laid back and easy-going. My interviewer was super nice and quite “smiley,” so that calmed me down a lot. We laughed quite a bit throughout the interview. The biggest surprise to me was how short the interview felt. It felt like I prepared a lot and then got to say about 1/5th of what I could have said/wanted to have said. Also, my interviewer worked in management consulting, and so had a very traditional view of what consulting is. I work at a relatively new mature start-up consulting firm that is not very traditional. This resulted in some questions that were oddly worded/a little confusing to me (e.g., “when you’re kicking off a project and you’re introducing yourself to your client and team, what do you say? What do you say to the team?”). This could have been a result of a little-off translating too, as for that last example I think he was asking “what role do you play on a team? what’s your client team leadership style?”, which is the question I answered. He also didn’t outright ask me at any point ‘Why Chicago?’, which I found a bit constraining, so instead I tried to plug that into throughout the questions. For instance, I asked him about Chicago’s biggest asset and he talked about the supportive culture, so I talked about how that was important to me and I would really contribute to that. He also said the biggest weakness/challenge was having to design everything for yourself and I talked about how I would thrive in that ‘entrepreneurial environment.’ Below are more or less the questions we walked through:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your post MBA career goals?
- Why MBA and why now?
- Tell me about a time when you suggested / recommended something to the client that they did not do or did not like.
- Provide an example of a time when you failed.
- How do you introduce yourself to clients and teams? What do you say?
- What is [Organization Name] (animal shelter volunteering)?
- Why did you major in Latin?
- Any questions for me?
- What clubs would you join at Booth?
- How would your colleagues describe you on a team?
I understand the role of the interview much better now. It’s just too short for it ever to be a 100% decision-influencer on the positive side – i.e., “we have to let her in now!!!!”, but I can totally understand how it might be a deal-breaker – i.e., the prospective student doesn’t speak English as well as they said they did. So, I understand now how it can be a sort of a “check the box” thing. As in, “okay this student is enthusiastic and personable, did their research on Booth, and knows why they want an MBA and their career goals.”