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Vote Now for the Best MBA Interview Report for December ’15

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Back in November we put out a call for the best MBA interview reports, and you responded in droves! We received more than 50 quality reports from the applicant community, and for that we thank you!

Now it’s time to vote for the best one. We have read through all of them and selected what we think are the five best reports, and now we want to hear from you. The report that garners the greatest number of votes will receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Voting will remain open until Sunday, January 10th, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

So without further ado, here are the top five. For your convenience, we’ve also included the full text below the embedded poll. Or, if you are on a mobile device and are having issues, you can access the poll here.

1. MIT Sloan Interview Report: Round 1 / Adcom / On-Campus
2. UPenn / Wharton Interview Report: Round 1 / Student / On-Campus
3. Stanford GSB Interview Report: Round 1 / Alumna / Off-Campus
4. London Business School Interview Report: Round 1 / Alum / Off-Campus
5. Michigan / Ross Interview Report: Round 1 / Second-year Student / On-Campus

Full Text of Top 5 Interview Reports for December

1. MIT Sloan Interview Report: Round 1 / Adcom / On-Campus

The following MIT Sloan MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant. Good luck to them!

The Sloan admissions office was bustling on the day I interviewed, with multiple students interviewing in each 30-minute time slot. I met with an adcom who seemed relatively new to Sloan but used to do consulting recruiting. Unlike many interviews, this one was NOT focused on 1) why I wanted an MBA, 2) why I wanted to get into Sloan, or 3) what I intended to do with my MBA. Rather, this seemed like someone walked into a warehouse of behavioral interview questions, saw that they were on sale, and bought the lot. Here are some of the questions I was asked:

1) Tell me about a time you had to deal with two conflicting parties.
2) Follow up: can you act that conversation out?
3) How do you typically communicate bad news?
4) What’s a success you’ve been a part of? How did you contribute? What challenges did you have to overcome?
5) What drives your success at your job? Why do you think you’re successful there?

At the end, he asked me if there were any questions I wish he had asked, so that gave me the opportunity to talk about why I was interested in Sloan. All in all, it lasted just about 30 minutes. There was not a lot of back and forth. It was clear he had a list of questions he wanted to get through.

2. UPenn / Wharton Interview Report: Round 1 / Student / On-Campus

The following UPenn / Wharton interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant who was admitted. Congratulations to them!

My day at Wharton started with lunch in a large classroom. I was able to network with a few current students, and more importantly, other applicants. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND being chatty with a bunch of the applicants. As it turns out, I was able to network with every single person that ended up being in my group, which made for a pleasant and more comfortable experience. You have time in the admissions office both before and after lunch as well to network. Something odd though – one girl in my group was someone I knew very well from work as well as my undergraduate university (I guess they don’t really randomize…).

The discussion started with two second-year facilitators explaining the process and reading the prompt. You are timed with an iPAD counting down on the center of the table. The facilitators just observe quietly.

We began with our pitches. I volunteered to go first and gave a very concise and clear 55 second pitch. Others followed suit. I will say it was noticeable who had prepared as some pitches went on well past a minute and were less concrete. After that, someone volunteered to provide timing and structure to the discussion. It then took us a long time to come up with our idea. Someone suggested merging ideas into one, which was a bit hard to do as the topics were entirely different. It ended with us voting between two merged ideas and selecting a rather vague one. Personally, I would have preferred we just pick one idea to narrow the scope, but I wasn’t quite sure how to say that tactfully, so I remained quiet there. I’m also not sure how voting looked to the observers.

I thought the discussion was a bit haphazard with people throwing out ideas left and right and not particularly building on each other. But I’m thinking that is too be expected with six entirely different personalities in the room. We also ended up not being able to get through everything we agreed to discuss since we weren’t super organized for the first half and had to pull something together for the final presentation. Ultimately, we were able to organize our ideas into a fairly cohesive presentation in the time allowed. Everyone was very agreeable and worked together well. A few people were maybe stronger than others, but I left feeling like the experience didn’t make or break anyone’s applications. As long as you are cooperative and contribute in some way, I think you probably do fine. It was a fairly pleasant and non-threatening experience.

Then, we were brought back to the admissions holding room to wait for our 1-on-1s. Our two observers took three people back each, one at a time. I was second and met with the second-year student for 10 minutes. It went by in a flash. The interviewer asked “how did the exercise go?”. I used that time to discuss my role during the exercise compared with how I usually am on teams. I provided examples of myself as both a leader and a follower. (I heard other people used that time to comment on the group’s performance rather than their own). She then asked “what do you want to do with an MBA?” I explained my career goals and why Wharton is the perfect place for me to achieve them. Then, she let me ask her a few questions. I asked about her experiences at Wharton, on learning teams, with her job, and moving from her home country. I left with a very positive feeling regarding how I utilized my time.

In the end, I was ACCEPTED Round 1. Dream come true! Best of luck to everyone!

3. Stanford GSB Interview Report: Round 1 / Alumna / Off-Campus

The following Stanford MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant who was accepted. Congratulations to them!

My interview was scheduled for 4:15pm on a Friday – this was a bad choice (duh!). My interviewer came in 10 minutes late and had to leave precisely on time, so what I thought would be a 45-75 min interview was only 35 minutes. The interviewer also seemed tired and disengaged. My advice: schedule something Tuesday or Wednesday morning.

I had also prepped too much for this interview — two mock interviews, read every anecdote online that I could find, and pre-answered 50 potential questions. In the end, I got the most basic questions you could imagine:

– Tell me about your background
– Leadership example
– Strengths/weaknesses
– Why MBA?
– Why Stanford?
– Long-term goals

I say that I prepped too much because each of my answers were too polished. My interviewer genuinely wanted to keep it conversational and I found myself veering into long-winded answers. I felt that I had good answers to the questions, but had a difficult time molding them to the format. My advice: prep the high-level bullet-points for the questions listed above and rehearse them once or twice in your head. You can answer the 50 extra questions if you want, but the alumni are not there to stump you.

In the end, I was fortunately admitted to the Stanford GSB despite leaving the interview a bit unsettled. My advice: don’t put too much pressure on the interview, don’t over-prepare, and have a casual conversation with a cool alumnus.

4. London Business School Interview Report: Round 1 / Alum / Off-Campus

The following London Business School MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant who was admitted. Congratulations to them!

If you are reading this report as you prepare for your LBS interview, firstly – congratulate yourself for making it this far – you deserve a pat on the back! Making it this far is no easy feat, and you should take a moment to reflect on your accomplishment. Now channel this positive energy & confidence into the next steps, i.e. cracking your interview.
I won’t deny, I was definitely nervous going into my interview – but in all honesty, it was nervous excitement. Glad of having made it this far, I was excited at the prospect of sharing my story with the LBS ad-com.

The interview was held on a rainy, cold London day, and I took half-a-day leave from work and left for the interview venue straight from work. Since I work in banking, I was any case dressed in a suit.

The interview was held in the interviewer’s office – in one of the meeting rooms. My interviewer (alumni who graduated in the past 5 years) came out to meet me at the lobby and led me into the meeting room. He seemed warm and friendly, and we made small-talk until we got into the meeting room.

He was quite structured during the interview, taking notes on his laptop and reading through a set of (ad-com) provided questions. He did explain this at the onset, and that he wouldn’t necessarily make eye-contact all the time as he was typing too – and said not to fret about it. I thought that greatly helped relax and ease the rapport, as it’s a bit nerve-wrecking to be talking whilst someone is furiously typing away. But the interviewer made an effort to put me at ease, and actually managed to have a long flowing conversation for more than an hour.

Usual questions around why MBA, why LBS, why London, walk me through the résumé, etc. We also spent considerable time on ‘behavioural’ questions – scenario based questions – both examples in my past experience as well as hypothetical situations.

After the first hour, we then moved onto the next stage – the impromptu case. I think the case was prepared and given to him by the adcom. Out of the 10 options, he asked me to go with option 5 (said he would change it if I was uncomfortable with the topic). I made a few clarifications on the question, and then he left me for couple of minutes to formulate my response. On his return, I presented for 3-4 minutes – again a dialogue instead of a monologue.
At the end of the case, he then took a few minutes to make notes and then formally said that was the end of the interview section. He closed his laptop and made himself available for any questions.

We spend another 15-20 minutes wherein I asked him about his background, specific experiences he had at LBS, including his exchange at an Ivy-league school in the US. He mentioned about LBS’s great diversity element as being a big differentiator; as well as the fact that success is so different for each of the students here, i.e. not everyone wants the same PE job or consulting job in New York – so therefore everyone is naturally more collaborative at LBS.

At the end, as I thanked him for his time, he mentioned that he liked chatting with me, and that he would be giving a strong positive review of the interview. Nice of him to disclose that, putting me once again at ease and boosting my confidence.

End to end, the experience was three hours long, and the interviewer was very impressive – he was extensive with his interview, and at the same time made great efforts to put me at ease and answer all of my questions.

Since the interview, I’ve been granted admission and am strongly considering accepting the offer. Hope this review helps you as you interview with LBS and other top-MBA schools. Good luck.

5. Michigan / Ross Interview Report: Round 1 / Second-year Student / On-Campus

The following Michigan / Ross MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant.

By far the most laid-back interview setting I experienced in Round 1. This interview took place in a student meeting, and felt like we were collaborating on a group project. Interviewer was not intimidating in any way, and seemed to take a personal interest in my living situation and individual goals.

Prior to the interview, Ross puts on a very comprehensive pre-interview presentation on the day of the event. Admissions Director Soo-Jin Kwon is present for the event and comes around to network – it definitely seems that she is feeling out the candidates herself, which is quite intimidating.

Questions were standard behavioral, but it was later revealed that a major part of the grading criteria is based on the questions that applicants have for their interviewers at the end of the interview.

As for the group exercise, I would put a lower stake in this. You work with a group of 5-6 fellow applicants to build a story using random words given to your team. The moderators take some notes during the process, but I strongly believe this is more to weed out those who do not work well in teams rather than select between a pool of equally strong applicants.

Ross puts on a very comprehensive and impressive interview day which reflects very positively on the school’s commitment to the program.

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