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Stanford MBA Interview Report: Round 1 / Alumnus / Off-campus

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

I had mailed the alumna to set up a time and she suggested a star-hotel’s cafe on same week’s Friday morning.

I waited for 30 minutes beyond our scheduled time. Had to actually call her – turned out she forgot to set a reminder.

As we sat in the quiet cafe, she apologized for being late and explained how the interview would go. She said it’ll be a behavioral interview, that it is blind, and asked for a paper copy of my résumé. She said that nothing I say will be taken at face value, but that she’ll dive deep into the experiences. She said we have 45 minutes for this including 10 minutes for me to ask her questions. She said Stanford discourages for interviewer and candidate to be in touch post-interview, at the least until the results are out, and that she’ll not be able to give any feedback about how the interview went. Said she’ll introduce herself, then move on to me. Once I gave her my résumé, she quickly glanced through it and seemed to have profiled my work-experience.

I am actually surprised – MIT typically conducts behavioral interviews; whereas Stanford interviews typically seem to cover 6/+ questions – meaning fewer follow-ups per question.

1. After her introduction, I introduced myself as I’d rehearsed.

2. Tell me about a time you are proud or glad or happy that you made an impact, or made a difference.

– I had lot of follow ups. Probably 10/+ questions.

3. Tell me about a time you saw an opportunity someone else didn’t? Sometime you had to get buy-in from someone for your idea? when others weren’t accepting your idea?

– Again, I had 15/+ follow ups.
– I was trying to keep my explanation in layman terminology, but her follow-ups forced me to use attempted-simplified technical terms, which probably made it confusing.
– I also got stuck for few seconds trying to simplify the details of technicalities

4. Tell me a time you made/influenced a change to an organization / business / team.

– similarly, 10/+ follow ups.

5. What is it that drives you?

– I answered this with a very simplified and elementary answer. I could’ve instead picked up from my WMM essay – that would’ve totally made sense and was obviously refined.

I think 35 minutes had ended by then – seemed really, really early. She asked if there were any questions I wanted to ask her.

– I asked her about how her post-MBA corporate work-ex helped her when she was running her startup
– Asked her about what would she do if doing MBA again.
– Asked her how she blended her learnings from 1 corporate work-ex to another
– Asked how best can i utilize my time from now to start of MBA somewhere in between she very casually asked what do I wanna do after MBA. I answered very succinctly – should’ve elaborated, especially as I am very focused on my goals. My pre-MBA and post-MBA trajectory are very similar to hers.
– Asked her about minute detail from her LinkedIn profile which she’d done with another alumna I’d met

She said she has few further notes she needs to write before going.

I thanked her for her time and mentioned I am really glad to have met her – the first Stanford alumni I met who already had run multiple startups. I mentioned 2 other Stanford alumni I’d talked to, both who’d come back to our country and were running startups.

I was surprised by the structure of the interview. Was mildly surprised that she was so strict about the time, and hadn’t asked some the typical questions like why MBA/Stanford/goals.

I mailed her a thank you, and a pleasure to meet, and 1-2 take-aways from her awesome career info.

Eventually was rejected.

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