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Michigan / Ross MBA Interview Report: Round 2 / Alumnus / Off-campus

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The following Michigan / Ross MBA interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 2 applicant who was admitted. Congratulations to them!

This interview made me understand what a conversational interview really means! And I also realized it is very important to have all points ready in your mind! The alumnus had been interviewing since 12 years, and it really showed through in the interview! He was a pro – and it was my most fast-paced and thorough interview experience compared to my 3 other interviews.

my alumnus-interviewer was already seated in a corner of the cafe in the hotel. I saw him talking to a lady in business formals and thought, man! I shouldn’t have listened to his advice of wearing business casuals and worn formals instead (the lady turned out to be part of the hotel staff). As I’d arrived 10mins before time.

We exchanged pleasantries and I told him about my very recently completed team exercise where I also got to meet some more Ross alumni and hear about their times. I mentioned 1 alumnus (turned out they knew each other) and another who had evaluated my group. Mentioned some cool things they’d talked about.

He introduced himself, including his MAP project, his semester-exchange, and his work from MBA till now. (Mostly was all there on his Linkedin)

From there on it was a very free-flowing and fast-paced interview. He started off by asking me to highlight some key points I want him to take-away from the interview about my profile/me. I hadn’t prepared in this way (realized it is important!) but mentioned few things.

I mentioned a first-ever high-profile event I’d organized in college and he implicitly mocked me by saying that seems to have been happening since ages in most universities in my country. I explained.

He asked me what is it that drives me. What made me innovate when organizing this compts.

He asked me why I wanted to go to the USA for MBA instead of from the top universities in my country, considering I’ve already been through a top Bachelors university.

I also summarized my achievements at one of my workplace. He asked me if one of those things was my biggest accomplishment…I elaborated on why I felt so. Mentioned few more accomplishments I think … little hazy. He asked if I’m a technical person and not so good with people or am good too. I took up a community achievement example, where it was based on discussions and unpredictability and far from analysis. He noted that my approach towards the accomplishment was still iterative, implying there was still a similar analytical approach.

He also implied that I seem to be bent on taking up experiences again and again where I learn and learn. “Have I ever gone out of my comfort zone just for the sake of it?” He gave his and another person’s example. He asked me multiple times about what is my comfort zone and was implying that he wasn’t happy that I define it as tasks where I know I’ll succeed.

I mentioned a technical accomplishment/experience I had undertaken knowing it is out of my comfort zone. He didn’t want a technical example.

I pointed out my own journey of introspection and knowing about myself and people, pointing out that it was learning still, but it was about myself and the science of human behavior. I also mentioned my community example where I’d gone beyond what I thought I could do.

Then he seemed confused. I laughed and said I never care about being in the comfort zone.

He asked me for “a time I had tried something and faced failure” and when I stopped for few seconds to think of which experience will fi yet not overlap with what I’ve already told … he mocked that I don’t have any failures, only accomplishments. I said I was trying to avoid an overlap. I again mentioned the college event and how I failed by acting as a task-master and how it was a formative experience about leadership for me.

He also mocked me saying maybe the community teaching was so difficult for me because I am so brilliant so I don’t understand how to teach the under-privileged. I explained on a very common human emotion of under-estimating difficulties we’ve already gone through.

“Why MBA?”

I talked about my technical learning, the multiple learnings I need for my goals and hence why MBA. He again asked the “Why US MBA” and I mentioned it is about going out of my comfort zone. It teaches what I don’t know and will be forced to learn. I also mentioned how a recruiting event is something I may face difficulty in right now, and thats a reason why a US MBA will teach me so much.

Then “Why Ross.”

I talked about the huge number of alumni I’ve talked to and he was super surprised. Mentioned how Ross alumni stood out, and talked about the awesome stuff that they told and I’d dug into.

I also mentioned my short term goal right after MBA. He asked me why don’t I want to join those roles in my existing companies itself after graduation?

Somewhere in the interview I talked about my rationale in switching companies, about more business and culture exposure. I talked to him about pros and cons of the culture in these companies and how my learning will help me in my long-term goal.

He implied that me going on and on about how things I’ve learnt will help me when I’m involved in my long term goal seems little BS, as he talking about the idea that you can connect dots only looking backwards.

In the Q&A time, I asked him:

– Pros and cons of college-town
– His suggestions for pre-MBA internship (he mentioned I should chill out)
– His most engrossing student-run activities / about most popular student run clubs at Ross (realized asking popular was bad idea) -> he said I can find out when I’m there
– Few more questions specific to his experience

He himself mentioned, like most of the alumni in the team exercise, about the horrors of the snow and cold at Michigan.

He mentioned that I must’ve applied to more schools? He said to focus a lot on the fit.
I felt he was implying that I am not a good fit with Ross and it’s good I’ve applied to other schools as he will ding me here.

He also mentioned that I’ve mentioned my bachelor’s rank in my résumé and that isn’t the way to go about in an MBA. he talked about how he was involved in lot of random things and its not just about studying a lot at MBA.

I felt there were various instances he took snap decisions about my personality (most of which weren’t true) and was continuously trying to goad me into acting vain and arrogant.

I walked out from the coffee shop with him till his car as we talked about some other problems that my industry faces and a big acquisition happening, as well as about some of the Internet giants’ hyped evaluation including the leading global car-rental and e-commerce websites.

I was eventually selected at Michigan-Ross. I chose another peer school over this.

Preparing for an upcoming Michigan / Ross MBA Interview? Click here to get the Clear Admit Ross School of Business Interview Guide.

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