Graham Richmond, cofounder of Clear Admit, concurs. “You should really make the effort to get a spot—after all, you shouldn’t apply if you aren’t excited about the school or wouldn’t be happy to attend,” he says. “I can’t think of a scenario in which you would purposely not sign up, unless geography or work travel gets in the way, in which case you should talk to the Admissions Committee to explain and perhaps seek a solution.”
Both Tuck and Goizueta feature smaller applicant pools than the likes of HBS, Wharton or Stanford, making it more feasible for them to accommodate applicant-initiated interviews. Tuck, for its part, also leans on second-year students—called admissions associates—to conduct the majority of its interviews, which further increases the resources it has available for interviews.
But at Kellogg, it’s not really possible for every applicant to get an interview, despite the best intentions of the admissions committee. Fine print on the Kellogg website reveals, “Due to the high demand for interviews and limited availability of interviewers, you may receive an interview waiver. Waivers will not have a negative impact on your candidacy. If your interview is waived, the admissions committee may contact you to schedule a phone or Skype interview. If you receive a waiver, you may not request a phone or Skype interview.”
It pays to apply to Kellogg as soon as you are ready in hopes of securing an interview spot while they last, Richmond advises. At the same time, don’t be overly concerned if there aren’t any left by the time you apply, he adds, saying, “Candidates who are competitive will ultimately be invited.”
On the other hand, if you are a weaker candidate or have an issue in your file—like low test scores, for example—it’s prudent to get your application in as soon as possible and get a spot, Richmond counsels. “This is especially true in the case of applicants who think they will do well in person and that an interview might push their candidacy over the hump,” he says.
Interviews by Invitation
The interview allows MBA admissions committees to move beyond the restraints of the written application and letters of recommendation to focus on things they can only learn about a person when they meet them—oral communication skills, emotional intelligence, maturity, presence and self-awareness, for starters. Most admissions committees at leading business schools agree that to make a fully informed admission decision without the greater insight into a candidate that an interview provides is difficult—if not impossible.
This is why all leading business schools require an interview as part of the application process. Few leading programs can support an open interview policy, which has led most other top business school programs to offer interviews by invitation only. Stay tuned for the next post in our series, which will take a closer look at the different interview formats these various schools employ.
If you’re gearing up for an interview at a leading business school, don’t miss Clear Admit’s Interview Guide Series. Featuring school-specific interview prep strategy, evaluation of how the adcom weighs the interview, in-depth analysis of the most frequently asked questions by that school and more, these are a valuable resource to help you prepare and are available for 21 different schools. There’s also our Interview Report Archive, where applicants share their personal experiences interviewing at a range of schools and learn from those of others. And don’t forget, you can share where you are in the process—and keep tabs on your peers—via Clear Admit’s MBA LiveWire.