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Fridays from the Frontline: Interview Prep at UCLA Anderson

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One crucial part of any MBA curriculum is to teach students how to put their best foot forward in the job market, whether that means helping them write better resumes or shine in the interview process.

In this edition of Fridays from the Frontline, we bring you a firsthand perspective of career prep taking place at b-school.  Current UCLA Anderson MBA student Ben Nichols took to the school’s MBA Insider’s Blog to offer his experience preparing for job interviews.

The following piece has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the UCLA Anderson MBA Insider’s Blog.

Student Perspectives: Interview Prep at UCLA Anderson

It doesn’t matter how good you look on paper, the interview is where you get the job. My main purpose of coming to business school for many is to get a job. Parker, our career center, is world renown and includes help on networking, resumes, cover letters, interview prep, etc.   The Parker Series includes interview preparation that everyone goes through, but for select industries there are additional groups call Interview Prep Teams (IPT). I made the decision to recruit for consulting in my 3rd week at Anderson. At that time, I was told about the rigorous recruiting process and extensive interview prep. Many of the professional clubs offer interview preparation and the preparation for consulting is one of the most extensive. Everyone has experience with behavioral interviews (we did one to get into business school!), but case interviews out of business school need their own preparation. Here is a taste:

Step 1 – Norming Sessions The consulting IPT starts with 4 sessions to go over casing norms and introduce us to how to give and receive a case. In these sessions we go over frameworks, questions, organization, and more. In addition to taking a case, learning how to give a case is just as important. Seeing the case from the other side and how people solve the problem helps you refine your own case strategy.

Step 2 – IPT – After the sessions, we are split into teams of 4 with a second year coach. We meet every week for 5 weeks to receive 4 cases and give our assigned case to the other team members. This is where we make the most improvement in our casing and get to “work out our casing muscles.” It is all about consistency and seeing a variety of problems. However, it is more about quality over quantity. It is important to review a case you have already done and understand your mistakes and how to improve. Like everything in casing, we break down what we need to work on and focus on that 1-week at a time.

Step 3 – Continue the Preparation Over Winter break, we continued to case on our own and fine-tune our behavior questions. The interviews are generally in early January. We received some more last minute prep in a casing marathon before school started.

Step 4 – GET THE JOB!! Anderson is unique in their interview prep as it includes structure that won’t let you fall through the cracks. A variety of casing experts come to campus and offer workshops to help practice and give tips. This process is a great example of our culture of “share success” is obvious as we are in this together. I feel supported by the advisors, the second years, and my fellow first years. I have heard constantly to “trust the process.” The structure is welcome in a stressful time of doing everything we can to take the next step in our careers.

Student blogger: Ben Nichols
Hometown: Houston, TX
Undergraduate Studies: University of Texas
Pre-Anderson: Engineering
Post-MBA Goals: Management Consulting

Activities @ Anderson: Admissions Ambassador Corps, Management Consulting Association, Energy Management Group, AnderEATS, Anderson Creative

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.