I applied to Georgetown McDonough Round 1 and was invited to interview on campus or remotely. I was able to make it to campus on the last day available in the portal, just before Thanksgiving. I had already done self-initiated interviews at two other schools and bombed the first one – I wasn’t prepared and very tired so I rambled and the scheduled 30-45 minute interview lasted well over an hour. So I made sure to be well-rested and focused for the McDonough interview.
I was interviewed by a first-year student at the admissions office in the business school. I’m a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer and my interviewer was a Fulbright Scholar so immediately we had something to talk about and the atmosphere was very relaxed. I don’t remember every question or how all of them were phrased, but here’s a general overview of the conversation:
1. Tell me about your recent work history (last few years).
2. What’s your greatest accomplishment?
3. Tell me about a time that you were in a challenging work environment.
4. Tell me about a time that you had to be less involved in a project.
5. What’s the best piece of constructive feedback you’ve received from a manager?
6. What other schools did you apply to?
7. Do you have any questions for me?
The interview was somewhat conversational and lasted about 35 minutes. While our long-term goals were different, we also talked a lot about the similar short-term challenges we’ll face getting on our desired career path. I felt it went well and the interviewer definitely seemed interested and present the whole time. McDonough makes a lot of sense for me based on my goals and I’d say that my interactions with the interviewer were probably the best I’ve had with anyone at the school so far. She was professional, friendly and obviously very intelligent.
I have two pieces of advice for future interviewees. First, relax. Maybe I’m naive, but I really think the interview is primarily about demonstrating that you will be a positive influence in the classroom and on campus. Second, understand that a conversational interview doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared with professional answers. This is where I screwed up my other interview. Conversational doesn’t mean it’s only a conversation. You still need to show that you’re prepared. Have 1-2 minute stories ready for the most common questions and when in doubt, keep a story short and offer to provide more info if they’re interested. And then, even if your story is short and not a great answer, remain friendly and positive and one bad story won’t sink your interview.