No Mute Button In An MBA Interview

Author : pollymcelroy
Publish Date : 2021-05-22


No Mute Button In An MBA Interview

Chicago Booth School of Business is consistently rated in the top echelon of MBA programs in the United States and is known for a strong intellectual community. This application is designed to evaluate candidates on their ability to handle the Chicago curriculum, contribute to the community, and grow in their careers. This year Chicago has discarded a longer essay on your career goals in favor of two short essays and the creative powerpoint presentation question.

Academic ability will largely be communicated through your GPA/GMAT, transcripts and other fixed data points, though intellectual curiosity can be demonstrated in essays and the interview. Community focuses on your demonstrated leadership, team building skills and community involvement, as well as your fit with Chicago Booth and the perspective you will share with your classmates. All MBA candidates are ultimately looking for a degree that will enhance their career. Chicago Booth wants to know about your track record of success, expectations for the MBA, and plans for the future.

Chicago Booth's open-ended creative presentation or essay confounds many candidates. Whether you choose to write an essay or prepare a four slide presentation, take a step back from the unique format and think about the question strategically. The power point format simply gives you the freedom to express that answer in words, images, graphics or some combination.

The best presentations will be simple, evocative and expressive. Remember, content is far more important than creativity of presentation.

Short Answer Essays

Please respond to the following two essay prompts:

a. My favorite part of my work is... (250 words maximum)

This short answer essay is the only explicit inquiry about your career in this set of essays. It is notable that the essay question focuses on passions, not goals. For a question like that it's important to distill your career aspirations and feelings about your work into a clear statement. Think about why you go to work everyday and the moments that inspire you at your job and in your career. Ideally your career passions hint at what drives you on a deeper level and fit with your personal and extracurricular pursuits as well.

b. I started to think differently when... (250 words maximum)

Chicago is a school with a tradition of intellectual rigor, and the second short answer essay focuses on how your thinking has evolved over time. This question gives you an opportunity to discuss something that has changed your thinking fundamentally. This could be an experience at work, home, or in an extracurricular activity. It could even be a travel experience or something that you saw someone else go through.

For example, perhaps a trip to another country changed fundamentally your ideas about society and economics. Or watching a family member struggle with an illness convinced you that preserving health was a fundamental goal of your own life. Whatever the experience was, make sure you are able to succinctly describe it and the way it changed your thinking.

Presentation/Essay

The Chicago experience will take you deeper into issues, force you to challenge assumptions, and broaden your perspective. In a four-slide presentation or an essay of no more than 600 words, broaden our perspective about who you are. Understanding what we currently know about you from the rest of the application, what else would you like us to know?

This creative essay offers you a blank slate to express yourself with any content you choose. When approaching the question focus first on content, and then on delivery.

This is the ideal opportunity to bring in any aspect of your overall story that does not fit in any other essay. Think about any aspects of leadership, teamwork and intellectual curiosity you have already presented in the previous essays, and where the gaps are. If you wrote about your professional experiences in prior essays, the presentation could focus on personal stories. If there wasn't enough opportunity to outline your core career passions in your resume or other essays this could be a place to illuminate that detail.

If you decide to write an essay response, you have enough space to tell a story that describes something new about yourself. If you decide to prepare a power point in response to this essay question, refine your story to its key elements. Four slides is a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of detail. Can you use photos? Drawings? If you use words, keep them clear and focused. Take every point up a level, so you are communicating a vision rather than a thesis.

Reapplicant Question: Upon reflection, how has your perspective regarding your future, Chicago Booth, and/or getting an MBA changed since the time of your last application? (300 words maximum)

This reapplication essay question gives you the opportunity to focus on your thinking and development rather than any tangible changes you have made since you last applied. Of course, if you do have new accomplishments like a promotion or higher GMAT score that will be of significant value to your re-application.

If you do not have any new hard changes to your profile this essay is an opportunity to show that you have done the work to evaluate your candidacy and have made changes this time around. The word reflection is explicit in the question, and the admissions committee will be looking for your thoughtful consideration of Chicago, your future and your MBA plans.

Stacy Sukov Blackman launched her MBA consulting company specializing in business school branding in 2001 and has since helped thousands of clients gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world, many with merit scholarships. Blackman has degrees from both the Wharton School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and is the author of The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Business School. She has also published a series of online guides which contain in depth guidance on how to develop essays for top business schools.

There is no mute button in an admissions interview to get into a top business school. Here are six interview tactics that will leave them wanting more of you.

1) THERE'S NO PRIZE FOR ANSWERING THE FASTEST! Business school interviews are as much about getting to know you as they are about getting to know how you think. The interviewer isn't going to endorse you based on how fast you answer a question, but they are going to hold it against you if you answer a question without understanding it. So if you're stumped by a question, ask for clarification. And don't be afraid to take a moment to ponder your answer. A well-thought answer is never a bad thing!

2) BE A BROKEN RECORD. What's the best way to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. The same can be said for your business school interview, PRACTICE! Once you've thought of the stories and anecdotes you want to highlight in your interview, practice them out loud and for an audience. Sure, your roommate may roll her eyes when asked to hear the "Peace Corps" story again and your brother may plug his ears when you tell him the "What I Learned From Being Fired" story again, but all that practice will make sure your Interviewer isn't the one plugging his ears and rolling his eyes.

3) IT'S AN INTERVIEW, NOT A MONOLOGUE. The point of the interview is to get to know you, but you don't want to bore the interviewer in the process. Remember, they may interview dozens of candidates. That means a lot of eager future-moguls talking about the same thing: themselves. So whenever possible, make the interview a conversation, not a monologue. By including the interviewer in the conversation, you'll keep them interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.

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4) DON'T MISS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET TO KNOW AN ALUM. If your interviewer just happens to be an alum, take the opportunity to get to know a bit more about their experiences with the school. Not only will you learn more about your potential business school, but by asking thoughtful questions your interviewer will get another opportunity to see your savvy thought process and insightful way of thinking. Believe us - MBAs love to talk about themselves!

5) PROFESSIONAL IS AS PROFESSIONAL DOES. Be on time and be professional. That means, be on time if not early. Dress professionally, turn your cell phone off and present yourself as you would at work. Not sure what that means? Ask your friends who have gone to business school, or a trusted professional. Still not sure? Just think of what your mother would say to do, don't be late, sit up straight, spit out your gum and for goodness sake, turn off your cell phone! Nothing screams unprofessional like the beeping of an iPhone text because all your buddies and family members want to know how it's going.

6) DON'T BE A ROBOT. Easier said than done, but RELAX and realize you are speaking to a real live human being. If your interviewer wanted formulaic answers without the addition of your personality and charm, they'd read your resume and application package and that would be that. They're interviewing you because they want to get to know you. Your personality is as unique as your experiences. Share your story and share who you are, that's why they're there after all!

Stacy Sukov Blackman launched her MBA consulting company specializing in business school branding in 2001 and has since helped thousands of clients gain admission to the most selective business schools in the world, many with merit scholarships. Blackman has degrees from both the Wharton School and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and is the author of The MBA Application Roadmap: The Essential Guide to Getting Into a Business School. She has also published a series of online guides which contain in depth guidance on how to develop essays for top business schools



Category :education

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