This blog story was updated on February 20, 2019. For additional tips, read this blog post.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking. Whether for a job or your MBA, there’s the fear of making a gaffe or giving a rambling answer. With the right preparation, you can increase your odds of success and calm your nerves. The admissions interview is one part of the holistic application process and while it is not considered more or less important than any other portion of your application, the interview is the only face-to-face admissions interaction you have during the application process. It is your opportunity to further expound upon your essays, experiences and desires for attending Booth.
Admissions interviews for the Evening and Weekend MBA programs are by invitation only, and are conducted after submitting a completed application in the online application system. Interview decisions will be released within 10 days of submitting your completed application. If you are invited to interview, you will receive information about scheduling your in-person interview at that time. All CBF applicants are invited to interview. Admissions interviews take place at Gleacher Center, our downtown campus, and are considered ‘blind’ meaning you will be interviewed by one of our trained admissions committee members who have only seen your resume. The admissions committee includes alumni, current students, and the Evening MBA and Weekend MBA team members.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for your admissions interview:
#1 First impressions matter.
Show up approximately ten minutes prior to your interview. If you are stuck in traffic, call ahead and let us know. Bring a copy of your resume for your interviewer. Wear a suit-dress the part. These basics can have a significant impact.
#2 Be authentic.
This is one of the biggest pieces of advice we give: be authentic. The students at Chicago Booth come from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds, and they have unique interests and goals that they seek to achieve during their MBA and beyond. Your interviewer wants to know what makes you unique and what you will contribute to the classroom and community.
#3 Be consistent.
You can expect your interviewer to ask similar questions you already answered in your essays and other sections of the application, and this is intentional. When reviewing your application and evaluation from your interviewer, we want to see consistency in your reasons for pursuing an MBA, why you are interested in Booth, and your career objectives.
Did you know there are 40+ Evening and Weekend student clubs and organizations such as the Consulting Club, Booth Social Impact, Running Club, and Graduate Women in Business? Did you know Booth has the most flexible curriculum, including 13 concentrations you can choose from to tailor your academic experience to fit your specific interests and goals? By getting to know Booth prior to coming in for your interview, you will be better prepared to ask well-informed questions, and prepare solid examples about how you will take advantage of the myriad possibilities at Chicago Booth.
#5 Give specific examples.
Consider two to three key points you would like to get across during your interview. Did you go on an epic trip that changed your life perspective and life plan? Did you have the opportunity to lead a project within your organization and learn key insights from the experience? Prepare your answers in advance and create a mental check-list to go through during your interview. Remember that the interviews are very conversational, so you may need to use creativity to work your key points into the conversation.
Being a good listener is as important as being able to share your ideas. Focus on what question the interviewing is asking of you. Listen for what is really being asked of you. Take a moment after the question to prepare your response.
#7 Ask good questions.
Current students and alumni offer a unique glimpse into the Chicago Booth community. We encourage you to come prepared with specific questions about the student experience. Some examples are: Why did you choose Booth? What challenges have you encountered and how did you overcome? What is the best part of the Booth community? What has been your favorite class? Even if the interviewer is not in the exact same situation as you, more than likely they will be able to draw on examples of fellow classmates to further showcase the experience you can expect at Booth.
Practice makes perfect. While you might feel like a seasoned pro at interviews or conversations, there are instances when nerves catch us off guard and get the best of us. By putting together your admissions essays you have prepared for a significant part of the interview; however, consider additional questions that will be asked of you. Practice your answers in a mock interview setting with a colleague, friends, family- anyone that will give honest and constructive feedback. Some questions to consider are what accomplishments are you most proud of? Who do you look up to as a leader and why?How would your manager and/or work colleagues describe you?
#9 Why do you want to be here and not somewhere else?
Based on the publication of essays by professor Harry Davis, the admissions interview is a time for you to talk with the admissions committee about your career goals, why you are interested in an MBA, and most importantly, why a Chicago Booth MBA. Use this time to express how the Booth MBA will enable you to grow, how you will contribute to the community, as well as what you will do with your Booth degree.
#10 Follow Up.
Regardless of how you feel your interview went, follow up is important. If you do not receive your interviewer's contact information, simply send your thank-you note to your admissions contact or our email hotline, and we will pass along. Thanking the staff you interacted with is also a sure way to leave a positive, lasting impression.