In this Admissions Insights Series post, Melissa Patterson, Assistant Director of Admissions and Analytics, offers a '"how-to" on preparing for your Chicago Booth interview.
Have you been invited to interview with the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program? If so, congratulations! – you’ve reached the final step in the application process. You are probably feeling both excited and a bit nervous. As you think ahead to your interview, you will likely have questions – Who will interview me? What can I expect from the interview? How should I prepare? The interview is an important aspect of our admissions process. Not only is it another opportunity for us to get to know you better, but it also provides you a chance to develop a more thorough sense of our community. Your interview will typically be conducted by an alumnus or a member of the admissions team. Our interviews are blind, meaning the interviewer will have only reviewed your resume, not your whole application. As such, you will have a chance to expand on your essays, experiences, and reasons for attending Chicago Booth as well as ask questions of your own. Keep in mind that the experience is meant to be positive - there won’t be any case questions or interrogations. However, there are some things you can do to enhance the experience.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW: PREPARE
Gather Your Thoughts. As you completed your application and explored the Executive MBA program, you probably did a significant amount of research. Similar to preparing for a job interview, the days leading up to the interview are a great time to refresh your research and ensure you can articulate why Chicago Booth is the right fit for you. Beyond the information available on our website, you can also call upon others in the Booth community to provide you insights about the program. If you know any current students, alumni, faculty or staff, these are all good people to connect with beforehand. If you have not yet established these relationships, contact the Admissions Office to see if they can put you in touch with someone.
Practice Your Responses. Spend some time thinking about the questions your interviewer may pose and practice your answers. There are three main points to consider:
1) Know yourself. What is your story? How would you describe your skills, leadership traits, and unique experiences?
2) Career trajectory. What have you accomplished in your career to date? Be prepared to showcase this with concrete examples.
3) Your goals. What are your aspirations? The Executive MBA Program demands a significant commitment of your time and energy. How are you planning to use this investment in yourself?
Consider the Logistics. The rest of the preparations are easy. Some key things to do are: make your travel plans, write down your questions in advance and wear appropriate business attire.
DURING THE INTERVIEW: THE BASICS
Be on time. You may have heard that first impressions matter; well it’s true - they do. Head out for your interview early, taking precautions to arrive ten minutes prior. If you cannot make it on time due to unforeseen circumstances, be sure to call the interviewer to let them know.
Relax. Once there, relax and be yourself. Authenticity is important! The interviewer is hoping to walk away with a strong understanding of who you are and how you will be as a Chicago Booth student.
Listen. Pay attention to the question that’s asked and then pause to think before responding. If the question is not clear to you, ask the interviewer to clarify. Then, prepare your response - you are allowed to take time to think, and your interviewer will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Show curiosity. You will be given time to ask questions. Bring along a couple of prepared questions and be ready to ask some that arise from the interview session. The interviewer will be happy to answer your questions and share their experiences so that you can get a clearer picture of Chicago Booth.
FOLLOWING THE INTERVIEW: THE WAIT
Thank Your Interviewer. Your interviewer, especially an alumnus, has taken time to meet with you so be sure to thank them for it. All of us enjoy meeting prospective students, admissions staff and alumni alike, so we are also thankful for the time you have spent with us. Without a doubt, each interviewer learns something new through every discussion and is happy to have made the connection with you.
Follow up with Questions. The decision to attend the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program is significant. You need to be sure you have all the information necessary to make an informed evaluation. Admission decisions are generally emailed four to six weeks following the interview so you will have plenty of time to follow up with your interviewer or an admissions staff member regarding any questions as you wait.
We wish you the best of luck as you move forward in your MBA journey. We look forward to meeting you along the way!