Friday, February 2, 2007

Friday FAQ: Interviews

Now that invitations to interview have started to be released for Round 2 applicants, it's appropriate to address the following frequently asked question:
"What can I expect in my interview?"
Interviews for admission to Chicago GSB are conducted by invitation-only and are 'blind'. This means that the interviewer has not read your application; he or she simply has your resume. A GSB interview isn't dramatically different than a first round job interview. You'll probably be asked:
  • where you've been (i.e. "walk me through your resume" or some variation)
  • where you'd like to go and how you plan to get there (i.e. goals and the usual why MBA and why Chicago)
  • some behavioral-style interview questions (each interviewer has their own favorites to get to know you better)
It is not a stress or confrontational-style interview and you will not be asked technical questions. We'd just like to know a little more about you and get a sense of how you might fit in at the GSB.

A follow-up frequently asked question is:
"Should I do my interview on-campus or off-campus? Are the interviews different? Will they be evaluated differently?"
Interviews will vary a bit because each interviewer has their own style, but all Chicago GSB interviewers (Adcom professionals, 2nd year Graduate Assistants, and Alumni) have the same training and guidelines, so there will be an element of consistency. Interviews are evaluated the same and with equal weight within the context of your total application, no matter where the interview took place. So where you interview is all a matter of your preferences and what is within your time and resource constraints. If you haven't had a chance to visit campus previously, the interview is a great opportunity to come and see the GSB in person.

There is one potential area of difference. On-campus interviews are conducted by either an Adcom professional or a 2nd year Graduate Assistant. Your interviewer will likely be scheduled to conduct multiple interviews that day and will have to stick to the 30 minute time limit. 30 minutes is fairly short to cover all of the things I mentioned above, but your interviewer will do his or her best to keep things on schedule and allow time for your questions at the end. In comparison, an alumnus will probably have only one interview scheduled that day and may or may not be on a tight schedule. When time is not an issue, there may be more small talk, more time to dig deeper into the questions I mentioned above, more time for questions and conversation at the end. That being said, the differences will be pretty minor and shouldn't really influence your decision.

Want to discuss this topic some more? Head on over to the Chicago GSB Discussion Forums