Hopefully your response was, without any hesitancy, “YES.” The best way to demonstrate your interest in an MBA program is to ask thoughtful questions when given the chance at the end. (Everyone likes to feel that someone’s interested in them, right?). So how do you navigate this point of the interview and make a good impression?
Frame your questions in a positive light. Regardless of where this program falls on your wish list, at this point, you’re still marketing yourself. (And this program may turn out to be your only option!) So don’t put the interviewer on the defensive or express any hesitations you may have. Questions like, “I am very excited by the tech concentration; can you tell me more about XX aspects of it?” will go farther than implying that you’re still sizing up whether the tech program works for you.
Admissions officers want to feel that, if they extend an offer to you, you will be eager to accept. Show them how much you know and care about the school already. Go beyond the information you can find on the school’s website; do additional research by talking with current students and alumni and reading up on news stories featuring the school. Then ask questions probing into what you’ve learned.
Think About Your Interviewer
Student interviewers will have different perspectives from alumni interviewers, as will admissions staff. Tailor your questions to the type of person you’re meeting with—and always be prepared for a surprise guest or an understudy. (Last week, one our clients’ alumni interviews unexpectedly included the head of admissions!)
For instance, you could certainly ask alumni interviewers about the classes they found most memorable, though it wouldn’t be wise to ask them about new academic programs they may not be aware of. Similarly, admissions staff might not be able to speak from personal experience about attending the program, while current students won’t be able to discuss the impact on their careers after graduation. (Here’s a safe question for everyone: “What are your favorite aspects of the school?”)
Think About Yourself
Other good questions are those directly related to you and your goals. If you are interested in specific programs, faculty members, or activities, definitely bring these up! If you’re interested in international business, ask questions about their travel abroad opportunities. If you’d be attending school with a significant other, you can ask about partner programs. Just avoid asking anything too obscure, so you don’t end up stumping your interviewer.
Think of Solidifying Your Candidacy
Once you’re asked a couple of good targeted questions, a good closer is, “Is there anything else I can address?” It’s a question that encourages your interviewer to find out more about you, and demonstrates that you’re eager for them to find out. It shows your proactive side. Moreover, if you did happen to make a misstep, they can use this moment to clarify any miscommunication.
Sealing the Deal
When you’re done, make sure you get the interviewer’s contact information so you can write a thank-you note. It’s both a common courtesy and a way to solidify a connection. Write it immediately following the interview (an email is fine), because they’ll be writing up their report shortly after meeting with you. Keep it short and sweet, sharing how much you got out of your conversation and how it reinforced that this school is an ideal fit for you. Sound confident about how things went—although if there’s anything critical you need to address about your interview, you can do it here as well.
[For MBA interview preparation, or for general MBA admissions advice, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org]
© Shine/ MBA Admissions Consulting, November 6, 2014, 10:15am MT