For those who are preparing their MBA applications would know very well that the admissions interview is very important and should not be taken lightly. In fact, at the Rotman School, the final stage of the application is the admissions interview. If you receive an interview invitation from us, first of all congratulations your application made a very good first impression and we wanted to meet with you in person! Second, the admissions interview means you’re half way there.
Some people see the admissions interview as a routine procedure. However in fact it is way beyond that. At the Rotman School, we assess the applications from a holistic perspective; this means all components carry equal weight: Essays, work experience, GPA, GMAT/GRE, references and admissions interview. Before we finalize our admission decision, we definitely make sure we meet with the candidate either in-person or via Skype or phone.
If you are invited to an admissions interview, you should realize that it is your chance to strengthen that first impression that you had made on paper and to share some of the things you were not able to share in your essays or your resume would not tell us!
Tip #1: Don’t repeat your essays! We already read them. If you’d like to elaborate an example you provided in your essays, that’s fine however telling exactly the same things is not a good idea. I have been asked many times if we really take the time to read all the essays and references, the answer is yes, we do take the time to read your application because it is our first step to assess your overall candidacy. Especially at the Rotman School, you are not just a GPA or GMAT score.
Tip #2: Don’t read your resume. We would like to go beyond your resume and hear your accomplishments in your own words. Reading your resume will also prevent you from making eye contact and using your body language effectively!
The interview is a great venue for you to show your soft skills. I am sure you have heard this many times from other business school representatives as well; soft skills are as important as technical skills.
Tip #3: Your admissions interview starts well before the actual interview. If you made phone calls or email inquiries, we have them in your file. How you present yourself matters a lot to us. We are looking for candidates with very strong communication skills. Therefore how you resolve issues; such as the inquiries you have made to find out about your test score or transcripts may be good indicators of your communication skills! The MBA is not just a great business education; the business school you choose to attend will provide you with many networking opportunities; given the caliber of the faculty, guest speakers and industry leaders as well as the great students in the program; having good interpersonal and communication skills is a must for the Rotman MBA program.
Tip #4: Think of your admissions interview like a job interview. What do most recruiters tell you? The interview starts when you report to the receptionist. It’s the same with business schools; we would like to see candidates who are professional at all times.
Asking questions at the end of the interview or even throughout the interview is a very good practice. It shows that you have done some research about the program and would like to learn more. Furthermore, you can create an engaging atmosphere with your questions. However:
Tip #5: Asking meaningful questions will accomplish the abovementioned. If you ask the tuition fee or anything that can be easily found on the website, your questions will not set you apart. The questions at the end are not your chance to do research. At the end of a job interview, asking a couple of relevant questions to show your interest and your research is considered to be one of the best practices. You can apply the same logic. If you have too many questions and if they’re generic questions, it shows that you have not done much research; this is not a good sign. Most business schools have comprehensive websites where you can read about the programs, watch videos about the student experience and the school.
Tip #6: The manner is also important. If you ask your questions one after another without any context, you might leave the impression that you are asking random questions or interrogating the admissions person. The interview should be interactive and engaging. The idea is to get to know you better and to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about us.
Last but not least Tip #7: Be professional and dress for success! You are about to attend a business school to pursue your MBA degree; while going back to school might be exciting, the business school is like the business world. You will be meeting with individuals from all over the world and who knows you might be doing business with them down the road.
If you think about it, the interview is actually one of the few parts of the application that is still within your control. It’s a great venue to present your best self and clarify any concerns the admissions person may have about your application.
Preparing for your admissions interview and need some tips? Enjoy our new videos on our YouTube Channel. You will learn more about the Rotman School and get some cool tips for your essays and the admissions interview!
Looking forward to meeting with you in the near future.