The Foolproof Guide to Getting Accepted
Getting accepted into a business school can be diﬃcult, but one thing that you can do to improve your chances of acceptance is to prepare well for your interviews. Unfortunately, many applicants try to wing their interviews and end up failing miserably, which means they don’t get in. If you want to succeed at business school interviews, make sure you take the time to prepare beforehand, so you can perform well in front of the admission oﬃcers who will decide whether or not you should be granted admission into their school.
Before you apply
In order to be accepted into a business school, you need to first apply. Before you start filling out application forms, though, give yourself a pep talk. A business school is one of those things that’s easy to want but diﬃcult to get into—the odds are stacked against you. The most common mistake applicants make is assuming it’s easier than it really is; as a result, they end up applying for schools that are way above their level. Don’t make these mistakes: Instead, do your research before you apply and find programs that fit your needs and skillset. If a program seems like it might be right for you, but not quite right enough, save it for later and keep looking at other programs in case there’s something even better suited to your needs. And remember to never lose sight of what you’re hoping to gain from getting into a business school. Whether it’s brand recognition or expanded professional opportunities, take some time beforehand and figure out what you’re aiming for so you can use each application form (and each follow-up email) as an opportunity to convince admissions oﬃcers why you’re right for them and why they should accept you into their program.
During your application
Demonstrate your fit for their business school. A lot of admissions oﬃcers (particularly those from elite programs) are using behavioral interviews and case studies as a way to gauge whether an applicant is well-suited for business school and will succeed in those programs. To prepare, conduct some mock interviews with friends or professionals you admire.
Getting good grades in your first year of college. Gaining some experience as a volunteer. It will help you understand how to work within a team, and also make sure you are doing something you are actually interested in. Working at an internship for at least three months is strongly recommended, even if you do not want to continue working in that field afterwards.
Make sure you are a good fit for their program. Most schools will be upfront about whether they accept candidates based on grades, test scores or both. If your scores fall below their standards, consider retaking a standardized test such as an GMAT or GRE. The preparation courses for each of these tests will help you gain insights into how to perform better and make eﬃcient use of your time during exams. MBA HOUSE GMAT & GRE prep can help you.
When you get an interview
If you’re like most people who get an interview at a business school, you’re pretty excited— maybe too excited. This can work against you: You might be tempted to babble about every activity and experience on your resume instead of answering in complete sentences. But remember, admissions oﬃcers are not just looking for high GPAs or GMAT scores. They want to know what makes you tick. A strong interviewer will show enthusiasm but also a healthy dose of self-awareness: Listen carefully to questions, and don’t assume you have all day. Be confident without seeming cocky; know when it’s time to shut up. Above all, convey your excitement about how much you would love to attend that particular MBA program above all others—because that’s true!
At the interview
Know your story – research, outline and practice in advance of your interview. Understand what you’re trying to achieve by going through business school and what you’ll contribute as a student and an alumnus. Be specific about why you want to be there, which schools you applied for, what criteria are important for each school (research them online) and why. Be able to talk about a situation that has taught you something or that demonstrates a strength. Also have some questions ready to ask your interviewer. The key is: be memorable! Make sure you go into detail rather than making statements that could apply to anyone applying to any business school.
Afterwards – getting accepted
It’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to do when you get accepted. Everyone wants you, so now you have a big decision: where are you going? Because getting accepted doesn’t mean that it will be oﬀered—so how can you make sure that your target school is really right for you? Here are some things to consider before making a final decision. (Look out for our upcoming post on interview questions and tips!)