Killer Interviews

Thanks for your patience during my blogging hiatus and for your kind wishes for 2009. Over the next few days, I’ll be providing “Killer Interview” techniques and approaches that I’ve developed over the many years I’ve been coaching MBA applicants. The topics will include (and may expand):

1) Developing Your Interview Strategy
2) Introducing Yourself: The Verbal Resume
3) One-Sentence Stories: The Killer Technique
4) Covering Your Resume: The Domain of Your Interview
5) Asking Good Questions to Expand the Dialogue

First up: Developing Your Interview Strategy

It still surprises me how many people sweat and babble through their MBA interviews without a strategy. I consider them victims, at the mercy of the interviewer. However, strategic applicants, those who know their best stories and can deploy them to maximum effect, gain control over the content and direction of the interview.

A good strategy is based on good essays; if they are developed properly, then they should already provide a comprehensive profile of you covering the typical interview questions. By “properly” I mean that individual essays are structured and detailed enough to withstand the probing of a dubious interviewer, and that your essays are consistent and integrated as a whole. If your essays do not match this criteria, then prepare to sweat and babble.

The first step to developing a strategy then is to review your essays, and to a lesser extent your resume and even your LOR (depending on your access), to identify the 10-15 most important topics you want to cover. I think a good list has to include the following:

1) Self-introduction
2) Short-term goals
3) Long-term goals
4) Why MBA?
5) Why School X?
6) Accomplishments
7) Personal life
8) Strengths
9) Weaknesses
10) Contributions
11) Questions for the interviewer
12-15) Other topics that express your unique experiences/qualities

For most of my clients, these topics have been well developed by the time of the interview, so identifying them is easy. The difficulty is presenting a topic both individually and strategically.

Doing that starts with Introducing Yourself, which I will cover in my next post.