Best MBA Interview Practices: Strategically Extending Your Examples

Good interviews are built on specific examples, as I wrote about in a previous post, and once you have shared an example, you have an opportunity to grab the initiative in a way that connects directly back to the school. Diagrammed, it looks like this:

Power of One Story.jpg

Most people seem to get it right away, but just in case, the main point behind this diagram is that your answer doesn’t have to end when your story does. That is a passive, defensive approach to interviewing that leaves you at the mercy of the interviewer. As the diagram illustrates, you can take control of the interview by extending your answer vertically or horizontally.

For example, after describing a leadership accomplishment (starting top, left-hand column and moving down), you can then extract the core strengths demonstrated in that example before going on to describe how you will contribute those strengths to the MBA program. You could follow a similar flow if asked about a failure (right-hand column). The beauty of this system is that you can enter anywhere and still stretch your answer in value-added ways with a few simple transitions.

You won’t be able to do this all the time and in every situation. In fact, you need strong 2-way communication skills and good EQ to pull this off effectively. But this technique can give you more options and flexibility to express the points you want to make within a natural-sounding flow. There’s a lot more behind this technique, so if you have questions or want to practice your MBA interview with me, please email me directly.