The interview questions Northwestern's Kellogg is asking this year

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is one of the couple business schools in that it requests all applicants to schedule an interview. On-campus interviews will be conducted by an admissions officer or a current student, while off-campus interviews are usually conducted by alumni. For all interviews, the interviewer will have only read the resume submitted upon registration. Expect the interview to last 30-45 minutes.

The Chicago Skyline minutes away from Kellogg’s Campus

The Chicago Skyline minutes away from Kellogg’s Campus

Both on- and off-campus interviewers at Kellogg are not given a predetermined script, so applicants should be ready for a variety of questions to be asked. The level of rigor and engagement can also vary widely depending on who ends up conducting the interview. However, applicants should expect the interview to have a conversational feel, with the goal of getting to know the applicant more intimately.

Analysis of the questions this year:

Our analysis of the questions our clients have been asked by Kellogg indicate that in addition to the typical career transitions, Kellogg is very interested in understanding the specific leadership style of each candidate and what experiences have informed the formation of that style. Additionally, Kellogg is placing a greater emphasis on diversity and experience in leadership of diverse teams and wants to see a certain baseline of that experience in its applicants.

The specific questions Kellogg has already asked this year:

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  • Walk me through your resume.

  • Why did you choose your undergrad? Your major?

  • Tell me about which experience in your career you had the most impact.

  • Tell me about a time where you dealt with a team with a lot of diversity. What did you gain/learn? What challenges did you face.

  • How did you manage your junior team members? What did you learn as a manager?

  • What does leadership mean to you?

  • What are the specific traits that define a leader?

  • What are your strengths?

  • What are your long and short term goals?

  • Why MBA? Why Kellogg? Why now?

  • Tell me about your biggest concern or challenge you expect to face at Kellogg.

  • Kellogg is a diverse school. When have you interacted with people differently than you?

  • What is your leadership style? Why is it the way it is?

  • What role do you play within a team?

  • What specially do you hope to gain with your time at Kellogg?

  • Any questions for me?

The interview questions HBS is asking so far

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Perhaps the most feared and intimidating interview in MBA admissions is the one at Harvard Business School. That’s true for several reasons.

First, unlike student or alumni-led interviews, where the interviewer reviews your resume as you hand it to them, the HBS Admissions Committee comes dangerously prepared. The night before they carefully review each resume, looking for inconsistent themes, odd career transitions, vaguery to clear up, and anything they happen to find interesting. They then write up a list of pointed questions and prepare to deliver them rapid fire over the course of their 30 minutes with you.

Second, the entire time the interviewer and their scribe will be evaluating your communication skills to see if you’d crack under the pressure of the case classroom. They will want to see that you are able to clearly articulate your thoughts with logical structure and that your answers are persuasive. They will also probe to test the depth of your professional knowledge to see if you will be able to serve as an appropriate representative for your industry to the rest of your section.

Third, HBS’s admissions department is a well-oiled machine, and many find the incredible professionalism of its staff to be intimidating. There is a dedicated check-in center where Admissions Director Chad Losee can often be seek taking applicant’s coats. At the appointed time, an admissions staffer walks all the interviewees up to their “green room” to wait for their individual interviewers to be ready. Precisely at the appointed hour, the interview room doors open, and the names of each applicant are read out. Exactly 30 minutes later, the interviews end and the applicants are led back downstairs and on their way. For some, this is too much and we often receive reports that when clients visit the bathroom before and after the interviews, they can hear other applicants vomiting.

The questions HBS has already asked this year:

In general we are finding that HBS is much more interested in measuring each candidate’s industry knowledge and ability to represent their industry in section. We recommend that candidates prepare by researching the latest trends in their industry and be able to speak to the recent performance of their own company.

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  • Explain to me why you studied [foreign language on resume].

  • Explain how the [foreign language listed on resume] alphabet works.

  • Why did you study [undergraduate major]?

  • What is your criteria for turning down investments?

  • Compare and contrast [your sector] with [another adjacent sector].

  • Why did you choose to work abroad? Why that city?

  • Tell me about your most interesting consulting project.

  • What about your background led management to choose you for this project?

  • What are the challenges that the company you are working with right now is facing?

  • How have you tried to [solve problem mentioned in your application] through your professional work?

  • Tell me more about [the start-up you interned at]. What is the next big thing for it?

  • Which competitors should [start-up company] worry about? Do you think [company] will ever be profitable?

  • How would you evaluate [your undergraduate college’s] recent endowment investments in your industry?

  • What do you read, what news?

  • What do you do for fun?

  • Was your military service mandatory? If not, why did you do it?

  • Why do you want to move to [country]?

  • Evaluate the value of [your industry].

  • Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?

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  • Send us your full application materials, and we’ll get you written feedback within three business days.

  • Once you’ve received your written feedback, you’ll have an hour to chat on the phone with us for any follow-up questions.

  • Note: If you are looking for in-depth strategic advice on your resume or essays, you should opt for our Essay Editing. Final check is primarily a tactical check with a strategic assessment of your application as a whole.

The Tuck School of Business was the first modern business school founded in the United States (in 1900). Named for one of the founders of the Republican Party, Tuck boasts one of the robust old-school career networks that make business schools famous. Tuckies routinely score great jobs as established firms like McKinsey and BCG through the loyal Tuck network, and the larger, more fanatical Dartmouth College network.

Given its small class size and bucolic location, Tuck offers one of the most intimate MBA experience in the Top-10. Students are intensely social -- traveling around the world together on treks and participating in intramural sports in record numbers (about 90% of the students play on one of the school's many hockey teams -- it's a way of life!). To thrive in this environment, Tuckies pride themselves on their collaborative and social culture and are looking for applicants who can fit in and are equally fanatical about Tuck as they are.

Ivy Admissions Group has intensely deep roots at Dartmouth and can help you easily navigate the applicant-initiated interview. Our Ace the Interview service will provide you with a custom dossier of questions that you can expect based on your unique background, two complete student-style interviews with interactive debriefs, media coaching to come off as more likable, and even help with reflection feedback. It's everything you need to Ace the Interview!

Dinged Without Interview from HBS? Find Out Why

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Today the deans in Dillon House (see left) release interview decisions for the last batch of Round 2 applicants at HBS. Some will be among the lucky few to score one of the few remaining interview invitations with the admissions committee (in which case, talk to us about how to prepare!). The rest will get the "ding", or in HBS parlance, "be released from consideration so you can move ahead with your other applications."

Getting the ding can be a real bummer. You might think, was my application really not good enough to make it to the interview phase? What would have happened had the Adcom actually met me? What does this mean for my other applications? Does this mean that I don't have a chance if I reapply next year?

You shouldn't give in to such negative feelings. In reality, schools like HBS are super receptive to re-applicants; the key is that you need to dispassionately evaluate what exactly went wrong in your application and -- most importantly -- use that information to put forth an even more kick-ass application in the future! That's our objective when we run our Ding Reports on clients. Below are some of the most common areas of improvement that we find:

Unimportant narrative - HBS wants students who are going to change the world, not just change their job. Ask yourself this: would the Adcom feel that they are making the world a better place when they admit me? If not, then you have failed in this dimension.

Not credible in mission - Maybe you have a good mission in life; the challenge is why should I believe that you are the MBA who is going to accomplish it? As important as it is to pick a good mission, you also have to choose where to place the goal posts. A mission that is too broad or not aligned with your previous work experience may appear too unrealistic to be credible.

No cohesion in life story - No one likes a flip-flopper. Sure your career can take twists and turns, but can you argue that everything is all a part of a singular overarching mission? We can, and you should.

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Not aware of / not addressing weaknesses - Everyone has weaknesses. Good leaders show self-awareness about their weaknesses and consciously work to improve them. If you don't, you might not fit in with the continuous self-improvement mindset of HBS.

Never answered "why HBS?" - MBA applications should be like love letters - they need to be personalized. No other school should be able to read it and fall in love with you. HBS wants high commitment individuals that will thrive in its on-campus, case-discussion dominated environment. To get in, you really need to show the Adcom what you are going to do with that spot that you can't do at another business school.

The wrong recommenders - Business schools prioritize work experience above all else, and the single biggest champion for your work experience is your recommender. The challenge is that if you pick someone who is too far in your past, or too senior to have directly observed your working behaviors, the vivid recommendation you need will come out blurry.

Aiming at the wrong tier of business school - If your GPA and GMAT are not in the ballpark, you might not have a chance no matter how good of an application you have. Reach out to us here and we'll help you determine your odds and which schools you should be targeting.

Congrats to those invited to interview at HBS – Now what?

The first round of HBS interview invites went out today at noon (the next batch will be sent out at noon on 30 Jan). Congrats to everyone who was invited! That’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself. But what should you do next?

  1. Optimize your interview time. You don’t want to be stressed out or distracted by any tight connections or traffic in the cab ride, so look at flights now and optimize your time slot according to your route.
  2. Honestly appraise your weaknesses. Everyone has them, even if you made it this far. The key is that the Adcom will use the interview to poke and prod your weaknesses to see how deep they go and how well you think on your feet, so be ready!
  3. Understand which questions the Adcom will ask you specifically. These will follow from your weaknesses. Practice makes perfect so identify them early.
  4. Research which questions are common at that school. They’ll use these questions to start and fill time. Practice your answers out-loud as oral communication skills are one of the key criteria they will use to evaluate you.
  5. Practice with people who have successfully gone through the HBS interview experience. Ideally with more than one as you can get two perspectives.

Want some help with numbers 2-5? Check out our Ace the Interview Package here.

Style tips for nailing the MIT Sloan "Video Statement"

MIT Sloan is one of the top MBA programs in the country and has caused a decent amount of anxiety among its applicants for the Video Statement required in its application. The instructions are as follows:

Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief 60 second video statement.  (This video will be used for application purposes only and will not be shared.) Videos should be a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute and consisting of you speaking directly to the camera. We recommend using an application such as QuickTime or iMovie to record yourself. 

Upload the video file according to the detailed instructions within the application.  We support the following file formats: .avi, .flv, .m1v, .m2v, .m4v, .mkv, .mov, .mpeg, .mpg, .mp4, .webm, .wmv

Should you experience difficulties uploading your file, please ensure that you're using a modern web browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) on the fastest wired Internet connection available. An intermittent or slow Internet connection can cause uploads to timeout. 

So how can you ensure that you nail this submission, given that you only have one take? Take a page out of the political campaign manual and study how political candidates sit for TV interviews. Here are a few stylistic tips:

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Set-up 

  1. Choose a plain background -- one in which no movement will occur. Ideally, your background would subtly connote a part of the personal narrative you will discuss in the video. 
  2. Raise your the camera up to eye level. You can do this by putting books under your laptop or using a portable camera. You don't want to be looking up or down at the camera.
  3. Make sure you have a soft light source aimed at your face (e.g. a lamp with a shade centered a couple feet behind your laptop). You don't want to be darkened or have sharp shadows over your body.

Posture 

  1. Lose any Apple earbuds, but ensure that whatever microphone you have can clearly pick up your voice and no ambient noise.
  2. It's fine to use hand gestures. If you do, make sure that they are visible on camera; you might need to bring your hands up a little higher than feels normal to accomplish this. What is critical is that in between gestures, you return your hands to your "resting position". We have the research on what focus groups say the best resting positions are and coach our clients to execute them flawlessly.
  3. Don't sit in a swivel chair. If you must, make sure to keep both feet planted on the ground and resist the urge to swivel.

Delivery 

  1. Speak clearly by enunciating every syllable, and speak a little slower than you think is just too slow. You'll be amped-up and will naturally talk faster than you think. Practice inserting pauses between sentences and remember to wait a beat after you click record to ensure that the video will not cut off the beginning of your opening introduction.
  2. Write in short sentences. John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address was written so that he could look down at his script, pick up six words at a time, and deliver them. This simplicity and clarity of his speech earned it rave reviews.
  3. Memorize the script and deliver it looking directly into the camera. This will feel awkward but it will help maintain connection with your viewer.  Maintain your gaze with the pinhole of the camera and don't break it except to blink. Practice this a few times in advance.

Use these tips and you should be able the make the most of your content by establishing an authentic connection with the viewer.

Tuck November Round Deadline in 5 Days!

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The Tuck School of Business was the first modern business school founded in the United States (in 1900). Named for one of the founders of the Republican Party, Tuck boasts one of the robust old-school career networks that make business schools famous. Tuckies routinely score great jobs as established firms like McKinsey and BCG through the loyal Tuck network, and the larger, more fanatical Dartmouth College network.

Given its small class size and bucolic location, Tuck offers one of the most intimate MBA experience in the Top-10. Students are intensely social -- traveling around the world together on treks and and participate in intramural sports in record numbers (about 90% of the students play on one of the school's many Hockey teams -- it's a way of life!). To thrive in this environment, Tuckies pride themselves on their collaborative and social culture and are looking for applicants who can fit in and are equally fanatical about Tuck as they are.

Ivy Admissions Group has intensely deep roots at Dartmouth and can help you easily navigate the applicant-initiated interview. Our Ace the Interview service will provide you with a custom dossier of questions that you can expect based on your unique background, two complete student-style interviews with interactive debriefs, media coaching to come off as more likable, and even help with reflection feedback. It's everything you need to Ace the Interview!

Fascinating MBA Talk of the Week: 3 tips to boost your confidence

Nothing is more attractive in the interviewing room than confidence. The question is how do you get it?

Highlights

  • The keys to confidence: genetics, how you're treated, and the choices you make (specifically how you take risks and respond to setbacks)
  • Picture your success when beginning a task, say by listening to music with a deep bass (which makes you feel powerful) or by giving yourself a pep talk
  • Practice failure. Those who fail often learn how to ask others for advice and persevere.