How to Ace the MBA Interview

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So you've submitted your application and now you finally have time to start thinking about interview prep. If you've applied to Harvard Business School you're anxiously awaiting the hear back from the Admissions Committee October 2nd and 5th to see if you received an interview invite. How can you best prepare for the interview?

1. Start now

Don't make the mistake of thinking that you should wait to see if you receive an interview invite before you start preparing. Sometimes the earliest turnaround between receiving an interview and the actual interview date is two weeks! Instead, use some of the downtime now to start preparing and rehearsing for the interview. Understand which kind of interview you will have (student, alumni, or Admissions Committee) and do you research on what to expect.

2. Know your application inside and out

Your entire application is fair game. The Admissions Committee may end up spending five minutes on one of the interests you listed on your resume, or the project you completed junior year of college. Make sure you can talk intelligently about what you did, what you learned, and what the impact was. More than anything, the Admissions Committee is going to want to know why. Why did you do what you did?

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3. Be concise

What the Admissions Committee is really testing for is to see if you will be a good contributor to the case method in a classroom setting. Will you be able to clearly and concisely communicate your thoughts in a way that is easily understood by your fellow classmates? if you haven't practiced for the interview, you're more likely to start rambling and not getting to the point. Since the entire interview is only 30 minutes, it's to your best advantage to get across as much information about yourself in the time allotted.

4. Rehearse out loud

Continuing the theme of being concise, you won't really know how good your answers are until you practice them out out loud, preferably in front of a friend. Sometimes what we say in our head or have written down comes across poorly or stilted when we actually try to say it. Also, practicing out loud will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed the day of. Interviewing is a skill that can be practiced.

5. Film yourself

If you know your application inside and out, know what points you want to get across, and have rehearsed out loud, the next step is to film yourself. This process is unpleasant for most people, but is often where you can gain the most. Film yourself either conducting a mock interview with a friend, or just saying your answers into the camera. When you re-watch the film, pay attention to a few things -- how do you look? Nervous? Listen to your tone -- do you have up-speak? Do you sound confident? Are you fidgeting? What are you doing with your hands? When we're so focused on what we're saying, we often lose track of these things, but they can have a big impact on the impression you make on the interviewer.