How to Ace Your Business School Interview


Interviews can be tough.  Getting across the right impression, knowing precisely what the university is looking for, and preparing the proper answers can make a huge difference when attempting to get into business school.


Here are 10 rules to interviews, provided by the admissions office at Chicago Booth Business School of Chicago University.  These helpful guidelines can also be applied to job/internship/volunteering/research position interviews.


1) First Impressions are Vital: Don’t be early or late.  Show respect for the interviewer’s time and prove you can be depended on.   Also, be sure to dress nicely.  Don’t show up in casual attire.


2) Be yourself:  Don’t say what you think the interviewer wants to hear.  When they ask you what your bad habits are, don’t say, “I’m a perfectionist”.  Most people say this, because it is safe.  Also, not everyone is a perfectionist.  Try to find a bad habit unique to you that is innocuous.  Do you bite your nails when you get nervous?  Do you somehow always cause paper jams in the office printer? Do you have a tendency to overthink things?


3) Tell your story: Storytelling can impact the way you come across by telling where you have come from and where are you going.  What makes you unique? How will you contribute to the community? Consider how your story will attribute to your role as a leader, as well as how you have both been motivated by, and motivate others.


4) Be a good listener: This will give the interviewer insight into your ability to participate as part of a team.  Bad listeners often tear things down instead of collaborate with others to build them up.  Also, while it is important to share your ideas, be sure you listen to what is really being asked of you.  Don’t answer a question the interviewer didn’t ask.  Take a moment to think about the question and prepare your response, simply by responding “Let me think about that”, or “That is a good question”.


5) Prepare beforehand:  Research the schools website.  Understand precisely how the department of your interest is run, as well as social, cultural insights.  Know about research and learning centers, as well as which you would like to get involved in.  Perhaps read some of their current research, research faculty members and know their successes.


6) Ask thoughtful questions: Prepare questions beforehand.  Ask about student experience, why they chose this school, the challenges they have encountered, what they think the best thing about the school’s community is, what clubs they were in, what their favorite class was, etc.  You can interview them a little, this shows your enthusiasm to talk to a graduate of the school it is your goal to get into.


7) Share examples that aggrandize your character:  Think about a couple of points you would like to get across during your interview; perhaps your ability as a leader, your fondness for chemistry.  Talk about a specific experience when you led and how it changed your life.  Talk about your Common Application essay, but tell it as a story.  Talk about what your passion is, and how you have exemplified it as your passion in your life.  Try not to get too clinical with this.  These stories should all be told in conversational style.


8)  Specifically, why this school is right for you:  Be sure to get the point of why you chose this school across.  Do not just talk about your subject, or your abilities, but why this school specifically is the right fit for you.  Have you been following a certain faculty member?  Are you obsessed with a certain research center there?  Have you read publications from them?  Is the location a draw card? Is there a club you are aching to join?  What will you do for the community and what will it do for you.


9) Practice: Ask a friend or family member to give you a mock interview.  I know this sounds silly, however it may help you to see what types of other questions may be asked.  Ask them for their feedback.  Perhaps, even record your interview.  Do you pause too much? Say um, or like, or err too much?  These are things to try to adjust before the day of the interview.


10) The ‘Thank You’ e-mail: Be sure to follow up your interview. In most cases, these people are not getting paid to sit down and chat to you.  They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.  Besides, this is good practice for the future when you interview for jobs.  Get in the habit.  A quick little e-mail will do the trick.


For more information, check out Chicago Booth.



A graduate from Columbia University and a native New Yorker, Nico is now in Melbourne helping students here to realize their American college dream. Her understanding of U.S. higher education and experience in the Ivy League will guide you through both the SAT exam and the entire admission process.

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