Admissions Interviews – Deal breakers?

After the GMAT, the admissions interview is definitely the most stressful part of an MBA Application. You will be meeting with an admissions officer who will present your application to the admissions committee. You want to make the right impression and get him or her on your side.

From the day you received your interview invitation, to the minute you meet with the admissions officer, you practice and practice and practice. You’ve built your confidence; you’ve rehearsed compelling answers to behavioral questions, and you’ve prepared a few questions of your own.

On the day of the interview, you think you did well. You believe that you’ve impressed the admissions officer and you enjoyed the conversation yourself. You had an opportunity to share your talking points, you got to know the school even better, you thanked your interviewer for his or her time and you followed up with a thank you note.

The next one or two weeks seem to be the longest weeks of your life. Finally, you hear back from the school and – unfortunately – you didn’t get in. What could have gone wrong?

You review again all the reasons why the school should admit you:

  • You have 4 years of solid work experience at a large organization.
  • Your GPA meets the minimum requirement.
  • Your GMAT score is good.
  • You are sure your references said great things about you.
  • You know you nailed the interview!?


Well, maybe you didn’t…

Just like with job applications, once you get invited to an interview, you are not – yet – guaranteed a spot. Remember that there are many other candidates vying for a limited number of seats in the program.

If you got invited to an interview but didn’t get in, then most likely your interview did not go that well. If this is the case, we strongly encourage you to get feedback from the school, if at all possible.

Following that, you should take an objective look at your candidacy and re-evaluate your interview performance. If you’ve used an admissions consultant, ask him or her for a review. If you didn’t, it may be a good idea to work with one for your next application.

There may be a few reasons for “failing” an interview.

You thought it would be very easy so you didn’t feel the need to prepare. The admissions officers take the time to read your application documents and meet with you. You need to take the interview seriously and prepare well.

You didn’t make a good first impression. This is often the hardest part; it is said that hiring managers form an opinion about a candidate within the first minute or two; the same applies to admissions officers. You’re being evaluated from the first handshake, to how you sit down and introduced yourself. When you set the tone right, the interview flows well.

Making the best entrance is important but certainly not enough! Of course, you need to maintain your positive attitude throughout the interview. Your personal story will play a large role in creating a long lasting impression. If you can’t tell a compelling personal story that will captivate your audience, you should definitely seek professional help in improving your interview skills.

Your answers were too rehearsed – you told the interviewer exactly what you thought he or she wanted to hear, but you lacked authenticity. Being authentic is key to “nailing” any interview. You’ve got to be yourself, not who you think the school is looking for.

Feel free to connect with student ambassadors and alumni to learn more about what the school is looking for in candidates, but don’t try to reshape who you are and sell yourself like a “package” to the admissions committee. If you’ve done your research and you believe there is a good fit with the school’s culture, you should certainly be able to demonstrate your good “fit” while being genuine and authentic.

Is the interview just a formality?

Many candidates believe that an MBA Admissions interview is just a formality. The truth is, if you get invited for an interview, you’re only half way there and you still need to ace the second half of the application process!

If you tell a compelling story, show the right attitude, and develop a good connection with your interviewer, you can considerably increase your chances of admissions and be considered for a scholarship as a bonus! Give your admissions officer a reason to vouch for you in front of the admissions committee!

Even if you’ve already submitted your application, consider getting professional help with your interview prep, ideally from a former Admissions Director who interviewed hundreds of candidates. Admit Master offers interview prep packages that start from only $499 Canadian.

Book a Free 1-on-1 MBA Admissions Consultation