Tag Archives: Interviews

MBA Admissions: Learning From Failure

It’s tempting to gloss over all past mistakes or errors in judgment when you’re immersed in the MBA admissions process; after all, competition for a place in a top program is fierce and no one …

It’s tempting to gloss over all past mistakes or errors in judgment when you’re immersed in the MBA admissions process; after all, competition for a place in a top program is fierce and no one relishes the notion of painting themselves in a less-than-flattering light.

The good news is, more and more business schools realize that failure represents a learning opportunity for all—from industries to individuals. The December edition of Deans Digest, published by the Graduate Management Admission Council, looks at research from several B-school professors convinced that “To Fail is to Learn.”

“There’s a lot of evidence that suggests that you really don’t learn from success, because you are often unable to attribute the cause,” Rita McGrath, who teaches management at Columbia Business School, said in an interview.

On the other hand, things that go wrong can serve up valuable lessons, as “Success often is a consequence of something that failed earlier.”

Haas School of Business dean Rich Lyons has suggested to Deans Digest that business schools should also consider failure in their MBA admissions process. When admitting students, Lyons said, “increasingly, it’s the case that you can’t have stumbled. [The usual mindset is that] if you got a C in a class, didn’t do so well on the GMAT, or had some interruption in your career path, you won’t land where you want to land.”

To address that potential pitfall, the Haas School of Business now makes the study of failure a priority. One of four core principles of the school’s revised core curriculum is that students should be encouraged to “question the status quo,” defined as “being able to envision a different reality, to take intelligent risks, and to learn from failure.”

Far from being a disservice, being up front about your mistakes can definitely go a long way toward minimizing the damage and maintaining  your shot at admission into a top program. In an interview early in the year with Bloomberg Businessweek, Stacy Blackman says that if you explain the blemishes on your application the right way, you can actually boost your chances of getting in.

So as you finalize those essays or prepare for MBA admissions interviews, focus on embracing the positive aspects of your past mistakes and show how you used the incident as an opportunity to learn and grow. It just might be the factor that differentiates your candidacy amid a sea of so-called “perfect” applicants.

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Admissions Interview Tips from the UCLA MBA Program

Earlier this week, the MBA Insider Blog at the UCLA MBA Program offered up some timely insider tips  to help you prepare for the MBA admissions interview experience. As we’ve noted before, the purpose of the …

Earlier this week, the MBA Insider Blog at the UCLA MBA Program offered up some timely insider tips  to help you prepare for the MBA admissions interview experience.

As we’ve noted before, the purpose of the interview is twofold: it gives AdCom a chance to see a candidate’s personality, leadership qualities and motivation for pursuing an MBA; and it also lets applicants tell their own story beyond the essays and other materials in the application.

The good news? This advice from the UCLA MBA holds true pretty much no matter where you’re applying.

Interviews are a dialogue or exchange between two people. Steer away from pre-rehearsed speech and over reliance on your résumé. Admissions is interested in getting to know you as an individual, so follow the queues of the interviewer.

The length of the interview does not indicate how well the interview went. Though the UCLA MBA schedules 30 minute interviews, they may vary a bit.  Deviations from the schedule are random and unrelated to an individual candidate.

Do not expect the interviewer to give you feedback ”“ literally or figuratively.  Be careful to avoid any interpretation of verbal or non-verbal communication, as both may mislead you.

Interviews are not a popularity contest. The interviewer is assessing your fit for the UCLA MBA program, not whether or not the two of you would make good or best friends.

For more guidance on how interviews are structured at the UCLA MBA, read the entire post here, or click for more posts containing Application Advice for the UCLA MBA.

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Application Updates, Upcoming Events at Yale SOM

The admissions office at Yale School of Management offered an update on Round 1 applications Thursday to let prospective students know that admissions is still in the midst of reading applications and extending interview invitations. …

The admissions office at Yale School of Management offered an update on Round 1 applications Thursday to let prospective students know that admissions is still in the midst of reading applications and extending interview invitations.

Yale SOM reads through admissions in random order, so if you haven’t heard back yet, hang in there and take comfort in the knowledge that admissions will continue to extend invitations for interviews throughout the round and still has several Round 1 interview slots available.

The Round 2 deadline (January 6, 2011) is fast approaching, and the school strongly encourages applicants to use this time wisely as you finalize all the components of the application during the hectic holiday season.

Here are a handful of resources and events that may help you in this last leg of the application journey:

Need more Yale SOM advice? Read this recent post with interview insight for applicants, and check out these seven tips to ace the admissions interview.

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Tuesday Tip: The Interview

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7YLYqMyRa0[/youtube] Interested in watching more? Click HERE to access the Stacy Blackman Youtube Channel.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7YLYqMyRa0[/youtube]

Interested in watching more? Click HERE to access the Stacy Blackman Youtube Channel.

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Application Updates and Tips From Ross Michigan MBA Program

Soojin Kwon Koh, admissions director at the Michigan MBA program, recently updated her blog with some stats on Round 1 applications–candidates applied from more than 40 countries!–and the news that the first group of Round …

Soojin Kwon Koh, admissions director at the Michigan MBA program, recently updated her blog with some stats on Round 1 applications–candidates applied from more than 40 countries!–and the news that the first group of Round 1 interview invites went out on Monday, October 25th.

Invited applicants have three weeks to complete their interview, and the second batch of invites goes out November 12th, Soojin explains, adding that the Michigan MBA program is looking to build an incoming class of about 490 students.

Interviews give prospective students the opportunity to share their unique story, goals and interests with admissions–and allow you to learn more about the program for which you are applying.

If you’re gearing up to apply in Round 2, one great way to prepare is by attending the next Preview Day on Friday, November 12th. “I will be walking through how the Admissions Committee looks at an application and engage the group in a discussion of an essay or two,” says Soojin.

“Fall is a great time of year to visit Ann Arbor! The leaves outside my window are glorious shades of orange, yellow and red,” says the director, who assures that there’s still time to register.

Those who can’t make it to Preview Day may want to listen to a Forte webinar Soojin moderated that features application advice from several admissions directors. “We discussed such topics as how to ‘tell your story,’ how to showcase your leadership ability, and how to prepare for the interview,” she explains.

For more on the recent changes to the admissions interview made for the fall 2011 admissions year, follow this link.

If you’re working on your application and looking for additional guidance to successfully navigate the Ross Michigan MBA essay questions, you can read our tips here.

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Yale SOM Offers Insight On the Interview Process

Now that the first round admissions deadline has come and gone, the Admissions Office at Yale School of Management has some insight into the interview process to share with applicants. Like most MBA programs, the …

Now that the first round admissions deadline has come and gone, the Admissions Office at Yale School of Management has some insight into the interview process to share with applicants.

Like most MBA programs, the interview is merely one component among many which are used to judge and weigh your candidacy for a spot. At Yale SOM, the purpose of an interview is two-fold.

  • Interviews give AdCom a chance to see a candidate’s personality, leadership qualities and motivation for pursuing an MBA from the Yale SOM.
  • Interviews also let applicants tell their own story beyond the essays and other materials in the application.

Applicants shouldn’t worry about the timing of an interview invitation, since Yale SOM reviews applications randomly but makes every effort to get invites out as early in a round as possible. The school confirms that, so far, it has extended approximately half of the interviews planned for the first round.

Second-year students who have gone through an extensive training process conduct most of the interviews, though some are conducted by admissions staff, alumni, and other members of the Yale SOM community. And remember: interviewers don’t know anything about your background apart from what is on your resume.

The time frame for the interview is just 30 minutes, so there won’t be time to share everything you’d like. Preparation is vital, and you should come in ready to discuss your leadership experience and career trajectory as well as elements from your resume and essays.

Most important, advises Yale SOM admissions representatives, is to be honest with yourself and tell your unique and personal story–not what you think the interviewer wants to hear.

For more tips on how to navigate your B-school interviews, read advice from Stacy Blackman Consulting here.

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