Tag Archives: video essay

Prepping for Video Essays and Long-Distance Interviews

An increasing number of MBA programs are making use of online video-interview platforms, where you must record responses to one or more short-answer prompts before your application is considered complete. Why do schools add this …

fix a low gpaAn increasing number of MBA programs are making use of online video-interview platforms, where you must record responses to one or more short-answer prompts before your application is considered complete. Why do schools add this extra step? The inclusion comes in response to applicants who wanted an additional way to present themselves to the admissions committee before the in-person interview.

The new format also strengthens the written essays by demonstrating the candidate’s verbal/visual communication skills. The adcom has seen what you have going for you on paper; a video interview can give them a better sense of your personality and help them judge whether or not the “real you” matches the impression you’ve built through your other materials.

Unfortunately, video essays can also be a source of major stress for already-anxious prospective students. But here’s some good news: the reality is that it’s unlikely you will totally bomb your answer. Sometimes, the system will allow for an extra try if you’re not thrilled with your initial response. Make sure you understand what your program’s video-interview “rules” are before you start the camera rolling.

With just a little bit of confidence and preparation, you could give a response that makes the adcom think, “We just have to meet this person!” Here are some video essay-specific tips:

  • Prepare (and practice) succinct responses for all of the typical MBA-related questions: Why Program X, Why an MBA overall, Why now, What are your career goals, Summarize your career to date, and so on.
  • Then practice by adding some “fun” questions and responses into the mix: Review the last book you read/movie you saw/TV show you watched; What is your favorite song and why; Where’s the best place you’ve gone on vacation, et cetera.
  • Record yourself answering these questions. Have a trusted friend review your responses and tell you how you’re coming off. Tweak your style accordingly.

The goal of using video essays from an admissions standpoint is simply to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.

Tips for Your Long-Distance Interview

Video interviewing is both convenient and efficient for applicants who for logistical reasons simply cannot meet in person for their MBA interview. Even in the era of FaceTime, for many it takes practice in order to come across in a professional yet natural way. Some people are distracted by their appearance; others find themselves talking in a tone that’s altogether different from a face-to-face conversation. Make sure you conduct various practice chats and seek feedback on your performance until you’re satisfied that you’re conversing with ease.

Remember that technological glitches such as dropped audio or a frozen feed are almost par for the course, but admissions staff say how you react to the situation is what really counts. Maintaining poise and keeping your frustration in check will leave a positive impression on your interviewer. Swearing at your speakers, on the other hand, will not.

Even though you’re likely to be sitting down for the interview, dress in appropriate business attire from head to toe. If you need to stand up for any reason during the interview and have nothing but boxers on, rest assured that is an impression the interviewer won’t soon forget. Also, make sure your surroundings don’t distract during the video chat. As with clothing choices, the backdrop you choose can make a negative impression if the interviewer is distracted by the messy bookcase or illuminated TV screen over your shoulder. Clean, clear, and well-lit is the way to go here.

When the big moment arrives and it’s time for the real thing, remember that no one is trying to trick you into embarrassing yourself. It’s just another opportunity for you to show what an asset you’ll be to an MBA program.

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Get Ready for MBA Application Videos

In an era where MBA applicants often come across as overly packaged and polished, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management decided to shake things up last year by introducing a video component to …

In an era where MBA applicants often come across as overly packaged and polished, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management decided to shake things up last year by introducing a video component to the application in an effort to see the unscripted side of candidates.

Until now, schools only had face time with the applicants they interviewed. Video technology allows every MBA hopeful a chance to add some color to the rest of his or her application and show the admissions committee the person behind the resume, recommendation letters and essays.

(continue reading this post on Stacy’s US News MBA Admissions: Strictly Business Blog)

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Kellogg Applicants Encounter Video Technology Snags

The video essay, which Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management introduced as a mandatory component of the 2013-2014 MBA application, has hit a few technical snags for some candidates this season. For the video essay, applicants …

The video essay, which Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management introduced as a mandatory component of the 2013-2014 MBA application, has hit a few technical snags for some candidates this season.

For the video essay, applicants use a Skype-like platform where they are asked a short personal question. Users have a minute or two to mull it over, and another one or two minutes to record an answer. They can review their answer and submit it if satisfied, or if not, they have two more chances, with two new questions.

On the GMAT Club forum, applicants have shared their experiences with the new format. Many report losing connection with the first attempt, though one commenter wonders whether the current problem might have been due to system overload near the deadline, as he had no issues submitting a few weeks ago.

In case you’re curious, a few applicants revealed the following as questions posed during the exercise: What is one piece of technology you cannot live without? If you could teach a class on any subject, what would it be and why? and, What is one interesting thing about you that you would want your future Kellogg classmates to know about you?

According to a piece published yesterday in Poets & Quants,  Kellogg is reporting that 8% of applicants have run into “connectivity issues” that have prevented them from completing the exercise.

Kellogg spokesperson Jeffrey Brennan tells Poets & Quants, “Our admissions team is evaluating reports on a case-by-case basis and waiving the video essay component as needed, so applicants can meet the Round One deadline at midnight, October 16. This waiver will not adversely affect the review of applications.”

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Kellogg Adds Video Essay Component

The upcoming MBA admissions season is full of change, as several schools sharply reduce the number of essay questions or word count, require fewer letters of recommendation, and get creative with their application requirements. Though …

The upcoming MBA admissions season is full of change, as several schools sharply reduce the number of essay questions or word count, require fewer letters of recommendation, and get creative with their application requirements.

Though an official announcement is still forthcoming, the MBA website Poets & Quants is reporting that, like Yale School of Management, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management will also make video essays a mandatory component of the 2013-2014 MBA application.

According to the story in P&Q, applicants will have a few minutes to answer a randomized question on a Skype-like screen, and will have three tries to record what they consider a suitable answer. If the candidate is unhappy with the first go of it, he or she can discard and request a new question.

“The spirit of the questions is to get to know our candidates on a more personal level in a spontaneous format,” Kate Smith, Kellogg’s assistant dean of admissions and financial aid, tells P&Q. “They’re designed to bring to life the person we’ve learned about on paper in the application, including their passions, interests and ideas.”

I think this is a great idea, but I also understand why some applicants might feel nervous about answering a question on camera and on the fly. We know that interviews are increasingly important in the selection process at top schools, and it can be impossible to excel without preparation and practice. That’s why we’ve launched a Video Coaching Platform for interviews to  help prospective b-school applicants better prepare for the admissions process.

With our new video platform, we can help applicants prepare for live interviews and we can simulate any video essay requirements.  Clients can rehearse as much as they wish, respond online to a random pool of hundreds of questions, personally view their recordings, and select videos for review and feedback.  Also, SBC consultants provide feedback on dress, tone, volume and content. The unlimited opportunity to practice and review builds confidence, and as a result, our well-prepared clients appear calm and polished on screen.

As we noted in a January post on this same subject, the goal of using video essays from an admissions standpoint is simply to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.

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Video Essay, the Future of MBA Admissions?

In an effort to better get to know applicants beyond their stats and meticulously crafted essay answers, elite MBA programs have rolled out a number of innovative changes to their evaluation process during this application …

In an effort to better get to know applicants beyond their stats and meticulously crafted essay answers, elite MBA programs have rolled out a number of innovative changes to their evaluation process during this application season.

University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School launched a new team-based discussion component and is pleased with initial reactions; Harvard Business School introduced the written reflection, a 400-word essay submitted within 24 hours of the interview; Georgetown McDonough School of Business has included a micro essay in 140-character “tweet” form; and UC Berkeley Haas School of Business asks this year’s crop of applicants, “If you could choose one song that expresses who you are, what is it and why?”

The goal with all of these innovations is to glimpse a more holistic, authentic view of the applicant, which lately has become harder and harder to do as MBA hopefuls become increasingly savvy about the entire admissions process. In Matt Symonds’s article on MBA interviews which appeared this week on Forbes.com, he alerts us to a new variation in the admissions process that will likely crop up across multiple MBA programs during the next admissions cycle.

In fall 2012, University of Toronto’s Rotman School replaced two of its traditional written essays with a video interview. According to a post  introducing the video essay by Niki da Silva, Rotman’s new director of recruitment & admissions for the full-time MBA program, candidates were all starting to sound the same as they discussed their MBA goals. Therefore, the two-question video component is “designed to demonstrate the unique traits and abilities of applicants, who may, on paper, appear to be quite similar.”

The video essay is designed to capture some of the spontaneity of a live interview, and as da Silva explains in Forbes:

Applicants can log on and practice with as many non-recorded sample questions as they like. When they’re ready to make it official, interviewees get two questions—the first common to all applicants, and the second selected by the computer from a bank of questions pre-recorded by da Silva. They are given 45 seconds to think about their response, and then have 90 seconds to answer.

“There is no preparation required, and no right answer”, says da Silva. “They might be asked to talk about an event that has inspired them, or reflect on how their colleagues might describe them. It is telling to see what jumps to mind, and we get a glimpse into their value system and perspectives we don’t see elsewhere in the application.”

Ultimately, the goal is for the admissions committee to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.

As Symonds ponders whether the video interview is the way ahead for MBA admissions, da Silva says she expects many other schools to follow suit, so Rotman is making the most of the 12-months exclusivity they have.

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