It’s MBA interview season at MIT Sloan School of Management, and Dawna Levenson, Director of Admissions, has some tips to help nervous applicants prepare for the experience. In a recent post on the admissions blog, Levenson noted that the MIT Sloan adcomm plans to interview around 20–25% of the Round 1 applicant pool. As a reminder, those who receive an invitation will need to submit an additional 250-word essay about the school’s mission statement, asking applicants to share how your experience and your goals align with the mission of the MIT Sloan School.
In this video, Levenson explains that she thinks of the interview as having three components. The first portion is dedicated to your interviewer clarifying any remaining questions about your application, whether that might be a gap in employment history, gaps in education, or anything else that needs further explanation.
The next part of the interview will focus on behavioral questions, when you’re asked to reflect on how you handled particular situations in the past. For example, “Tell me about a time when you were part of a team working on a project and the project started to not do so well. How did you recognize that and how did you turn it around?”
Finally—and Levenson called this perhaps the most important part of the interview—comes the opportunity for you to ask questions of your interviewer. These questions should be personal to you, the director stressed—not questions whose answers can easily be found on the school website.
Unlike other business schools that have a blind interview process, MIT Sloan interviewers are all members of the admissions committee—not alumni or students—and therefore will have reviewed your application before meeting you. Levenson advises candidates to come armed with stories and experiences not already touched upon in the application or essays.
Applicants should have a well-rounded suite of examples ready to deliver as answers, but also have a level of detail and depth for each of their examples that will satisfy a more inquisitive admissions interviewer.
In addition to this focus on the quality of an applicant’s answers, the admissions committee is also probing deeply on your potential fit. Here, you need to combine your research and a clear understanding of your profile strengths to deliver answers that are nuanced and impactful.
It should go without saying, but dress professionally, and be mindful of the fact that the adcomm pays attention to every interaction you have with the school, from your application to the day of your interview, to the thank-you note you send afterward, and all of it will help Sloan evaluate your fit with the school.