You may have noticed that some of the world’s top MBA programs now use a team-based interview format instead of traditional one-on-one conversations. Why? Because business schools want students who work well with others, and seeing how someone interacts with peers before anyone’s even admitted can be quite illuminating. If you’ve been invited to a group interview, here’s what you should try to accomplish:
- Demonstrate you’ve done your research (if given a topic in advance)
- Listen—truly listen—to the others in your group when they speak
- Seize any opportunities to either build upon or refer to someone else’s point
- Put the group’s goal ahead of trying to get airtime
- Show you’re flexible; if the group doesn’t pick your idea or if the conversation moves in a direction you didn’t anticipate, roll with it and keep the discussion moving forward
- Offer to summarize if the conversation has reached a point where the group would benefit from a quick recap
As many MBA applicants are born leaders who are used to taking charge, you’ll need to be conscious of the fact that you might be surrounded by lots of Type A personalities and adjust your style accordingly.
However, if you tend to be on the shy side, don’t let others intimidate you. If no one’s given you the chance to get a word in, you’re going to have to find an appropriate way to join the conversation before it’s too late.
Here’s what you don’t want to do during a group interview:
- Dominate the conversation
- Cut others off or dismiss someone’s idea entirely
- Raise your voice
- Roll your eyes, cross your arms, or display any other kind of negative body language
- Take out your phone or any other electronic device
- Be completely silent the entire time
Those may seem like obvious tips, but in the heat of the moment you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget you’re being judged. (Again, this is precisely why some schools like this approach!)
And finally, always remember:
Did you receive a group interview invitation? Take advantage of Stacy Blackman’s live group practice sessions that are designed specifically for candidates interviewing with Wharton and Ross. You’ll receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. Read more about this new service and our other interview-prep resources here.
Until next time,
The team at Stacy Blackman Consulting
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