When Harvard Business School sent out Round 1 interview invitations last week, the Harbus’s general manager La Keisha Landrum posted an article that afternoon letting those lucky recipients in on some of the secrets of a successful admissions interview.
Here are the key takeaways from current HBS students that Landrum shares to inform your own interview preparation:
“Know your application inside and out. Sounds simple, but review it. Know your story and practice explaining key achievements that you mention in your resume or essays.”
“To practice, I did 6 simulated interviews with HBS students that proved invaluable in my preparation.”
“Prepare three or four good stories (which could be adapted to answer practically any question), then record yourself on iSight answering 20 minutes of questions. Watch to assess your body language, tone.”
“Know your resume cold. Know your essay(s) cold.”
“If you were reading your application, what questions would you have for yourself? Those are probably the questions you’ll get on interview day.”
“As you think about your strategy for answering interview questions, it’s a good idea to rehearse your answers, but do not memorize them! That will come off as inauthentic and can really hurt your chances.”
“HBS students are expected to be able to think on their feet in the case method. The interview screens for that.”
“You will be asked a lot of questions—often in rapid fire fashion. But don’t forget to get your own message across.”
“ What do you want to convey to your interviewer? Find a way to get your points across in your answers.”
“When preparing for your interview, practice being succinct in your answers. HBS is looking for articulate students who can make convincing statements or arguments without going on and on forever.”
“ Remember, it’s only a thirty-minute session, so your interviewer will get frustrated if you are taking up too much air time.”
As you prepare for your interview, one of the most important tips to remember is to sound natural—not scripted—during the exchange. Instead of trying to remember and include every last one of your memorized bullet points, focus on succinctly answering only the question at hand.
If you can get from point A to point B in a clear, logical way; maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor; dress appropriately; and have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all it has to offer students, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.
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