Interview Advice From UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Program

Something to keep in mind when you’re approaching the interview portion of the application process: the exchange should move as smoothly as a Viennese waltz —which means no one’s toes get crushed.

The UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Blog has begun posting tips from MBA admissions interviewers, and yesterday’s deals with understanding the “give and take” of an interview.

UNC Kenan-Flagler interviewer Lisa Beisser says she’s always surprised when candidates seem oblivious to non-verbal cues given during an interview and either plow ahead with too much information or clam up when more of a response is in order.

“Clearly, if I am asking a candidate to describe a project where they had a leadership role, I want to know enough about the project to get a sense of their accomplishment and I want to see a passion in their eye as they talk that tells me they have the capacity to be excited about their work and describe its meaning to me,” Beisser says.

On the flip side of the coin, applicants who drone on and on about a particular project and don’t pick up on Beisser’s cues that she’s ready to shift gears are in deep trouble. “I think some people measure the success of the interview by how many minutes they can just talk in monologue,” she says. ” I have seen a few people dig themselves into a big hole with this approach.”

Likening the admissions interview to a well-orchestrated ballroom dance, she admonishes candidates who run off to to “their own personal break dance” while their partner watches from the sidelines.

As the moment to prepare for your interviews approaches, take note of Beisser’s final thoughts on the matter, which are echoed by admissions officers everywhere: “These subtle interactions tell me more than anything a candidate could say about what kind of teammate they will be when they arrive in the MBA program.”

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