Interview Tips from the Darden MBA Program

Is the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business on your short list of dream MBA programs? Then be sure to check out this new video blog from the Darden admissions team, which shares solid advice for those hoping to interview at this top-tier MBA program.

In it, Admissions Dean Sara Neher gives an overview of the Darden interview process and stresses the three things candidates should focus on for a successful interview experience, which we’ve summarized below.

Pay attention to first impressions: The interview actually begins before the interview, says Neher, so make sure your interactions with your interviewer—or the person setting up the interview beforehand— via email, by phone or in person, are positive and demonstrate your enthusiasm and positive attitude.

Answer questions in C.A.R. format: Applicants should expect to answer behavioral questions during their interview. The “Tell me about a time when…” question can cover many areas, and Neher suggests framing your answer using the CAR format, which she says she learned while working a Procter and Gamble.

The acronym stands for Context, Action, Result. As you answer the question, you’ll first summarize the situation, then tell the interviewer what you did, and finally discuss what happened afterward. Remember to include anything quantifiable—give them the numbers—whenever possible.

Ask a question at the end of the interview: Your interviewer can learn more about you from the kinds of questions you ask him or her, Neher says. So, think of something you’d like to know that you couldn’t find on the company or school website and that works for many kinds of interviewers, no matter their level.

If you can follow these three steps successfully, you’re sure to ace your Darden interview.

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