Preparing for Video Statements, Essays in the MBA Application

video interviewAn increasing number of MBA applications now include the use of online video platforms, where you must either introduce yourself to future classmates, or record responses to one or more short-answer prompts, before your application is considered complete. Why do schools add this extra step?

The goal of using videos from an admissions standpoint is simply to make better decisions about which candidates are the strongest match with the program. This component will better demonstrate communication skills, the ability to think on one’s feet, and possibly help identify those applicants who, while not quite as strong on paper, may actually be the diamonds in the rough that enrich the learning experience for all.

The new format also strengthens the written essays by demonstrating the candidate’s verbal/visual communication skills. The adcom has seen what you have going for you on paper; a video interview can give them a better sense of your personality and help them judge whether or not the “real you” matches the impression you’ve built through your other materials.

This season, MIT Sloan School of Management has joined the ranks of top b-schools including a video statement in the MBA application. All candidates are asked to “Please introduce yourself to your future classmates via a brief video statement.” Sloan requests that videos be shot as a single take (no editing) lasting no more than one minute.

In a video posted to the Sloan admissions blog, adcom member Shauna LaFauci Berry shares some words of advice for applicants nervous about how to approach this new requirement.

She says the admissions committee is really excited about this new application component, because it gives her team the chance to get to know applicants better. “We’ll be looking at your presence, what passions you have, and what interests, so feel free to use professional or personal examples in your 60 seconds,” LaFauci Berry explains.”Be authentic. Be yourself. This is a great opportunity for you to get to tell the admissions committee more about yourself.”

Unfortunately, video statements and essays can also be a source of major stress for already-anxious prospective students. But here’s some good news: the reality is that it’s unlikely you will totally bomb your statement or essay answers. Just make sure you understand what your program’s video “rules” are before you start the camera rolling.

With just a little bit of confidence and preparation, you could give a response that makes the adcom think, “We just have to meet this person!” Here are some video-specific tips:

  • Prepare (and practice) succinct responses for all of the typical MBA-related questions: Why Program X, Why an MBA overall, Why now, What are your career goals, Summarize your career to date, and so on.
  • Then practice by adding some “fun” questions and responses into the mix: Review the last book you read/movie you saw/TV show you watched; What is your favorite song and why; Where’s the best place you’ve gone on vacation, et cetera.
  • Record yourself answering these questions. Have a trusted friend review your responses and tell you how you’re coming off. Tweak your style accordingly.

If you have an upcoming video interview or statement for schools including INSEAD, Yale SOM, Michigan Ross or Wharton, PRACTICE is essential to success. This awkward format requires you to think on your feet and record your answer to a question (or questions) while speaking into your computer screen. It’s a new format for many and one that requires some rehearsal in order to become comfortable conversing with a computer screen.

Stacy Blackman Consulting has an online video platform that grants you unlimited practice doing exactly this. You can answer from a wide menu of questions, record yourself, watch and assess, tweak and try again. Invest 30 minutes a night and reap the benefits of increased comfort level and more articulate answers when you have your live interview. You can even choose an interview to submit to the SBC team for review and professional written feedback.

Set yourself up for success with this small investment and rock your video interviews. Purchase your package here today.

If you have an interview coming up, you will want to review SBC’s interview prep services. The key to interview success is practice and we provide you with all the tools you need to do just that.

  • Leverage our video platform to practice, view yourself and improve
  • Work with our experts for live rehearsal and feedback
  • Download a guide for lists of practice questions, tips on how to prep and overviews of interview formats
  • Experience a real group interview before your big day

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