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Brochet remembers one interview where the prospective student got up and the interviewers realized that the applicant wasn’t wearing any pants. “We have seen really professional examples of people—as you would in any job interview—following up with a brief email explaining why they enjoyed the process, what they learned in the process, and that they look forward to hearing back,” says Leigh Gauthier, assistant director of recruitment and admissions at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.Tip: Make sure to relate your goals and interests toward specific aspects of a school and its MBA program—things that aren’t immediately obvious or the first thing you can find on their website.Many admissions officials say you won’t be asked skill-testing questions, but rather behavioural and situational ones such as: “Tell us about a time when you changed your mind about something.” Queen’s Smith School of Business asks students to answer three random questions using its video technology in lieu of writing a formal essay.
He encourages applicants to be themselves, really answer the questions and engage with the interviewers.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice that I always give and that candidates appear to take to heart is ‘Be prepared, don’t be rehearsed.’ ” he says.
So it really puts a 3-D perspective on the applicant,” says Rotman’s Gauthier.
“What I would advise against is some students, in trying to stand out and show their passion and enthusiasm, sometimes have props or something behind the screen—a Rotman flag or something like that.
“We’re going to look at the degree of professionalism and punctuality; we’re going to look at how naturally that person can answer questions on the spot,” says Keum-Yeo Brochet, associate director of recruitment and marketing at Mc Gill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management.
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Also, remember to dress appropriately, even if your interview is taking place over Skype or a video conference. If you’re invited to an interview, remember that the admissions committee might be evaluating you, but you’re also evaluating the school. “When a candidate is at the interview stage, they should come with their own questions in hand. What would be helpful to them in terms of their next steps through the process—either before an admissions decision is rendered or post-decision, to help them prepare for their MBA? As you would with a job interview, make sure to follow up with the interviewers afterwards.
Instead, think about giving them the headlines about yourself so that when you attend the interview, you can dig deeper into areas of your application.
“I always use the analogy that the application, the essays and the video essays are like the trailer to the movie, and the movie is your admissions interview,” says J. Clarke, executive director of master’s programs, recruitment and admissions at Western University’s Ivey Business School.
There’s only so much you can get to know about someone in a 45-to-60-minute interview, but Rodrigo Porto, director of recruitment and admissions at UBC’s Sauder School of Business, says that after reviewing a prospective student’s application multiple times, his team generally feels like they know the applicant.
“One of the things that throws us off the most—and it’s a bit of a disappointment to us when we’re doing the interviews—is [when] we’re not able to get to know the person,” says Porto.