Post #19: How to prepare for Sloan Interview?

Once you submit your application, admissions committee will review the application and generally gets back to you within two weeks. Once you are shortlisted for an interview, the program office will setup an interview with admissions officer or an alumnus based on your location. If it is an alumni interview, program office will try to match your profile with that of an alumnus who shares some professional background. So do not worry, if your interview scheduling takes a week or two. Once Alumnus is notified by admissions office, he will directly get in touch with you to setup the venue/time.

The first thing you should do after submission is to take a break atleast for a couple of days to refresh yourselves. You should stop worrying about application and treat yourself with something you like :-).

If you are confident about your application, I suggest you start your preparation for the interview after this short break.

Here are a few details on Sloan interview logistics:

  • Mode: face to face
  • Interviewers: Admissions officer or Alumni
  • Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Dress code:  Business formal (obvious, though not mentioned)

What is tested in the interview?

  • Objectives fitment to the program and school
  • What you bring or can contribute to the class
  • Presentation/Articulation skills
  • Validation of your essays: Implies validation of your team skills, leadership qualities, decision making

How to prepare for the interview?

Create a list of probable questions by going through your resume, essays and your application. I have listed below some common questions asked in the interview and the approach to answer them.

Resume:

1. Tell me about yourself:

While I was preparing for the interview, I researched quite a bit to understand the difference between ‘tell me about yourself’ versus ‘can you walk me through your resume’.

Here is my understanding of how to answer these questions.

If you are asked ‘tell me about yourself?’  – you can tell all about yourself both professional and personal. You can cover the following:

  • Where you come from (Country)
  • Your overall experience summary
  • What you are doing right now
  • Your family
  • Your interests outside of work
  • Keep your answer to a max of 3 minutes.

*Don’t talk about your resume in detail, as the interviewers are generally thorough with your profile and would like to hear in a simple English language (not the same as in your resume). Make it a bit interesting and casual.

Coming to ‘walk me through your resume’ – you can cover the following:

  • Walk-through each role and responsibility listed in the resume by quoting some additional details which are not in your resume.
  • You can update if there is any change to your role/responsibility recently after you have submitted the application
  • Keep this to a max of 4 minutes.
  • You need not discuss anything at personal level here.

Please note that in general b-school interviews will focus more on ‘tell me about yourself’ question while job interviews focus more on the second question

2. Role/Responsibilities: For each role listed on your CV, make sure you have the following details:

  • Your responsibilities
  • Instances where you demonstrated  your leadership/team skills/decision making skills in that particular role
  • Accomplishments in the role

3. Industry trends: Make sure you are aware of the current trends in your industry. Do some reading of industry analyst reports; think about how the industry evolved and also the future of your industry. You should definitely have your own point of view irrespective of whether the answer is right or wrong.

4. Extracurricular: If you have mentioned any extracurricular activities make sure you are prepared for questions on those.

5. Gaps in your employment: Please have answers for any gaps you may have in your employment

Objectives/General:

  1. What are your objectives, near-term and long-term?
  2. Why do you want to do Sloan course versus any other management course?
  3. Why now?
  4. Why LBS?
  5. What will you contribute to the class?
  6. What are your achievements till date?
  7. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  8. How will you find a job after the course in current market conditions?
  9. What will you do if you are not admitted into this course?
  10. Do you think the investment is worth given that you are already in senior role and earning high salary?

Essays:

  1. Read all essays and prepare a possible list of questions. Have atleast 1 question for each para in your essay
  2. Be clear about all the instances you quoted in your essays and be prepared for followup questions
  3. Read essays atleast once a day

Last, but most important question – ‘Any question for me on the program/school?’

Most of the interviewers give you a chance to ask questions and I think its a very good opportunity to get some genuine questions clarified. Ask for something that is relevant to your profile, your objectives and that is not obviously mentioned anywhere in the school website.

Tips:

  • Dress smart, first impression is the best impression
  • Be on time
  • Keep cool, stay humble throughout the interview
  • Be a good listener and answer to the point
  • Let the interviewer run your interview. If you have prepared well for each section and if the interviewer skips some sections, do not interrupt and try to add whatever you have prepared for the section. Wait for the questions like ‘Do you want to add anything?’
  • Avoid comments on race, religion etc
  • Be global in your outlook, if you have to quote something – quote about global leaders/ examples rather than about your regional leader/local examples which your interviewer may not relate to.
  • Check your interviewer’s profile on linkedin to understand about his industry, job function
  • Check my post on Sloan Resources for all the available resources to understand more about LBS Sloan Master in Leadership and Strategy Programme.

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