While it’s natural to feel nervous leading up to the admissions interview, you may experience additional anxiety in interviewing via video conference. Although there are some similarities between MBA admissions in-person interviews and those over video, the technology adds additional complexity and requires some preparation for newbies.
Schedule Your Interview Like a Boss
When you receive your invitation to interview at Booth, you will be matched to a student admissions fellow or administrator interviewer. Reach out to your interviewer as soon as possible (within 1-2 days, even if it’s over the weekend) to arrange a time or date for your interview. In the email, introduce yourself and provide up to three dates and corresponding times that potentially work for you. This will allow your interviewer to get the ball rolling on sending you an invite and Zoom link. The typical response time is within 48 hours.
Additional Scheduling Tips
– All Chicago Booth virtual interviews should take place over Zoom (in your calendar invite, check for a boothstudents.zoom.us or a uchicagogroup.zoom.us link).
– The invitation link is not always sent with a calendar invite, since Zoom gives you an option to schedule a meeting in advance, or open a meeting room shortly before the interview start time. However, you should receive a link within 15 minutes before your interview begins.
– Test the audio and video functions on your device to make sure they are working prior to the interview.
– To avoid an audio echo during the meeting, do not have both your phone and computer connected to Zoom at the same time.
– In case all else fails, have your phone (turned on ‘silent’) nearby if you must resort to dialing in.
Prepare Like an Interview Jedi
Surprise! The interview questions you would have received in-person are exactly the same ones you will hear virtually. The key to mastering an MBA admissions interview, however, goes beyond memorizing the bullet points on your resume. You should tell a story, of where are you going, how you plan to get there, and how a Booth MBA will help you along your journey. Where students trip up most is offering canned, robotic answers in regards to articulating their goals and specificities to achieve them. For example, we all know that Booth offers a flexible curriculum. What the interviewer doesn’t know is how Booth’s flexible curriculum will allow you to balance a local school-year internship, or build on marketing foundations to compete in the New Venture Challenge in the spring. The more specific you can be in helping interviewers imagine your intended path, the better.
Additional Interviewing Tips
– Show that you’ve done your research. Refer to students or alumni you connected with, courses you can’t wait to take, and clubs you hope to co-chair and lead in the future.
– Craft stories or talking points that demonstrate your leadership agility, which is the ability to take action despite challenges or ambiguity you faced in the past.
– Definitely come with questions! Try to understand why your interviewer chose Booth, ask for her recommendations on how she leveraged her time here, and have her share her most memorable Booth experience thus far.
Take Control of Your Background
In my opinion, the most stressful part about video interviews is finding the one area in your apartment or house with optimal sunlight and a white background. If that isn’t hard enough, there’s also the daunting task of keeping your family and friends silent for what feels like an eternity. At Chicago Booth, we don’t want you to aim for perfection. Allowing a bit of personality is encouraged. You are free to settle near a un-scenic window or underneath your little sister’s artwork, as long as it would still allow your interviewer to see you without glare. You should be visible on camera from at least the shoulders up, wearing a suit or formal dress. Formality shows that you are taking this opportunity seriously. Plus, it gives you an excuse to swap out your pajamas with a suit and button-down, probably collecting dust in your closet, for old time’s sake.
Additional Background Tips
– Do wear pants or a skirt! Please! A erroneous tip of your computer screen will leave your interviewer scarred for life.
– Avoid white, tan, light gray, or solid black attire. This could lead to warped lighting settings. For example, if you wear a white shirt or blouse, balance it with a darker suit jacket.
– If you live with others, be sure to tell them you’re interviewing way in advance. Having an entire household on one network could potentially cause a lag. More importantly, background noise will be distracting as you attempt to gather your thoughts and answer the interviewer’s questions thoughtfully.
Try not to stress out too much. This is a huge paradigm shift, and your interviewer likely has some nerves about it , too. When I think back to my in-person interview, almost three years ago, I remember my hands shaking so bad from anxiety that I couldn’t hold my pen steady enough to take notes! In a way, virtual interviews should relieve some of this anxiety — you will be in the comfort of your own home and (hopefully) more well-rested than I was that day. So take a breath, get comfortable in your favorite chair, and bring us interviewers along for the ride… let us know, what’s your story?