How to Prepare for an Online MBA Interview

online mba interview

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Before an online MBA interview, the first thought an applicant may have is to search for information on what to expect and prepare. Congratulations on completing the first step! Any interview produces a bit of worry and angst, whether for a job or an online MBA program. Online MBA programs are looking for the best candidates, ones that bring value. The fact that an applicant got an interview means they fit the bill. Also, they should remember that an interview is not just for the program; the interview is also for the candidate applying. Candidates should make sure they have questions for interviewers to ensure this program is a fit for them. 

virtual meeting

Know the Interview You are Having 

This is not a job interview, though it is similar. The online MBA interview is the final portion of the application process. In this interview, the business school wants to get to know the applicant better. They have read a bit about them, but now they want to connect. Interviewers want to see if applicants are a fit for the program. Interviewers ask questions that give them greater insight into the applicant’s academic and professional experience, career goals, leadership, and teamwork.  

There is sometimes information on the business school’s website about the interview and the process. If not, a simple internet search will do. Even if the school has not disclosed information, blog sites do. Interviews for online MBA programs are typically virtual, as the nature of the program is virtual. Candidates can find whether the interview is blind or non-blind, conducted individually or in a group. Blind refers to the amount of information interviewers have about an applicant before the interview. They may have the application, the resume, or no portion of the application file. Individual interviews are most common. Group interviews have multiple candidates in the room, and they discuss topics and solve problems together as exercises of communication and teamwork. While the interviews can vary, they will all require applicants to display authenticity, humility, leadership, motivation, professionalism, and self-awareness. 

Know Why You are at the Table 

Who are you? Why are you interviewing here? A candidate should allow the answers to be evident throughout their interview. One of the first requests in an online MBA interview is for the applicant to talk about themselves. Next, they can expect the question, “why have you chosen this program?” They should talk about their academic accomplishments in undergrad and career highlights. They should also be sure to describe their anticipated future, short- and long-term goals. Display confidence. 

Know Yourself, Your History  

How do you manage stress? Online MBA interviews can produce some level of stress. Stress can cause fear as well as affect one’s appetite, concentration, or energy. It can cause headaches or stomach problems and even interrupt their sleep. Applicants should do themselves a favor, continue to eat and sleep, even take breaks between preparing. Another suggestion for reducing stress, according to the national alliance for mental illness (NAMI), is to accept one’s physical and mental needs as something valid. They should manage their time well by inserting preparation into their schedule. It will help eliminate feelings of overwhelm. Another suggestion is to practice deep breathing and exercising. Lastly, they should take personal time to do things they love, in between studying, even something as simple as going to the movies or visiting a friend. While the interview is a crucial moment, the person interviewing is still essential to take care of. 

Know Your Best Practices 

Best practice is described as a “procedure that has been shown by research and experience to produce optimal results.” In the online MBA interview, applicants want to produce optimal results. They can ask themselves the following questions before tackling the interview questions in practice. Do you study or learn best when you write out questions and answers? Do you retain information better when you record yourself and listen to it? Is it best to role play with someone? Would role play make you more nervous? When they know themselves, they can prepare in the best way for them.

Know What it Means to be Ready  

interview ready

It is essential to be ready beyond knowing the answers to questions. Poets and Quants give some great ways to do what they call “ace it on the video.” For an interview, applicants should, of course, pick a good outfit, one that will help them present themselves well. So number one, an interview calls for business casual or business professional wear, typically. Secondly, one should choose a good background. In a virtual interview, one can decide where you face the camera. Candidates may be on zoom or another platform with features to blur their background or add a virtual background. They can use that to their advantage if they do not have a clear, uncluttered wall area. They should also be sure not to have people walking behind them in the camera. Interviewees should always do a trial run before the online MBA interview.

Third, there are some technology hacks. A strong internet connection is optimal. It would be a good idea to make sure all streaming services connected to the WIFI they will be using are turned off. Other competing connections could contribute to some lag in the video feed. They should turn on the camera and test the lighting. Zoom has a “touch-up feature” to also make sure they look their best. Also, they should try the microphone and speakers. Wearing headphones may allow them to hear better and be heard. Next, applicants are at home so that they can have a couple of notes nearby. We recommended a whiteboard in their line of sight that includes some main points or examples if their minds go blank. It is essential not to write too much. They do not want to be caught reading but naturally glancing. Lastly, they should try not to sound like they are reciting a script; interviewers will recognize that as inorganic.   

Action Plan 

Students should spend at least a week preparing, if possible. While a student may not know far in advance if they will get an interview at the school of their choice, they can still prepare. Writing down the answers to questions about themselves is an excellent place to start. They can even begin practicing with a friend. Later, they should research the business school and rehearse some of its values and unique elements in case they are asked specific questions. Next, they can plan to beat stress. Finally, they can work out any technology kinks the day before and get a good night’s sleep.

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