Tag Archives: MBA admissions interviews

The Many Benefits of ‘Intention’ in MBA Admissions Interviews

It’s MBA admissions interview season, and I’m reminded by a story here featuring fellow AICAC-member Bara Sapir, to talk about “intention” in interviewing.

More about that in a minute. Let me back up a step: there are many, many things to get right in an MBA admissions interview — or an interview for any position — and there is no silver bullet technique that guarantees success.

You will read about the STAR method (situation; target; action; result) among various others. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of scaffolding at all, particularly in that they will help you fully address the various dimensions of your story while your mind is whirling under pressure.

I have devoted a whole chapter (Chapter 14) of my book to lessons, observations, and techniques in MBA admissions interviewing.

At the end of the day, success comes down to managing two difficult things simultaneously. First saying important, believable, admissions-valuable things about yourself (and not drifting from your primary message); and second saying them in an engaging and fluent and organized way despite not being in control of the agenda.

Achieving the first requires careful planning — being really clear on the key things you want to communicate about yourself, and the proof-stories you will use corroborate your claims. Achieving the second is practice, practice, practice.

The good news — believe it or not there is good news — is interviews are more forgiving that written text. Text is expected to be perfect. It is written and read asynchronously, under different conditions. There is no way to add in an example or clarify a point when the reader’s brow furrows.

The interview gives you the opportunity for ‘warm-sync’ and mid-course correcting as necessary.

Note this does not imply that you should compromise your individuality or that it’s okay to lose communications focus. Adcoms want strong, purposeful individuals.

So how do you create a professional warm-sync environment while maintaining your individuality and message focus?

Here’s something specific to think about: go out of your way to create “life-intention” in your interview. By that I mean, make a conscious effort to state your life-career-path intention strongly. If you have a compelling passion for and focus on a future goal, not only will it make you stand out but it will be a point of gravity, a thread, that connects all parts of your story — parts which often get lost in the warm-style chat that interview-bonding demands.