Depending on industries and functions of interest, recruiting season ebbs and flows in the Texas MBA program, starting with Banking/Consulting “Super Week” and continuing through April with the Careers Now Interview Forum.
I’m glad to say it has been a “net positive” experience for me, and I am feeling relieved in a major way now that I have my summer internship plans in place. In no particular order, here are my top takeaways from participating in both on-campus and off-campus recruiting over the past few months.
When you walk into an interview, bring extra copies of your updated resume.
Always wear deodorant. This seems like a no-brainer, right? But I’ve been to so many company events and stood in close quarters with classmates and recruiters only to catch a whiff of a nervous, un-deodorized body. If you want to keep it fresh and make a good impression, don’t be stingy with the Speed Stick.
Invest in at least one great suit. Just ask Michael Scott: a well-fitting suit can be the difference between confidence and qualms.
Prepare questions to ask your interviewer. The more thoughtful, the better.
Smile. It will put you and your interviewer(s) at ease. And according to one of my fellow first-years, failure to smile “makes you look like a creeper.”
Write thank-you notes. It will impress recruiters and will enable you to make a more personal impression. Most importantly, it’s just good manners.
And remember: you’re qualified, you’re capable, and everything will be okay!
When I was getting ready for one of my first formal interviews last fall at one of the national recruiting fairs, I called my older sister, who had attended similar career expos during her two years in business school. After I told her how nervous I was, she replied, “The only difference between you and your interviewers is that they have jobs right now–and you don’t. That’s it! So go in there and be yourself.” I’ve thought of that advice often over the past five months, and it has helped calm pre-interview jitters and recruiting event nerves.
With my recruiting process officially completed, I feel immensely grateful to the career advisors, peers, and alumni mentors who have helped me along the way. Now it’s full steam ahead till the end of the semester, and after that, a concerted effort to “hook ’em” as an MBA intern this summer!
We’ve all been there. Despite all the preparations, research and rehearsals, you find yourself nervous about your MBA Admissions interview. While this isn’t technically a job interview, you may do well to treat it like one. An MBA Admissions interview is a very important part of your overall application and ultimately one of the first steps towards your post-MBA life.
At the Texas MBA program, interviews are by invitation only and can come at any time during the application Round. While some applicants may look forward to the opportunity to interview, others may not exactly enjoy the anxiety thereby engendered. If you are a member of the latter group, look at it this way: the interview affords one of the only formal opportunities for official face-to-face interaction during the application process, so here are a few ways you can take advantage:
Don’t be on time – be early: Arriving early is interviewing 101, yet it still manages to falter even the most prepared of candidates. Arriving early is even more critical if you’ve never been to campus or navigated UT parking before.
“What was the question again?”: You’d be surprised how many times at the end of an applicant’s long-winded answer we are asked to repeat the original question. Most often this happens to people who try to cram too much into the first answer for fear of not being given an opportunity later on to address that well-rehearsed example. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it! Plus, sometimes there is an opportunity at the end of an interview to mention anything we didn’t address in the formal line of questioning.
Loosen Up: Given our program’s famously friendly culture, our interviews are relatively informal. If you still find yourself nervous, practice your answers in front of a mirror, a friend or a willing stranger and ask them how you did; did you answer the question? Did you rush through it? Take a moment to outline your answer in your mind first, and then address it calmly and confidently. Don’t get tooooo comfortable, though. While we’re an easy-going bunch, maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is always a good idea.
Know what we’re looking for: We listen for confidence, clear and concise communication of career goals, concrete examples of teamwork and leadership, in-depth knowledge of our MBA program, and overall genuine enthusiasm. Also, the interview can be a place to showcase secondary skills that are difficult for us to determine solely based on your application: interview skills, self-awareness, communication style, and “hire-ability”.
Know your audience: If you are invited to interview for the Texas MBA program, you have three options: On-Campus with an Admissions Officer or current student, Off-Campus with alumni or Admissions Officer in select cities, or via Skype with an Admissions Officer or current student. Remember the Admissions Committee doesn’t have a preference for how or who you interview with, just as long as you prepare depending on your audience.
Come with questions: A good list of questions can illustrate a few key things about a candidate: you’ve done your research, you care about our program, you have envisioned yourself as an MBA and you can formulate thoughts under pressure. Don’t overdo it, though. We usually leave anywhere from 10-15 minutes for questions, so limit your list to 2-3 good ones maximum and have a few backups.
While our interviewing style is admittedly less intense than corporate recruiters and some other MBA programs, don’t let our laid-back attitude fool you. The Admissions Committee uses the interview as a way to add character, depth and spirit to your written application, so keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive outcome. Good luck!