Christine Sneva

Admissions Blog

Christine Sneva

Jan 12

Written by: Christine Sneva
1/12/2013 1:54 PM  RssIcon

I have shared with many applicants that your interview is very important with Johnson.  Our committee is always trying to discover a piece of who you are and only you can do just that.  Others may say the interview is a “sell” or a “superficial” piece of who you are and maybe that can be true – but I believe we can get a sense of three important aspects:  1) your motivation & fit for Johnson, 2) professionalism and readiness for our MBA program, and 3) interpersonal/presentation skills. 

Here are some of my tips that you may want to read before interviewing at Johnson:

1)       Dress professionally but more importantly, act it.  Any communication and interaction is being evaluated and we consider anything we know about you in the selection process.

2)       If you have been invited to interview with us, you should contact one of our students and/or alumni.  We give you access to hundreds of names through our Johnson Ambassadors program on our website at (http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/Full-Time-MBA/Admissions/Johnson-Ambassador-Search.aspx).  Additionally, if you are interested in our student organizations, you can contact the club officers by going to “Life@Johnson” from our site. 

3)       Be prepared to talk about your work experience.  We want to know what you are doing, assess transferable skills that will lead you to your goals, and your professional action plan that will help you succeed.  This requires a lot of due diligence through your personal networks and informational interviews.  You also need to carefully structure your responses so the interviewer understands what you are talking about so you do not go off topic risking not answering the question(s).

4)       If you know your weakness, work on it!  Below are some general guidelines we typically use when communicating to our candidates about potential weaknesses and recommended strategies for improvement:

·         Limited exposure to quantitative coursework or tasks / low GMAT quantitative score (below 65%)

Ø  Think about – improving your GMAT quant score on a retake (if taken less than 3 times) or complete graduate-level courses such as accounting, managerial finance, or statistics

·         Weaker presentation or communication skills

Ø  Think about  joining a local Toastmasters Club or similar public speaking group

·         Planning a significant career transition without prior preparation

Ø  Think about – networking with individuals in your desired industry and consider refining your goals (i.e. informational interviews)

·         Limited career experience

Ø  Think about – demonstrating significant achievements and leadership successes through the right recommendation letter(s) or someone that is a strong advocate for you that can speak candidly about you on these topics

5)       Practice, practice, practice!  Before going into an interview, you should always have prepared your value proposition and why you are at this point in your life/career.  If you take the tips above seriously and rehearse, you will feel more relaxed and your interpersonal skills will do the rest of the work. 

We are trying to connect with you and if you are too nervous or underprepared, you run the risk of not fully engaging in the conversation.  I recently read a post by …http://mbastudio.net/2012/02/intention-in-mba-admissions-interviews/   @MBAStudio that gave great advice about interviews – basically, know what you are getting into and for those that have excellent interpersonal skills, you have an advantage. 

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