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The Interview: The last stop on the application trail

interview

461.  This is how many TMMBA admission interviews I have done over the years!  It’s safe to say I’ve learned a few things about being an interviewer and how best to engage with an interviewee.   My intention for this post is to shed light on the TMMBA interview approach and what you can expect.

First, let me say that I recognize the “interview” can be a bit nerve-wracking.  After all, it is the last stop before a decision is made on whether or not you will be offered admission.  The nice thing is that there are a lot of articles and advice in the cyber world  on the MBA interview. One of my favorites, 10 Tips for Acing the MBA Interviews featured on Forbes (Jan, 2013), is a great, practical overview on how to prepare and what to expect.  However, most of the articles are for full-time MBA program interviews and not for a program like TMMBA.

So what is different about the TMMBA admission interview approach?  It’s a conversation.  It’s a dialogue.  No panels.  No litany of canned questions.  No right or wrong answers.  It is simply getting beyond what is contained in black and white as part of your application file and to validate you meet areas of the selection process.  It’s as simple as that!

There are three of us on the TMMBA Program team who interview applicants, and while we all have our own interview style we all approach it as a conversation.  So what are some things we might talk about during our conversation?

Here are 10 possible topics for a great conversation:

  1. Your current job and company.  What you like, dislike and how an MBA fits in to the big picture.
  2. If your company has been in the news or has released a new product we might chat about that.
  3. There is a lot of literature out there about the pros/cons of MBA degrees. What are your thoughts and why do you want to do this?
  4. How do you anticipate the first quarter going for you?
  5. Working in teams has its ups and downs.   What is the secret sauce for successful teams?
  6. What are you most excited to learn while in the program?
  7. How has the application process been for you?  What was your favorite and least favorite aspect of the application?
  8. If you came to a class visit we might talk about the course and what impressions you had while visiting.
  9. Mentors and role models and how they have influenced you.
  10. An international experience (work or vacation) and your impressions of the culture, people, etc.

Additionally, there will be time for any questions you have that have gone unanswered.  My biggest piece of advice on questions is that if you don’t have any don’t feel compelled to ask something and certainly do not ask something you should know by the time you reach the interview stage (class schedule, courses, etc.).

Lastly, we’ll wrap up our conversation with next steps.

If you have read this blog and you interview with me, let me know and I’ll throw in a bonus question! :)

TracyTracy Gojdics is the Director of the TMMBA Program and an alumna from the Class of 2007. Outside of the office you might find Tracy out hiking, running, reading, or spending quality time with her family. Tracy can be contacted at tracylt@uw.edu or via phone at 206-616-2610.