I recently got admitted to Haas EWMBA. Woo hoo!! It was a long and arduous journey. I am capturing various elements of my journey in different posts.Here are my thoughts on Haas EWMBA interview and interview process.
I got my interview call on 2nd May & my interview was scheduled for 17th May @ 1:30 PM. I had not prepared a lot for interview till then.
Dress code: My first order of business was to figure out the dress code. After some searching it became clear that wearing a suit is mandatory. I am a Tech guy. I have not wore a business suit in like 10 years. I did not know what qualifies a proper business suit and what does not. So here’s a primer for those who might be in same boat business suit are dark suits. They can be grey, navy blue, even brown is ok (though it is not preferred, but it not a no-no as well). They can have stripes as well. Try to avoid Jet Black, light colored suits like light earth colors, cream etc and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Lot of people obsess about this, but as long as you come across as smart and nattily dressed you should be good.
In my case I went to Macys and purchased a grey suit with pin stripes at the last moment. I did not have chance to get it altered (As per Macys it would have taken 8-10 days to get them altered). It’s sleeves were bit long for me. I hid it when I was sitting in the waiting room by keeping my arms folded & In the interview when interviewer is sitting across the desk, I dont think they will notice that. & she did compliment me on my dress when I was leaving by saying something like you will be overdressed when you I go and visit the campus.
Bottom line: Wear a suit, look smart and dont worry if it’s not too perfect.
Preparing for the interview:
Here are the key questions to prepare for:
- Walk me through your resume.
- Why MBA
- Why Now
- Why Haas
- Fit for Haas : Examples of 2 of 4 defining principles.
My Interview Experience:
My interviewer was Ellen Bull. She is very nice lady. She was very polite and made me very comfortable by asking general questions. I led the conversation by talking about graduations happening at Haas, me not able to visit a class because all classes were done and other general stuff. Key thing was as we walked from my waiting area to her office we talked about lot of general stuff and she was very nice about it.
In the interview office we sat across a table. She already had my resume (I was carrying it as well, just in case). Her style of making we walk through the resume was very conversational. Rather than having me give 3-6 minute speech, she led me by looking at my first change and left it open. (This pattern will repeat multiple times in the interview. It took me some time to realize that initially but later I was doing it naturally.)
After some awkward gap, I took the lead and told her why I made the change. Then I talked about my next job and how I became a lead and challenges with that. She picked upon those challenges and asked me few more questions. But it was all conversational, I did not have to recite what I had rehearsed at any point of time. We talked about my international change and my current position, a leadership example and my goals. It was not too tricky so far.
Then she asked me what do I do for fun. I told about my reading habit and talked about the book “Born to run” . I took that opportunity to talk about something interesting “bare foot running”. She knew about it and did not believe in it. Good part was we ended up having very interesting discussion on why I think it was good and why she felt it was a sham. As I look back I am very happy that I brought that up as it sparked an interesting conversation.
Then she asked me what will my manager think about me. I was not prepared for this, I just answered honestly I expect that he will say I am very dependable and gets the job done. (I think It was a lame answer but I believe it was truth and when you are not prepared only truth comes out ..and again she left it open by saying “that means..” so I added few more words by saying I make sure job is highest quality, people are happy, star performers are rewarded etc (and few more things which came to my mind)… that apparently satisfied her.
Then she asked what will my friends will say about me. I told her that someone who people love having conversations with and can have interesting conversations. (again not too strong…but you know the story)..
Then in the end she asked me if I would like to add any more to my application. I said nothing specific other than I really liked the program and would love to join and contribute to it. We were already 7 minutes over at that time…
With that we stood up and she walked me till the office gate and we again had bit of chit chat on what my plans for the day were and how I would look overdressed when I go to visit campus.
Overall in hindsight it was “ok” interview. Not the best. But along with the whole application I think it was just good enough to get me in
Hope this gives you some tips on the interview and gives you a sense of how interview is just an aspect of the application and you dont have to be perfect…Just relax and be yourself…the interesting yourself …and you should be fine.