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5 Tips to Ace Your Biz School Interview

How to Ace Your Business School InterviewWhether you're a young up-and-comer hit hard by the horrific jobs situation or an ambitious employee with a few years' experience to your name, business school might be the right choice to rocket-charge your career and ride out the economic mess. So what can you do to up your chances of getting in? You can't go back and change your grades and your work experience is what it is, but one thing that it is possible to improve without years of work is interview performance. This week The Business Insider War Room is helping out with a post by Nick Saint offering 14 tips to ace your interview. Here are five to whet your appetite.

  • Keep Your Head High, You're On Their Radar. The business school interview is an intimidating beast.... Buck up. The majority of applicants weren't given this opportunity; if they weren't seriously considering you, you wouldn't be in this position. You don't need to prove why you belong in the room, you are there to set yourself apart in a field of applicants who are all appealing on paper.
  • Know Thyself. Or Make Thyself Up. You need to put some thought into how you want to present yourself, not just through your actions, but as an object of discussion. Think of yourself as a third-party you are studying to give a report on. Then fudge the reporting in your favor.... Don't make up anything implausible or falsifiable, but remember you are selling yourself, not talking to your priest.
  • Cover Your Weak Spots. "Whatever weakness you're hoping you can avoid mentioning, that's what you'll probably spend most of the interview talking about," says a current Harvard MBA student... Think about the most glaring difference between you and the ideal applicant, and get ready to talk about it.
  • Build Up A Broad Base Of Knowledge. Knowing your specialty inside and out isn't enough in the interview. You might know all there is to know about your industry, and have every intention of returning to it once you have your MBA, but you are applying to business school, and you need to demonstrate some basic knowledge of the wider world of business, and even -- brace yourself -- of the world beyond business.
  • Speak In Paragraphs; Have Another Page In The Tank. Obviously, the length of your answers will depend on the questions, but for the most part, you should aim to make a single, well-supported point and then stop, without carrying on and on. Think of your answers as short paragraphs. That said, this is an interactive process. Your interviewer won't follow up on absolutely everything you say, but there will be a lot of back and forth, so if your answer exhausts all you have to say on a subject, you are setting yourself up for disaster. Don't give an answer that you couldn't have made at least three times as long if you'd had to.
Considering the questions about whether shoddy ethics and a problematic organizational culture at many business schools contributed to the financial crisis, it's worth wondering whether we should be alarmed that one of these tips suggests a liberal attitude towards the truth and another addresses an apparently commonplace inclination towards general ignorance among perspective MBAs? For the complete list of tips, check out Business Insider.

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(Image of suiting up for an interview by Alex France, CC 2.0)
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