UNC Kenan-Flagler MBA Blog

Admissions Tip #3 – The Interview

December 11, 2012 By Kelly Lynch

As the final posting in our series of Admissions Tips for this application season, we wanted to give you the best advice possible when preparing for your MBA interview.  Remember to get it scheduled as soon as possible, so you don’t miss the completion deadline!  Below, we have outlined several pieces of guidance for you as you ready yourself before the interview, during the interview and after the interview.

Before the Interview:

  1. Do your homework about UNC Kenan-Flagler, or whatever school it may be that you are interviewing with.  Visit their website, network with alumni at events and reach out to current students.  The MBA Ambassadors at Kenan-Flagler are an amazing resource for you and are eager to answer any questions you might have.
  2. Compile a list of questions that cannot be answered by simply reading the website.  If the goal is to impress your interviewer, asking them a generic, commonly-inquired question won’t likely do the trick.  Our suggestion is to make a list of questions you already have, and then answer as many of them as you can via other outlets (i.e. the website).  The questions remaining without an answer are probably excellent ones to ask during your interview.
  3. Plan your commute and make sure you can arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your interview.  This will help you eliminate any extra potential for stress s.  Find out exactly where the business school is located and where you will need to park, so you can account for walking time as well if the parking lot is farther away.  The last thing you want is to be lost and looking for a place to park with only a few minutes to spare.
  4. Dress appropriately.  This point seems fairly straightforward, but don’t overlook it.  Make sure you look presentable in your interview by removing any chipped nail polish, un-popping your collar and leaving excessive jewelry that might take away from you at home.

During the Interview:

  1. Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and solid eye contact.  This will set the stage for a promising interview.
  2. Speak articulately when answering your interviewer’s questions, especially if your interview is over the phone or via web cam.  Avoid using casual phrases such as “like,” “um,” and “you know,” to maintain poise and professionalism.  In addition, enthusiasm and conviction are strong indicators of passion, so make sure to display those things when talking about your goals and reasons for returning to get your MBA.
  3. Make it known why it is that Kenan-Flagler, or the school you’re interviewing with, is the one for you.  Talk about how the specifics of the program will help you achieve your career goals and exactly how you plan on contributing as a student.  This will help your interviewer see a clear picture of your success and will easily connect the dots for them.  Also, while we love our Carolina athletics and beautiful Southern weather and enjoy talking about them, try not to let those be the sole reasons you offer for wanting to attend UNC.
  4. Don’t stand out in the wrong way.  Though you do want to leave an impression on your interviewer, it’s best that it’s not a negative one.   For example, don’t answer your phone during the interview, try not to fidget around too much in your chair and take your belongings with you when you leave.
  5. Again, be yourself.  As we mentioned in an earlier Admissions Tip, it is so important for you to relax and just be yourself during the interview.  UNC Kenan-Flagler has an extraordinary student body that possesses each of our five core values, and your interviewer will want to see that you, too, embody those qualities and will make an excellent addition to the school.

After the Interview:

  1. Close the interview in the same manner that you opened it by, once again, firmly shaking your interviewer’s hand, making eye contact, and genuinely thanking them for their time.
  2. Ask for a business card from your interviewer, if you have not already received one from the front desk.
  3. Send a thank-you as a follow-up within a week of your interview date.  A note either via email or U.S. mail is perfectly fine.  Try to mention something unique that may have been discussed during your interview to help the interviewer remember you, as well as to further convey your interest in attending the school.

This is the final tip in a series from our admissions office at UNC Kenan-Flagler.  Check back often for future advice from our team, insights from our students and Q & A’s with our faculty.