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Tips For Your MBA Interview With An Alum

Jeff Schmitt
·6 mins read

Tips For Your Alumni Interview

At some point in your MBA application process, you may have to participate in an interview with an alumnus.

It’s a way for adcoms to get another perspective on you as a candidate, according to Cindy Tokumitsu of Accepted.

“The adcom already sees the application; this approach gives them another set of eyes and ears, another perspective on the applicant – the perspective of someone invested in the program,” Tokumitsu writes.

But what exactly can you as an applicant do to prepare for an alumni interview?

Melissa Jones, of Fortuna Admissions, recently offered a few tips applicants can utilize to prepare.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Prior to their interview, Jones recommends that applicants do some research on their interviewers.

“Check out their profile on LinkedIn and do a Google search, at the minimum,” Jones writes. “Give some thought to what you might have in common – this can be useful as an ice-breaker.”

ASK REAL QUESTIONS

Often times, an interviewer will like to see that you’ve done your research thoroughly about the program.

Thus, it’s important for applicants to use the interview to ask what Jones calls the “nitty-gritty questions.”

“When it’s your turn to ask questions, use the opportunity wisely; don’t make the mistake of asking questions for which the information is easily available online,” Jones writes.

HAVE AN ELEVATOR PITCH

During your interview, you’re likely to be asked questions that ask you to walk through your resume or tell the interviewer a bit about yourself.

Jones recommends that applicants prepare a 30-to-60 second elevator pitch.

“Your MBA elevator pitch is a concise and compelling conversation opener that speaks to who you are, what you’re passionate about and what’s driving you to pursue your business school degree,” Jones writes. “Your goal is to both create a positive first impression and open the door to further conversation by generating interest.”

Check out the rest of the tips here.

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, Accepted

Kelly Goldsmith, Vanderbilt University (Owen)

From Contestant on Survivor To Marketing Professor

Back in 2001, Kelly Goldsmith was voted out on the reality TV show Survivor: Africa.

Since being on national television, Goldsmith has gone on to do quite a few things. She earned her Ph.D. in behavioral marketing at Yale University before securing positions as a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and now at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Goldsmith recalls her experience on Survivor and what she’s been up to since.

LOOKING BACK

When recalling her time on the show, Goldsmith says she doesn’t have any regrets.

“That’s the good thing about going on a reality show when you’re young,” she tells EW. “Two decades later, even the silly things I did and said (e.g., my final Tribal Council speech…) seem kind of quaint.”

If anything, Goldsmith says, she’s proud of herself for going through that type of experience.

“I’m not much of an athlete, so I’m just proud I held my own well enough on that dimension with the other people who were out there!” she tells EW.

POST-SURVIVOR

After receiving her doctorate from Yale in 2009, Goldsmith went on to join the faculty at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. She was named one of P&Q’s Top 40 Most Outstanding B-School Professors in the World Under 40″ in 2014.

Goldsmith’s research and teaching focuses primarily on examining “people’s responses to uncertainty and scarcity, uncovering and explaining seemingly paradoxical effects,” according to her website.

Back in 2019, she gave a TED talk on “How to make the most out of not having enough” drawing from her 15 years of experience as a behavioral scientist and her 24 days on the show.

After leaving the show, Goldsmith says the transition was all but smooth despite one small challenge.

“I didn’t have a huge problem coming back, but I had a terrible time keeping when I got voted off a secret (though I did keep it a secret!),” she tells EW. “Everyone in my world expected me to do really well in the game, especially after the merge. I kept wanting to tell them to get their hopes way down!”

Read Goldsmith’s full interview at EW.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, Fandom, P&Q, Professor Goldsmith

Tepper School Interior

Tips for Carnegie Mellon Tepper Essays

Last year, Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business secured number 17 in our “Top Business Schools” ranking.

Gaining acceptance into Tepper is no easy task as the b-school is well-known for its prestigious programs and tight-knit community.

In her recent blog post, Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, broke down Tepper’s MBA essay prompts for 2020-21 offering tips on how applicants should address each question.

REQUIRED ESSAY

This year, Tepper asked applicants to answer the following required essay prompt: The Tepper community is dynamic and unique. Each community member’s individual journey has shaped them into classmates who are collaborative, supportive, and inclusive. Describe how you have overcome adversity during your journey. What did you learn about yourself and how has that shaped who you are? (Maximum 350-500 words.)

Blackman says this prompt is an opportunity to discuss your fit at Tepper.

“CMU Tepper has a small and close-knit community,” Blackman writes. “Because this factor is so important, the only required question in this set of Tepper MBA essays is about your character as a person.”

It’s important, according to Blackman, to highlight experiences that have shaped who you are as a person.

“For instance, you could have faced personal challenges like poverty or family loss,” Blackman writes. “Or, you might have struggled in school or work. Most importantly, how did you overcome this adversity? This essay allows you to describe your past experiences.”

OPTIONAL ESSAY

For its optional essay, Tepper asks applicants to answer the following: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee as we evaluate your application? If you believe your credentials and essays represent you fairly, you should not feel obligated to answer this question. This essay is intended to provide a place for you to add information that you think is important but is not covered elsewhere in the application. This could include clarification of your employment or academic record, choice of recommenders or helpful context for the admissions committee in reviewing your application.

Blackman says the optional essay is to give you the space to explain any possible gaps in your application – whether academic or work experience related.

“Explain each issue clearly, and then describe how you have improved,” Blackman writes. “For example, perhaps you were unfocused during undergrad but have since made great strides professionally. Or, you faced layoffs or a struggling industry that created resume gaps, but you now have career focus. In each case, highlight the positive. Stay future-oriented and explain why the issue won’t be ongoing.”

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Poets & Quants

The post Tips For Your MBA Interview With An Alum appeared first on Poets&Quants.