Assessment Day, part I - Getting to Lausanne
Here are some of my "misconceptions" based on my research, and my actual experience:
- Misconception #1 - you will only be asked the typical MBA interview questions
- Misconception #2 - One or two examples will be sufficient
- Misconception #3 - Wasn't expecting too many "behavioral" questions
- Misconception #4 - It will be very casual and actually pretty enjoyable
My preparation advice for the 1-on-1 interview
- Do your research online to find common IMD questions, and write out bullets for how you would generally tackle each one. See below for my list.
- Know your application
- Be confident and positive
- Avoid sounding "rehearsed"
- Remember to say *I* rather than *we* when referring to your actions and accomplishments. It's nice to give credit to your team and your coworkers, but ultimately they want to know about what *you* did.
- Practice with your wife/family/friends, and be open to their feedback
- Take your recommenders out to lunch and talk about your application, goals etc. They can be a great resource.
- Read "Case in Point" by Marc Cosentino. There's a whole section about how to tackle market sizing/estimate questions. It will also help with the other activities you will face later in the day.
And here's a big one:
- Try not to let any doubts about your interview linger in your mind after it's done. In my case, the interview was the toughest part of the day (and many of my fellow candidates said the same). Remember you still have a presentation to give and a case study to discuss!
- Why do you want to leave a perfectly good job to pursue an MBA?
- Why do you want to come IMD's MBA program specifically? What is different about IMD for you, and why is it better than other programs?
- What do you not like about IMD?
- Why are you coming to Europe? Why not USA/Asia?
- Why is now the right time for you to pursue an MBA? Why not one year ago? Why not next year?
- What are you short-term goals after the MBA? If you are switching industry/function/geography, is your switch realistic or is it a big leap? How does it connect to your existing experience?
- What aspects of your experience do you wish to "transfer" into your post-MBA position, and what aspects do you wish to change?
- What are your long-term goals? Do your short-term goals position you in the right direction to accomplish those?
- What other programs did you apply to, and why?
- If you were accepted into both IMD and your other programs, how would you choose?
- If you were not accepted into IMD, what is your plan?
- How are you better than the next candidate?
- Give me two or three of your weaknesses.
- Give me two or three of your strengths.
- How would your co-workers and managers describe you?
- Your recommenders said "X" about you - would you say that is accurate?
- What does leadership mean to you?
- What is your leadership style?
- Tell me about a situation when you faced a tough challenge at work. What did you do? What did you learn?
- Tell me about a situation when you failed. What did you learn?
- Tell me about a situation when you had to deal with confrontation. How did you handle it?
- Give me an example of a time where you demonstrated team work.
- Give me a situation where you demonstrated leadership.
- Give me an example of a time when you managed a project from beginning to end.
- Tell me about a situation where you found yourself out of your comfort zone. How did you navigate it?
- Tell me about a situation where you had to make a tough decision. How did you handle it?
- Tell me about a time you had to deal with ambiguity or incomplete infomration. How did you manage it? Could you have done better?
- What is your greatest achievement to date, aside from the one you wrote in your essay?
- Tell me about your hobbies? Why do you do these activities?
- Surprise me.
- Do you have any questions for me?