Monday, January 27, 2014

Mastering the On-Campus Interview

By Joe Boesen, First-year MBA, Marketing


Recruiter Question: Tell me about a time you had a vision for a project and what you did to motivate your team to achieve that vision?

MBA Answer: (Silence… then my mind races to find the best possible situation, remember all of the detailed actions and deliver the response and result… and do it with a SMILE and ENTHUSIASM!!!).

As a Kelley first-year MBA student in the midst of internship interview season, this is a familiar situation. First we practiced with our classmates, second-years and the excellent career coaches at Kelley’s Graduate Career Services, then we go in for the real deal with company recruiters, most of them senior managers and vice presidents at major firms.

Interview season is intense, hectic and emotionally draining. As you walk into each interview room, there are many big question marks and as you walk out, there are even bigger question marks (Will they call for the second round? What were they trying to get at with that one question?).

But I've also learned a good deal after my first major round of interviews and will share that below:
Career coach Paul Binder speaking with students
  1. The strong, positive Kelley Culture has thus far survived a big test. Most companies have a limited amount of spots. Some students get offers while their classmates do not. However, my classmates have been as supportive as ever. Whenever you see someone in business formal, Kelleys offer a “good luck, you’ll kill it!” comment with a reassuring pat on the back.
  2.  Even if you network with a company and really want to work there, if they don’t see you as a fit with their company and culture, you will not be given an interview or offer. It's not personal.
  3. Before interview season begins, practice, practice and practice those CARs (Context, Action, Result) responses to questions. Practice actually does help you get to perfection.
  4. Finally, once you are ready for the big interview, keep calm, smile and in the words of Core Economics Professor Phil Powell, “LOCK IT IN YA’LL.”
Wise second-years tell us that “no matter what, everything works out and people end up where they belong.” As first-years, we are still working to figure that out, but I have a hunch the second-years are right.

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