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You can find a better version of my blog at http://www.adammarkus.com/blog/.

Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

October 30, 2009

MIT Sloan MBA Interviews

My analysis of MIT Sloan's MBA essays can be found here.
 This post has remained relatively unchanged from the one I put up last year.  

My colleague, Steve Green, has put together a list of common MIT Sloan interview questions, it can be found here.

Before reading the rest of this post, I strongly suggest downloading a copy of MIT's  guide to behavioral interviews, The MIT Sloan Interview Guide, because reading it first will maximize the value of my comments below.

The behavioral interview method is not old:

In fact, the STAR technique outlined in MIT’s guide was developed by Byham as THE WAY to answer behavioral questions:

In addition to the MIT SLOAN Guide, I suggest also taking a look at the slightly different guide to the Star Technique that MIT Career Services provides.

The STAR technique is really the core method you need to use for answering behavioral questions in MIT essays. It is simply this (taken from the MIT Sloan Guide):

• Situation: define the situation or “set the stage.”
• Task: identify the task/project performed.
• Action: describe the action you took.
• Result: summarize the outcome

Just keep in mind that you need to be introspective as well, so in an interview say what you thought as well as what you did. Don’t just present “the facts” but actively interpret your actions. There is really nothing overly complicated about this as long as you understand that you need to tell a DETAILED story. Pure abstractions disconnected from a concrete set of action steps are highly likely to result in a weak answer. Similarly, grand actions not told in any depth are also likely to be weak. Identify specific actions that contributed to the result so as to establish a clear link between cause and effect.

As when answering any kind of question, another important consideration is to think very critically about what your story selection, understanding of the task, actions taken, and results say about you. Keep in mind that the whole point of asking behavioral questions is to determine how someone acts and thinks as a basis for selecting or rejecting that person. It is obviously critical to be aware of your own message. Specifically think of examples you can use to highlight your intelligence, creativity, leadership skills, interpersonal communication skills, and conflict resolution skills.

Since your interviewer will know your file well, you need to have alternative stories for answering behavioral questions. Unlike MIT's behavioral essays, you need not limit your answers to topics from the last three years. My suggestion is to have a mix of stories ready to deliver from different times in your life.

Please see my more recent post which consists of common MIT interview questions You can find behavioral questions in the interview reports found at accepted.com and clearadmit.com. In addition, the list of behavioral questions found at MIT Career Services site is actually quite good for preparing for answers to wide variety of questions.

Beyond answering, behavioral questions, you need to know your own application completely as you will likely be asked about content in it.
Re-read your essays and consider what your interviewer might ask you to explain more thoroughly.

You need to be prepared to answer routine MBA questions as well. While the answers may be analyzed using behavioral analysis, don't be surprised if you get asked questions like "What do you want to after your MBA?" or "Why Sloan." See my previous post on basic MBA interview strategy.

The interviewers, all admissions staff, are generally reported to be friendly. They are the only ones who conduct interviews.

Based on reports, interview length could be from 30 to 60 minutes with 45 minutes to 60 minutes being most common.

For more insight into MIT, please see here.

If you are interested in my interview preparation or other graduate admission consulting services, please click here.

Questions? Write comments, but do not send me emails asking me to advise you on your application strategy unless you are interested in my consulting services. Please see my FAQ regarding the types of questions I will respond to. Before emailing me questions about your chances for admission or personal profile, please see my post on "Why I don't analyze profiles without consulting with the applicant."
-Adam Markus
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