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

February 10, 2014

The stupidest thing any applicant invited for an MBA admissions interview can do is...

The stupidest thing any applicant invited for an MBA admissions interview can do is not prepare sufficiently for the interview!

Every year, I work intensively with clients who prepare great MBA applications to top MBA programs, but regardless of what I suggest, regardless of the extensive resources of this blog or other blogs, regardless of what the interview reports indicate, regardless of what other people might tell them, they still don’t prepare sufficiently. Sometimes it all works, but too often it does not.

If you are avoiding preparation for your HBS, Stanford, London Business School, INSEAD, Duke, Columbia, etc. interview, you are taking unnecessary risk.  What is your excuse?

Some of my favorite excuses:

I’m too busy: Right, you were not too busy to study for GMAT or GRE (or possibly TOEFL or IELTS) or for campus visits or alumni networking or information sessions or making essays or filling out application, but now you are too busy.  Sleep less,  don’t watch TV,  forget Facebook, or whatever. Give yourself the time to develop winning content. Close the deal.  You spent so much time getting to the point where your chance of admission would increase dramatically, can’t you make time for the next 1-4 weeks before your interview to prepare for it.

I don’t want to over prepare Fine, don’t, just prepare. See here.

I feel stupid reciting answers to no one in particular, I hate hearing my own voice on a recorder, watching myself on video, or otherwise reflecting on my performance during practice:  Join the club. Now get over it.  Hearing your own voice and becoming comfortable with what it speaks pays off when you have to perform in front of others.  Listening to your performance helps you figure out how to say things effectively.  Watching your performance helps you understand how you appear to someone else. Self-awareness leads to performance correction.

The whole thing makes me so nervous, I rather not think about it. Actually practicing makes me nervous: I feel for you, but I would hate to be you when you have the real thing, which will be worse.  If you experience serious feelings of anxiety, lack confidence in interviews or public speaking situations, I highly recommend reading this.  Be open to changing your psychology. You are too young to remain in fear for the rest of your life.

Whatever your rationale for not practicing, get over it. You have come this far.  Finish at your best!

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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