Dr. Amanda Shantz is Associate Professor and has been Director of the Trinity MBA programme at Trinity Business School for the past 3 years. She has interviewed dozens of prospective MBA candidates over these years to ascertain if they are the right fit for the programme.
At the interview stage, candidates discuss their background and motivations. It is also a great opportunity for candidates to discuss the programme in a more in-depth manner with the MBA Director. In this blog piece, Amanda offers a number of tips for candidates who are preparing for the interview stage and how best to prepare for this important part of the MBA application process.
Dr. Amanda Shantz, EMBA Programme Director
1. Get to know the programme
The interview is your first impression, and so you’ll want to put your best foot forward. Before the interview, get to know the programme and its requirements by reading the MBA website, look for blogs or online articles, make an appointment to speak to a recruitment officer, or even reach out to alumni on LinkedIn.
Take time to fully understand the programme, and what aspects motivated you to apply. Are you most excited about honing your finance skills, the international trips, or company projects? Or perhaps you look forward to building a network of likeminded professionals who are keen to develop, or maybe you’re planning to turn a great idea into a new business? In short, make sure you can clearly articulate your motivation for pursuing an MBA and how the programme will help you achieve that ambition.
2. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Once you have a good sense of the programme, prepare for the interview by practicing common questions like: What motivated you to pursue an MBA? What aspects of the programme resonate with you most? What unique skill set can you offer to other to enrich in-class discussions? What are your career goals and how will an MBA help you to attain them?
Although you’ll want to have a clear idea of responses to questions such as these, don’t over rehearse them. Over-rehearsing may backfire if you’re asked a question that doesn’t align with one of your pre-determined answers. Instead, think through questions such as these and be prepared to answer any question, spontaneously and with enthusiasm.
Why the Trinity MBA?
3. Ask good questions
Like most interviews, you’ll be provided with an opportunity to ask questions. The MBA is a significant investment of your time, finances, and intellectual energy, and so you want to make sure that this is the right programme for you. For instance, you might want to learn about the typical demographics of MBA students, the backgrounds of module leaders who teach on the programme, the type of career support we offer, or extra-curricular activities.
4. Be authentic
Top class programmes seek out diverse students, so be authentic in the interview. When I interview candidates, I consider whether the person will offer a unique perspective, contribute to a collaborative learning environment, and become a trusted ambassador of the programme in years to come. Just because you don’t have a business background doesn’t mean that an MBA isn’t right for you – in fact, having a background in STEM, the arts, or politics means that you can offer something very different to our already diverse student groups.
Trinity Business School's Spiral Staircase
5. Don't forget the basics
This isn’t a job interview, but we do expect that you’ll be on time, appear professional, and come prepared. If you’ve sufficiently prepared for the interview, then your nerves will settle and you can enjoy the interview process.
6. Enjoy it!
We love interviewing candidates for our MBA – it’s an opportunity for us to get to know potential students, and a way for us to start building relationships with you. Even if you’re not 100% sure that you want to commit to pursuing an MBA, an interview may help you make this important decision. So don’t delay, and make your appointment soon.