Think Like an Adcom Member to Ace Your MBA Interview

As a former member of UNC Kenan-Flagler’s adcom, I can share with you some of the groups I knew I had to answer to in the MBA admissions process.

Whether you interview with a member of admissions committee (adcom), an alumni or a second year student, it is helpful to think about your MBA interview from adcom’s point of view.

  • The Career Management Center.

    Essentially people on the admissions side are making a bet on how you will fare in the recruiting process. If the admissions team admits candidates that struggle in the recruiting process, you can be sure the Career Management Center will be beating a path to adcom’s door to discuss this. You need to present yourself professionally and have career goals that make sense given your past work and the program’s resources.

  • Your Classmates.

    Much of the learning in an MBA program happens within your peer group. All students in the class must have something valuable to share with their classmates whether it is their Excel wizardry skills, their knowledge of business negotiations in China or their ability to create persuasive presentations. Give your interviewer a sense of the value you will add in the classroom, on project teams and in extracurricular activities.

  • Faculty and Staff.

    Since you have been invited to interview, adcom thinks you can handle the academic rigor of their program. The interview provides a glimpse of how you handle yourself professionally. Will you be a student that monopolizes conversation in the classroom or in group projects? Or will you be an active and supportive listener and teammate?

  • Alumni.

    The brand of a school lives on through the quality of its graduates. Alumni interact with current students in the recruiting process and also in their companies as new recruits join their firms. If new hires do not represent the brand well, the alumni will let adcom know!

  • The University at Large.

    Universities thrive because their schools produce engaged and successful alumni who give back. Will you be a “net giver” or a “net taker?” Adcom looks for students who have made positive contributions to their undergraduate institutions, companies and communities. Highlight examples to demonstrate that you will be one of the alums who is looking to build a lifelong partnership.