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Interview Prep Tips

Stanford GSB MBA interview questions and strategy 2022

Introduction

Congratulations on getting an invitation to a Stanford GSB interview!
The MBA from Haas is consistently ranked as one of the top three in the US, so though your test scores, grades, essays and letters of recommendation have gotten you this far, it pays not to be complacent and prep for the interview as intensely as you prepped for everything else so far.

The Stanford GSB interview format

Stanford GSB usually interviews applicant through its alumni pool.  Normally, those interviews can be in person, but given the current COVID-19 crisis, interviews are being done through Zoom/Skype and last anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes.

In either case, interviews are usually friendly and the interviewer will not have read your application, which means this is a blind interview.  This also means that there is little room for deep probing questions.  Probing questions – if they are asked at all – will usually be superficial and based on potential issues raised in your response.  

Questions will be split into three broad categories:

Firstly, classic MBA interview type questions (for example, “why do you want to get an MBA?”).  

Secondly, light probing questions that seek to shine some light on issues that the interviewer might have picked up in one of your verbal responses.  

And last but not least, behavioral questions – these are such a staple of MBA interviews that I have written an extensive article on how to deal with behavioral questions here.  Stanford GSB tends to focus on questions designed to probe how much of a team player you are.


Your question bank sample is on the way! You can practice live now at https://tryvoomer.com!
We’ve not been able to send you a Question Bank, but at Voomer you can start practicing with these questions now.

Stanford GSB MBA interview sample question list

  1. Tell me about yourself/walk me through your resume
  2. Why do you want an MBA?
  3. Why Stanford?
  4. Why is now a good time for you to go into an MBA program?
  5. How will you contribute to Stanford GSB?
  6. What was the toughest challenge you faced?
  7. What was the best piece of advice someone gave you?
  8. Tell me about a time you had uncooperative teammates
  9. Tell me about a time you were a champion for diversity
  10. Are you lucky?
  11. Tell me about a time you failed
  12. What do you plan to do after leaving Stanford GSB?

Conclusion

Even though Stanford GSB does not stray too far from the norm when it comes to its MBA interviews, it pays to practice – and practice a lot.  Ultimately, it is repetition that will make you feel more at ease with the format, the questions and answering them in a clear, concise and convincing way.

Voomer is an AI-powered interview platform built by AI researchers from the MIT Media lab that allows you to prep on your own time, as much as you like.

Check out Voomer and start prepping for free today!

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Interview Prep Tips

MBA video interview – how to prep for success

Introduction

An increasingly large number of MBA schools is using video as part of their admissions process.  We believe that this trend will only accelerate.

That is driven in part by the logistical and health issues that COVID-19 has brought upon us and partly because it truly does give admissions departments a better, more rounded view of who the candidate really is.  Some MBA admissions departments started using video almost a decade ago – and haven’t looked back.  That gives us a good idea of how much value this relatively new assessment technique brings.

Types of interviews

“MBA video interview” is actually a catch all term for several different types of interview.  To add to the confusion, admissions departments use different terms for the same thing.

Synchronous video interviews are when a actual, real person is on the other end of your Zoom or Skype call asking you the questions in real time and listening to your responses.  Stanford GSB for example, uses these types of interviews on some of their programs even before COVID-19 hit.

Asynchronous video interviews are when you listen to a pre-recorded question.  Then, you usually have a certain amount of time to prepare a response and then another pre-determined amount of time to respond.  Kellogg is an example of a MBA program that has been using this video interview format for several years.  

Video essays are when you receive a (usually) written prompt and have to respond to that prompt via video in your own time and generally with a lot more flexibility in how to respond.  MIT Sloan is an example of an MBA program that has been using this video interview format for many years now and has even “exported” it to other business schools it has a relationship with, such as the Asia School of Business.  

How to prepare for the video interview

Though the above video interview categories might seem very different, they are actually pretty similar when it comes to how to prepare for them.

Let’s break this down into two broad categories: how and what.  “How” refers to your presentation skills.  “What refers to the answer itself, the meaning of the words coming out of your mouth”.  

The “how”

You’re applying to a top flight MBA program – play the part.

Dress the part.  That means your clothes should be business casual (at least the top half of your body!) and your personal grooming should be put together.  Recording your videos while still in pajamas with bed hair probably won’t go down well with admissions.

Make and keep eye contact.  This is especially true when recording for the asynchronous video interviews where there is no one on the other end of the camera as you are speaking.  It is a very strange experience which feels very unnatural, which is why you have to practice quite a bit to get this part right.  Use a tool like Voomer to  get used to looking straight into the camera while speaking.

Vary the tone of your voice.  That is important for two reasons:  Firstly it helps to keep the person reviewing your answers engaged.  Remember these people are reviewing multiple videos – and lets face it, they are humans too and get bored or zoned out.  Secondly, varying your tone helps with adding emphasis to parts of your response that need emphasis.  Perhaps a certain keyword you know admissions is looking for can be highlighted with a change in tone or pause.  Voomer has tools to help you practice those two presentation skills.

The “what”

Most of these types of interviews are what’s called “behavioral interviews”.  The interviewer is trying to figure out how you react and respond under certain circumstances – a difficult teammate, falling sales numbers, etc.

There are two key things to the “what”: Firstly, keep your answers grounded in real life examples from your life and business experience – don’t come up with hypotheticals to say you “would” react in a certain way.  Applications want to hear what really happened.  Secondly, keep your answers formatted under the CAR method.  CAR stands for Context, Action, Results.  Essentially, what the situation was, what you did to resolve it and what were the results of that action.

I recently wrote another article that discusses in depth what a behavioral interview is and how to ace one here.

That helps the interviewer easily parse out the information they need for your reply and fill out the report they have to submit.  Remember – you want to make their lives easier!

Conclusion

There is no easy solution – its practice, practice and more practice.  That’s how you’ll get better at MBA video interviews.  Though you can make things easier on yourself by using a MBA video interview prep solution like Voomer.  

On Voomer, you’ll find questions that are specific to each program’s style (some drawn directly from question banks and current applicants) and AI-powered video assessments that help you improve your performance dramatically in the shortest amount of time possible.

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Interview Prep Tips

Alternatives to MBA consultants

Introduction

Congratulations!  If you’ve been invited for an interview, that means you’ve made the first cut.  Your test scores are in the range that the MBA program you selected is looking for, your GPA is good enough and your essays are compelling.  However, all of that is now in the past.

Whether you get in or not now depends on only one thing – the dreaded MBA interview.  Admissions isn’t just listening to what you have to say, they are also listening to how you say things, which under certain circumstances can be more important than the former.

Preparing for your interview is of paramount importance.  Not all MBA programs are looking for the same type of applicant.  They all have different sets of priorities for their class profiles and they use the interview to confirm what they read in your written submission packet, make a call on someone who they might be on the fence about or choose between two or more candidates with extremely similar qualifications and profiles.  

Different schools interview in different ways, with some using asynchronous and synchronous interviews, others only using synchronous interviews ().

How to prep – MBA consultants

Using MBA consultants to prepare for MBA interviews is a relatively common way applicants prepare for interviews.  However, they have a few flaws, which means they might not be for you.

MBA consultants can be extraordinarily expensive.  A “start-to-finish” package for just one application can cost close to $5,000.  Hourly rates for consultants with solid track records can start at $1,000 per hour.

MBA consultants also aren’t always available at a moment’s notice.  Since almost all MBA programs around the world run on very similar schedules, the application cycles are also very similar.  That means that if you got lucky and got invited to an interview at your dream school, the MBA consultant you think is right for you might simply be fully booked for the season.

A critical issue with MBA consultants is that they are human.  Yes, they might have a lot of experience in giving advice on how to ace the interview at a certain program, but ultimately they are human, and humans are subjective creatures.  Their feedback and next steps suggestions might be flat out wrong simply because they are having a bad day or just need to get off the call with you quickly to deal with something more urgent.

How to prep – MBA consultant alternatives

If you are looking for a way to prep for your MBA video interview while not dealing with any of the issues you’ll encounter with MBA consultants, look no further – use Voomer.

Voomer is a MBA video interview prep platform that does away with those issues since it is fully automated.  Artificial intelligence powers the video and audio analysis to ensure that you prep for your interview in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Voomer focuses on your verbal and nonverbal communication to deliver a holistic analysis of your interview prep performance.  Individual scores for each component of your interview allow you to zero in on what is holding you back and suggests personalized next steps to help you improve as fast as possible.  The objective nature of the analysis algorithm ensures you are measuring your progress in a consistent manner, which helps to make your progress clear and keeps you motivated.

Since Voomer is fully automated, you don’t rely on others to sync up their schedules with you.  You can prep anytime, anywhere.  After submitting one or more videos for analysis, our algorithms run through your videos to deliver results as fast as possible so you can keep improving on your time.

Try Voomer today and start with a free evaluation of your MBA video interview skills.

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Interview Prep Tips

Alternatives to mock interviews for MBA applicants

Background – The importance of prepping

Congratulations!  If you’ve been invited for an interview, that means you’ve made the first cut.  Your test scores are in the range that the MBA program you selected is looking for, your GPA is good enough and your essays are compelling.  However, all of that is now in the past. Whether you get in or not now depends on only one thing – the dreaded MBA interview.  Admissions isn’t just listening to what you have to say, they are also listening to how you say things, which under certain circumstances can be more important than the former. Preparing for your interview is of paramount importance.  Not all MBA programs are looking for the same type of applicant.  They all have different sets of priorities for their class profiles and they use the interview to confirm what they read in your written submission packet, make a call on someone who they might be on the fence about or choose between two or more candidates with extremely similar qualifications and profiles. Different schools interview in different ways, with some using asynchronous and synchronous interviews, others only using synchronous interviews.

How to prep – mock interviews

Mock interviews are a very common way applicants prepare for interviews.  However, they have a few flaws, which means they might not be for you.

Mock interviews always depend on another person to interview you and give feedback on your performance.  That means that scheduling times that make sense for you and your mock interviewers isn’t the most trivial matter.  Some applicants we talked to rank this as one of the worst problems with mock interviews, and this frequently limits the amount of time they spend practicing due to scheduling conflicts with their mock interviewers.

Two people doing a mock interview.
Mock interviews have been the go-to way to prep for MBA interviews till now.

Quality assurance is also an issue since friends that help you out with mock interviews may not always be aware of the finer points of the program you are applying to or they might stray from the question bank.  Not to mention the most critical issue – coming up with quality feedback that helps you improve. The scheduling and quality control issues are not done away when using fellow applicants or MBA consultants since ultimately, these are humans.  They have scheduling issues and depending on how they feel on a certain day, their feedback might also set you on a wrong track. If you are looking for a way to prep for your MBA video interview while not dealing with any of the problems that mock interviews have, look no further – use Voomer.

How to prep – mock interview alternatives

Voomer is a MBA video interview prep platform that does away with those issues since it is fully automated.  Artificial intelligence powers the video and audio analysis to ensure that you prep for your interview in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Voomer focuses on your verbal and nonverbal communication to deliver a holistic analysis of your interview prep performance.  Individual scores for each component of your interview allow you to zero in on what is holding you back and suggests personalized next steps to help you improve as fast as possible.  The objective nature of the analysis algorithm ensures you are measuring your progress in a consistent manner, which helps to make your progress clear and keeps you motivated. Since Voomer is fully automated, you don’t rely on others to sync up their schedules with you.  You can prep anytime, anywhere.  After submitting one or more videos for analysis, our algorithms run through your videos to deliver results as fast as possible so you can keep improving on your time.

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Interview Prep Tips

Yale SOM MBA video question prep

Yale’s School of Management has been using video as part of the application process at their prestigious MBA program for many years now.

Yale SOM made video a part of the admissions process back in 2014 and sources indicate that the relative importance of a candidate’s video essay has increased over time.  Therefore, prepping thoroughly for Yale SOM’s MBA video questions is a key part of a successful applicant’s journey to admission.

Admissions staff at Yale SOM value the video questions greatly since it allows them to get a better feel for the candidates are, in an environment that is not as staged as a written essay (which some candidates even outright hire ghostwriters to pen them a perfect essay) or relentlessly drill for as the face to face interview.

What to expect

Questions on the video questions tend to mix up classic MBA application questions (for example, “why do you want an MBA from Yale”, “what is your greatest achievement”, etc) with questions that would probably never make it to a formal face to face interview, such as “where do you want to travel to?”.  This gives credence to what admissions has publicly stated as the purpose of the video interview – to simply get to know the applicant.

Recording the Yale video questions is a relatively straightforward process.  The interview is run on a platform managed by a company called Kira Talent.  You have to answer three questions.  Those questions are delivered in the form of a video recording, one at a time.  For the first two questions, the applicant has 20 seconds to prepare an answer after listening to the question and 30 seconds to respond.  The third question has a prep timer of 60 seconds and the response time is 90 seconds.  There are no retries!

2020 Yale video questions

Yale’s first two video questions are fairly typical of MBA application video submissions, but the third is decidedly unique.

The first question revolves the question of why you chose to pursue an MBA.  This can be phrased in several different ways but the question is essentially the same – make sure to have that answer ready to go.

The second question is typically a behavioral question.  If you’ve ever been through an interview that asks you about “your greatest challenge” or “a time you had to resolve a conflict between two teammates” – those are behavioral questions.  You should always answer those questions drawing from your past experiences.  Give them context, tell them what do you did improve the situation, and what was the result of those actions.

The third question is more complex and draws on Yale’s use of “raw” and “cooked” case studies.  “Raw” case studies are when the information is presented to you in an unstructured, unconsolidated way – much like you’ll find information in the real world!  On the third question, you will be presented with some information and you need to demonstrate the ability to handle complex issues quickly and convincingly.

MBA Video Interviews are becoming increasingly important, but finding the right setting can be a challenge.

To be absolutely clear: You only have one chance to record those answers!  There are no retries!  Once you’ve recorded your answer there is no way you can record again.  The only exception is if there is a legitimate technical issue and the Kira staff verify that video was not captured or there was some other sort of problem.  If you ask Yale admissions to redo the video interview without a valid technical reason, your application will probably be flagged and not in a good way.


Your question bank sample is on the way! You can practice live now at https://tryvoomer.com!
We’ve not been able to send you a Question Bank, but at Voomer you can start practicing with these questions now.

How to prepare for the video essay

A good way to avoid stressing out due to technical issues is testing the Kira platform before you start answering the Yale questions.  Kira has a helpful section on their website that explains in great details the technical step-by-step of recording video and what to do in case there are any technical issues.

Another big thing to look out for when preparing for the video interview is how unnatural it is to record yourself talking into your camera.  Everyone does selfie videos but this is quite a different experience!

Make sure you do lots of practice runs to familiarize yourself with recording video without anybody else on the other end.

Get ahead of the competition

Voomer is a great way to get that practice since it was built from the ground up with this scenario in mind.  When it comes to doing well on interviews, there is only one way to improve and get ahead of the competition – practice, practice and more practice.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the Yale video interview and after going through a set of questions, you’ll get an artificial intelligence powered report on your results with specific, actionable steps you can take to improve your performance.

Your response is broken down into multiple components and analyzed individually and then as a whole.  From delivery to content to body language and camera settings.