Hardly had we been a month into the first year of the MBA program, when we were introduced to the much dreaded “MBA interview”, as we faced our seniors in the mock interview sessions.
The mock interviews did not neglect any aspect of the actual interviews that MBAs have to face at Smeal. The process of signing up for the interview introduced us to the career services web tool – Simplicity. The interviews were conducted by 2nd year students, who represented actual companies like Pfizer, Dell, J&J, based on the internships that the 2nd year students had just completed and thus allowed us to focus on a particular role or job opportunity that each of us aspired. Furthermore, the interview process was carried out in a strictly professional manner, to make us comfortable with the anxiety in an actual interview. It was the first time I saw all my classmates, dressed up in their business suits.
I clearly remember my meeting with Jenee, the vice president of the MBA Association, for my mock interview. It started with a greeting and shake of hands and proceeded with the behavioral questions that we knew we had to be prepared for. A few minutes into the session and the interview transitioned to work and resume related questions and I had to relate the stories that I felt my mock employer would be interested in. A few more minutes and then new questions started coming up pertaining to my answers to previous questions. I answered all questions trying to provide as much detail as possible to make my profile interesting for the target position.
What happened after the interview was the most interesting part. I got feedback about my performance. I was totally enthralled by the articulateness in Jenee’s observation. After the feedback I knew what the more traditional shirt – tie combination was, what the STAR(Situation Task Action Result) model of relating stories was, what changes in my resume would bring out my success stories more evidently and also how I could make my answers more complete and crisp. This helped me change my perception of how employers would review my resume. I could identify potential weaknesses within my profile that I needed to work on immediately, while I also realized what strengths I must showcase more, in order to succeed in an actual interview. Jenee was also considerate enough to do another review of my resume, later, and thus give me more feedback to work on.
I realized how the mock interview helped me improve when I went for my SIP interview with a Smeal alumnus, who works for a company that I aspired to be in. I had worked on all areas of improvements that were evident in my mock interview and thus had a confident demeanor in the SIP. I ended up having a great recommendation from my interviewer, with negligible areas to improve on. I still remember him saying that he was impressed by the way I had carried myself through the interview.
Therefore, the mock interview is a great endeavor of our seniors and helps us get a taste of the real world interviews to follow. I am sure I have saved myself some failures by my learnings from the mock interviews.
||Prior to Smeal, I was working as a Software Engineer in Bangalore, India, developing software for Accenture and Oracle. I aspire to focus on Strategic Leadership and Corporate Finance in Smeal, to begin a career in Strategy Consulting after my MBA.