Last Saturday, I interviewed with a Haas alum in my area. Apparently, you can schedule an interview if you land on waitlist without interview. I was surprised when I first learned this. I drafted an email to the adcom that said something like – I will explain blah blah if I get a chance to interview. I am glad I did not send that email. That would have been an easy decision for the adcom to ding me.
My interviewer was very nice in that he agreed to meet me half way at a Wegmans. At 8 AM on a Saturday, a grocery store turned out to be good place for interviews. I don’t like public attention so I was embarrassed waiting in a suit & tie while everybody else was in athletic gear or in pajamas.
We found a quiet place and started chatting. I thought he would want to buy a coffee or something as he mentioned in the email but I think he forgot and I didn’t ask him either. After talking about the supposed-to-be spring weather and drive, he got down to the business. He explained his background before and after Haas. He is in energy industry both before and after Haas. He moved back to east coast after briefly working at Tesla.
He asked me to walk me through the resume. I believe/hope I gave my much practiced 2 minute spiel on my glorious and accomplished life. He seemed impressed and I was honestly surprised that he was impressed. I am terrible interviewee, you see. Thankfully, that boosted my confidence levels and I was much more conversational and comfortable throughout the interview.
After that he asked me about specific career goals post-MBA, and 10 years after MBA. Haas definitely cares a lot about clear and achievable goals and his follow up questions on my goals confirmed that. I think I convinced him that my goals are tightly linked to my experience and to Haas’s resources.
He came back to my entrepreneurial venture that I did few years ago. He asked me further questions about why I did what I did and what I learned out of that experience. I did not prepare for this in-depth questioning about this particular experience. I killed it! Because I just know in my heart why I did it and what I learned. I gave him clear answers and also told him how I applied those learnings in my professional career.
He then asked me about how I see myself contributing inside and outside of the class. I gave four different examples on how I am going to contribute while also connecting to my contributions to social responsibility causes at work. I tried my best to connect how I contribute to the community around me and how he can expect that I will do the same at Haas.
All that took about 40 minutes. Then, he opened the floor for my questions. I asked him a few questions about Haas and alumni.
Last few minutes, I tried to connect with him on a more personal level by talking about the area, energy industry, housing market etc., It happens that he and I both are looking to buy a home soon so we exchanged few ideas about the local housing market and broader trends.
Overall, the interview was stress free and I was more confident with my answers. But I wish I had done more practice to deliver my answers more clearly, smoothly and coherently, especially career goals.
Next-up: An email to adcom with a “personal statement” which should address any gaps discovered through self-reflection.