MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Must have Botched the Interview!

Maybe you are among the unlucky who were/are on the outside looking in this year, shaking your head trying to understand why you did not get into an MBA program. As you look back and assess where you went wrong, you may narrow your focus and re-examine your interviews. After all, you were invited to interview, but were rejected thereafter, so there must be a cause and effect relationship, right? Your rejection must mean that everything was at stake during those thirty minutes and that your interviewer just did not feel that you were of the caliber of your target school, right? Wrong.

Earlier this year, we spoke to Wharton’s admissions director, J.J. Cutler and he explained that there are no post-interview snap judgments. At Wharton, files are read multiple times prior to and post-interview, according to Cutler, “…then (after the interview) the interview report is placed into the file, and the file gets recirculated and read a fourth time by a member of the admissions committee…. it may get read a fifth time or even a sixth time. (For) most applications at that point, it gets pretty competitive.” At Wharton the admissions committee is not waiting for an enthusiastic report to confirm a decision it has already made, but is using the interview as a part of the evaluative process as it weighs applicants against their peers.

Yale admissions officer, Bruce DelMonico, explained to mbaMission that the School of Management uses a “consensus decision-making model,” where “we all need to agree on an outcome for an applicant (to be accepted)”. Like Wharton, each file is read multiple times and, with this need for consensus, it is fair to write that the committee is not waiting on the interview as the determinant.  Again, there is no post-interview snap judgment, but there is thought and reflection by the admissions officers.

In a past piece in this series, we attempted to destroy the myth that admissions is a science. It is worth repeating that there is no simple formula for MBA admissions and that the process of evaluation is thorough and not instinctive/reactive.  If your interview was disastrous, it can certainly hurt you, but if you felt positively about your experience, you should not worry that you botched it and that this was the determinant of your status.

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