Maybe you are one of the unlucky applicants on the outside looking in this year, shaking your head and struggling to understand why you were not accepted to your target MBA program. As you look back and assess where things might have gone wrong, you could end up focusing unduly on 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 30 to 60 minutes and that your interviewer just did not feel that you are of the caliber preferred by your target school, right? Not at all.
Bruce DelMonico, the Yale School of Management (SOM) assistant dean for admissions, explained to mbaMission that the school uses a “consensus decision-making model [in which] we all need to agree on an outcome for an applicant [to be accepted].” Each file is read multiple times. We can safely conclude that with the need for a consensus, the committee is not waiting on the interview as the determinant. Admissions officers do not make any post-interview snap judgments but rather dedicate serious thought and reflection to their decision making.
Although we have discussed this topic before, we should repeat that no simple formula exists for MBA admissions and that the evaluation process is thorough and not instinctive or reactive. Yes, a disastrous interview 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 sole deciding factor for the admissions committee.
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