Mission Admission: New Stories in Interviews?

As candidates continue to interview, many have asked whether they are obliged to bring new information to their interviews or whether they can simply repeat the strong stories they offered in their essays. Well, the vast majority of interviews (CBS, Chicago, Tuck, Kellogg, Wharton, etc.) are blind. Your interviewer may have read the resume you sent (and actually, some may not have!), but he/she will likely be unfamiliar with the breadth and depth of your accomplishments. So, you should not think that you are repeating yourself, but that you are simply showcasing the best of yourself.

In the case of HBS, where the AdCom actually does read candidates’ essays before interviews, you still do not need to fret, because HBS asks very specific questions. Rarely will an HBS interviewer ask an open-ended question like, “What is your greatest leadership accomplishment?” Instead, an HBS interviewer will likely ask about a particular story that he/she read about in your essays and delve deeper—for example, “What made you choose to take a greater leadership role as a member of the board of charity X?”

In any case, candidates should rest easy and just focus on creating a connection with their interviewer.

(A notable exception to this rule is MIT-Sloan, which uses its own Behavioral Events Interview Format.)

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