I just came back from my Chicago interview. I’m very happy with how it went.
As I told you in previous post, my interviewer has a good position within an American bank here in Hong Kong. The interview was in a meeting room at his office in Hong Kong.
I arrived 15 minutes before the interview and I was addressed to a meeting room where the interview would be held. I was then alone waiting for him and 20 minutes later a women arrived telling me that he was busy with something and that he would arrive late. I was a bit anxious during all of this waiting time but I have to say that I kept my nervous very well. Finally, he showed up about 15 minutes after our appointment.
He apologized for keeping me waiting and quickly started talking. We exchanged business cards, something that in Hong Kong is important. Then he presented himself briefly and told me that he had been working and living in several continents (as I did) and explained about his different positions he has held. He spoke about finance stuff that I didn’t completely understand but well I quickly figured out that he was a very financial focused guy. He told me his parents were from Hong Kong but he was born and spent almost all his life in Canada.
Then he told me to present myself. I started speaking about my education, when I moved to Grenoble (France), my work in Amadeus in Nice, then about when I moved to New York to work at Société Générale, and finally when I was transferred to Hong Kong. He let me speak during 5-10 minutes where I went through my different positions, projects I led and so on. I had prepared a lot the “walk your resume” questions so I did well, trying not to bore him but also not forgetting anything important.
Next, he was interested in my last position here in Hong Kong, as I’m very close to the trading floors and he actually works there. I explained what I do here and he was very interested. He made me a couple of specific questions regarding one of the projects I managed and I answered very well. It seemed like he wanted to verify I knew what I was talking about.
Then he started asking why I want to do an MBA and why now. Then why Booth is my best fit and so on, and why I plan to learn in case I’m accepted. I answered with totally sincerity and we started a great conversation about the school, about my career and many things about Chicago. It was a great time because he started to be relaxed and started to open himself, being very helpful.
Finally, he asked me what I like from Hong Kong, or why I don’t prefer to continue working where I work now instead of spending two years studying. I answered with good reasons and he seemed totally convinced. He also asked me about my wife, and I explained him that she was also applying (maybe he already knew? it was kind of weird to ask me for her) and he said it was great to share the experience together.
An that’s all, no more questions for me. He asked if I had questions for him. I had prepared some, although I have been doing a lot of research about Chicago and I was more interested in his experience (I had already told him that I knew many people from Chicago and that I had contacted many current students so I didn’t need to show him that I knew about the program). I asked him how Booth had helped him in his career. He started speaking a lot about Booth and how it has helped in his career. He seemed very comfortable speaking with me and the conversation was going very good. At the end he started using “I suggest you that when you are in Chicago you should choose this and this”, “you should live the first year here and the second there”. etc. He changed his initial tone “if you are accepted” to more like seeming like “you are going to be accepted”. I felt that way and the last 20 minutes we spoke about the school, about other different schools and many things about my career possibilities.
At the end, we ended the conversation with very good words and he said something like “I like your profile for Chicago” or “you are a perfect fit for the school” or “I don’t have any regrets on your applications”, and “you will be very happy in Chicago”. So overall I’m quite optimistic and I hope he will write a good report about me.
In conclusion, the interview was great and I believe I did a great job and I’m very satisfied with how the conversation went. Honestly, I think this interview will help me to be admitted. We’ll see in a month!
If you are reading this and you have your MBA interview soon, I think the interviews of this kind you should do your best to sell yourself, the interviewer is not going to ask you the questions you want (I would have loved to tell him more about some stories but he didn’t ask anything that could have led me to speak about them), so try to use each of the questions to convey the ideas you want he remember about you. Once the interview is finished, ask yourself: Did I speak about leadership? Did I say I’m X, Y or Z? Did I speak about my stories A, B or C? Did I say an MBA from X School is the best option for me?