London Interview done

Yesterday I had my London Business School interview in Hong Kong.

The interviewer was an Alumnus that works in a European Investment Bank in Trading Floor (not trader but he is in his way to become one). He was graduated from two years ago though he had almost 7 years work experience before starting the MBA.

The interview was at 6 PM. I had taken half day off from work to have some time to prepare and to arrive to the place with time. The office was in the upper floors of one of the tallest buildings in Hong Kong, and we met in an office with spectacular views to Hong Kong and next to the Trading Floor. It was impressive, but I’m very used to that as my work place is very similar.

Before the interview I thought the guy was British but at the end he wasn’t. He was from another Western European country. He was cordial but serious. He welcomed me, offered me a glass of water and we went to the meeting room. He had printed my entire application (I already knew the interview wasn’t blind).

Once there, he explained me the interview structure: he would make me questions, then the 5 minutes impromptu presentation and finally he would talk about his career and answer to my questions. About the presentation, he said that he had chosen one topic among six proposed by the AdCom, that it was fine for him if I spoke less than 5 minutes, and that the goal was to see how I think and how I make presentations.

So he started asking me questions taking some notes as I spoke. Here some I remember and in this order:
– Explain me who you are
– Tell me when you had a conflict leading people (I was surprised with this hard question so early)
– Tell me when you led people and you resolved a conflict with someone else in your team
– Tell me what you learned in those situations
– What strengths and weaknesses the people you led would tell me about you?
– Why an MBA and why now
– Career goals
– Why your current career won’t help you to achieve your goals and you prefer to do an MBA?
– I see you have applied to other schools, why would you choose LBS over them? Why did you apply to Wharton? and Chicago? and MIT?
– What do you like from LBS?
– How would you be involved in the LBS community?
– Tell me when you had a cultural shock problem and how did you solve it
– Why are you interested in X? (something specific about the school that I’ve put in my essays)
– What is happening in the world regarding the financial crisis?
– What are the problems Spain has? (I’m from Spain, in case you don’t know)
– What would you change in Spain regarding those problems?

Then he gave me a piece of paper, a pen and the topic of the presentation. He gave me about 3-5 minutes to prepare it. I then started quickly brainstorming and trying to find ideas, examples, etc. It remembered me a lot to a TOEFL Speaking question. The difference was that the topic was harder but I had much more time to prepare. I found some ideas and some examples and when I was ready I started the presentation. He listened without interrupting or saying anything. I think I spoke about 5 minutes but I’m not sure, maybe it was less. Honestly I think I did it better than I expected and at least I said things and I didn’t get stuck after 30 seconds. Anyway it wasn’t great but I hope they take into account I’m not native.

The last 30 minutes of the interview were very interesting as he spoke a lot about his career, the MBA program, why I should do it, about things he liked, things he didn’t, about the city of London, where to live, what clubs he liked, about the study groups, first and second year projects, internship, etc. I made him a lot of questions as we spoke. He knew my wife was also applying so we spoke a bit about her (for example I asked if the school provides opportunities for people with her goals). It was a very interesting conversation and I think he was honest in all his opinions.

The whole think lasted about 1h20 minutes. In summary, I think I did a good job. The interview was far more difficult that Chicago’s. Of course I would change some things and some answers but I think I managed to show him who I am and why LBS should accept me. I’m happy how the interview went and I think he will do a good report about me. Again, we’ll see if I’m right by mid
December.

Tomorrow… Wharton!

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