Originally, I was supposed to have an in-person interview for Yale in New Haven, CT. However, as I mentioned in my last post about how to prepare for b-school interviews, my city was hit by a massive snowstorm, which made that impossible. The ad-com was very understanding and accommodating, though, and set me up with a Skype interview with only a day’s notice. As I also mentioned in my last post, I wouldn’t advise anyone to pursue a Skype interview over an in-person interview unless it is absolutely necessary, as this shows less initiative and interest in the school. I happened to be forced into the Skype interview by circumstance while still showing that I was willing to go in person, a best of both worlds kind of situation.
The reason that I say best of both worlds is because I feel like Skype interviews are generally lower stress than in-person, at least for most people. You get to interview from the comfort of your own home/apartment, and the day typically goes as usual until it is time for the actual interview. I woke up in my own bed, worked out at my own gym, ate what I usually eat for breakfast at my own table, etc., and I think this familiarity really helped calm me down, especially since Yale was the first school I was interviewing with and the one that I cared the most about. I also had some notes jotted down next to my laptop in case my mind decided to shut down mid-interview, and this crutch helped ease my mind, too, despite the fact that I never actually looked at the notes. This is not to say that I wasn’t still insanely anxious; I spent the last 15 minutes before my interview pacing back and forth in my suit, trying to calm down. However, those things still helped.
About 5 minutes before the interview, I checked my camera, adjusted my lighting, grabbed myself a glass of water (highly recommended–a great way to pause if you want to think for a second, though don’t overdo it), logged onto Skype and waited. Finally, the bleep-bloop ringtone of the incoming Skype call jolted me out of my anxious stare as the icon of the admissions officer popped up on my screen. I took a breath, said “let’s do this” in my mind, and clicked the “answer call” button.
There were two interviewers, both female, and we began with formalities. We joked about the snowstorm that was keeping me away from campus and I began to feel the nervousness melt away in the first few minutes. They were very easy to talk to.
After introductions, they proceeded with a back-and-forth style of interviewing, with each interviewer asking one or two questions and then delegating to the other.
The interview featured some typical behavioral questions, but focused a lot on my resume (make sure you have a copy of yours handy when interviewing). They asked questions about each section of my resume; for example, in reference to my internships, something along the lines of, “What were your roles in each internship and how do they tie into your career goals?” or, in reference to my experience abroad, “Why these experiences? Which one impacted you the most?” etc.
I was asked the traditional, “What are your short- and long-term goals and why is an MBA necessary to achieve them?” I was asked “Why Yale?” (I had tons of reasons) as well as if I had reached out to anyone to ask about Yale (I had…I named them, and stated why I chose to reach out to them).
Since I was applying for the Silver Scholars program, I was asked about my age and how I think I can contribute to classroom discussion without work experience (a fairly tough question, but one I had prepared for).
One question that I found to be a bit of a curveball was “What does initiative mean to you?” Being a first generation college student, I had my story ready and so found it semi-easy to answer, though I could see it being difficult for others.
Lastly, they said we had a few minutes left (they have a deadline of 30 minutes and won’t go much over it) and asked if I had any questions. I had to sort of pick and choose my best ones due to the time constraint, but I still got plenty of valuable information.
Overall, the Yale interview was probably my favorite. The questions were clear, the interview was concise, and the interviewers were on my side and wanted me to succeed.
If you interview for Yale SOM, I highly recommend knowing about the program and figuring out why you’d fit well in it, reaching out to current Yalies to gain more information, knowing your resume inside and out, and knowing what your career goals are. If you take these steps before the interview, you’ll be well on your way to an acceptance call in the winter.
EDIT: For those asking, I was admitted to Yale SOM.