Shifting Gears

Interviews are another piece of the application puzzle and another opportunity to show how great of an addition to a business school’s class I will be. At first glance, I thought that since interviewing relies on many of the same themes, thoughts and stories I used to write essays and fill out applications, it wouldn’t require too much additional preparation. But, the format of interviewing requires a different state of mind – one that I hadn’t paid much attention to until I started practicing interviews with someone else.

When I first did a mock interview with a friend, we both noticed that my answers were a bit stiff and formal, like a canned response. The content of my answers was fine, but it didn’t allow my personality to shine through. After a few more questions, I finally realized that I had been speaking like I was writing essays. In fact, my friend observed that an interviewer “shouldn’t be able to hear the commas” while I spoke. Not good. Especially with an interview coming up before the end of the year.

In essay writing, it’s fine, and probably preferable, to include structured sentences and paragraphs to convey a complete picture. But, an interview is an informal conversation, a set of brief back and forth questions and answers designed not only to convey my story but also a sense of how I think on my feet and respond emotionally to different situations. As much as essays can give a sense of a person, speaking with someone can connect people in a way that reading written words can’t – assuming I don’t speak like I write.

My essay-writing mindset positioned me to receive an interview, but it won’t help me receive an offer of admission. In the end, I just needed to stop heavily filtering what gets sent from my brain to my mouth, like I do in everyday life.

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One Response to Shifting Gears

  1. Your post reminds me of my Tuck interview (self-initiated). After the first 10 minutes it occurred to me that I was simply narrating my essays, I managed to make amends after that and avoided anything that I had covered in my essay.
    Hopefully they don’t hold it against me!

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