The Executive MBA interview

Generally, there are a lot of things that must be done in the admission process, and many of them are harder and more important than the interview. The one who reaches the interview stage may expect the chance of success to be around 50-60% or even more (the exact numbers are not known and vary among years and schools; this is a result of my observation on the web forums). However, the interview is the “last frontier”, and, of course, it brings a lot of nervousness.
In my case there was one more reason to worry. When I started, I had a short list of 4 business schools (Oxford, LBS, IE, IMD), and all four seemed good choices. By the end of August I had decided that Oxford was the only right choice, so now the 60% probability looked lower than 4*30% before. As a backup, I had a good professional record, IELTS=8, GMAT=660, CFA designation etc., but everything was possible.
My interview was conducted over the telephone. That was a problem, as phone conversations are often associated with problems of understanding what was said, and it was the last thing I wanted to have during the interview. I decided to use headphones and a mobile phone. The headphones were very helpful, as the sound was better. I would recommend it for any phone interview. It is worth mentioning that the interviewer used headphones too. People do not advise using mobile phones due to probable connection problems, but I could not plug the headphones into my landline phone, so I took the risk.
The topics in the interview were quite standard:

  1. Why an MBA? What do you want to get out of it?
  2. Why Oxford, especially compared to LBS (as I mentioned in my application the plans also to apply to LBS)?
  3. Describe the current plans of your company and how do you think this study can help you with them?
  4. How has the current economy hardship affected your business, and what are you doing to overcome it?
  5. Which subjects of the program are more important to you?
  6. What questions do you have to me?

All in all it took about 30 minutes. My interviewer was Cathy Harvey, Director of Executive Degree Programmes. She was very friendly, and the conversation was pleasant.
My last question was about the time frame when I would get the decision. She described the procedure and promised that I would have the reply in a week (not necessarily with the final decision). In actual fact, I got the decision in three days.