Interview like a champion today

Author: Christine Cox

Career Fair Folder

Kristin McAndrew wants you to be great. 

“My job is to find outstanding students for the Notre Dame MBA,” says McAndrew, director of admissions for the Notre Dame MBA. “So every single time I sit down with a potential student in an admissions interview, I’m hoping they’re going to be great.

"And the other members of our admissions team — Debby Herczeg and Joe Sweeney — feel the same way."

To help you succeed in your MBA admissions interview, McAndrew offers these tips.

1. Be prepared but not scripted
There is a lot of information online about the structure of our interviews and even specific questions, and I don’t discourage students from looking at every resource available. But please don’t script your answers. We want you to be authentic when you speak with us; we want real, engaging conversations, even if you stumble a bit in the thought process.

2. Know why you want an MBA
Any MBA program is going to ask you why you’re interested in earning an MBA. It is important to have thought out why you’re making this choice and why you’re making it now. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Some people aren’t happy in their current job. Some want to find a way to combine business knowledge with their passion for another field, such as biology or medicine or engineering. We want to see that you’ve put a lot of thought into this decision.

Admissions Team
Joe Sweeney, Kristin McAndrew and Debby Herczeg

3. Think about how you want the program to change you
How would you like to be different by the end of the MBA? Do you want to be more assertive in meetings? Develop your public speaking skills? It’s valuable if you can say that you’d like to develop certain specific skills by the end of the program. Or reflect on people you really admire and identify qualities in them that you’d like to develop in yourself. We want to see that you are thinking beyond a job and truly see the MBA as a time to develop holistically.

4. Explain your interest in Notre Dame
We will ask you why you are interested in earning an MBA from Notre Dame specifically. And please make that answer your own, please make it real. The admission team knows the characteristics of the Notre Dame MBA, and we don’t need anyone to recite them back to us. But tell a story so that I can see why Notre Dame attracts you individually.

5. Know how you fit the Notre Dame family
Notre Dame is looking for people who will continue a tradition of ethics, values and strong leadership. We look for people who are going to actively engage in the community. So come prepared with stories that highlight those aspects of your background. We look for people who have been engaged in their communities or in the workplace. We’re going to ask questions about teamwork and how you function as a member of the community. We ask that you share stories that illustrate your commitment to those values.

6. Ask questions about everything
We encourage you to come with a long list of questions. This is a chance for you to find out if Notre Dame is the right place for you, and the only way to do that is to ask questions. You can feel comfortable asking for advice about any aspect of your application that you’re concerned about: things like retaking the GMAT or the GRE, addressing a weak undergraduate year or explaining a gap in your resume.

Also, we cnourage you to ask about life as a student, life in South Bend, life beyond the classroom. If you are coming with a spouse and/or children and you have questions about the community. We’re prepared to talk about all of these things, and we understand they’re part of your decision.

7. Test your equipment
When you interview online, it's important to test your equipment ahead of time. We send students a test link in advance. Test your microphone and camera. Think about what the camera is picking up behind you in the room. Prepare in advance and you’ll put yourself in the best position to be relaxed, confident and ready to go.

8. Enjoy the process!
I think most students leave an interview feeling that it was a positive experience. We’re very intentional about the tone of a Notre Dame interview — we want it to mirror the program. Notre Dame is a place that is welcoming, a place that is focused on community and the MBA program is collaborative rather than cutthroat. So our intent is to make a student feel the Mendoza personality, which we hope is warm, welcoming and conversational.

Contact Kristin McAndrew at kmcandre@nd.edu or 574-631-8488.