August 21, 2013 2:35 pm

The interview – an invaluable tool

John Hayden

John Hayden

MBA: HEC Paris

For many people “doing an MBA” was always part of the plan. They have structured their career around re-entering education, ensured they have the necessary finances in place and prepared themselves for the application process.

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Unfortunately for me this was never the case and the beginning of the journey turned into a bit of a blur. After working in the insurance industry for six years I believed I had carved out a strong career path. However I had spent the majority of my time in a specialist market and was eager for new challenges.

Along with having the key dilemmas: “Is this really a good idea;” “Am I going to have a job afterwards” and “What’s my girlfriend going to say,” I spent a number of months visiting universities to get an impression of what they could offer and decide where was best for me.

MBA courses are made up of a diverse group of extremely ambitious people so along with substantial professional experience and holding previous qualifications, the majority of business schools demand a Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score to be considered for a place.

Over a number of months I revised for the GMAT by working on my quantitative skills and preparing for various questions in the English language section. It turned out to be about as enjoyable as a traffic jam. The GMAT takes approximately four hours and each examinee is then ranked electronically with a score and percentile group. As your scores are directly comparable to fellow test takers competition is fierce and after a hard day in the office completing two hours of mathematics revision is not normally top of my agenda.

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MBA Blog

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After achieving my target score I then applied for my shortlisted universities. The pre-interview application process is all online and looks into an applicant’s motivations, career aspirations and work/personal life.

Each application form can take considerable exertion as one frets over each answer they have provided.

After a period of time universities respond and if you are successful interviews are arranged. Although interviews are always nerve racking, every university I met was extremely open and honest about the course outcomes and thus these interviews became an invaluable tool in my university selection process.

Now after a journey lasting in excess of a year I have accepted an offer from HEC Paris and looking towards the adventure continuing in September. In the mean time I just need to scrub up on my French!

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