I had my Ross off-campus interview today. I had opted for an alumni interview, as I was in no position to travel to Ann Arbor for the Super Saturday. I was really looking forward to today as I have a pretty good feeling about my fit with Ross. Having already given my Kellogg interview, I presumed I didn’t have to prepare much and just reviewed the salient features of Ross. Wrong presumption! I would recommend to anybody who is preparing for the interview to go over the key points of your answers in your head before any interview, no matter how many times you have given them. With so much happening at the workplace and beyond it is quite easy for our brains to drop the ball and miss that key point that you would rue not getting through.
In any case, back to my story so I arrived nice and early at our rendezvous point and the alum was sharp on time. Amazingly we had already met during the Ross reception in Paris, which turned out to be a great icebreaker. He went over on how the interval would roll and started with a brief introduction and asked me for the same. I took this to be the cue for my resume walk. He asked a few pointed questions on what I do and what are the challenges involved. Then we moved onto the why MBA? I started pretty well and somewhere in the middle of explaining my long term goal, I just lost the story. Thankfully I did not panic and managed to convey the key points. But I lost the opportunity to show how focused and dedicated I was to my long term goal. Convinced that I had portrayed myself as a person with a fuzzy picture of my long term targets, I moved on to explain my choice of Ross for MBA. I think I nailed this one, being the only question I had really prepared for. The next one took me by my surprise – explain when you had to lead a team which was facing difficulty. But thankfully I had jotted down something like that as an option for one of the essays. Although I ended up not going with it, the story came good here. (It was not well rehearsed but hey I at least had solid content!).
The next question confirmed my worst fears. The alum told me that he was a bit confused about my long term goal and asked me to explain how I would get there. I explained in detail my vision just out of Michigan and tried to clarify the long term goal again. I hope I did a much better job of it this time around. And with that the interview was over. No extra curriculars, no what will you do in Ross.
I put a couple of questions to the alum and we were ready to bid each other farewell. I was just making some small talk while we were waiting to pay our bills (the alum graciously paid for me as well :)), when I found out that he worked where I intended to go right after the interview. So the alum told me that I could walk down with him to his office and he will catch a metro from there. So we ended up discussing a lot of other thing – my passion for traveling, difference in american and european work cultures, life in ann arbor, international placements in Ross.As we finally bid goodbye, I was feeling very good about the interview.
Now in retrospect, I believe with more preparation I could have painted a much better picture of myself and will curse myself for this mistake on the final hurdle until the decisions come out in January.