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Five reasons an MBA admissions interview is like a first date

14 April 2016

The article at a glance

Like a first date, the MBA admissions interview can be nerve-racking because you want to present the best side of yourself. Here …

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Like a first date, the MBA admissions interview can be nerve-racking because you want to present the best side of yourself. Here are five pieces of advice for approaching it.


Think about what you bring

Just like a relationship, an MBA is highly collaborative. What will you be able to bring to the next cohort? Is there anything in your background which means you can add value to the class? The Cambridge MBA class has around 160 people, which means we want students who can contribute in a positive and supportive way. Peer-to-peer learning is an important part of the Cambridge experience and those who are most successful on the Cambridge MBA are team-players.

Do your research

The MBA interview isn’t a blind date, and many questions can be answered by looking at our website. Find out what makes the Cambridge MBA unique and tell us why you think you are an ideal fit. Talk about your academic and professional accomplishments and be prepared to discuss how the Cambridge MBA will help you achieve your career goals. What really excites you about the prospect of joining the next Cambridge MBA cohort? And finally, what will you contribute the Cambridge Judge Business School community? Our network is committed and diverse, and you will become a life-long member – what will be your impact?

Make the most of the interview experience

It’s not often you meet your date’s family and friends at the first dinner, however the interview for the Cambridge MBA is an opportunity for you to meet academics, current students and admissions staff at a formal dinner in one of the Colleges. Cambridge is one of the few business schools that insist every candidate is interviewed by a faculty member, so you’ll have an in depth conversation with an academic who teaches on the MBA. You’ll also get a small group session with a careers coach on the interview day itself; prepare for this by thinking about your career aims and how the MBA will get you there. We want to know that you have ambitious, but realistic goals and that you have an idea of how you could achieve them.

Prepare your questions

On a date, you don’t want to find yourself short of things to say, and for the MBA interview we recommend that you prepare some questions which are programme or School-related, as well as relating to your own future career goals. Avoid questions that are easily answered by looking at our website and think of questions which relate specifically to your situation and needs.

Interviewing over Skype?

While in many ways it is preferable to come to Cambridge and have a face-to-face interview, we know sometimes this isn’t possible. If you are being interviewed by Skype there are few things that you can do to make sure that the process goes smoothly, just like your first date.

  • Do a test call first and make sure that you have a steady internet connection.
  • Be aware of the environment you are in – a blank wall behind you is ideal.
  • When delivering, make that sure you are well-presented and talk to the camera as if you were talking to your interviewer face-to-face.

Remember, just like a date, the MBA interview is a conversation with someone who wants to find out about you. You have been asked for an interview because we already think you are a good fit for the School. Good luck!