Concluding the London Business School Interview

The interview is finally done. The application process to London Business School is coming to a close, and yes, the final closure will be sometime next week. The natural question is “How did the interview go?”

And my answer is “So so. Comme ci comme ca.”

As an MBA applicant who just concluded his/her interview, the first response is to look at the negatives, give them a weight of 90% and then take the positives and apply a weight of 10%. Then pray for the best and prepare for the worst, only to end up a neurotic mess. I have done that before. Strangely one of the questions one of the interviewers (yes, I was interviewed by two nice ladies who are adcom members and who both have names that sound almost alike the Thomson and Thompson characters in Tintin) asked was what I was going to do if I was not accepted into the Executive MBA Programme at London Business School. I was on a roll at that time and my response, which was quite fast, was “I will re-apply”. Both of them laughed at the response. But I truly meant it.

After seeing the school, the facilities, the curriculum, and considering it in the context of my current career trajectory, I feel the school will be a really good fit. And the good thing is this. Nobody is going to tell me one of these pesky little lines that I have gotten really tired of hearing:

  1. You are a little on the older side
  2. You have too much work experience
  3. Your current job title will make adcoms wonder what you need an MBA for
  4. Your quant score is a little weak for a top end school

Strangely one of the questions I was asked was “How were you able to get such a high GMAT score?” The first reaction, in my head, was “Huh?” My brain could not process the fact that the adcom really called my score “high”. I mean this is the same score that I have been told I needed to improve upon to have a shot at Wharton. The question caused a meltdown in the synaptic connections between my ears and my mouth because I could not process the information fast enough. Then I tailgated (you will have to pick up a copy of Pitch Perfect my Bill McGowan to understand what that means), and then I crashed. I ended up answering why I was unable to score 730. That was the third mistake I made in the interview.

Now to the first mistake. I took coffee, without eating, when I woke up in the morning. I had to drag myself out of bed at 8am for a 10am interview. The coffee without sugar and milk caused a sugar crash in my system. That coupled with the jet lag made me a nervous wreck at 9.45am. That was mistake number one.

The interview started off with a presentation. I felt confident, in my head, but my mouth betrayed my nervousness. My voice was shaky. I should have overcome this within 3 – 4 minutes because I really loved making presentations, but it went through all the 10 minutes plus. Mistake number two. Am I going to be marked down for that? I don’t know. But here is what I know. I delivered my message. And how do I know this?

One of the adcom members (not one of the interviewers) was taking me around the campus when another member (also not an interviewer) rushed down the staircase to meet me. She was all excited and went “So you were one of the doctors that delivered a baby on board a British Airways flight from Abuja to London? I actually know someone who was aboard the flight!”. That was one of the “cool stories” in my presentation, and it must have been memorable enough for her to know just a few minutes after I walked out of the interview room. I think it is a dead giveaway.

But…

I am still an MBA applicant. And I will assign a weight of 10% to cool stories and 90% to shaky voice caused by an unusual amount of caffeine in the system and a bloody jet lag. 

So I will hope for the best and prepare for the worst while making a neurotic mess of myself because I am still an MBA applicant after all.

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6 thoughts on “Concluding the London Business School Interview

  1. To me, it sounds as if you did great!

  2. knightmba says:

    Hey Grant, thanks for the confidence. But I wish you were an Adcom member… Lol. I don’t see this as a slam dunk though. That was how my interviews with INSEAD went really great and I ended up on the wait list. But I will stay positive and I hope I get a call.

  3. olsmade says:

    I wish you the very best. I am also a medical doctor from Nigeria and applying for the MBA starting 2015 but still in my mid twenties. I am applying to only a handful of American schools and hope I get in. My dream school is Stanford but lets see how it goes.

    • knightmba says:

      I am sure you will get in. Just make sure that your GMAT is up there and you get your story right, and you will be fine. Stanford is encouraging Africans to apply, and I hope you applied for the scholarship, which just closed last week I think. As a medical doctor from Nigeria and in your mid-twenties, you sure fit the cohort. I will also strongly encourage you to work with a consultant; although, you probably have a cultural fit with the US, and you may be able to get your package right without help. But the help will at least make things better not worse.

      • olsmade says:

        The stanford African scholarship application is actually closing tomorrow and it was while trying to complete my essay that I came across your blog. Thanks for the insight. I am hoping to register for the GMAT asap and hope to get over a 700 on my first attempt, hopefully. I am not sure I can afford a consultant but I have been closely following a number of mba sites and blogs and hope to put my best foot forward. Thanks once again and wish you the best.

      • knightmba says:

        Let me know once you have done your GMAT. Make sure you get in touch…

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