Most Graduate Business and a few Engineering schools conduct interviews, in order to determine the strengths of applicants for their respective programs. As for undergraduate levels, this is a rare occurrence in cases where universities need further information to determine aid or other benefits to the applicants. Top engineering colleges usually go for it due to intense competition. On the other hand, as for Business schools in USA and other countries, interviews constitute an integral part of the selection process.
The B school admission committees firmly believe that an applicant could be evaluated only after interaction, in person or through calls. The cruciality of such interviews cannot be overemphasized, since they can make or break it for an applicant! One could be quite sound academically, have very good scores, present the application very well and submit top class essays. However, a rejection could always happen if the interview is not done successfully- as in the case of job interviews.
Usually interviews are scheduled to take twenty to thirty minutes; however they may extend to forty minutes or even an hour. Initially, the interviewer, who is usually the professor of your chosen department will welcome you and check your credentials. It is not necessary to introduce yourself at length, for you can expect many questions asking you to describe yourself during the interview.
Normally, the professor questions first letting you ask questions at the end of the conversation. It is always a good idea to prepare in advance one or two questions that indeed interest you about the program or institution. However, any questions should be well-grounded in information from the materials issued by the university. The department will expert applicants to have scrutinized such materials closely.
Most likely questions and tips for answering them
What are you doing now?
Describe your work/academics how is it relevant to your chosen field of study. If the current employment is not particularly relevant to your academic plans, do not linger in discussing it in detail but go swiftly on to and emphasize your supporting activities, which must relate to your planned study if your current occupation does not
What you say should draw the interest of the interviewer; and the rest of the interview will be based upon what you have already said. That can eliminate the formality of the interview structure, allowing you to discuss more naturally what you have done.
What is the greatest challenge in your field of study?
Discuss root problems in your chosen field in your country. The question can also be rephrased as what do you believe to be the weakest point in current approaches to problems? Prepare for such elements in advance, grounding your opinion with facts. It is good if you have a potential solution of your own to discuss. also define your personal challenges for yourself and be sure to discuss them at the interview.
What disciplines in the target curriculum are the most appealing to you?
You have to be well versed with the details on the institution’s curriculum before the interview. The candidate should better have them before writing your personal statement It is understood that you will be familiar with the curriculum from the materials that you have been provided with by the university.
More Questions and tips for answering them
Are you ready for overseas or cross-cultural study? In answering, you may discuss any multinational experiences if you have had. You may start answering saying it is odd, but in fact, the multinational environment is impossible to escape. Many ethnic groups contribute to each of our societies. Some of these groups preserve their genuine culture or at least its remnants. If you do not have international experience, you may connect the everyday life experience of interaction with the representatives of such groups with your preparation for living in a multinational environment. Also, you are can discuss your tolerance towards other nationalities whether based on an abstract understanding or on actual experience socializing with other ethnic groups. Recollect any personal experience distinct from an usual one. Explain experiences in a positive way, illustrating your adjustment to such environments. Perhaps you may love traveling and learning about other cultures or languages.
What do you expect to gain from these studies?
This question is already covered in your personal statement essay. Recall the information, summarize it and add what you think is necessary. Review what the program offers you. What skills do you expect to apply to these studies? Also for this one, you may have covered this question in your essay. If you have, update your response and rework it for oral presentation. If not consider the skills you have. Your résumé, recommendations (if you know the information in them), and your own knowledge of your academic and personal strengths may assist you. Decide which of your abilities are particularly applicable for this particular program and emphasize them.
What specific interest do you have within your field of study (Or) what is the probable topic of the research you hope to conduct at the university?
The candidate must be aware of a particular issue within your field that stimulates you and is worthy of revealing in a subsequent thesis (assuming the program requires a thesis). The topic chosen during the interview doesn’t have to be your final decision. It may be changed or elaborated on later. Making a statement simply shows your involvement and interest in the field.
What research have you carried out previously?
List out all the research you have previously conducted, whether at your university or for an article or other project. Emphasize research relevance to the field of application.
Why have you changed your specialty (if you have)?
Decide in advance on the switch being based on larger societal issues or on some personal experience that awakened your interest in a new topic. Or perhaps you changed your area of study because of recent professional experiences—now you are striving to gain academic knowledge to match what you learned in the “real world”. Any of these reasons is fine but be ready to explain and justify why you are making the change and to show a realistic grasp of what your new specialty involves.
Why have you decided to continue your education?
Consider what brought you to undertake this educational endeavor. They may vary according to your particular situation: further education may develop your professionalism, bring new opportunities, help implement specific plans, lead to a scholarly career, and so forth.
Why have you decided to apply to this university (to this particular program)?
This question should also have been answered in your statement essay. Consider the program’s significant emphases and unusual strengths. Materials issued by the university usually emphasize such areas.
Can you discuss [a specific issue within your field]?
Be prepared to answer questions about specifics concerning your field. For example, you may be asked to name some organizations in your field in your home country. You must be well-informed about the state of your chosen specialty to show the seriousness of your application.