Interview debrief

I just had my interview for Duke with a lovely alumni, at a Starbuck’s in London.  Overall, I thought it went O.K, but you never know. I find out whether I get into Duke on the 13th March.

I done a fair amount of prep which worked really well.  For start I bought the Clear Admit’s interview guide and the book about the school.  It saved a lot of time and gave me more of a insight into the school and the type of questions that could be asked.  However, I think I over relied on the questions  in the guide and I should have done a bit more thinking myself. I got floored by two questions; but they weren’t hard questions and I should have expected them.

My friend threw practice questions at me for two hours at the weekend and coached me on how to answer questions. Which proved really useful and I nailed one questions we had practiced at the weekend. One of the female managers at work also provided some useful tips.  These included, have one large bag and have a cheat sheet with you. I had one page spilt into four areas with bullet points for each of the four topics I wrote down. This really helped when my mind went blank in the interview and glancing down at it helped me refocus.

Downside of interviewing in places like Starbucks is that it lends an atmosphere of informality and I think I ended up being too informal.  I’m not convinced the location helped me answer my questions succinctly. On a couple of questions I went round the point rather than straight to it. I was a lot more succinct on the questions I had practised and been coached on.  So practice does help.

However I got on well with the interviewer; and it felt more like a conversation at times rather than an interview so that part of the informal approach really worked.

I got floored by two questions and as a part of my thank you note I a sent my improved version. This is risky strategy, but as my manager at work said, interviews are not a memory test. The approach I’ve taken through out the application process asking myself; would I regret not mentioning it?


One response to “Interview debrief”

  1. Lucas says :

    Hah. Reminds me of my Columbia interview, which also happened at a Starbucks. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the alumni in question was in the very casual end of the business casual spectrum.

    Don’t sweat it, though, in most cases the interview is more of a “is this [guy/gal] a complete douchebag in person?” thing rather than a test of your ability to parrot canned answers to random questions. (Exceptions: HBS and Wharton TBD. There may be others, but those were the ones I had experience with.)

    Good luck, and safe roadtrip in the USA.

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