Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Its over.  The journey's come to an end.

I've been admitted to Fuqua, and I'm out of the MBA applications game for good.

Before I close this chapter - I wanted to share some of my learnings over the last year of applications.

Without knowing for sure, I inferred my biggest 'weakness' was my interview/on campus performance. Until I visited Breeden Hall to interview, I'd never even met a Fuqua alum - but I quickly got a feel for the culture and realized my interview didn't quite hit the mark.

Since its fresh on my mind - I want to walk through interview strategy.

There's a saying that there is no such thing as a truly great pick-up line - because nothing you can say will alone be clever enough to get you a number.

I took that approach to interviewing - I focused on strong presentation rather than clever/elaborate answers (plus I had my clever answers from February anyways). Got the feeling that they don't actually care about "How do you handled a team member who wasn't pulling his/her weight" - a good answer is enough as long as the presentation is outstanding. 

Here are the questions I expected, and what I wanted to get across:

1) Walk me through your resume - Rather than describing the details of my job responsibilities, or title changes, I focused on the story. Talked about the evolution of telecom in the last 5 years (rise of iphones, mobile internet, the app industry, tablets, virtual wallets) and how my work/career has made an impact. Goal was to demonstrate I could be more engaging/socially savy than a stereotypical financial-modelling math nerd MBA, and safe to introduce to recruiting partners.

2) Why MBA - Wanted to appeal to my interviewers' confidence and ambition without making myself sound like an arrogant self-centred douche. Talked about wanting to gain 'broad experience' quickly and how my company wants me in an elaborate rotation program that would advance my career, but may not provide me with the other life experiences of bschool. Goal was to put the interviewer in my shoes, and get her on my side. Wanted her to empathize with me and say "I was like you once and decided to come to Duke for my MBA - great decision"..

3) Why Fuqua - Prove I can market the school, and given my 'why mba' why Fuqua is the perfect fit. Goal was to demonstrate I could pitch the school concisely.

4) How you handled xyz in a team setting - This is the Team Fuqua question ie. my role in a group setting. Goal was to introduce my 'group' personality without coming across as fake. Wanted my interviewer to think "You sound exactly like a guy I once worked with - he was good. I could see you as cool headed even when you're having a shitty day".

5) What do you bring to the class - Wanted to establish a personality other than (industry/country/target industry/undergrad). Goal was basically to cherry pick parts of my 25 random things.