For most 1st-Year MBA students, MBA internship interview season is about to begin. After months of preparation, informational interviews, campus presentations and resume reviews it’s finally time to begin the MBA internship interview process. Our MBASchooled Team reached out to a number of MBA Candidates and MBA Graduates to share their best advice and stories from their interview process. First up – Jeremy Schifeling, a Michigan (Ross) graduate and CEO of Break Into Tech.
MBASchooled: When you worked for a number of top tech companies you interviewed your fair share of MBA intern candidates. What was the most important thing you looked for when you conducted your interviews?
Jeremy: No matter what questions I asked, it always came down to my perceptions of two things:
- Can this person do the job?
- Would I want to work with them?
MBASchooled: Thinking back to when you were interviewing for MBA internships, what was your most memorable interview experience?
Jeremy: Sitting at a sushi bar across the street from Amazon’s office, getting ready to accept an offer there, when I got a call from Apple with their offer. This, just a month after I was sure that no firm would take me. Clearly, as with many things in life, interviewing is very feast or famine!
MBASchooled: Inevitably, even with preparation sometimes interviews don’t go our way. What advice do you have for students on how to rebound from a bad interview?
Jeremy: Everyone says, “Don’t dwell on the past.” Too bad that’s easy to say and near impossible to do. What’s more realistic is to use the past as motivation for the future.
In other words, get your revenge by pouring yourself into preparation for the next interview so that you never have to repeat that sucky feeling. And in doing so, you distract yourself from self-pity.
MBASchooled: Additionally, sometimes, even with preparation, we get hit with a question or perhaps a series of questions that catch us off guard. Do you have any guidance for how to manage and handle a particularly difficult interviewer?
Jeremy: Always, always, always ask for time. Very few of us are such gifted interviewees that we can both handle the cognitive load of a challenging question and start speaking simultaneously. Whereas, even the most timid of us can, with a quick outline, regain their composure and the upper-hand in the interview. Plus, most interviewers will respect you for doing it since it shows that you’re thoughtful, not some wild cowboy who says the first thing that comes to their mind.
MBASchooled: What was a valuable lesson you learned from your own internship interview experience?
Jeremy: Always do your due diligence before the offer. Because timing is so tight during interview season, you may not have the luxury of spending weeks reviewing competing offers before deciding.
In my case, I ended up taking the Apple internship on the spot. But because I hadn’t spent significant time investigating its culture ahead of time, I basically wound up picking the offer blind.