It's Friday and I'm looking at the schedule for next week and there's some student interviews on the docket.
There are a few different types of student interviews here at Suffolk. Some are a required part of the application process - the Global and Executive MBAs both require an interview, and the design programs may also require an interview/portfolio review as part of their application. Others are entirely optional - more of a one-on-one exchange of information for an applicant or prospective student than a hard assessment tool. Students may come in to talk with one of our professional staff members about a program when they're coming for a tour, to get an in-person opportunity to find out more about the program, or to get some recommendations on how to proceed going forward with their application. That said, even these optional interviews can be useful in helping us make decisions (or recommendations to program directors) on candidates.
Even though interviews in our office are generally low-key, I do have some recommendations. None of these are ground-breaking, but that doesn't mean they aren't also good ideas.
- Call to schedule - while our professional staff can (and do) talk about all programs, we also have point people for specific programs or departments. It's to everyone's benefit for the applicant to talk to the professional staffer closest to the program, so it's a good idea to be able to come in at a time when that professional staffer is in the office. This is especially important during travel season, when any given staff member can be out on the road at any time.
- Arrive on time - part of this is just common courtesy, but it's also important to make sure that the staff member an applicant is scheduled to meet with is available and is able to devote their undivided attention to that applicant. It's also important for prospective students who are taking tours, since our tours are given by our graduate fellows who have their own schedules.
- Dress appropriately - this does not mean suit and tie (for the interview in our office - for the required interviews with the MBA offices they may be a VERY good idea), but the interview can help us determine what kind of a 'fit' a candidate would be for a program. (For myself, I'd like to add "tights are not pants," but that's just my feelings on the subject.)
- Come with questions - our professional staff members have a whole lot of information, but things are much easier if there's some kind of structure to the conversation. We can throw all sorts of information at a person, but not all of it may be useful and much of it may be things a prospective student already knows. Questions help us figure out what information to start with.
Like I said, nothing onerous, but still good ideas. I may round up one of my colleagues to do a podcast on the interview at some point (if I haven't already - I've done 70 podcasts so far, and I'm starting forget what subjects we've actually done interviwes on and what we haven't!). I'll have to go take a look. In the meantime - have a good weekend!