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Posts Tagged ‘Kenan-Flagler’

My (Perfect?) Interview

Interviewing w/ UNC Kenan-Flagler? Here’s a first hand experience and some tips to help you prepare.

I’ve done many many interviews before, for internships, jobs, scholarships, etc etc.  I have to say this is one of the better ones I’ve done.   Although I always feel I could’ve answered some questions better or differently after playing the interview back in my mind later, I was quite happy with how it went.   I think I did a little shadow boxing on my way out of the building to the parking lot a la Steelers coach Mike Tomlin (Brad Pitt also does this in couple of his movies although I can’t remember which ones I’m thinking off at the moment.  Mr. & Mrs. Smith?).

Anyway, pretty standard interview.  Nothing to trip you up.  The interviewer does not view your application until AFTER the interview, so all they have to base off of is your resume#.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I thought the interview might ask for quite a bit of leadership experience since that’s what UNC focuses on but that wasn’t the case.  I did prepare mentally some examples but they never came into play.  I interviewed w/ John Hughes (no, not THAT John Hughes), Assistant Director of MBA Admissions.  It felt like a true conversation, like just two dudes talking.  It’s suppose to be 30 minutes but we talked for almost an hour*.

# – Because of this, make sure you know what aspect of your resume you want to highlight

** – There were couple of reasons I scheduled my interview late.  1) Primacy and recency theory, that you tend to remember the first one and last one, in this case interviewees, better.  All the ones in the middle are kind of a blur.  Of course, you want to be remembered for the right reasons.  2) The interviewer doesn’t have to worry about the next guy coming in after you, we can go over a little if we like.  3) It gives you plenty of time to get to the interview site, in case flights get delayed or canceled.  4) You get the chance to sit in a class and tour the school so you can better tailor your responses and jot down questions you have to ask the interviewer later.  BTW, you do run the risk of interviewer’s mind wandering off, getting ready to go home and finish the day or he’s tired if you’re boring.  By the same token, I would almost never schedule an interview right before lunch if I can help it.

Intro:

John came to get me in the waiting area, a little before our schedule 3:30pm.  We started talking about UNC and UT (Texas, not Tennessee) and our connection with Mack Brown, the former coach of UNC.  I thought he was gonna talk about the basketball game earlier in the season where UT beat UNC but I didn’t want to go down that direction…

John shared w/ me some of his background**, what he’s done professionally, where he went to school.  Since both his undergrad and MBA were in California I asked if he grew up there which he responded “yes, Santa Monica.”  I’m not stranger to Santa Monica, 3rd & Promenade, Ocean Ave, etc so build a little more rapport there.

** – They gave me John’s card when I first got there but I didn’t have the time due to class visit and building tour, but I would’ve tried to look up some info about John if I could.  KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.  I don’t think it mattered that much in this interview, plus there’s like a gazillion John Hughes out there.  The KFBS website did have a short bio for all the members of AdComm though.

We talked quite a bit about my family business, where I grew up, how we operate and what my roles were.

Did you enjoy your experience at UT, would you do it again? – Surprisingly, this one threw me off, and yes, b/c it was SO EASY.  Of course I did.  I took a second to see if there was a trap in there somewhere.

How did you decide on going to UT? –  Just want to get inside of your decision making ability and process.  This one came up in my mock interviews before.  Always steer this towards academic or professional reasons.

Tell me about [blank] position w/ [blank] company. – Same intent as the one before.  I forgot to wrap this one up with what I learned from that position.

How would your manager describe you in two words? – It does test your listening skills a bit, if you used 3 words that’s a big no no b/c clearly you weren’t paying attention/listening.  It makes the interviewer wonder your ability to follow directions.  I said “coachable” and “self-reliant” after clarify with John that I can use a hyphenated word as one word (technically it is anyway when you use word count feature in Word), but I wanted him to know that I was listening.

What do you enjoy most about your job? – Just getting at your personality more, what you like and intent and if matches up with why you wanted to get an MBA.

What function of the job do you like best? – Same as the previous question.  Since I wanted to pursue marketing I said the sales and marketing side and got into about my approach and why I like sales and marketing.  I then found out John was an executive at Avon and has done work w/ Southwestern Company.  Can we say brownie points??  If I had known this before hand I would’ve adjusted some of my responses.

How often do you travel overseas for work? – Getting at your responsibility levels and time commitment.  I actually don’t go overseas that much b/c most everything is on auto-pilot by this pt since we’ve been in business for so long, but I did bring in international projects I’m working on.

How many people are on your payroll? plus a couple of other questions to determine my capacity with the family business, like if I had other siblings and if they were involved w/ the business, if the business was just founded by my parents or were there other relatives that are part of the bigger family enterprise. – This line of questioning had John coming to the clear conclusion that I’m in charge of everything and asked if verify that.  Softball question, of course it’s a lot of responsibility and leadership rest on my part.

When you graduate, do you want to go back to the family business? – basically ST and LT career goals.  I haven’t gotten the chance to talk about my short term goals at the point so I clarify on my intended career path.

Why UNC? – This wasn’t until pretty late into the interview.  Again, focus and lead out w/ academic and professional reasons.  I think when I was in high school I interviewed w/ a Duke alum and I said something about basketball… so stupid.  Leave athletics out of it.

If you were working for me and I tell you that you’ve done a great job and to take today off, but you have to promise me not to think about work.  What would you do? – Trying to see if you actually have a personality would be my guess why this question was asked.  I said I’d go out and ride my bike and enjoy some reading.

Conclusion:

Don’t tell me your GMAT score, but I want to ask you a question, are you happy with it? – oh man, this question was so money.  I was really excited he asked his but you still have to be a little careful.  At first I thought John was gonna ask me a GMAT question like what’s the probability of getting heads at least 3 times after flipping a coin 4 times.  I did work really hard on getting the GMAT score I have, but I wouldn’t it mind being higher.  The question can be hard b/c it’s so easy to just blurt out your score, which you have already been instructed not to…  I appreciate the AdComm for this questions b/c I got to show that I did my due diligence and I still have a positive mental attitude despite not getting the score I wanted.

Anything else you’d like me to know? – This is pretty common, too.  If there’s something you’d like to mention, a strength, special circumstances etc now is your chance.  If you didn’t, don’t waste this opportunity to reiterate your fit with the school!

Any questions for me? –  Always, ALWAYS have a couple of questions prepared for the interviewer.  I asked John about the direction and vision for KFBS and I also asked what his personal definition of leadership was.

I actually redirected that question back to John as well, to see if he has a clear picture of my background, my goals and how KFBS fits in.  If he doesn’t I want to make sure he understands why he should admit me.  It also shows confidence.  I already aced all your questions, you got anything else for me?

Boy, that was a long post… sorry about that.  If you stuck w/ me all the way to the end whether you’re interviewing w/ UNC or not, GOOD LUCK!!

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My 20.5 hours

Boy, yesterday was a pretty crazy day.  I left the house at 4:30am for a 6:00am flight to Raleigh for my interview w/ UNC Kenan-Flagler and flew right back, getting home at 1am.  Luckily North Carolina wasn’t hit w/ the snow storm.  I was slightly concerned about my flight change in Memphis since I have no idea what’s going on there.  All I knew was it was 28 degrees, but my flight is early enough and I should have less risk, even if I do I have plenty of time to make backup plans to get to Chapel Hill for my 3:30pm interview.

Everything turned out to be ok.  Flight crew didn’t make it to my flight in Memphis on time but I only got delayed about 30 minutes.  If I didn’t get delayed I might’ve been able to make it to the student lunch.  There is a reason I didn’t sign up for it just in case something does go wrong w/ my flights.  This is the only school I applied that I didn’t get a chance to visit yet so I was really excited to have the opportunity to interview on campus and sit in a class.

First impression: I was pretty amped up from not sleeping the night before and thinking about my flight schedule, but I did notice the flags of different nations hanging high above the main entrance.  Kind of like their neighbor down the street, but since they’re higher it’s a little less overwhelming.

Environment: B
I do appreciate the warmth.  It was about in the 60’s when the rest of the country is hit by below freezing weather.  Didn’t get to take in Chapel Hill that much, but I can’t imagine it too different from Durahm.

Job prospect: B
Lots of consulting as usual, if you’re finance Bank of America is probably somewhere on your recruiting list.  If you’re goal is Wall Street it’s gonna be a little tougher.  If you’re marketing JNJ is gonna blitzkrieg you sounded like.  UNC just hired a new director, Amy Wittmayer, for Career Services and it sounded like everybody was pretty excited about her.  Coincidentally, Amy was in that same role w/ McCombs MBA.  I was a Peer Career Mentor for the BBA at McCombs so I didn’t get the chance to interact directly w/ Amy but I’ve heard of the name.

School: B
The building is ok.  There is a separate auditorium right adjacent to the main building.  There are some signs of wear in certain areas of the building, plus I’m not too thrilled about having to share the building w/ undergrads.  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I think I just preferred to focus more on my studies instead of seeing bunch of these kids in hoodies and gym shorts running around fighting a laptop charger outlet w/ me.  Man, I sound really old just now.

Curriculum: B-
I sat in on Marketing Analytics.  It’s not the most fun class, but I liked it (perverted, I know).  Regression and all that stats stuff has never bothered me at all.  Plus it’s nice to see the analytical side of marketing in action.

A friend of mine had mentioned about not picking Kenan-Flagler b/c he wasn’t too impressed w/ the students he met.  Since this is a stats class plus running a computer program in conjunction, I’ll give it benefit of the doubt.  To be fair, that person was also brought up in a super nice upper class family w/ ski vacation condo in Beaver Creek and I would say he could be a little overly critical.  Although, it was a little concerning how I ended up having to explain to someone in the class what the professor meant, when I have only been sitting in the class for 45 minutes.

KFBS does focus more on leadership and incorporates that approach into its curriculum.  It’s not as flexible as I’d like.  On top of that I just don’t believe classroom is the most effective setting to teach leadership, ethics, and presentation skills.  It feels very… undergrad to me.  I would think as an MBA candidate you should have all this coming in already or the AdComm should pick students w/ those tools under their belts.  Offering leadership courses as an elective is cool, requiring so many and taking up precious elective slots, eh…

Students: B
Nothing stands out too much to me.  Apparently almost half of the class (~300 students per graduating class) are MBA Ambassadors, so that’s pretty cool.  Unfortunately some of the student organizations do not have as big of a web presence so prospective students don’t get to see as much.  I know from experience when I was writing my essays I had to really dig for some of the clubs’ website.  I do have to say that the faculty and staff have been awesome.  The famous Dr. B stopped by Admissions Office to say hi to us and I was quite impressed by the person I interviewed w/ (more on that later)

I wish I could paint a better picture for all those interested in KFBS.  Truth is I was too focused on my interview while I was there and my mind is just clearly on other matters like flights, etc.  I do believe KFBS is a good school if it’s a good fit for your long and short term goals.

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My Accepted

Well, I got into Foster!  At least we know that in the fall I have at least A school to attend.  I was out with a friend when the Admissions Director called me otherwise I would’ve answered.  Funny enough we were talking about formulating a plan for him to go back to school and switch jobs.

It’s a huge weight off my shoulders now that I have been accepted at least somewhere and the applications for other schools have been turned in.  I also got invited to interview w/ UNC Kenan-Flagler, so at least everything is going smoothly so far.  Hopefully I get invited to interview at Fuqua, Anderson and Kellogg as well.  Now I can focus more on the family business and maybe take some time off before summer.

Our Q1 is pretty booked right now.  Our family business can be an indicator for general economy sometimes.  I think most people are upbeat about 2011 and our orders reflect that.  I have a lot I want to get done before I return to school.  We have couple of accounts we’re working on and I’m optimistic we can make some good progress.

Look for a some change in direction and focus for the blog.  I’d like refine what I write about and provide resources for like-minded others.

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