Last week, I received an email from a friend who applied to INSEAD. He was happy to have been selected for the interview stage and he asked me these questions: “how can I do well in the interviews? Are there things that I must say?”.
I took a few minutes to think as I was not really able to answer such questions right away. I answered him that obviously his background and his experience were relevant enough to be selected for an interview. I told him also that there is no “must say”, but I added that of course, he needs to go prepared. And by going prepared, I don’t mean going with prefabricated answers but rather being prepared to the idea of leaving his routine in case that he would be offered a seat. In addition, I advised him to assess the truth of his motivation before going to the interview as I am sure that the strength of this willingness can be felt by the interviewer.
He also asked me: after 2 months at INSEAD, what are the real strengths of this school? I answered that of course, what makes INSEAD a great school is the availability of highly skilled and devoted faculty who will go to any lenght in order to improve our learning experience (including giving us M&Ms to count during our statistics class :)). Moreover, what really makes this experience great is the personal side. I am now studying with amazing people that I would not have had the chance to meet otherwise. I also discovered that the Organizational Behaviour classes (OB for the insiders) are not as fuzzy as they appear at first (I am an engineer…); they provided me with a lot of useful information on the reasons of my previous successes and failures (and incidentally with tools to enhance my behavior).
Having said all this, I am not sure whether I was able to provide my friend with real tangible advice for his future interviews as it is difficult to know exactly what the questions and the interviewer’s style will be like. Instead, I gave him my personal insights, and of course, I wish him the best for his interviews and I am sure that he will make it ;-).