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Notre Dame MBA Interview Resource Guide - GBP Career

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Notre Dame MBAInterview Resource GuideGraduate Business Career Development

Notre Dame MBA Interview Resource GuideTable of Contents:Pre-Interview Networking Event Tips . . page 3Making a Good First Impression . .pages 4-8How to answer the “Why us?” question . . .pages 9-11Typical Interview Types and Resources. . . .pages 12-24Closing Strong .pages 25-272

Pre- Interview Networking EventsMore casual, NOT informalBe personable/conversationalStill evaluativeMust doBut Be Yourself!3

The Importance of Making a GoodFirst Impression: The First 5 Minutesis Critical Research indicates that 30.4% of interviewersdecide whether to move forward with a candidatewithin the first 5 minutes An additional 29.5% decided between 5-15 minutes ‘Confirmation Bias’ Tinder; Bumble4

Making a Good First Impression Be on time (i.e. 15 minutes early for in-person interviews; 5 minutes early forvirtual interviews to test connection) Be prepared (research the company andyour interviewers) Dress the part - Most often for men, nicelytailored suit and tie in basic colors. Forwomen, your best options are generally aconservative two-piece suit with either fulllength pants or knee-length skirt with darkclose-toed shoes and hosiery near yournatural skin color. If you wear jewelry, it’sadvised to do so in moderation. For bothgenders it’s generally best to avoid busypatterns and bright colors that may distractfocus away from you. This said, somecompanies don’t require the businessprofessional look anymore depending. Makesure you understand what is expected, andwear neat, clean, and well pressedclothing.If in doubt err on the side of moretraditionally dressed up. It’s always easier tolose a tie or jacket in a situation where youmay find you are overdressed than the otherway around. Bring only the essentials—have a nicepadfolio and extra resumes; ditch thebackpack Be nice to everybody! Put your phone away while you wait Smile, make good eye contact, and greetyour interviewer warmly

Making a Good First ImpressionAdditional Tips for for Virtual Interviews:1. check that your camera is level to your face to avoid the “nostrileffect”;2. have good lighting in the room / free of glare;3. have good sound (often times computer speakers can have extrabackground noise so you might use a discrete headset for bettersound quality);4. remove any background clutter from your view;5. show up dressed just as you would for an in-person interview;6. test your equipment and location ahead of time;7. on the day of the interview you logon early to ensure yourconnection is working properly;8. consider scheduling an interview room in the Duncan Student Centerif possible to mitigate the items above;9. make good eye contact with the camera when speaking and exudeextra positive energy to compensate for the physical distance; and10.DOUBLE CHECK YOUR TIMZONE (invariably every year we havestudents miss an interview because their interviewer is in a differenttime zone).

First 5 Minutes Open with Small Talk / Make a Connection, followthe interviewers lead Remember that “Activities & Interests” section onyour resume? Writer of science fictionHiked up Mt. KilimanjaroWoodworkerCoached college club hockey teamWinner of several national rowing cupsCake bakerFine arts acrylic painterGreeting card maker7

Typical Opening Questions:Resume Walk vs. Tell Me AboutYourself Resume Walk Chronological flow, starting with undergrad, typicallyworks best Transitions—and reasons for them—are especiallyimportant End with transition to MBA and future plans Shoot for 3 minutes Tell Me About Yourself Start with a description of who you are (pitch/summaryversion) Highlight 3-4 points from your experience that makeyou stand out End by telling them why you’re in the room Shoot for 3 minutes Suggestion: Script out each answer and practicefrequently. The goal is to be well-rehearsed,without sounding memorized/scripted.8

Why [company name here] ? If you don’t handle this well, it’s nearly impossibleto recover Could be asked near start or at very end Your answer should indicate that: You’ve done your homework (e.g., company research,networking, etc.) You understand how this company/position aligns withyour career goals You’re interested in the job and will be motivated toperform if you get itWhy Alcoa? (Example of what NOT to say )I’m looking for a finance role at a large, global industrialfirm, and I know Alcoa traditionally seeks out MBAs forthese positions. In addition, I have family in the Pittsburgharea and really like it there. All in all I think it’s a great fit!9

Why ?ApproachWhat the Company DoesCultural/Fit Aspects(based on yourresearch)The RoleOneFirst of all, I’m inspired by Apple’s focus on theuser. Accessibility has been a priority ensuringthat everyone can benefit from the ‘what’snext’ focus of the organization.Based on my research, I also know Apple isserious about developing a diverseorganization, and that’s important to me. Ithink I can both contribute to, and gain from,Apple’s culture of inclusion.What I love about this role, specifically, is thatit allows for creativity in bringing the besttalent into the organization. I believe mystrengths are well-suited to the role, and I’mconfident I’ll be able to hit the ground running.10

Sources of Company ResearchPeople: Alumni, Classmates, Second-Year StudentsDigital: Vault, WetFeet, Mahaffey Business Library (e.g.,Hoovers’s Company profiles), MBA-Exchange, Glassdoor,Google, DOMEInvestor Relations Page Is a MUST for Public firms. Knowtheir performance and prospects. Read the Chairman’sLetter to Shareholders. Look for “Events andPresentations” page.After The InterviewFollow Up Get your interviewers’ contact info Email is fine for thank-you notes Keep thank you’s short and sweetKnow the “Rules” On-Campus Recruiting guidelines atrecruitmendoza.nd.edu Off-Campus Recruiting may require youto play be by the company’s practices Stay professional and not personal11

Typical Interview Types1. Fit: Mainly job and cultural fit2. Technical: Domain skill depth3. Case: Cognitive business skills4. Behavioral: Past predicts future12

Fit QuestionsDesigned to determine whether or not you are a fitfor the job and/or workplace culture What motivated you to change careers? Why did you choose Notre Dame’s MBA program? How would your colleagues describe yourleadership style? What are your top strengths? Weaknesses?13

Technical QuestionsSpecific to the role you have applied for; used toassess technical skills/capabilities How does an insurance company make money? Can you walk me through the three main valuationapproaches? How would you explain to the relationshipbetween the Income Statement, Balance Sheet,and the Cash Flow Statement? If two business units have different gross margins,but the same operating margin, what could behappening?14

Case QuestionsUsed to evaluate your ability to resolve businessquestions, situations, problems or challenges Why are manhole covers round? How many gas stations are in the U.S.? Your sales have grown 20% over the past 3 years,but your market share is down. What’s happening,and what would you do? Your nephew runs a lemonade stand. He was openyesterday from 2-5 pm, and sold 2 cups. Whatshould he do differently tomorrow?You could be sent a case in advance and told toprepare and deliver a presentation/handle a Q&Asession.15

Behavioral Questions Designed to learn about your past “behaviors” inspecific work situations (e.g., “Tell me about a timewhen ”) This is where your CAR stories come into play 16

Case Questions - Resources Victor Cheng and Marc Cosentino (consultingfocus)17

Product Management - Resources18

Investment Banking - Resources19

Fit, Technical, and Case ResourcesFit QuestionsTechnical QuestionsCase QuestionsYourself, Classmates,Coaches, DOMECoursework, Experience,Clubs, Coaches, DOMEClubs, Coursework,Coaches, Case Prep Books,DOME20

Sample Behavioral Questions There’s no magic list of behavioral questions Focus on your top stories vs. trying to write adifferent answer for each behavioral question youmight get in an interviewBehavioral Question Resources Our general sample behavior question list (found inthe DOME Resource Library) is intentionally long,but broken out by skills See the DOME Interview Database by Company aswell for specific questions asked by company atpast interviews. And don’t forget to pay it forwardby populating questions after you’ve interviewedwith companies. Glassdoor21

Remember the C-A-R Framework?ContextActionsResults Preferred method of answering behavioral questions Effective way to demonstrate how you apply your workingstyle, skills and knowledge to a range of specific experiences Most recruiters expect you to structure responses using it22

C-A-R Story Tips Shoot for 3 minutes or less per story Allocate your time as follows: Context 20% Actions 60% Result 20%( 30 seconds)( 90 seconds)( 30 seconds) Play offense look for ways to work your beststories in! Top stories can likely be used to answer more than onequestion Make sure you’re answering the question that wasasked Document your stories, and practice until you knowthem cold23

Why You? I am analytically-minded; I like puzzles, and I enjoydigging in to see how things work in an effort toreach a goal This is an opportunity to combine my client facingskills with an interest in helping a client companygrow and improve its operating model I have been taking online course in investmentswhile actively following the markets and doing myown personal investing; I have been successfullyassisting family members with low-key financialplanning for several years The is a lot of satisfaction in directly or indirectlyhelping an individual improve his or her individualor family’s financial future based on the decisions Iwould make as an investment analyst24

Your Questions of ThemFrom Their Perspective: Are you Interested? Engaged? Informed?“If an applicant doesn't have any questions forme, that's a red flag. I'm thinking that theyeither don't care or can't be bothered to doresearch about my company.”Tips for Asking Great QuestionsKeep in Mind Have Some Objectives Questions don’t just ‘ask’, they ‘tell.’ This is your time for research What you ask says a lot about you: Also, this is your sales “close” Strategic? Do you really want to work here? Informed? Do they have any reservations about you? Value-oriented? Thorough?INTERVIEWER25

Sample Questions about the Role Is there such a thing as ‘the typical day’ and,if so, what’s it like? Fast forward a year: my new boss is providingmy performance evaluation and it’s excellent.What specific goals have I achieved? Can you share with me the critical internalrelationships I will be expected to develop inmy first year? Is there anything concerning you about mybackground or qualifications for success inthis role?Sample Questions about theCompany What priorities need to happen if thecompany’s successful in achieving its plansin the next few years? What does competitive success look like forthis organization? What does it take tobuild market share? What behaviors are most valued andrewarded here? What qualities do senior leaders try hard toexemplify? What are the primary values that reallyhold the company together?INTERVIEWERSample Questions about the Interviewer What led you to this company? What keeps youhere? What’s your favorite thing about working here? Can you describe the best, highest-impact projectyou’ve worked on so far? I’ve read that the company is [focusing more oninternational growth / streamlining operations toreduce costs / investing more in R&D / etc.]. How isthat affecting you?26

Do’s and Don’ts of Your QuestionsDO1. Direct your questions appropriately Line managers can answer questions that HRmanagers can’t, and vice-versaSenior leaders focus on value; middlemanagers on cost; junior people on tasks2. Personalize your questions “How would you describe the culture?” vs.“What is the culture?”3. Ask about next steps It indicates interest and a future-focusDON’T1. Ask questions you can answer yourself2. “What is the company’s mission?” “What are the qualifications for this role?”Ask questions merely to impress them Embarrassing your interviewer is not a best practiceThey could flip it back to you: “Good question.What would you say?”3. Ask about salary and benefits This is a topic for discussion once you’vereceived an offer (you can also enlist your coachfor additional guidance at that point in theprocess)27

padfolio and extra resumes; ditch the . Resume Walk vs. Tell Me About Yourself Resume Walk Chronological flow, starting with undergrad, typically works best Transitions—and reasons for them—are especial