Chris Cognetta is an MBA2, specializing in Tech Product Management, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and Brand Management. Prior to Stern, Chris worked at Charles Schwab. This summer, Chris interned at FTI Consulting as a Technology Consultant and will be returning next year. Additionally, Chris is involved in SGov, Stern Technology Association, Gaming and eSports Management Society, Stern Follies, SpeechMasters, and European Business Society.
I remember the moment I found out I was going to interview for the Full-Time MBA program at Stern. I was in the middle of a work meeting and received an email explaining I was invited to an interview. The anxiety immediately settled in, followed by questions such as “I haven’t interviewed in years, how well will I do?” and “Is my story good enough?”
I enlisted the help of my father (who had no idea what he was getting into) and gave him a list of typical MBA interview questions to ask me over repeated video calls. He would later tell me how much he hated hearing me repeat the same answer to him over and over again. But I needed the practice. When I answered a question that felt stiff or didn’t easily roll off the tongue, we went back to the drawing board to rework my answers. I found that the more honest I was about my experiences, the easier it was for me to answer the questions.
The actual day of the interview finally rolled around. I spent most of the day before rearranging my bedroom to optimize the natural lighting from my window and clear any distractions from my background. I practiced breathing exercises until I logged into the Zoom meeting and awaited my interview with nervous anticipation.
My interview began. We started off with a friendly conversation before she made a funny reference to my Pick 6 application (I had included an image of Spider-Man). These actions immediately put me at ease, so much so that during some of the questions, I included funny details about my work that my father recommended I leave out of my answers. It was an easy and pleasant conversation, one that I didn’t realize ultimately ended sooner than I had thought. My first MBA interview was done, and it wasn’t the nightmare I had anticipated.
Through my experience, there are a couple of learnings that I think, you, as a prospective student can use to ultimately make your NYU Stern interview successful:
1. Be your authentic self
Probably the most important item on this list because Stern is aiming to build a diverse student body. The Admissions Committee can’t achieve this if everyone is trying to act like a stereotypical business student. Show the interviewer your true personality, tell authentic stories, and let them get to know the real you. It’s a lot easier to remember stories that actually happened and to share the excitement or learnings from those experiences.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Enlist a family member, friend, or colleague to conduct a mock interview with you so that they can hear your answers. Even if they don’t provide feedback, practicing answering the questions will allow you to spend less time thinking about the words, and to have your stories sound more coherent.
3. Review your application
The Admissions Committee member who interviews you will have just read your application, and they will ask you questions on what you wrote. It’s a smart idea to review your application so you can speak to the major points you mentioned in your application.
4. Feel confident going into the interview
Finally, remember to show up confident in yourself and your abilities to the interview. Not everyone makes it to the interview stage of the application, so you should feel confident about yourself for making it this far. Show the Admissions Committee why you would be a good NYU Stern MBA Candidate and feel assured about your answers.
Best of luck to you on your interviews!