The Full-Day Interview: What to Expect

(Nathan Oldham/UConn School of Business)

Today is interview day. The time is 7:20 am and I’ve just arrived in the hotel lobby. The company’s representative will meet me there at 7:30 am.

As I wait, nervously fidgeting with my leather portfolio, I notice other professionally dressed people also waiting. Could there be more than one MBA candidate attending the interview?

Nahhh . . . but let me ask anyway.

I politely asked, “Are you interviewing today?” The young gentleman said, “Yes! I’m a first-year MBA from Emory University in Atlanta. Where are you from?” Soon after, the other candidates gathered in the center of the lobby. They were all being interviewed today!

The Talent Acquisition Coordinator arrived promptly at 7:30 am with folders in hand. Inside contained our individual schedules for the day. Each one was slightly different. The entire day was well planned and progressed seamlessly. It started with breakfast with senior leadership. While we ate, we were invited to introduce ourselves, talk about our plans for the weekend, and ask questions about the company. “Ask us anything you want today. If you leave here thinking you don’t know if you want to work here, you haven’t asked enough questions,” said the Head of the Leadership Rotation Program.

After lunch, we were escorted to a conference room where associates from the leadership program came to chat with us. Their role was to make us comfortable and answer questions about their current roles. After all, that’s what we were aspiring to. We heard the good and the bad directly from them. For example, the Fortune 100 company appreciates ideas and innovative thinking from the team. Employees are encouraged to think big. However, the state in which the company is headquartered wouldn’t be a top pick for young professionals.

MBA candidates were individually taken to their interviews at the designated time, moving swiftly from one room to the next. The schedule was tight but seamless. The process itself? Intense, yet fun.

Some general interview questions were:

– Tell me about a time you had to explain technical or legal information to someone, and how did you do it?
– Tell me about a time you had to get two opposing sides on the “same page” for one common goal.
– What is the most complex thing you had to learn and how did you do it?
– Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult person on your team and how you handled it.

Other interview questions were directly related to my experience, as well as role-specific questions.

After interviews we ate lunch with current associates and a director of the company, where once again, we had the opportunity to ask questions and hear about their experiences with the company. We were subsequently taken on a guided tour of the headquarters, which included an onsite gym, pharmacy, food court and even a library. In short, we got to see and experience the culture in action. At the end of the tour we were given farewell gifts with post-interview steps.

The culture of an organization is an important criterion when choosing a company. It has to be the right fit for you, and you have to fit into their existing culture. The prospective company did an excellent job of helping candidates make an informed decision. In turn, they saw how well we would fit into their environment. One director spoke about how she once frowned at people who stayed with a company for 20 years. Then she joined the company and understood why.

Landing a competitive internship often comes down to the interview. How succinctly you provide the answers to the interviewer’s questions, your interactions with the team, and if they can envision you as part of the team. Therefore, a key lesson is that engagement with everyone at every stage counts – from the front office manager at the hotel to the receptionist on your way out.

Kimberly Douglas ’18 MBA
Student, Full-time MBA Program
Kimberly is an MBA candidate at the University of Connecticut, specializing in digital marketing strategy and analytics. She has significant experience in marketing, business development, human resources management and retail management. In her most recent role, she managed a retail portfolio of 19 retail stores and has successfully led large teams toward the achievement of corporate goals. View Posts