Am I ready? What if I don’t know the answers? What if I don’t make a good impression? Have I prepared this enough? What if the WI-FI crashes?”
Let’s be honest with each other, we all had these types of questions fusing in our heads before an important interview no matter its nature. It certainly happened to me right before my personal interview at ESCP. Now… we might not be able to know the answers to these questions in advance, but there is one thing we are still in control of: how we react to them. Your masters’ is an important milestone in your life, it will influence not only your education but also your future career and contribute to shaping your personality in a multitude of different ways. Hence, acing the personal interview application step is definitely something you should strive for. This article aims at giving 6 must-know tips to rock your interview for ESCP Business School. These tips are based on my experience and the experiences of my fellow M1 classmates and will give you a 100% authentic student perspective.
Tip 1: Be on time
I know, you probably already know this one. Yet, it is key. The interview may be the first direct contact you have with ESCP and making the best impression matters. Oh… and… by being on time I mean slightly in advance. If your interview is in one of the ESCP campuses, make sure to give yourself some margin to find the correct room, sit down, have a glass of water and relax. For Skype interviews make sure you are in a calm place with a good internet connection. Aim for a neutral background in order to be the center of attention.
Tip 2: Take your time and focus
There is no need to rush! Organize your thoughts and structure your answers, speaking at a slow pace, as well as articulately, will help your clarity. If you have any doubt on a question don’t hesitate to ask for a clarification, always in a polite way. Having a few basic questions prepared will definitely help alleviate the stress: “Why are you applying to ESCP? Why do you want a masters (in management)? Tell us about yourself? What career plans do you have? Why come study in a European university?”. Finally, having a short pitch explaining who you are, what you want and how you plan to get there will be of great help and make an amazing impression.
Tip 3: Tell your story
You are unique, and your story is unique. The interviewers don’t want to meet the “by-the-book” version of you, they want to meet the real you. Have a compelling story that explains your decisions (past and present) as well as your objectives. For example, be ready to justify why you chose to study business/engineering/social sciences/arts etc. in your bachelors. What it brought you? And how it shaped you on a personal level? ESCP values diversity, not only in backgrounds but also in personalities and ambitions.
Talking about ambitions, you might have questions relating to where you see yourself in the future. Remember, it is ok not to have a clear plan, but it is important to have a direction and personal objectives. No matter what, be honest about yourself and where you are in your life. Also, expect questions slightly (or completely) related to your background. As an example, I was a business administration student doing an exchange in Russia at the time the interview took place, and one of the questions the interviewers asked me was “So, as a business student and knowing the Russian market, imagine I am a wealthy investor, in which sector should I invest in Russia and why?”. If that happens, don’t freak out, breathe, and give it your best shot. Chances are you can give a credible answer based on your experience.
Tip 4: Do your research
ESCP thrives and operates in an international environment. Expect broad questions relating to recent or current international and European events (i.e. Brexit, Hong-Kong crisis etc.). Don’t worry, by staying interested and keeping up with the news of the main newspapers you should be more than ready! Avoid off topic answers and stick to your narrative – they will value structured responses.
Tip 5: Sell yourself
The interviewers will not know everything about you. Mine only had my CV, and were not aware of most of the things I had mentioned in my application file. So, highlight your achievements, don’t be shy! Support all your answers with real-life examples or concrete explanations. Don’t forget to talk about your passions! For example, I mentioned during my interview that I was attending a Ballet that night. Turns out, my interviewer was very passionate about ballet, and we ended up talking about dance for 5 minutes.
Tip 6: Have the right Attitude
To me this is the most important point of all. Coming into an interview with the right attitude and mindset can make all the difference. Dress to impress… ok not New Year’s Eve kind of dress code, but definitely look neat. Make sure to be humble, honest, and please put a smile on your face. The interviewers do not expect you to be all-knowing, it is ok to not have all the answers. Be approachable show flexibility and keep a broad mindset.
Remember, non-verbal communication accounts for most messages sent. If you experience technical problems during your interview (camera & co) keep in mind that the interviewers are still watching: don’t freak out, stay friendly. During my Skype session, the camera of the interviewers suddenly switched off, which this left me talking to myself. It was destabilizing. When they came back on, I tried to remain calm as if nothing had happened.
At the end of the interview, roles reverse, and they will ask you if you have any questions for them, have one or two prepared! More generally, transmit positive vibes at all times!
A holistic approach
To conclude, I just want to tell you that the assessment and recruitment at ESCP Business School are done holistically and take into account many factors. The personal interview aims not only at seeing if you are a good fit for the school but also if the school is a good fit for you and will help you prosper and grow as a person. From my point of view, with these 6 tips you are all set and ready to rock your interview. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to e-mail the ambassadors, we would love to get to know you better!