Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Interview tips

Today is the deadline for round 2 applicants! (it's April 1st here in Bangkok anyway...) As you guys prepare for your long wait ahead, what is there better to do than to start preparing for the interview? I know it might seem like a huge waste of time if you do not get the invite, but you should at least start!

To prepare, I made a list of potential questions that can be asked. A great resource for this is the Accepted site, where they store a number of feedback and interview questions from previous applicants.

From there, I listed all my answers and read them a couple of times, I also then made sure that I knew the main stories and examples that would cover multiple questions. It is at this point you have to make sure that it gels with your essays and strengthen it.



1. Stay hydrated! (you will be talking a lot)
2. Get to know your fellow applicants (they will most likely be awesome people and the rapport will help in discussions later in the day)
3. Be yourself (they are looking for the genuine you, will you fit in?)

1:1 interview:
1. Establish good rapport with your interviewer (show high EQ)
2. Do not be defensive, even if there are "holes" in your application, show them why that does not matter and how you are still the ideal candidate
3. Show confidence that you WILL achieve your goals and IMD will want to be a part of it (confidence is not arrogance)
4. Enjoy talking about yourself! Everyone does and this is your big opportunity to share your story

Impromptu presentation:
1. Relax!
2. If you have a business background, this should not be a problem (The book Case In Point can be helpful)
3. Create simple slides and brush up on the DOs and DONTs of verbal presentation (Slide-ology, Presentation Zen
4. You have 5 min, so be simple, concise and to the point

Case Discussion
1. Read and re-read
2. Jot down the main points and your thoughts as well as strategy
3. Contribute! Work with your fellow applicants and build on their ideas
4. Be positive and upbeat, it's not about the solution, but team dynamics

There it is. These points are just from my personal experience and is by no means gospel, I am not in admissions! If it makes sense, use them towards your preparation, if not, leave'em out.

The interview day is for you to find out if IMD is right for you as much as for them to find out if you are right for IMD.

Cheers! It's going to be a fun ride =)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Application strategies

There are many essays to be written in the application and when they mean 1230 characters, they definitely mean it!

I wrote my essays by planning out what exactly I want the admissions committee to know about me - strengths, weaknesses, experiences and values. You want to convey to admissions that this is a person I want to invite to an interview because the responses were compelling and very interesting. Remember folks, that these committee members have to read a lot of essays... a lot. You have to find a way for them to stand out. Think about stories, use stories to convey who you are, what you did and where you want to go. In essense, each essay has to be concise, be part of the larger story that is consistent with your personality. Remember that the key areas of fit are:

1. Leadership (why do you value it? why do you think you are a good leader?)
2. Drive (are you driven? what experiences have shown this aspect of you?)
3. Contribution to class (how would you contribute to the class? what do you bring?)
4. Industry focused (are your aspirations to be a leader in the industry? how? why?)
5. Fit (why this school? why would you fit in?)

I think if you position your "story" that covers these points, you will be very strong in your candidacy. Remember that IMD also looks for a specific profile:

1. Strong industry work experience
2. Committment to leadership and long term learning
3. International experience and outlook

If you convey the overall story this way, I think you will have a great chance to score an interview.

Be bold in your essays and position yourself as an ideal IMD candidate.

Good luck!

Friday, March 26, 2010


wow... after a few grueling days of anticipation, I finally got the call this morning! 7am, 10 days later, my phone vibrated and a +41 area code appeared on the screen. Lisa Piguet congratulated me and apologized for calling too early =). Well, turns out I was up at about 5.30am this morning for a conference call with a physician. So it was ALL GOOD... although I was in a dreamy state, it felt great. Called my wife immediately and did a little dance in the hallways of the office building, luckily it was too early to attract unneeded attention.

It's amazing how many times my mind slipped back to the interview day and scrutinized everything I said and how I behaved, wishing I could have answered questions a tiny bit differently so I may stand a better chance. Questions bubbled to my head about "what were they thinking when..." "did they realize this..." and then I would gather myself and then tried to feel confident again. That cycle was definitely spun several times in the past 10 days. I'm so glad that is over and new chapter will begin!

One School Application, One Acceptance! 100% field goal percentage, I guess I'm done and I will keep this stat.

Good luck to all those out there and I will start posting some advice and tips.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

The waiting game

It's going to be harder than I thought. 10 business days before I find out how the rest of my life will turn out... wow. Perhaps this is as dramatic as when I was applying to school in the US about 10 years ago. I remember I was not at all nervous or anxious as I was probably not expecting to leave the country. Or maybe I was too young to understand the consequences of an admittance letter.

Well, it has only been 2 days and I am already restless. I guess I can focus my energy on forming backup plans in preparation for bad news. What am I going to do? Well, I am going to look for a new job for sure and maybe an alternative school? I don't know, I am so convinced that IMD is the best fit for me, I remain unmotivated to go anywhere else. Perhaps Cambridge? Sigh... I think the better path for me is to plug ahead in my career and if need be, I will get an executive MBA in the future.

I am pretty sure I can leverage my experience to get a job with more responsibility. Well, at least I will be preparing to go train the Asia Pacific field force in a week. =)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Interview day

First of all, I would like to say that conditions for me could have been better. I was jet lagged and down with a sinus infection for the interview day. Well, no excuses right? I definitely put my best foot forward, especially in the late morning, having warmed up with the 1:1 interview.

I must say, that the calibre of the applicants are impressive, I feel that most if not all of the group of seven should be offered a place in the program. Well, let's see, it could be the magnificent seven, the courageous six, the elite five, or even the fantastic four. Any less would be unthinkable. So all in all, I was very impressed with the candidates and also the faculty. Well, we met with Martha, the director of the program, Lisa the admissions director and Prof. Bris for our case study discussion. I felt very comfortable with them as they were definitely very welcoming and warm.

Let's just go through the day briefly. It started off with a quick tour of the campus and Q&A with the ever so sweet admissions coordinator Corinne. Thereafter, I had my 1:1 with an admissions member. I think it went pretty well, except it was early in the morning, and in the last 15 min, I felt like i had cotton mouth... I was so thirsty! So an advice is to take 2 of those mini water cups, it will help you... The rest of the day was 45min breaks, the impromptu presentation on a business topic and a case discussion. I felt those went alot better, as we dive into cases and scenarios, I felt more comfortable contributing and being a part of the applicant team.

In summary, I had a great day, met some pretty cool people and I have no regrets. So the waiting game begins and lets hope I get a place in IMD, if not this blog will obviously be very short lived.

Cheers and good luck to all the 2011 applicants!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

4 days till the interview

I am anxious to interview at Lausanne. I'm privileged to have visited IMD last year in 2009 and had a great time. I was able to meet with two students and had an awesome lunch at the cafeteria, more like a restaurant. To think that these two students are already out there in their new job, taking on the world. Interview preparation has taken over most of my nights, jotting notes for the case discussion, reviewing my application and anticipating questions that will arise in the 1:1 interview. To think that in 1 day, my entire life can totally change, how exciting! I guess athletes make history in hundredths of a second.

Well, I hope my next entry will be after the interview, and then the wait begins...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Application submitted!

As a Singaporean with 7 years of work experience in the US medical device industry, I've decided to apply to IMD for an MBA program. Some people have asked me what other schools am I applying to? Well, I've only applied to IMD. Looking at the school and the unique niche it is in, I believe that is the only school for me. Silly? Maybe so, but if I don't really want to attend any other program, why would I apply?

So I've applied for the Feb 1st deadline and received an interview invite on Feb 13th. The 2 week wait was awful, but I'm definitely lucky as IMD usually send out interview invites after 4-6 weeks. So is this good? I'm trying not to think about it and I'm concentrating on the interview on March 16th. So this means I find out by March 26th if I am going to Switzerland next Jan! Wow, I can barely hold in my excitement. It is so hard not to make any plans and get myself overly excited, but I can't help it. I will continue writing if I get admitted as this would no doubt be a roller coaster ride from that point on. So either this will turn out to be a blog that may help future IMD hopefuls or it may fall flat and join all the other applicants with a big fat ding.

6 days till my interview... I'm sure I will write more to keep my excitement on a leash.