While I only interviewed at three schools, I can wholeheartedly say that the ESADE interview was by far the one, where the admissions officer tried to get a sense of me as an individual, access my talents, abilities, drive, and really see whether I would be a good fit for the program.
I was lucky to interview in person with Mary Granger, who at the time was visiting New York on holiday. I met her at her hotel lobby and we went to a café around the corner for breakfast, where she offered to pay.
The interview began, with her initially asking me about, and if I recall correctly, my accomplishments? I stated to speak, but as my leg was killing me at the time, I was just post-op, and being nervous, as ESADE was important to me I started stumbling over my words. I told her that this was the case, and as any good interviewer, she quickly changed the subject to calm my nerves as to be able to gage the real me, instead of a ball of nerves.
This worked fantastically, and I regained my composure quite quickly, fielding the other questions quite well. Some of the other questions asked went into deeper detail on my professional life, my essays, as well as some that were meant to gage my ability to work in teams, and one in particular that I found difficult to answer. “Elaborate on an event where someone changed your mind on something”. Being stubborn, driven, and set on thinking I’m usually right, this question was really hard to field. But in the end, I prevailed. The there was the quintessential question phase, where I the applicant asked questions a, b, c, etc…
I should also mention that during and after the interview, the topic of conversation would often drift, from the city grid work of Barcelona, to European fiscal policy and it’s need for change, to the need for energy independence, to some lady who owns a restaurant in Barcelona. (I think it was a restaurant, the interview was on April 3rd, my b-day, and although I have a good memory, certain minute details may escape me).
We eventually wrapped up the interview circa an hour forty-five minutes in, and I left feeling that it went exceptionally well.
In comparison to the other schools with whom I interviewed with I can say that ESADE’s was by far the most exploratory of me, and what makes me, me. IESE’s I found to be very cold, cut and dry – points, 1, 2, 3, ask questions, goodbye, we’ll let you know. Whereas RSM’s was conducted by an alum living in NY, and although RSM is great, I found the interview to be more of a pitch about the school than an exploration of me as a candidate and a fit to the school.
I find that ESADE’s approach here makes sense in respect to the school as a whole; they have a program that is very much focused on shaping the individual, and really seek to make exemplary MBA grads instead of the MBA Machine Cookie Cutter 1200 student intakes that are seen at various American Universities.