My application and interview journey

24 February 2021

Current Full-time MBA participant Chris Dale reflects on his journey through the application and interview process, and why it made him choose Warwick Business School.

Following my visit to Warwick Business School (WBS), it was necessary to head back to the airport with haste. The interview had gone well, the discussion flowed, but I stayed longer than planned. Returning my rental car, hurrying through the terminal, I only just boarded my homeward flight in time. Relaxing into my seat, I reflected on the interview that ended just a few hours prior. My phone pinged in my pocket. An email from WBS. With an attachment. An offer of a place on the Full-time MBA programme, with a scholarship, subject to passing the Warwick Test. As the plane taxied back, I quickly shared the exciting news and thanked those who supported me during my application. Then I closed my eyes, allowing my mind to drift onto what the future may now look like.

Studying an MBA was something I had been toying with for years. Three years ago I had attended an open day at WBS with the aim of applying for the Executive MBA programme. As well as chatting with current students, I met a very helpful admissions advisor, whom I stayed in touch with to assist with my application. She helped me prepare a business case to put to my employer at the time. That was progressing nicely, but then a promotion at work and the associated new challenges resulted in me shelving my MBA aspirations. Three years later, in a new job in another country, I realised that my business school itch was still very much there. Although I enjoyed my role leading interesting engineering projects, I had to admit to myself that I would not be satisfied until I scratched the itch, and met the business school challenge head on. 

Previously, I had wanted to study concurrently with my career in the automotive industry, with a view to enabling faster progression. But now, with ten years’ professional experience, I felt the need to step away from the comfort and predictability of full-time employment. I wanted to challenge myself with a period of intense personal and professional development. My business school research started again from scratch. I explored the benefits of institutions in different locations. Being an engineer, I tabulated my research to better visualise and analyse the costs, benefits, and characteristics of my options. All signs pointed to WBS for my next chapter.

As part of the application process I had to write mini-essays describing my current role, analysing strategic objectives of an organisation, explaining my career goals, and justifying a potential scholarship. I started to collate notes, often jotting down a few words between meetings, or making mental notes while cycling to work - whenever another anecdote popped into my head. After much writing and editing I eventually felt ready to share these with a trusted friend. Some constructive feedback ensued! Never have I before, or since, put so much effort into refining my written work. After countless edits and proof-reads, I was eventually happy to submit my application.

A month later I received an invite for a Skype interview with the WBS Admissions team. However, I knew I would fare far better during an in-person interview scenario. Given the magnitude of this potentially career changing meeting, I opted to travel back to the UK from Austria (where I was living and working at the time). But first came intensive interview practice. Cue more assistance from my confidant, who tirelessly interrogated me on my experience and motivations so I could hone my technique and arrive at the interview with the best chance of success. 

Entering the modern WBS building, the corridors lined with motivational quotes from inspirational figures, I was reminded of the atmosphere I experienced during my first visit. Meeting my interviewer, I realised I was looking at a familiar face – the WBS careers advisor I met three years previously was conducting my interview. What followed felt not like a traditional interview, rather an amicable exchange of information. It was my chance to delve into the finer details of studying an MBA at WBS, and it was my interviewer’s chance to understand my motivations for wanting to do so. I was made to feel welcome, the conversation was enjoyable, and I left with an optimistic view of the potential to shift my career up a gear and accelerate into the future. 

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