Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Make the Most of Your Interview

Interview season is upon us, and so it is time for some friendly advice about interview preparation.  Your application is the first impression you make, and your interview is the second critical component of the admissions decision at the University of Georgia.  You have so much to gain from putting your best foot forward at interview time - don't squander the opportunity! Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your interview.
  1. Arrive on time. Remember: college campuses can be big, complicated places. Get there early (but not too early!) and leave yourself plenty of time to park and navigate your way to the correct building.
  2. Dress appropriately. Show respect for the opportunity you have been granted and the person/people you will be interviewing with by wearing proper business attire. This usually means a suit. This is not the time to go business casual or casual. We're thin32king about how you might arrive for a job interview. Look sharp!
  3. Be prepared. Make sure you know why you're applying to business school, what it is you like about that school in particular, etc. Know how you will answer the standard questions.  Know your own story.  Why have you done what you've done?  Where do you want go from here?
  4. Take responsibility. Trust us - we know that no one is perfect, but we expect you to articulate the reasons behind your choices and take responsibility for them.  If the interviewer asks you to account for a missing year on your resume or your less than stellar GPA answer the question openly and honestly. Responding in an aggressive or defensive manner is a definite no-no.
  5. Ask questions. Jot down a few questions you'd like answers to. If given the opportunity at the end of your interview - ask away! Questions show your interest in the school. One caveat: make sure they are well thought-out questions and not obvious facts that can be readily discovered on the school's website.
  6. Keep the focus on you. You are the person being interviewed. It is never a good idea to ask the interviewer questions about his/qualifications or personal life. It's great to chat and certainly okay to have a fun conversation, but unless the interviewer raises something about his/herself personal questions are off limits.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

MBA Student and Entrepreneur

Chris Kwiatkowski, MBA '13

I spent my summer building off of the success that my company had in UGA's Next Top Entrepreneur competition.  RapidCommittee was my business concept, a better, faster, and more efficient way to organize committees, meetings, and preserve historical documentation of all of the information in one online software system.  I built a team around the RapidCommittee business plan and began the process of marketing the concept to potential customers.  RapidCommittee was initially very focused on the academic market and we made numerous contacts and interviewed many decision makers in the U.S. college systems.  We began development of the core product with the help of outside contractors and finished the build of the system's core architecture.  We also launched our website at http://RapidCommittee.com and ran two large market research studies including the investigation into the applicability of the RapidCommittee concept in the healthcare market.
The summer came to a close and the condensed timeline prevented us from going-to-market with a production product without raising investment money. We were committed to getting our product to the minimally viable stage through bootstrapping and are continuing to build onto the product, albeit, much slower now that I am back in my second semester.  The lessons that I learned from the experience of attempting to start and launch a business while in the MBA program were numerous. The most important lesson I learned was time management and scheduling.  A startup business is unpredictable and there are always a hundred things vying for your attention.  Team meetings, interviewing prospective customers, building investment packets, talking with investors, adjusting business plans, and ultimately building a product that the consumer will purchase, are all on the agenda in the startup world. 

I would not trade my summer for any internship.  Running the business required 60 - 70 hour weeks, but at least those hours were the ones that I chose to work and the work was something that I am passionate about.