You Can’t Handle the Truth
So you made it to the interview, the final task standing between you and glorious admission, but they never make things easy so preparation is key once again. The interview takes place approximately two weeks after your admissibility results have been sent and they are done in either English or French. It will be approximately 30 minutes long and will have a committee principally composed of alumni of the SAI member schools, representatives of the member schools or business representatives. There are usually 2–3 people on this committee which means that not all schools are represented and you should take this into account if you’re applying to a specific school in the SAI. The interview itself is an open discussion focusing mainly on your general knowledge, your academic background and your motivation for undertaking a Master in Management in France.
The first thing that happens when you walk in the room is a formal greeting and you offer your documents to the members. You also have to remember to bring three copies of your CV (Resume) so that the committee members can see what you’ve done. I personally also attached my two reference letters so they have a better understanding of my qualifications. After a few minutes they took to read my booklet, the true questioning began. I’m not sure if this happens in every interview but I had a “good cop”, a “bad cop” and a “neutral cop” and the questions ranged from extremely difficult to light-hearted. The first question was something I had thoroughly anticipated: “Why do you want to do a Master’s degree in France?” There are of course numerous reasons why and everyone has their own. I personally loved the International Management program and ESCP Europe just happened to be situated in Europe. Be prepared that the interviewers have done a thorough background check on you and have googled your name and the companies you have worked for. One of my interviewers asked how I would have the time to both do my studies and be a manager at an international company. I was slightly blindsided by this question since I have never worked for an international company, I do however work for my family business which has less than 10 people involved. Apparently this interviewer had gone to the website I created for J&R Surveys Ltd. and assumed that it was a multinational company based on its web design. I thanked him for thinking it was so extraordinary and the two other interviewers laughed at the exchange.
Other than checking out your personal qualifications they also ask you questions about the economy and what you think of world affairs. Also they ask about your resume and to provide feedback on what you have learned at your different positions and what you gained. Another thing they do is try and see if you’re a good fit for this program and so they ask about your strengths and weaknesses and how you would deal with culture shock. One of my main weaknesses was that I don’t speak fluent French and they wondered how I would succeed living in France. Of course this is all based on my personal experience and every interview will be different however you can expect some similar types of questions no matter where you are.
Some advice I would give is to google yourself and see what comes up when someone searches your name. You’d be surprised at the things people can find out about you these days. Also don’t lie on your CV. I don’t know how someone could in this day and age but in any case they do check your references and ask you detailed questions about what you wrote in your CV so be prepared. You need to also remember to be dressed as if you’re going to a job interview and have a professional manner. Finally the hardest but most important thing is to be relaxed. If you’re at ease then the whole interview will go much more smoothly and the interviewers will have a more positive outlook on your application.
I know this post was long but I had to include a lot of important information. Plus at the end of the day it’s always better to have too much information than no answers at all.