Congrats! You have a fantastic GMAT score, compelling essays and are feeling confident about your chances of getting in. Before you take a breather, it is VERY LIKELY that you might have to sing and dance like a start before you get your coveted admit! (We’re kidding, but you might have to SPEAK on a video).

Let’s delve deeper into the dynamics of a MBA video interview/video essay.


Video interviews: forms and types:-

Broadly speaking there are two types of video interviews:

  1. Live version: This is an interview conducted over Skype/adobe/some other platform. The primary difference between the “in-person” interview and “live-version” video interview is that there is a VIDEO INTERFACE between you and the interviewer. If you are an international application, it is very likely that you might have to explore this medium of interview.
  • Which is better “in-person” or “live-version” video?: Ceteris paribus, the “in-person” interview boosts your chances of getting in. There is a reason why Consulting firms fly the applicants to their office of choice to interview them in person; CEOs take private jets to finalise important deals. The same principles apply for your MBA interview.
  • What should you do in the live version video interview? First, if possible do an in-person interview. If this is not an option for you (because of time, effort and cost involved) realise that nothing can be done here, so stop worrying. Second, get your house in order, literally!-  don’t have clutter where you are going to interview, have a good internet connection etc. Third, do the basics right: look into the camera and speak, dress professionally, etc. Fourth, PRACTICE!! (it is likely that you are not well versed with this medium of communication- at least not in a professional setting.) do a few mock drills.
  • Additionally, PLEASE DON’T TRY TO DUPE THE SYSTEM. We have met applicants, who try to read out written responses from their laptops while interviewing. These strategies do not work!
  1. Pre-recorded questions: (for eg. INSEAD and Yale)- here, there are a bunch of pre-recorded questions that applicants are expected to answer either spontaneously or almost spontaneously- you are given a few seconds to think. For eg. in the INSEAD’s video interview you are given 45 seconds to prepare your response.

Since this is a recent trend at most of the business schools, it might be useful to understand the psyche of the admissions team on including video component in their applications.


They do it for three reasons:

  1. Check if you can communicate clearly and are presentable:
  • Let us elaborate: The admissions team is NOT checking if you could be the next Trevor Noah, but they are definitely looking for people, who can be understood easily.
  • What you need to do: (a) You should generally slow down the pace at which you are speaking (especially Indian and Scottish applicants) (b) You should smile and look relaxed. You should know that you are expected to do the same when you are being interviewed for an MBA job. Therefore, it makes sense for the admissions team to check this before they offer you an admit.
  1. If you can answer things on the fly:
  • Depending on the type of the video essay/interview, you might be expected to answer questions spontaneously (for eg. with INSEAD you are given 45 seconds to prepare an answer; other schools have less time than that)
  • What you need to do: (a) answer in a structured manner (what does this mean? google communication techniques such as STAR or get in touch with us to learn about more such frameworks and techniques) (b) Prepare beforehand: yes, it is true that you would encounter unexpected questions, but this should not be an excuse to not to prepare (and prepare WELL!) questions that are likely to be asked. (Read:  Seven most important MBA interview questions and how to answer those?
  1. They want to spend their money wisely:
  • Consider this: when the admissions team or someone from a school interviews you, they need to invest their time  (at least 30 minutes) and money in conducting that interview. With a video interview, the admissions team has the option to end the interview quickly and move onto the next candidate.
  • What you need to do: be better than others (unfortunately, you are judged relatively!). Practice and ace your answers and take this process seriously!