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20February2017

MBA Interview Prep 4: How to Thank Your Interviewer

by The Red Pen

4th and final article in series

By the time you’ve finished your final interview, we are sure you are heaving a huge sigh of relief, thrilled to be done with this long and exhaustive MBA application process. But before you turn off the application part of your brain, there is one last thing you should think about – thanking your interviewer.

This is a very simple thing, but it can end up confounding many, and some applicants end up sending out a convoluted thank you note, or an overly eager page-long email that negates their positive interview.

While it is not requirement, sending a thank you note is a gesture that shows you appreciated the interviewer’s time, and valued the experience. It’s also a chance to cement their impression of you, and to follow up with questions.

So let’s talk about how to ace that thank you note so you can finally relax.

  1. Brevity is the soul of wit – Your thank you note should be succinct and to the point. Think sonnet, not Hamlet. Be direct, sincere, and well spoken, just like you were in your interview (hopefully!)
  1. Connect the dots – If you talked about something personal, you can (briefly) refer to it. If they mentioned something you hadn’t heard of, you can talk about how post the interview, you researched it. Be specific to your conversation; include a detail that stuck with you, something that interested you, or something you bonded over. Don’t just say “I’m so glad we both love cricket”, but do include something like, “Our conversation about monetisation of sports has stuck with me as I watched this weekend’s match”.
  1. Punctuality is the politeness of princes – Send your note within a week of your interview. Don’t do it immediately after you leave, in the cab or on the way home, but don’t wait a month, so they assume you’ve forgotten to send one or, worse, are so ill mannered that it didn’t occur to you to send a note.
  1. Avoid innumerable questions – Ask questions if you have them, especially if they are a follow up to a topic you discussed or something specific to the program. Don’t ask general questions and don’t feel the pressure to make up something if you feel like you have nothing to ask.
  1. It’s a thank you note, not a love letter – Resist the urge to gush in your thank you note. Any overly dramatic, hyperbolic, or sentiment-driven statements are bound to be treated with suspicion or dismissal. Lines like “I will always remember our conversation fondly” or “Your kind words meant the world to me” should be edited out. Although you might really feel that way, you run the risk of sounding insincere, which is the last thing you want for your application.

The post-interview thank you note is a gesture, but it’s one worth making in order to maintain the image you have projected of yourself as a business leader and future alumni of the school. So be specific, be succinct, and make sure you send it!

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