Interview Experience - ESCP Admit

General Forum
  • Posted by ashwin23 on 12/30/13 11:32am


    I'm posting my experience with SAI in the autumn admission season. I thought this would give people an idea of how it works. It's a long post but I've tried to add some detail to it, I had a hard time scrounging information so I hope this helps people going forward.

    Applied to: HEC, ESCP.
    Result: Dinged at HEC, got into ESCP.
    Student Profile:

    • B.Tech from MIT,Manipal (2012 Batch) - 6.83/10 CGPA.
    • GRE Score - Quant: 163, Verbal: 165, AWA: 4.5
    • 1.5 years of work experience as a data analyst - Knowledge of SAS, SQL, Regression, Statistical Methods - Clustering, Segmentation,Hypothesis Testing etc.
    • SAI Interview Grade: Excellent - (Used to be a score, now they just award a grade, this is the highest possible)
    • I also had really good recommendations that were personal and addressed my specific strengths.
    • Essays that I wrote and had screened by at least two friends of mine (worth taking time on these and getting your point across while avoiding grammatical errors, a second set of eyes definitely helps - my experience!). You'll definitely go through a few drafts before arriving at one that you like. Take your time, remember the kind of investment you're making here so don't be impatient :)

    So that's about what I did, took my time with the application and tried to make it personal so I stand out a bit.

    My story:

    I applied on deadline day that was Oct. 15th, a few hours before the deadline. The SAI were very responsive through the admission process and even later when I asked for my interview grade. They were always prompt in getting back to me, I suggest future applicants take advantage of this.

    The invitation for the interview came roughly two weeks later towards the end of October and I had about three weeks before my interview. My interview date on the penultimate day for interviews as per SAI ( they have about 7-10 days I think during which they conduct the interviews), so I had plenty of time (about 3 weeks) to prepare for it if at all.

    For the interview itself I did spend a couple of days preparing for the common questions that the MIM Compass staff have been kind enough to repeat multiple times. The interview itself had much of the same questions.

    Questions along the lines of:

    1. Why an MIM? ( Do understand what the degree is about and how it will change your career prospects and talk about these, there's no need to make up a story here - be honest and clear cut)

    2. Why study in France and what do you know about it? (they're quite interested with this so it'd be great to know about France how the culture there would fit you if it would and generally know more than just the Eiffel tower)

    3. What do you think you bring to the student body or alternately why should we admit you? (Be memorable and talk about your strengths while giving specific examples, don't just state adjectives - I'm a team player - show them how you are with a story that depicts this strength of yours)

    4. What do you know about course? (Needless to say you should know this)

    5. How is the MIM going to help you achieve your career goals? (I spoke about having more than one career path and the MIM will help me narrow it down, it's up to you how you answer it - someone who already wants a consulting job that's fine too)

    6. How did you decided upon your career goals? What are they? ( Be honest here)

    7. How are you going to finance your studies? (Straight forward)

    8. How will your undergraduate education help you here? Are there any translatable skills? (Again show don't tell)

    9. Why management after engineering? Are you sure you won't want to switch streams again? (Don't panic, there will be at least a couple of questions that challenge you, there's no right or wrong you can be honest here)

    10) Why not study in India? There are IIM's etc. here. (Why indeed?)

    Following this there were general questions about:

    a) Describe one problem that you see around you today and how would you change that?

    • Counter questioning here based on what your answer is to check the depth of your answer and your reasoning ability. Take your time, you don't have to fire away as soon as they question you.

    A note here - I read about the economic crisis in Europe in quite a bit of detail and already having an interest in economics and having done some reading I was able to answer with that and could talk about them in greater detail. To each their own.

    These questions obviously differ, this is the one that comes to my mind now. They can ask pretty much anything here and any number of questions.

    -- I only had one interviewer, there wasn't a panel. Friendly man, alumni from ESCP - relaxed setting and there isn't a need to be too stressed. It's an interaction. Remember to be precise in your answers and it's perfectly alright to say you don't know if you don't know something rather than make things up.

    Crucially however it is important to understand why you want the degree and plan your studies etc, have a general idea in your mind and use that in your answers to questions of that ilk. Beating around the bush here is probably what puts people off, why would they want to invest in someone that isn't even sure of what he wants to do? Just be yourself and it should go just fine.

    Finally I got the results about two weeks after my interview, got into ESCP and dinged at HEC. My take is that HEC for sure places a premium on academic results and that's where I lost out. It was only a slight chance I make it anyway, quite happy how things turned out, after all if working has taught me anything the college brand will open some doors for you but the best ones you have to find for yourself. I hope my experience helps some of you here. Cheers!

    • Posted by Thomas Graf on 12/31/13 12:34am

      Dear Ashwin,

      I want to thank you personally for your fantastic post and for sharing your experience with us. I am sure that this provides very valuable information for the MIM Compass readers.

      I have edited your post a bit to make it easier to read (bold font, lines, and bullet list) - I hope that's fine for you. I will also publish a little teaser on the front page, in the ext newsletter and on Facebook so that people see your post.

      Thank you again, good luck for your studies, and all the best.

      by Thomas Graf

      • Posted by ashwin23 on 12/31/13 6:51pm

        Hi Thomas,

        It definitely reads better. I just wanted to give back in a way that I could, this forum was quite useful when I was looking to do research except for the fact that answers were spread out in too many threads plus reading about personal experience always helps. I hope people find this useful.

        Thanks again and happy new year!

    • Posted by MIMAPPLICANT on 02/14/14 12:28pm

      Hi Ashwin23,

      I had my interview today, and it went well thanks to your debrief,
      writing this to Thank you :)
      Also I wanted to ask you something, you mentioned SAI Interview Grade: Excellent in your debrief, but I have no idea about this, can you please explain this to me? Do I have mail the SAI authorities for the grade?
      Please help.