G3. How did you structure your responses?

There's a divide between free flowing and structured responses in interviews. It seems to depend largely on the MBA's personality and comfort level in interviews. Most people need to err on the side of being more structured, particularly if you intend to become a consultant. However, both are acceptable strategies. A few nuanced MBAs used both styles, depending on the question, the person, or the school.

Many MBAs use a loose framework to answer each question from an interviewer. There are many variations on SPARK (situation, problem, action, result, knowledge), including PAR, SPAR, STAR, etc.

However, be careful of too much preparation. The interviews are more about personality fit than about content; the interviewer needs to like you enough to want to be your classmate.

Premeditated, structured; Used SPARK, STAR, PAR or similar

John Wilson

SPARK - situation, problem, action, result, knowledge for most of the answers; always you to appear more thoughtful

Kahn Jekarl

PAR - problem, action, result

Kasey Miller

STAR - situation, task, action, result; tried to structure it as best I could

Masa Masuyama

Answers were structured, deliberate, and verbose; there was a lot to communicate

Responsive, free flowing

Alex Slawsby

Just tried to be honest and connect; though most people I interview now are highly structured

Roy Johanson

The people who spent more time preparing often come across is stiff and unpersonable

Jeff Haxer

When possible, I let the conversation be free flowing conversation; harder to do with alum interviewers

Both free flowing and structured

Jason Mitchell

Depends on the question; for "Tell me about yourself", it's a free flowing conversation; for others, had a structured answer

Tom Rose

If you have lots of prepared responses, you can get the conversations to flow more easily

Start with the main point, answer first; Hamburger approach - bun, filler, bun

Saritha Peruri

Mmmmmm, hamburgers

Gaurav Bhattacharyya

I'm a huge proponent of answer first; start with the most important point

Elizabeth De Montigny

Take a deep breath, think about the beginning and the end

Take time to think before you answer

Murali Krishnan

It's OK to take a couple seconds to compose your thoughts; lead and end with your main point

Karin Gregory

At the time, I just answered; but a structured answer is better; take a moment to think through your answer

Use stories

Seth Familian

Suck people in with a good story

Benjamin Olds

I had a stable of stories; which of these stories do I want to use to answer that question?

Interviews are more about personality fit than content

David Sauvage

It's two humans interacting; they need to like you and feel a conversational flow

Christina Chang

It's a fine balance between showing personality and getting lost in the details

General advice

Aryanne Ferranti

Wanted to convey my genuine excitement for the school

Harpreet Marwaha

Watch the person's body language to know how to continue; pause to give the interviewer a chance to interrupt