SMU Interview: A Guide to the Business School Interview

Updated: Mar 20

These answers have been collated by our team that reached out to current SMU Business undergraduate students to gain insight into the Admission Interview process. While these serve as a benchmark towards the admissions process, students may have a slightly different experience with admission interviews.


How many rounds of interview are there?

There is one round of interview.


How long is the interview?

It is typically an hour long.

What is the format of the interview?

Our respondents interviewed with a member of the SMU Business faculty in a group of 5-15 interviewees. The interview was split into two segments. For the first segment, interviewees were given one article related to business. This was followed by a group discussion on the article for approximately 30 minutes with the other interviewees. Our respondents’ interview articles explored a range of topics from the “advantages and disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence” to the “Facebook Cambridge-Analytica scandal”. The next segment of the interview simulated a typical SMU classroom discussion The interviewer is likely to use prompts to moderate the discussion. This segment typically lasts for another 30 minutes, thereby making the entire interview around an hour long.


What types of questions were asked in the second segment?

Majority of the prompts used by the interviewers related to the general subject matter of the article used to stimulate the first round of discussion. The article in question could focus on any topic associated with Business - upcoming trends, e-commerce, the retail industry etc. As such, interviewees may be asked to to explore the steps businesses could take to better understand the markets they operate in through the lens of consumer behavior or perhaps to explore the role technology plays in helping retail-outlets improve their businesses


What are interviewers looking out for?

This interview serves as a way to assess whether applicants (the interviewees) are of a good fit to the SMU’s interactive pedagogy. In other words, faculty members are looking for individuals who possess excellent critical thinking, outspoken, confident and comfortable in expressing their opinions. Although there are no right or wrong answers, there must be a substantial amount of substance in responses alongside a competent rationale to your opinions.


How should I prepare for the admissions interview?

Every respondent highlighted the importance of being aware of current affairs. This can be achieved by reading about general business news, industry trends like Artificial Intelligence, or even topics of debate in the business world such as the “wealth tax”. Be calm if you think you are “unprepared” because as mentioned above, the specific topic of the article is unpredictable. Thus, it will be challenging to try and familiarise oneself with everything.


Our advice: Stick to what you are interested in!

It's not necessary to force yourself to read deeply about topics you are simply not interested in. Instead, by familiarising yourself with a few topics of your interest, you will be able to formulate better ideas and draw more meaningful conclusions. This could potentially help you stand out as an applicant that did not simply “scratch the surface”, even if the assigned article discusses a general topic like technology or the retail industry.


Some other tips to prepare include: having a proper breakfast before the interview; remaining calm and being confident. While it's important to stay true to yourself and be comfortable, we recommend that you dress smart and look presentable. While you may not require a three-piece suit with a tie, pocket square and a pocket watch -- stay away from streetwear and bucket hats!


When can I expect to hear back from SMU with an admission decision?

The waiting time varies for individuals. Our respondents heard back regarding their admission decision within a month from their interview - some even received an offer the very next day.


Would having a mentor during the preparation of the interview help me?

Most of our respondents strongly felt that they would have benefitted from having access to a mentor throughout their interview preparation process. A mock session would help tremendously, especially if you tend to be reserved in a group setting. Specifically, our respondents felt that mentors could help them prepare for interviewees through mock-interviews followed by a feedback session to understand things like how they could agree or disagree with fellow interviewees without coming off as arrogant and/or ignorant.


The information in this blog is up to date as of April 2021

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