Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Why interview candidates?

It's little wonder that one of the most watched videos we've posted since we launched this blog two years ago relates to interviews.

Not many graduate schools interview candidates, so it's natural that our applicants would be curious about the process.

Why do we conduct interviews? And what goes on in an interview?

I spoke to Michael Plummer, a professor of economics, about this annual rite that brings candidates together with senior SAIS Bologna faculty and staff.

"It gives us a good chance to get to know the students better, and perhaps more importantly it gives the students a chance to know us better," says Prof. Plummer, who is on the SAIS Bologna Admissions Committee and will be interviewing candidates in coming weeks.

SAIS Bologna interviews non-U.S. candidates who have applied to the Bologna Center and some who are open to starting either in Washington or in Bologna. All U.S. candidates are handled by the SAIS DC Admissions Office, which has slightly different admissions procedures but the same standards.

Faculty and staff interview in some cities in Europe and the United States, but given the geographic diversity of our candidates, most interviews are conducted on the phone or via Skype.

In the video below, Prof. Plummer addresses what is generally discussed during the interview and how -- or how not -- to prepare for the interview.

That senior faculty spend as much time as they do preparing for, conducting and writing up interviews reflects the importance SAIS Bologna attaches to the opportunity to get to know candidates better, to shape the incoming class and to give applicants the chance to learn more about our program.

If you are reading this via email, you can watch the video here.

Nelson Graves

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