Five Tips for Passing Oral Exams in Business School

After the written tests, you are eligible for the oral exams of various business schools. An essential test to integrate the site of your choice. L’Etudiant gives you five tips to pass with flying colors!

You qualify for multiple business schools, congratulations! Now comes the dreaded test of the oral. Even if the orals were prepared during the preparation, this test remains impressive† But don’t panic, the juries are not there to trap you, but to find out who you are. Here are some last-minute tips to get there as peacefully as possible.

1. When speaking, think about what you are going to say

All schools have an oral test, with a more or less strong coefficient. †Candidates must be able to explain who they are and why they are there in a short period of time“, notes Hugues Contant, director of admissions at Edhec.

However, avoid memorizing a presentation text. Already because the questions will be different per establishment, but also because it must be an oral exchange with the jury. “To discourage them, the jury offers them a word of improvisation to integrate,” says Hugues Contant.

At Skema Business School, the motivation test is based on a “projective resume”. †They have to create the resume they think they will have in ten years, how they envision their future path in school, and then after“explains Nathalie Hector, director of innovation at Skema. An exercise in which you have to think about your ideal, coherent course, so as not to be caught off guard on D-Day.

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2. Be yourself and authentic during the oral test

“It’s important to be authentic and try not to hold on to the image we would have of an ideal candidate, which in any case does not exist‘ said Hugues Cash.

Plus, during the exchange, the judges will bounce on the information you gave them. And there, hard to hold onto if you’ve embellished an experience too much, or invented a skill you don’t have† “Students may have the impression that they have no experience and that it harms them,” notes Nathalie Hector.

And often they forget to mention things that seem anecdotal to them, such as an associative commitment or a passion. However, it is with details like this that the jury gets to know you“, she opines, adding that everything is fine to say, even a student job.

3. Learn as much as you can about business schools

The oral tests, especially motivational tests, are derived from the selection process in the world of work, which requires: researched the company before responding to an offer† On the websites of business schools you can find a lot of information with advice for passing the oral exams. “We can also see which associations interest us and explain why”, advises Nathalie Hector.

Each management school has its own values ​​and offers specific tests. HEC is known for its triptych, where the candidate will successively convince, answer and observe during a half-day test. “The goal is to have their ability to argue and assess counter-arguments, to debate a given topic,” explains Brice Rabourdin, executive director of strategy and development of pre-experience programs at HEC.

Edhec, for his part, offers a collective test, in which the jury assesses the candidate’s ability to work in a group. Hence the importance of preparing upstream under real conditions, especially the weather. “It would be a shame to have good ideas about the concept and not have time to announce them to the jury because the event is over,” underlines Brice Rabourdin. Being able to respect the restrictions is also part of the selection criteria.

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4. Anticipate the unexpected

“Avoid unnecessary stress as much as possible”, Nathalie Hector insists. Plan ahead if you have transport, check your documents, including identity, the day before

Several institutions offer to accommodate eligible students on campus when they are required to take one or more tests. Take advantage of the day to meet students and teachers, to visit the campus. At HEC, the six oral tests are spread over three days. “We try to avoid technical problems for them, explains Brice Rabourdin. Students guide them, reassure them. They can even find irons.” In the evening pleasant moments are organized for those who wish. “The idea is to put them at ease!”

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5. Believe in your chances

“There’s no impostor syndrome to have,” continues Brice Rabourdin. When you’re there, you have every chance to succeed, so trust yourself and trust the work you have done so far

at HEC, the oral tests have a higher coefficient than the written ones. “Of course it’s more difficult if you start from 700th than from 100th, but it’s possible.” Of the 740 eligible, 400 have a seat. And above all, as Nathalie Hector reminds us, even with stress “you have to keep smiling and show that you are happy to be there!” Indeed, non-verbal communication says a lot about you in the eyes of the jury.

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