How did you feel after your interview?

I remember smiling after coming out from the interview room – not because I felt that I had done exceedingly well, but because I actually enjoyed the interview. For me, the most important thing about such interviews is not so much about putting forth the best or the most “correct” answer, but more about being honest and open in sharing more about yourself. It gives the interviewers a break from the usual perhaps cliché and standard answers and helps you leave a lasting impression.

A big part of my interview was actually them asking me about some of my personal experiences. There was also a discussion of career prospects in my chosen discipline. The interviewers were able to answer some of my doubts regarding future prospects, which was very helpful.


What do you think is the objective of the interviews?

I think the main objective is really to find out more about the prospective students, beyond what they can gather from their paper qualifications. I feel that the interview also helps the school be sure that the prospective students will be able to adapt to the learning environment in SMU.

Beyond the achievements that prospective students have already listed on their application forms, I think the interviewers are looking out for their ability to handle themselves during the interview – such as whether they are able to express themselves clearly and with confidence.


If you could give prospective students one piece of advice, what would it be?

It is important that they don’t let their nerves get to them! They will be doing themselves a great disservice by letting their nerves get the better of them, especially if their fear prevents them from putting their best selves forward.


What recommendations can you provide, where the dress code is concerned?

I believe most people would go with the formal suit, but I don’t think it’s necessary to dress too formally.

Casual attire is a no-no, and I would also avoid fluorescent colours and revealing outfits.

Basic grooming is always a must.

At the end of the day, it is important to wear something that you are comfortable in so that you don’t have yet another thing to worry about. I remember I wore a simple black dress to the interview.


What was your best takeaway from the interview?

I thought the insights provided by the professors were really useful. They asked me about the part-time jobs I took on during my holidays, including my takeaways from my working experience, as well as the career paths I intended on pursuing upon graduation. I took this opportunity to ask them about the career options available. They shared that many Economics graduates take up a second major in Finance or Accounting, and choose to work in financial and governmental sectors upon graduation. This was new to me, and gave me a better understanding of my career prospects.


Can you share 3 tips for prospective students preparing for the interview?

Firstly, if you are going for a group interview, browse through recent news articles relevant to the school that you are being interviewed for. Though last minute scrambling may not help much, it’s better than having no current knowledge at all. It may also help you feel better prepared for the group discussion.

Secondly, pick an outfit you feel comfortable in. Avoid anything uncomfortable, including uncomfortable footwear, as it will just be an unnecessary distraction.

Last but not least, practice speaking and answering questions facing a mirror, so that you have a feel for speaking in front of others.


What are some takeaways you can share from your personal experience, having gone through the SMU interview process?

I think many prospective students have the idea that the person who talks the most will definitely get an offer from the school, especially in the group interview setting. This is simply not true.
It is important to know that quality trumps quantity. It does not matter how much you speak if you are not making good points.
A quiet person who only makes 1 or 2 well thought-out, substantial points may perform better than someone who simply talks a lot for the sake of it.

Chan Mian Zi, Perina, Year 1
School of Economics
Bachelor of Science (Economics) BSc (Econ); Bachelor of Social Science
SMU Scholars' Programme
Raffles Junior College