What do you think the interviewers are looking for?

I think the interviewers are looking for students who are passionate about their discipline. I also think they are looking for a culture fit.


What are the things you think would be useful for prospective students to take note of?

Do not cut others mid-speech, and do not go out of your way to make someone look bad. While the fact remains that there are limited student places during admissions, showing bad sportsmanship and grace reflects negatively on yourself, and does not portray you as a “better” candidate. I think prospective students should keep in mind that a good discussion is one backed by good arguments; a good argument does not include shooting down opinions just because they are contrary to your own.

Do make it a point to research the course that you are applying for, as the interviewers are keen to know your understanding of the discipline and your reasons for pursuing it.

Prior to the discussion, take the initiative to say hello to the other interviewees and if you can, try to remember their names. This brings an ease to your conversation later during the interview.

Be well rested and do not be late! If possible, recce the campus prior to the interview date; you do not want to be late because you ended up at the wrong building.


Is there a preferred dress code for the interview in your opinion?

The interview is a session for you to shine! So my advice is to dress in something comfortable. Having said that, a business attire (formal shirt or blouse, pants or skirt, covered shoes and a tie for the men) will serve as the best attire for 2 reasons – 1. It portrays a professional image, and 2. You’ll naturally act more professional and polished.


What do you think the interviewers are looking for?

I was interviewed together with 7 other candidates. It started off with the classic “Tell us more about yourself”. Then came the discussion question, “Why do Singaporeans use so many acronyms?” Last but not least, the interview ended off with, “So do you have any questions for us?”

The questions were not particularly school-based in the sense that they did not ask us explicitly about Economics. However, I believe the questions tested relevant skills that the interviewers are looking for; skills that demonstrated our potential to become good Economics students and graduates. During my interview, I believe they were testing our logical and analytical reasoning skills, which are crucial for doing well in the Economics field.


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

Firstly, I would recommend prospective students to think like an Economist, but answer in simple terms. The interview tests your analytical and reasoning mind-set with abstract questions. There’s no need to have in-depth Economics knowledge, but it is useful to have an “Economics-centric” approach.

Secondly: Research, research, research! Read up on current affairs, and make it a point to learn about recent economics happenings around the world.

Thirdly, share your viewpoints openly during the interview, and be prepared to face both criticism and praise.


If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before the interview, what would it be?

I would focus more on developing answers to showcase my interests and viewpoints. Before my interview, I had heard rumours that SOE tested prospective students with economics graphs, and terminology. This is not true – as far as I know, there are no technical questions for the School of Economics interview.


On hindsight, did the interview process prepare you for your SMU journey?

Most definitely. It gives an insight into the culture of the university.

I’d say to prospective students: Treat the interview like a conversation among acquaintances, that way the whole process feels more natural. You get to enjoy the SMU experience and express your personality in a professional setting, which is a novel experience for many of us during that age.

Yash Manish Mavani, Year 2
School of Economics
Bachelor of Science (Economics) BSc (Econ)
SMU Ambassadorial Corps, President; SMU Climb Team
Ngee Ann Polytechnic