Business school application: Video tests are becoming a force

More top business schools are using “live” video tests to get to know MBA candidates and be able to assess their communication skills. The new assessment tool also helps them detect those that might have used third parties for writing their essay or recommendation letters.


As much as written parts of a business school application are still valued highly by business schools, many have now introduced “live” video tests to gain a complete and comprehensive picture of a candidate. Video tests help assess candidates’ “soft skills”, amongst them their communication skills, but they can also push candidates “over the line” whose CVs are not necessarily following the typical MBA storyline.

Amongst the schools that have introduced video elements are Insead, Yale School of Management, Kellogg School of Management and London Business School.

According to a recent article on schools also hope to “combat ‘ghostwriting’ – when an applicant pays a third party to write their essay or drafts their own recommendation letter – and prepare students for a method of interviewing that is now used by corporate recruiters including Goldman Sachs”.

Although it is much harder to prepare for a video test than it is to deliver a prepared written part of the same application, the website has gathered a few essential tips on how to prepare for such a video test.

·         Look at questions on the website and prepare suitable authentic answers that tell a story or example really well.

·         Pre-record a few answers and watch for yourself and with a friend how you come across on the video but video components should also not be over-rehearsed as in this case the danger is to come across stiff and superficial.

·         Research key selling points as well as the culture of the business school beforehand and mention these points in a video response and align them with a school’s individual culture, e.g. analytical rigor, strategic vision…

·         Go to some production effort: Use a plain background, a webcam with clear visuals and sound, and face natural light without exaggerating lights and filters.