I had my Cranfield MBA interview yesterday. The Cranfield School of Management is in Bedford, on an isolated old airforce base. I got on the National Rail train from the London Euston Station to the Milton Keynes Central station (cost about 17 pounds for a one way ticket). The school usually sends a complimentary bus to meet interviewees at the station. Unfortunately, my train was a tad delayed so I had to take a taxi to the school (should cost about 16 pounds).
I was very well received by the Director of the MBA program and he took me upstairs to his office to commence the interview. He thanked me for making the effort to come all the way from Nigeria and asked me to give the pre-arranged 3 minute presentation. Cranfield provides a topic that the interviewee would talk about for 3 minutes at the start of the interview. Mine was about a piece of legislation i would like to see enacted in my country. I talked about the lack of a freedom of infomation bill and how its impeding good governance and accountability in Nigeria. I also gave an example of how Senators in Nigeria don't account for money given to them for constituency projects. The tricky part was the timing....I had a 50 second band around the 3 minute mark within which i could make the presentation (i.e 2 1/2 minutes to 3 1/2 minutes). Anything outside this band would be penalized.
After the presentation, he questioned me further about the bill.....is it currently under consideration? is there any lobbying being done? Thankfully, my geeky interest in politics paid off as I was able to answer the questions satisfactorily. He then proceeded to the traditional MBA questions.....why mba? why now? Have I applied to other schools?What are my plans post MBA. The good thing about doing two interviews so close together is that you learn from the first one....during the Oxford interview, i was nervous and tense while i was calm and relaxed during the Cranfield iterview (wish it was the other way around though).
Generally, the interview went well and I got a feeling I was in (though u never know). Thing is, even before the interview I had started to have reservations about Cranfield. Its clearly a good school with top faculty but I'm unsure if its best placed to help me achieve my goals. What are my goals?
I want a brand that would open doors for me all over the world. I want to meet exceptional people and create a network of lifetime friends from all over the world. I want to improve as a private equity professional. It was never in doubt that Oxford is better placed to help me achieve these goals but i've just started to question Cranfield's ability to help me achieve any of the goals at all.
While the Cranfield brand is a good one, it is by no means door opening (not in Nigeria at least). There are very little finance courses (not to talk of private equity specific courses) so i'm unlikely to gain specific PE skills.
Still thinking about it though.....
P.S There's absolutely nothing to do in the town....beware!
Addendum (25th February 2011): I got an admit with a £5k scholarship! Now dancing away.....