Have you ever been on an elevator, and just before you get to your selected floor, you jump with perfect timing and feel weightlessness for one blissful second? This was a favorite pastime of mine. (OK, it is a favorite present-time of mine, but I probably shouldn’t admit that). Still it makes for a good segue to my topic of the week, “Elevator speeches are not just for elevators job interviews!”

Admissions representatives from the UST MBA programs interview hundreds of candidates each year, and we’re looking for the “best and the brightest.” So whether you are coming to learn more about the program or for a formal admissions interview, you need to know your elevator speech.

I always begin meetings with candidates by saying, “Tell me about you.”

This is your cue to whip out your concise, well-articulated elevator speech that gives me a good sense of your unique background and capabilities and why you’re pursuing a top-notch MBA from St. Thomas–all in approximately 45 seconds. This may sound intimidating, so here are a few tips:

  1. Start with your undergraduate schooling and move chronologically (but concisely) through your professional experience.
  2. Highlight interesting projects that show your leadership and initiative, and include key results. Don’t inundate me with a laundry list of tasks you perform.
  3. Conclude with why your background is relevant to the UST MBA program and how the program will be relevant to your future.
  4. Practice your elevator speech out loud to anyone who will listen: your significant other, your mom, or your poodle.

You can find myriad guides to elevator speeches online if you would like a more thorough coaching session. Otherwise…

Take it from me, plan and practice your elevator speech for MBA admissions interviews, and you can make a powerful first-impression on those who determine your acceptance or rejection.