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HELP with a MSTP interview!!

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Patiently Waiting, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member
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    I am seeking help mainly from MSTP candidates who are familar with the interview procedure.

    I know there's a mega-long thread on the subject of MSTP. I'm posting this up because MSTP questionairres posted in the interviewfeedback are super-outdated for a majority of schools and I have my first MSTP interview coming up so soon. I'm getting nervous because even though I know my reason to pursue the dual program, I am not at all certain about the exact nature of my future research nor am I certain which faculty I want to meet in particular on the day of my interview.

    Every MSTP candidate (in the MSTP BLVD thread) seems to know so much about which school offers an ideal program for him/her, and many seem to know which faculty members they want to speak with on the interview day. I feel presure to know something great/unique about the school, but, aargh, I really don't.

    More questions: what type of questions should I prepare to ask especially to the research faculty members? Most likely I won't know much about their research (the school didn't disclose info about my interviewers), ie I probably won't be able to ask anything specific. How did you eloquently wrap up the last segment of the interview then?

    This is what I've been doing thus far: reviewing my appls and all of my research projects, mock interviews with a friend and a senior scientist at my work, and reading up on the school MSTP program and their faculty research (not in detail). Anything else I should be doing???

    I look forward to hearing from some of you MSTP folks out there. Thanks.
     
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  3. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    Hey,

    Don't worry too much. It sounds like you're doing more than enough to prepare for the interview. Just be sure that you can answer the questions, why medicine, why research, and why the combined degree? Also, be really up on your research, and be able to explain it clearly to someone who may not be familiar with the precise topic. The MD/PhD interviews are usually very laid back, especially in comparison to the MD interviews. A lot of the time I've spent in interviews was listening to them explain their work, and a couple mildly intelligent questions on my part was plenty. Good questions to ask are things like why they chose to go to that paticular place to work, and what they think the pros/cons of the place are. Just remember that they are trying to recruit you as well....if they're interviewing you then you are definitely worthy of going there. As far as questions about the school and why you want to go there. Be honest...tell them why you applied. If it's the location, that's ok. Something like a combination of location and outstanding research alwasy worked for me :)

    Anyhow, good luck, and post if you have any more questions.

    Adam

    P.S. For all those other MSTP applicants on here...come on and fill out those interviewfeedback.com forms. It really helps to have some idea of what to expect.
     
  4. sar520

    sar520 Member
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    hi!

    ok, you sound a lot like me! don't panic :) , it will all work out in the end. unlike some people, i wasn't (and i'm still not!) sure exactly WHAT i wanted to do my research IN for my phD. probably neuro related, but i have a lot of diffuse interests: behavior, molecular genetics, psychiatric/neurological disorders . . etc. make sure that you communicate to the interviewers that even though you don't know exactly what you want to do, it's because you are fascinated by MANY areas, and tell them what those areas are. also, i was always saying how THE MAJORITY of the md/phd students i met had changed their minds over the course of their md/phd path, and i felt that it was likely to happen to me as well, so i didn't want to choose a school based on one lab or one research strength. i think most people appreciated hearing this, because it just makes sense that someone with experience in only a few kinds of research might need exposure to different things before choosing a lab for phd research!

    when it comes to actually interviewing, before you visit a school, try to figure out who you will be interviewing with by contacting the admissions people, and then read descriptions of their research online or even do a pubmed search and read some abstracts. many times they give you a choice - i don't know if that's the case with this interview, but if so just try to pick people whose research sounds interesting to you. they don't have to be people you know or have heard of. i personally tried not to pick people who worked on things that i was very unfamiliar with, because during the interviews, they will explain things to you, and you REALLY want to be able to follow along and ask questions. if it's very interesting to you, make sure to show your enthusiasm! they will DEFINITELY notice. in terms of other specific questions, you can ask about the structure of the grad school programs (many times, you don't get enough information about this from the med school), about what other researchers work on (things that you find intersting), or what the interviewer thinks of the research environment at that place in general. some interviewers will talk up the school like it's their job, others will be very frank; that's why it's good to get multiple opinions!

    i hope this was somewhat helpful. good luck at your interview!!

    --sarah
     
  5. Rumit

    Rumit Senior Member
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    Oh, yeah, and about not knowing exactly what you want to do in graduate school that's ok too. I feel the same way and when I've been asked I've been very honest about the fact that while I love what I'm doing now I would also like to try something new, and that I really want to get exposed to a variety of techniques and scientific approaches. For instance, I've done a lot of genetics, so I'd like to get some experience doing biochemistry. The interviewers definitely don't expect you to know exactly what you want to do and what lab you want to work in, but at the same time it's also ok to have very clear ideas about what you want to do.

    Adam
     
  6. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    Adam and Sarah are right on target. You certainly seem to be preparing adequately. A very important thing is to walk into the interview believing that you are adequately prepared, and worthy of a spot. Reach closure with yourself <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> . By that I mean know what you know about your research, and be aware of what you don't know; and be confident that whatever you know is more than enough. Ease and confidence will then follow naturally. Good luck and kick some @ss.
     
  7. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member
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    Adam, Sarah and Stephen,

    Thanks for all of your input. They all help me ease my mind for NOW <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> .. I will post more questions as needed. You guys rock!!!
     
  8. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Patiently Waiting:
    <strong>Adam, Sarah and Stephen,
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">stephen!?? Who said I was stephen? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
     
  9. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Original:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Patiently Waiting:
    <strong>Adam, Sarah and Stephen,
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">stephen!?? Who said I was stephen? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Original,

    YOU said in your famous thread. :D
     
  10. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Patiently Waiting:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Original:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Patiently Waiting:
    <strong>Adam, Sarah and Stephen,
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">stephen!?? Who said I was stephen? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Original,

    YOU said in your famous thread. :D </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">oh! ok :) BTW it's not MY thread. It's OUR thread; we all contribute to it and share info with each other. If I didn't start it someone else would have. Good luck at ur interview and let us know how it goes.
     
  11. Patiently Waiting

    Patiently Waiting Senior Member
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    Original,

    Thanks again for your blessing.

    I will keep you posted even if it goes bad (it will be a big blow to my ego :D ). I actually have a couple of more questions to ask. Let me pretend I'm actually working in my lab for the next several hrs and I will come back here with more detailed questions.
     

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