First of all, if you plan on taking a train from NYC to . . . well, anywhere . . . be prepared for delays. I arrived at Penn Station minutes before my train for New Haven was scheduled to depart only to find that it had been delayed ten minutes. Ten minutes turned into two-and-a-half hours! I missed the admissions info session and the opportunity to lunch with current students. I was, however, able to sit in on a class before my interview.
The class was Advertising Management. The lecture took place in an large room (capacity ~ 50) with a vaulted ceiling and recessed lighting. The seating was stadium style; the desks formed a horseshoe around the podium. You could plug in your plug in your laptop and access the internet at every seat.
The lecture was called, "Metrics: Developing a Brand Management System." It was interesting. Student participation was encouraged (read: expected). At issue was research performed by academics at Harvard and other schools - the viability of studying a few people and their relationships with brands, as well as more scientific methods of measuring human responses to brands/marketing (MRIs, for instance). I learned that there are no shortage of "nutty professors" out there. The professor teaching this course encouraged a critical approach to these studies.
When the class was finished, I had all of ten minutes to get to my interview. I only had to cross the street, so that gave me time for a cigarette. I also reviewed my notes briefly.
My interviewer was a few minutes late. Someone had "dropped in" for an interview minutes before my interview was scheduled to begin. This "someone" was rescheduled for a later time. My interviewer presented himself a few minutes later and escorted me to a room. On the way there, he asked me if I had had a chance to hear a lecture. I told him about the Advertising Management class. He asked me the professor's name. When I answered, he said that he had never taken a class with her. I then asked him what he studied, and this is when the small-talk came to a halt. He told me that he would answer that question at the end of the interview, as he did not want his response to influence how I answered the questions he had for me. And with that, the interview officially began. He started with my educational choices, then my professional choices, asking me what I liked best about manager X, and what I felt was my greatest accomplishment at company Y. He finished with "Why Yale?" and then answered the question I had asked him earlier about his studies at Yale SOM. I'm glad he waited to tell me because had I known what he had studied, I would have definitely answered at least one of the questions differently. (The question I would have answered differently involved my opinion of company Z.)
The interview lasted forty minutes.
I handled myself very well. I went in knowing what I wanted to talk about and was able to communicate what I wanted/needed to, without forcing the interview to go in any particular direction. It was probably my best interview performance to-date. When I left, he gave me his business card and asked me to contact him with questions. I then went to meet up with a current second-year student whom I had been in contact with even prior to my applying to Yale. We spent a little time chit-chatting. Then I headed to the train station and back to New York.
Overall, it was a great day in New Haven. I felt very relaxed on my way back to the city.
A few hours later, I got an email from my interviewer. He said it was a pleasure meeting me and that if I had any questions I should contact him. This is the first time I have ever received an email from someone who interviewed me that wasn't in response to an email I sent thanking him/her. I guess it's possible that he sends that email to everyone he interviews; but I have decided to treat it as something special.
Now, I go back to waiting. At least I have the distractions of NYC to keep me busy.