As someone rightly mentioned here, you cannot have a predictable rule for succeeding or failing in a visa interview.
I had my F1 visa interview yesterday morning – I am going to a top 30 B-School – Tulane University, and am married.
The VO didn’t even ask me much – just that he had also got admitted to the same school when he was a student, but there are much cheaper alternatives. I told him that I’ve got a 100% tuition waiver and he goes “Wow, that’s cool!”.
I added (without his asking) – I feel that mid-career professionals should avoid traveling to the US with a lot of debt and he says “Absolutely sir, makes sense”
…he then trained his questions on my wife “So ma’m, what do you plan to do when your husband is studying?”.
She smiles and says, “Oh I would just go out for walks, explore the city, etc”.
He smiled and said “Sir, ma’m, your visas are approved. Enjoy your stay in the US”.
Therefore, some extra small talk may or may not hurt. What perhaps worked for me was that I had traveled to the US on work (not sure whether that worked, because even when I applied for my first visa – an L1B, I was not asked anything.
Just a question to my wife – what do you do, ma’m?. It could be luck, could be anything.
My GMAT: 740, TOEFL: 104, Schools admitted to for MBA: Duke, Tulane, Rice, Kenan-Flagler, Johns Hopkins.
Why I Chose Tulane University
I finally chose Tulane University.
I did not want to take on debt and Tulane was offering me 100% tuition waiver, Teaching Assistant and a designation of an International Fellow.
Duke is not offering any scholarship.
Johns Hopkins was offering $35,000 of Dean’s Scholarship but my total expenses would have been upwards of $150,000 for 2 years
Rice University was offering about 50% scholarship. So, the best thing was to opt for a no-debt offer from a mid-tier school.
Tulane University is not bad. 35th ranked in the US per Businessweek rankings. And one of my friends had a harrowing time while at Kenan-Flagler in 2009 (sadly he graduated in the middle of the financial crisis) – did not get employment for about 10 months, and had taken a loan of Rs 50 lakhs. That experience shook me.
Kenan-Flagler too was not offering me any scholarship. So, an obvious choice – AB Freeman School at Tulane University.