Jiu-Jitsu Styled Interviews

You have probably heard the phrases “knowledge is power” or “as you know more you can achieve more.” Society praises the studious and the well read because they are often the ones who obtain the most success. But is the goal just to fill the mind with knowledge for knowledge’s sake? Is life a perpetual competition to be the best trivia contestant? I think not. The goal of our habitual knowledge absorption should not be the sheer amount of knowledge obtained, but the quality and application of that knowledge. Enter the magical possibilities of Interviewing for Information.

Interviewing for information (IFI) is the practice of meeting with a mentor and asking specific questions relating to something you are trying to improve in yourself. This technique can be used to learn a language, a sport, financial sense, business skills, general life advice and any other aspect of the world that interest you. Let’s deconstruct this skill into five different parts: research, preheat, introduction, discovery, and close.

The Research

Research is the first and possibly the most crucial step in the IFI process because the better research, the better the questions. Voltaire, an eighteenth century philosopher and figure of the French Revolution, once said “Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Simply put, questions are the key to personal growth. Research requires you to learn enough about whatever you are trying to learn to have a productive conversation with an expert. For example, if someone was trying to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the most efficient ways to train, then their research will look something like this:

  • First, they would read and watch videos about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to develop a basic understanding, learning the key components of the martial art and the training outliers. Outliers are those people that should not be world class because of their genetics, their circumstances or some other factor, but somehow they still are. These people are the best teachers and the best mentors because they have excelled without an innate advantage. For Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, find a mentor who has no genetic or socioeconomic advantage and who is largely self-taught. This way you avoid most of the formal handicaps and anachronistic training methods that hamper efficient learning.
  • Second, it is time to write some initial questions. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started:
    1. What is the single most common mistake beginners make?
    2. What three lessons do you wish you had learned earlier?
    3. If you could start all over, what would you do differently and why?

After you have found your mentor, done your research, and formulated some initial questions, it is time to move on to the next step: Preheat.

The Pre-Heat

The concept of the pre-heat can be summed up in one statement: people believe more what they hear from others about you, than what you tell them yourself. Basically, if you want to speak to a potential mentor you’ve never met, it’s important to have the proper pre-heat. Your first step in making a connection is sifting through your network of friends, family, and co-workers. When you find a contact who can connect you, have them properly pre-heat the mentor. Your contact can pre-heat your mentor by informing them with this information: how the recommender knows you, what you’ve accomplished, and a personal endorsement of you. In addition, your recommender should pass along your brag book to whom you wish to speak. A brag book is like a resume but has the power to catch the attention you wish to grab (click here to learn more about brag books).

Essentially, the pre-heat is more than an introduction. It is an opportunity for your future mentor to learn about why you are interested in speaking with them, and what you hope to get out of the conversation. Without adequate preheat, the mentor relationship will not be as fruitful. Always, always use preheat.

The Introduction

The Introduction must take place immediately after preheat. Once you get the mentor’s attention, have someone introduce you (preferably) or introduce yourself to set up a meeting. Be polite and be interested. Mentors are often very willing to spend time with someone who shares their passion. Be confident, be bold, and just ask.

The Discovery

Next, is the holy grail of learning: the discovery portion of IFI. Now that you have done your homework, found a mentor, and created an opportunity for yourself to meet with them, you can reap the rewards of all your hard work. So, here a few tips for the discovery portion.

  1. Make sure you have questions prepared. Your preparation conveys your passion and your respect for the mentor’s time.
  2. Listen to the answers your mentor gives so you can be prepared to ask follow-up questions. Don’t worry about “sticking to the script!”
  3. Show up early, dress appropriately, and bring a notebook to record all the valuable insights. If you’re interviewing the person over the phone, the same rules apply.
  4. After your interview is complete, thank the mentor for their time and ask if they have any questions for you. They might be curious about why you are interested in this subject, they might have a job opportunity that you would be perfect for. It never hurts to ask.

The Close      

Lastly, the IFI process is never complete without a close. Closing out the interview is like putting the icing on a cake. It allows for closing remarks, one final thank you, and most importantly it keeps the door open for a future relationship. Imagine if you had a meaningful conversation with someone, and then you never heard from them again. How would that feel? Probably not very good. Within a few days after your interview, send the mentor a short note (bonus points if it is handwritten), thanking them for their time and establishing a periodic time to contact them. This is optional, but personally, I contact most of my mentors on a monthly basis or bi-monthly basis. Just a quick note and a question. To organize this, develop a mentor contact schedule, which is basically a blank page numbered one through thirty. Write the names of each mentor on a different number and make a commitment to contact them on that date every month.

Congratulations. You have discovered the most powerful resource for learning any skill and mastering any topic, but it does not stop there. Information is only as good as its application. So, try to apply what you learned in your interview as much as you can. Application and learning go hand in hand–If you neglect one, you discount the other. Good luck and happy interviewing.

Written by Christopher Chambers

5 Reasons To Get To Know Your Professors

At Eagle University, we teach you how to work smart. As September ends and you get acclimated to your new class schedule, we recommend you take the time to get to know your professors and here’s why:

5 Reasons to Get to Know Your Professors


  1. Build up your brag book with letters of recommendation. When I was in school, one of my professors told me that only 2 out of every 200 students attend office hours. Although it was staggering, that percentage was music to my ears. It meant that just by studying in the right location, I could stand out from the rest of the class. By doing so, I was able to build up my brag book with letters of recommendation at the end of every semester. Teachers LOVE to HELP students that are INTERESTED!
  2. Access to extra scholarships. Most universities offer scholarships each year that are based solely on professor recommendation. By getting to know your professor & being INTERESTED you’ll be a stand out candidate for extra cash towards your degree. Additionally, if you hear about a scholarship like this, it never hurts to just ASK for it! Be sure to communicate with your professors about your goals too!
  3. Practice networking like an adult. The professor/student relationship is one that should be professional and intentional. This is an awesome opportunity to start practicing interviewing for information. It might also be your first relationship with someone on a professional level. The skills taught for mentor roundtable day at Eagle U, directly apply to the way you should present yourself  and act with your professors. REMEMBER: Many professors were not always professors. You never know who they know or what else they’re involved in. Have your “elevator speech” ready! (7 second “commercial about what you’re doing now, and where you’re headed next.)
  4.  Have motivation to do well in the class! If you get to know the professor, you’ll have accountability to do better in the class. I recommend getting to know the professor especially if you have little interest in the class. I found that if the professor knew me by name, I was less likely to skip class or scroll through Twitter during boring lectures because I knew they’d call me out on it! In the long run, that accountability was crucial for my GPA to keep my scholarships. It was a guardrail I set to keep myself on course and I recommend you do the same!
  5. Some professors make great mentors. Especially as you begin to take upper level courses, your professors will have direct experience and connections with the job you’re pursuing. Since you’re an Eagle U Alum and you already have your goal in mind, be sure to share it with your professors and ASK for help. Remember that like all mentors, professors are busy and it’s a relationship that takes time. Therefore, you need to take the first step in the process! Attend office hours, ask questions, or stay a few minutes after class. These little decisions will give you a slight edge that will completely set you apart at the end of your college career!

Now over to YOU eagles! Do you have any advice for getting to know your professors? How have your professors helped you get ahead? Can you think of other reasons to get to know them?  Thanks for reading! 


This is a guest post by Eagle University’s social media rep, Madison Lanz. She attended Biola University and studied communications with a minor in Biblical Studies. She now works as a lifestyle blogger and social media guru in California. Read more here.

Use Your Network To Meet Your Dream Mentor!


Last week we reviewed the importance of interviewing for information—but we left out the most important step to making that happen!

In order to copy the genius of others, we need to get in front of them first.  We often fantasize about the high profile leaders we dream of meeting, eventually convincing ourselves there’s no way we could ever get connected to an Oprah, Donald Trump or Ashton Kutcher.

As Eagles, we aren’t intimidated by the challenge! We know that if we want to be the best, then we need to learn from the people making it happen in a big way.

How do we get to these people though?

We are closer than we think.  All we have to do is EVALUATE our networks and ASK.

Think of the mentors you’d like to have in your life.  You can list specific names of future mentors or list general qualities you’d like to see in a future mentor.  Now, think of the network of people in your life (parents, family, friends, professors, classmates, coworkers, etc.), and ASK them who they can introduce you to from your list.  You might be surprised at the connections you can make by simply asking!

Let’s review: You are closer than you think to the people you want to learn from, all you have to do is EVALUATE YOUR NETWORK and ASK.

Action ItemList three mentors you’d like to meet and identify who in your network can help you meet that person.


At Eagle U, students will learn and practice the process of identifying the 7 Circles to getting the mentors they want in their lives.  Check out our July 7th-11th program at the University of Louisville this summer! Email Maria@EagleUniversity.org for more information.

Be Interested, Not Interesting

It was the summer after my senior year in high school and I was sitting down to chat with some of the top leaders at NBC Universal.  I started to get a little nervous.  What was I going to say?  Lucky for me, I had just spent a week at Eagle U learning exactly how to interview for information.

Back in high school, I was interested in becoming a journalist or news anchor, and I wanted to soak up the genius from people who were already out there doing it!   I didn’t want these people to give me a job or internship; I just wanted them to talk to me about their career.  What I really needed to figure out was what to say when I got in the room so I could really get to know their story.

At Eagle U that summer, I remember learning the key to interviewing for information:


In order to show our interest in someone, we need to show that we’ve done our homework.  Before you sit down with someone to ask about their journey look up their LinkedIN profile, check out their bio online, or even ask someone who might know them for background information.

Most importantly, when you get the chance to actually sit down and interview with this person, make sure you keep the focus on their journey.  Be genuinely interested in their story and do not try to impress them with your personal successes.  The purpose of interviewing for information is to COPY GENIUS not to land an internship.

The more often you repeat this exercise with people who are successfully doing what it is you want (or might want) to do, the greater leap you will take towards your own successful future!


Who are 2 people you want to interview for information?  Research their background online and come up with 3 questions you would want to ask each of them.