MBA Interviews: All you need to Know
You’ve spent weeks introspecting and finding the right stories to tell through your essays, you’ve done countless edits to find just the right words to use on your resume, and your recommenders have been nice enough to speak about your strengths; and finally, you receive the email you been waiting for breathlessly: your MBA interview invite!
But what next?
Make no mistake, receiving an interview invite from a top school is an impressive feat in itself. While top schools typically receive 10-20 applications for every seat available, if you reach the interview stage, you’ve already improved the odds significantly in your favor. But now that you’ve reached this stage, it is absolutely vital to nail your interview so that you can claim your seat at your dream school!
With the interview season up and running for Round 1 applications across the globe, we’re here to help you with the answers to some of the common questions you may have about B school interviews. Further, we have added a list of common MBA interview questions towards the end of this article!
Who conducts interviews?
The answer to this question varies a lot based on each school’s preferences and methods. However, broadly speaking most interviewers are either members of the admission committee, or alumni of the school.
The number of interviewers can also vary significantly, ranging from a single interviewer to panels of 4-5 members!
What types of questions are asked in interviews?
While the questions asked in an interview depend on a multitude of factors, and vary drastically based on the interviewer themselves, there are certainly some major themes which are explored in most interviews,
Resume based questions: Every single point on your resume can be the basis for a major discussion during your interview, which is why you should know it like the back of your hand. This is also why you need to be extra careful when you prepare your resume and not to misstate or exaggerate any facts.
Personality based questions: Business schools understand that students are more than just a sum of their achievements, and interviews are often their best way to get to know applicants on a personal level. Candidates can expect questions about their interests, passions, fears, and past experiences, all of which help the school gain an even more holistic understanding of you as a person.
Case questions: Case studies are one of the most common methods used in MBA programs, so it should come as no surprise that some schools/interviewers use mini-cases in the interviews itself to see how the candidate responds and assess their analytical thinking. These cases could be related to your field of work, general analytical brain teasers, or about recent global events/news.
School based questions: While you as an applicant may have applied to many schools (and even received multiple interview invites) when you’re sitting for a school’s interview, you have to convince them that their school is your number one pick. The best way to do this is to have complete and specific clarity of the school’s features, program, advantages and why it specifically fits into your career plans.
What should I do to prepare for an interview?
Know your resume inside-out: We mentioned earlier in this article that a common starting point to any interview is questions based on the candidate’s resume. Given this importance, you absolutely need to your resume thoroughly and have to be prepared to answer any questions which may come your way about it. Indeed the preparation for this starts when you’re writing your resume itself!
Know the interviewer: Most international schools send shortlisted candidates information about their interviewer(s), at the very least their full names. With platforms like LinkedIn, it is very easy to search for your interviewers and find out more about them. Maybe they work in your field, or the one you want to switch to? Or maybe you come from the same college/city? Even if you don’t share similarities with the interviewer, doing your homework is incredibly useful to make good conversation and will always be appreciated.
Make the right impression: No matter how well you express yourself through your writing, at the end of the day your submitted application only represents you on paper. Your interview experience is the one opportunity you have to showcase your personality as well. You can have phenomenal achievements, but if your interviewer doesn’t think you have the right attitude, he/she is unlikely to write you a glowing review. Be kind, respectful, well dressed, and be on your best behavior throughout the interview day. Convey positivity through your body language and actions, so that you leave your interviewer wow-ed!
Practice, practice, practice: There is no substitute for real interview practice, that’s just a fact. After you’ve done all your preparation, find the time to do at least one (but ideally more!) mock interviews. Who should you go to for interview practice? Your options range from experienced friends/colleagues, alums fr