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 from the school you may know, or from professionals who can give you detailed feedback.
What shouldn’t you do?
If you follow all the advice we’ve mentioned above, you should be well set for a great interview experience! But there are a few pointers we’d like to mention that you should be vary of,
Don’t be late for your interview: Punctuality is priceless. If it’s an in person interview, keep a good amount of spare time for traffic, delays etc., and try to reach the venue well before time so that you have time to compose yourself and get familiar with the setting.
Be well dressed: Interview invites typically mention dress codes, which is often business formals. Follow the dress code and dress to impress (Yes, even if your interview is online!)
Don’t be rude/disrespectful: No matter what you are faced with, make sure you maintain a respectful front. Interviewers may sometimes intentionally apply stressors to see how you react, so be sure to remain calm throughout.
Don’t over-rehearse: While preparation for common questions is highly recommended, the last thing you want to do throughout an interview is simply parrot back rehearsed answers. Make sure to let your personality shine through and you’ll be one step closer to your dream school!
Commonly Asked Questions in Interviews
Walk me through your Resume
Tell me something not in your resume
What are your biggest strengths, give an example to illustrate?
What is your most proud achievement?
Share an experience where you worked with the community.
Share an experience where you were challenged the most. What did you learn?
What is your biggest weakness? How are you working on improving it?
Share an experience where you failed? What did you learn?
What are your short-term goals? How will MBA help achieve your goals?
Why can’t you achieve your goals through normal career progress?
Why MBA now?
What are your long-term goals? Why?
How do your goals align with your career so far?
Why do you want to attend this school? What makes you most excited about this school?
What will you do at this school?
Why should we take you? How do you fit with our qualities?
Share a situation where you faced adversity. How did you handle it, and what did you learn?
Share a situation where you worked in a team. How did you handle it, and what did you learn?
Please note that this is NOT an exhaustive list. Questions can vary from person to person, and depend on many factors.
Abhinav is a commerce graduate of H.R. College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai currently pursing a career in finance at Deloitte.
He is an avid sports lover, particularly of badminton, cricket and football, and also enjoys playing the guitar.
He has an admit to the ISB PGP for the Class of 2022 through the YLP program.
Management Masters is a boutique admissions consulting firm for the top MBA and MIM programs in the world. We have helped our candidates get admits from the world's best business schools such as Wharton, Kellogg, Cambridge Judge, HEC Paris, Indian School of Business and others.
If you would like to work with us for your applications, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org