Having worked with hundreds of clients on their MBA applications, I have noticed that there are a few interview questions that tend to come up over and over again across the various business schools. Overall, interviewers are trying to understand a candidate’s background, post-MBA goals, why he/she is interested in pursuing an MBA at their school, and his/her qualities in order to assess fit. Therefore, as you prepare for interviews, keep the following three common interview questions in mind along with my thoughts on how to approach them.
Walk me through your resume
This may seem like a very straightforward question, but it’s important not to go on, and on, and on (which is what can happen if you don’t think about how to structure your response). I suggest utilizing this question to provide your interviewer with more context around why you made the decisions that you did; as a result, it’s easiest to progress through your resume chronologically.
Start with college and explain why you chose your major and mention the activities that you were involved in (remember that business schools want students who will be active on campus). Then, you can transition into your professional roles, why you chose them, and summarize any key accomplishments. Finally, convey your involvement in extracurricular activities post-college. As you relay your response to this question, remember to focus on the “why.”
What are your post-MBA goals?
For this question, it’s helpful to start out by stating both your long-term goal and short-term goal. This helps to provide an anchor for the rest of the question, but you shouldn’t stop there. After stating your goals, provide some color around what is motivating you to pursue your career goals; in other words, “connect the dots” in your story. For example, let’s say that your post-MBA goals are to join the healthcare practice of an investment bank; perhaps you or a loved one faced health issues and you have a finance background, so your goals are being motivated by combining your strong personal interest in healthcare based on what you experienced in the past with your prior professional experience in finance. In answering this question in such a fashion, your thought process will be clear, your answer will be concise, and your passions, values, and prior experiences will all be evident, which is what will make your response compelling in the eyes of your interviewer.
Why our school?
Interviewers will be expecting you to be applying to multiple MBA programs. As a result, they want to know why their particular program is the right one for you, so the most important thing with this question is to stay away from generalities – you MUST provide specifics in this question with respect to why you are excited to attend the school.
Are you interested in the school because of its strong focus in the field you are interested in? Then point to specific classes and resources that especially appeal to you, why, and how they will help you attain your goals. Or is it because of the culture? Then point to specific aspects of that school’s culture that stood out to you as you perhaps visited campus and/or spoke with students/alumni. As you think about why you would like to pursue MBA studies at that particular school, make sure to bring in specific aspects that support those reasons.
Finally, don't forget to be yourself as you approach the interviews! If we can help you prepare for your interviews, please feel free to contact us.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.
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