Are you one of the lucky ones? Have you been invited to interview at one of the top-tier MBA programs you applied to in Round 2? Even if you’re now just applying Round 3, the below can help you learn what kinds of questions admission officers are asking this year, and what tips can help you give the best impression possible!
1. “Tell me about your career choices since leaving college?”
What interviewers are looking for here, is what I call a “logical progression.” They’re looking to see a focused path regarding both how and why you moved from point A to point B, to point C, and if you don’t have a focused path (which accounts for a large amount of applicants, so don’t worry) they simply want to see and understand the reasons you jumped around. It has to sound LOGICAL. It has to add up to who and where you are NOW.
The main thing that will get you dinged here? Impulsiveness – that’s what this question is trying to screen out. They want to make sure you’re just not all over the place and flaky, because then, you know, you may leave the program, too.
2. “What accomplishment are you most proud of at your current job?”
Here, the interviewer is trying to get a sense of the amount of responsibility you hold in your current position, as the thing you are most proud of will not only (most likely) show off your best strength as an employee, but will show what character trait you actually value most – and that gives them great information about YOU.
The main thing that will get you dinged with this question? Not speaking up with confidence or failing to explain or back up your answer.
3. “When have you strongly differed in opinion from someone at work?”
Give your best example that had a positive outcome! Admissions is trying to see if you have what it takes to speak up and make a serious difference in your workplace, but also are looking for you to describe how there was a positive solution to the difference that ended up working in your favor. If your example didn’t work out in your favor – choose another example!
4. “What is an example of something really difficult you’ve had to go through, or important event in the last 5-7 years?”
Again, here the committee is trying to get a sense of your professional journey and what stands out in your mind, which is going to parallel highly with what you most value. They are simply trying to understand who you are professionally, and how you see yourself in relation to others.
The one thing that will get you dinged on this question? Not having a strong and solid answer. It’s really not so much what you say, but how you say it. Always speak with confidence as the fastest thing to get you dinged on all of your questions is a wishy-washy, weak, one-word response.
5. “Why an MBA now, and why our school?”
Most likely, you already wrote an essay for this question, so just review all of your essays before going into your interview. Your answer to the first part, “Why an MBA now?” should really take into consideration why NOW is, in fact, the most logical time to get your degree. The word “now” is key. They want to see the logic behind your decision.
The second part, “Why HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Booth, Kellogg, MIT Sloan or NYU Stern?” just to name a few, should focus on the particular program’s attributes that are specific to your career.
What they are trying to screen for in this question, is again, impulsiveness = they don’t like it. Everything you do, even if your career so far hasn’t been as smooth or uninterrupted as you would like, should still have a reason, an explanation, an arc, a journey as if everything you’ve done to get you where you are still has value – value that can be used and drawn upon now in your current career.
In the end, your interview should be conversational, dynamic, and engaging! In other words, just try to have a very real and engaging conversation. If you’ve gotten this far, it’s a very good sign that you are already on your way!