You’ve scored your MBA interview invitation. Now what? Practice, practice, practice! You do not want to wing this; the more prep you do before the big day, the more confident you’ll be and the more smooth and seamless your answers will be.
You’ll be asked lots of questions that cover topics like your background, your skills, and your goals. Below you’ll find the 7 most popular MBA interview questions – the questions you’re asked may not look or sound exactly like these, but they’ll likely come up in one way or another during your interview.
Here’s what the adcom are checking with this question: Can you remain focused on answering the question? Are you especially nervous? Can you summarize your work accomplishments succinctly while at the same time providing a narrative about your career progression?
The point here is not to summarize everything you have done at every job, but to briefly (in 2-3 minutes, ideally) discuss accomplishments and the circumstances surrounding moves from one role to another.
The logical starting point is your graduation from college. Summarize the degree you received and how it made sense to pursue the career you did based on your education. From there, look closely at your jobs. How would you discuss your time in that role? What was the motivating factor to move from that role to the next one? For your current job, lay out your current responsibilities. While it may be tempting to continue on and also answer “why an MBA” when you get there, just wait until that question is asked.
This question gauges the sincerity with which the candidate is approaching the school.
You need to make sure you show that your reasons for applying to the program go well beyond the obvious reputation, location, or network. Your job in answering this question is to convey your sincere enthusiasm for the school. You need to be as specific as possible. Appropriate topics for a convincing response:
This question ensures that you have all pertinent information necessary about the school. As well as to confirm that you have thoroughly researched the program and consequently have thoughtful questions.
Take enough time to consider this prior to your interview since this is perhaps the only question you can be positive will be asked in the interview. Write your questions down if this helps.
You do not want the questions to be procedural in nature, such as, “When will I found out about your decision?” Those types of questions can be asked at the very conclusion of the interview (if necessary), but well after your primary questions. Questions should be well thought out and perhaps give the interviewer pause before answering. After all, the interviewer has had YOU in the hot seat for the last 30 minutes with challenging questions, so you should have some time to “interrogate” in return!
This question ensures that you are humble enough to recognize that nobody is perfect, and to measure how introspective you can be in an assessment of yourself.
In a work context, what areas do you need to develop? Where do you find yourself stuck? Is there a consistent theme that comes up in your annual review – something you need to work on?
Once you have identified a few areas for improvement, think about how to portray those weaknesses so they could also be considered strengths. For example, being too detail-oriented might bog you down with too much work, but it ensures you are thorough, leaving no stone unturned. In this particular example, you are overworked, BUT you also have a strong work ethic.
The interviewer wants to make sure your reasons for getting an MBA match up with what the MBA degree will provide you.
Coming from almost any function, the likely answer to the “Why MBA” question is that you have a significant amount of depth in a particular field (marketing, finance, IT, engineering), but in order to break free of being labeled simply a subject matter expert, you need more breadth.
The interviewer wants to see a situation in which you failed, learned something and improved.
Think of a time when something did not go your way, but you were able to make the best of it or to redo it in a way that allowed you to grow and develop from the experience. Don’t get stuck in the negative details because that would be a sign that you haven’t fully processed the experience. Focus on what you have learned and how you improved.
This is your chance to be sure the program is right for you.
Review the program’s website thoroughly. You don’t want to ask questions that are answered on the homepage of the school’s site.
Review the details of your application to help you come up with questions that relate specifically to your interest, experience, and goals.
Some of our clients shared additional questions they were asked during their MBA interviews:
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Accepted wants to express its appreciation to the authors of the Prebusiness Handbook for Duke Students and Alumni (1997) for compiling the list of additional MBA interview questions and allowing us to post it.