We’re coming up on MBA interview season, and it’s time to start getting down to the details. What are the most common MBA interview questions? What do you need to get across in your answers?
MBA interview questions can be broadly divided into six general categories: professional, personal, behavioral, fit, education and miscellaneous. Below, I have explained these categories and given examples and tips for each.
“What is one professional impact that you are very proud of?”
“What lessons have you learned from your manager or other role models?”
These questions typically focus on your resume and the career moves that you have made. You might be asked something like, “Tell me more about why you decided to leave this job,” or “What do you like most about this job?”
These questions give you an opportunity to lay the groundwork of your professional brand. You should answer them as specifically as possible- avoid jargon and generalities. Before the interview, list out at least three key points that you want to make about your career. Perhaps you want to emphasize your willingness to take on new challenges, or your experience with international cultures. Whatever it is, know the points you want to make before the interview. Then, work with the questions you are given to make those points.
“What are some of the character traits you value most in life?”
“What do you feel is your biggest strength? Your biggest weakness?”
These questions often try to unearth your motivations and values. They might ask you “What motivates you to succeed?” or “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “What accomplishment are you most proud of and why?”
Again, with these questions, you must keep your personal brand in mind. Additionally, think about a few examples that will illustrate the character traits you value most in yourself. For example, if you are talking about your resilience, it is much more compelling to provide an example. If you have made several moves, you could talk about how it feels to embrace a new city, and the new experiences you faced. Giving those concrete illustrations will make your answer more memorable.
“Give an example of when you led a team in overcoming a problem.”
“What role do you most often play in teams? Can you give an example?”
Behavioral questions focus on particular situations and challenges. Interviewers might say, “Give me an example of a time where you overcame a particularly difficult challenge at work,” or “What do you do when faced with disagreements among team members?”
For these questions, I would prepare at least three examples: a time when you solved a problem at work, a time when you created exceptional value for your employer, and a time when you resolved a disagreement or improved team work. Be able to deliver these stories clearly and concisely.
“What interests you most about our program?”
“Why do you want an MBA?”
“How will you contribute in the classroom?”
Interviewers will also try to assess your fit with their program. They will ask why you want an MBA, why you are interested in their program, or what you hope to be involved in there.
This is your chance to prove that you have done your research. You should have concrete examples that directly tie your career ambitions to the resources that the MBA program offers. Mention specific classes or clubs, and do everything you can to tie the program’s brand to your own.
“What has been your most memorable academic experience?”
“What are you most looking forward to studying?”
Interviewers will likely want to know about your academic background and what you enjoyed most about your studies. They are looking for passionate students who can prove past engagement in the classroom.
Think of at least three examples where your academic work led you to discover something particularly exciting, or where you were particularly challenged. Then, make sure that you can tie those examples to the future- how did they help you improve as a student, and how will you apply those lessons?
“What do you wish I had asked you in this interview?”
“What are you reading right now?”
Some MBA interview questions questions will simply be a bit more random, and might not fit easily into categories. For example, some interviewers might ask you about current events, or your favorite books or movies. Others might want to know how you found the application process, or what you would do differently.
Be ready for anything, and try not to let a strange question throw you off. Don’t be afraid to pause briefly to gather your thoughts. Whenever possible, use these wrap-up questions to further enhance your personal brand, and to bring up any questions that you have about the program.
You must think about how you can use each question type to further solidify your personal brand. Have your brand themes in mind throughout the interview, and memorize examples and stories to bring those themes to life. Doing that prep work beforehand will give you an invaluable set of tools that you can draw on during the interview.
I would love to hear more about your MBA interview questions and experience. If you are preparing for an interview, don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would be happy to pair you with one of our expert consultants for one-on-one interview prep.