When it comes to interviews, business schools don't all follow the same template. For some, it's an essential screening tool. For others, it's used to evaluate borderline cases. And some even use it as an information session for application. You might be dreading the MBA interview as an ordeal, but we’ll show you how to approach it as a conversation to be enjoyed.

Business school interview

Deciding to Interview

If an interview is offered, take it. In person, you may be a more compelling candidate. You can further address weaknesses or bring application essays to life. More importantly, you can display the kinds of qualities—enthusiasm, sense of humor, maturity, drive—that fill in the blanks for the admissions committee and often sway a decision.

What to Expect

Business school interviews don't tend to be rigid or formal. This doesn't mean that it won't feel like a job interview. It just means that they want to get a sense of you as a whole person. Your interviewer may ask specific questions regarding your job responsibilities or broad questions about your history, personality and goals. You may talk about your hobbies, a recent cross-country trip, or even the worst job you ever had.

Interviews are conducted by current students, faculty, admissions staff, or alumni. Don't dismiss students as lightweights though; they follow a tight script and report back to the admissions committee. Because they are relatively inexperienced as interviewers, however, these sessions are more likely to be duds. You may have to work harder to get your points across.

How to Prepare

You can prepare for business school interview questions in several ways:

  • Practice speaking about your accomplishments. Come armed with examples, or even a portfolio of your work, to showcase your achievements.
  • Be ready to go into greater depth than you did in your essays (but don't assume the interviewer has read them).
  • Prepare two or three points about yourself that you want the interviewer to remember you by.
  • Limit your use of business jargon. The idea is to get the interviewer thinking of you as someone will contribute greatly to campus life. Try to be your natural self.
  • Be prepared to give a strong and convincing answer to the interviewer's inevitable question: "Why this school?”

Did You Ace It?

A great interview can tip the scale in the admit direction. How do you know if it was great? You were calm and focused. You expressed yourself and your ideas clearly. And you developed a solid rapport with the interviewer.


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