Once you have your reasons for going for an MBA, you’ve successfully taken the first step. The next and vital step is getting into one of the reputable institutions to get an MBA degree. To successfully do this, you will need to pass the dreaded MBA interview. This interview is a pivotal moment for every student and is dreaded. Hence, the need to be fully prepared for whatever you might be asked. To help you through this moment, we’ve compiled 10 important MBA questions and answers you should know. These questions are sure questions the interviewers will pose to you, so you need to be prepared. Beyond this, we have also brought some tips to you on how to ace your interview with confidence. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Top MBA questions and answers to look out for
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Top MBA Questions and Answers to Look Out For
Below are 10 vital MBA questions and possible answers to them to prepare you for your interview. Of course, these questions may come in different variations. However, most times, you’d know it’s the same thing; let’s begin.
How well do you know yourself? Tell me about yourself.
This is a common question in every MBA interview. Interviewers like to begin with this question, so you should be ready for it. Amongst other MBA questions and answers, this question seeks to test your communication skills. It will also show how well you can present yourself. Remember, the goal is to make a great first impression, so you have to phrase your answer correctly.
To get started, you need to be precise and keep it simple. The interviewers do not require lengthy stories about your life. They want to hear the basics, so talk about your passion. You should also dig into what drives you and the field you want to excel in. If possible, you can also talk a bit about your family life. However, you need to make sure everything you say links up to your passion for the management field. For example, a possible answer you could give is:
I have always been inspired to reach my goals because of how important my vision is to me. I completed my education, and at my work, I put all the knowledge I had into excelling. However, I believe I am ready to develop my career to land the job I really wanted. Sincerely, I have worked hard to get to this stage, and the next hurdle in front of me is completing this MBA program. Looking back, my education prepared me for my previous jobs. However, I aspire to more in life. At my current education level, I can only go so far. I have to learn vital skills and the knowledge this program offers me. Doing this will allow me to work in a better position and at a great company.
Why did you choose MBA as your career option? What are your plans with this degree?
The first part of this question depends on whether you’re a professional or you just recently graduated. An answer you should never give is that you chose it out of boredom or curiosity. This question aims to find out if you have a genuine interest in the question, so show that you do. You can answer the second part of this question by talking about your long and short-term goals. You should converse about your career options which you think are right for you. Also, talk about the job roles that are ideal for you. Lastly, ensure that everything you say is in line with your personality and resume. You could frame your answer like:
I first picked interest in pursuing an MBA while I was in the 10th grade. It was when I discovered a love for economics. While running my degree, I decided to work for a couple of years before applying for an MBA. I wanted to garner enough work experience and figure out the field I want to specialize in. I am looking to broaden my scope of work…. With a degree in this program, I can successfully take the next step in my career.
What are your weaknesses and strengths?
This question is the top one in the list of MBA questions and answers. To ensure you’re ready to answer this question, you should conduct a SWOT analysis. This includes your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Remember, you’re the best judge of your weaknesses and strength. However, you can also involve your friends and mentors to help point out some to you. When you get the answers, ensure your strengths align with the traits you will need in the job. This doesn’t mean you should fake your strengths, make sure you only point out points you can justify. In terms of weaknesses, also ensure that you state your weaknesses, don’t speak in a manner that presents you negatively. Instead, make sure your weaknesses are challenges you need to tackle. An example of how to answer this question is:
One of my top strengths is that I am not just a hard worker; I’m also a smart worker. I spend my spare time learning new things and methods of doing things. Also, I am a quick learner and a great conversationalist. I am great at adapting; I achieved this by working with people from different states, cultures, and religions. In addition, I can also adapt under pressure and get the job done despite challenges on the way.
Concerning my weakness, I tend to be more of a loner. I have found over the years that I do not ask for help and love to get things done myself. Instead of asking teammates and my superior for help, I try to get this done myself. However, I discovered this was out of fear of people seeing me as incompetent. Over the years, I have learned how to work as a team member, and I am learning that I can ask for help and still be competent.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
One of the top MBA questions and answers you will come across is this right here. When an interviewer asks you this question, they want to find out more about your personality. They’re also looking to discover how competent you can be. Your answer will reveal to them if you are a strong contender for the position in the program or not. That’s why you need to frame your answer appropriately. Avoid the use of generic statements and focus on your self-growth over the years. Dive into skills you would like to acquire and your plans to expand your knowledge. You can also talk about how you want to overcome your weakness. However, you should always be honest with the interviewer and yourself when answering. A possible answer would be:
I would like to have achieved a top position in a reputable company in their marketing department. Hopefully, I would have gotten the hands-on experience I need in…. Achieving deep exposure in these domains will prepare me for better career opportunities. I would also have taken bold steps to acquire a, b, and c skills.
What qualities do you think a manager should possess?
Firstly, you should note that this question can come in different variations. For example, the interviewers can ask you why you think your former manager was the best or what makes a manager better than the other. However, interviewers ask this question because they want to understand if you’ll be a good manager. For this reason, you need to put your best foot forward. One thing you should take note of is always to relate it to a previous experience. One way you could answer this question is:
I think communication is a critical indicator of a good manager. Good managers need to communicate with the team effectively. Teamwork is also important; a manager should work with the team instead of making them work. Getting involved with the process will help reach the goal more efficiently. A good manager should also be able to motivate the team always and be open to criticism. More importantly, you should be able to make tough calls as a good manager. My previous boss embodied these skills; she was always there to motivate us. One thing she always did is communicate every vital information to us.
Describe when you failed to meet expectations and how you resolved the situations
One of the tricky aspects of MBA questions and answers is talking about your failure. Everyone is prepared to answer questions related to their success. However, not many people expect questions relating to their failure. So don’t be scared when this question pops up; everyone has shortcomings. The idea behind this question is not just to find out about where you failed but how you handled it. Also, the interviewer is interested in what you learned from the whole experience. That’s why you should just talk about where you failed. In addition, you should talk about how you faced it and how the experience made you stronger. Doing this will showcase your conflict resolution skill to the interviewer. An example of an answer to this question is:
I once have a lot of projects due at once in school. Amongst them was this project from a teacher that stressed excellence and expected only the best. Due to my workload, I was unable to deliver the best work, and she was disappointed. She noticed the work I turned in was a far reach from my previous projects in her class. Although there were no second chances to rewrite the assignment and get a different grade, I resubmitted the work when I had a lesser workload. The idea behind that action was to show her I knew what she expected of me and I could deliver.
What’s your most challenging academic experience?
This question is popular among MBA questions and answers you will come across. It is also another chance to talk about your weakness and show how you overcame a challenging experience. When answering this question, you need to reminisce on your past. Think of times when you felt relief after overcoming any academic obstacle. Explain to your interviewer how you were able to overcome the challenge. You could model your answer to looking like this:
Back in school, I had a speech class where I was asked to write a speech in favor of an issue against my view. It was challenging to speak in favor of what I believed in, but I could get it done. I spent lots of time researching the other side of the argument till I came up with a sound speech. I realized that passing the class was more important than a speech that went outside the requirements.
How would you use the resources we provide?
Amongst the MBA questions and answers you will be asked, you should expect this. This question will allow you to show interviewers what you know about the program. In addition, you can tell them how you plan to use the knowledge and skills to develop your career. MBA departments are glad when their students succeed. They see it as a reflection of their success. Your answer can go like this:
I had done ample research about various schools before I chose to apply here. I feel your program fits the bill of what I am looking for. That’s why I will make use of every resource this school offers. The school’s coursework is everything I need from a business school. I also researched the career management offering, and I believe it will help me develop my career.
What other schools are you applying to?
This is one question that might throw you off-guard. The interviewer sometimes asks this question to discover what you consider for school selections. Although most schools like it when you apply to their school alone, you can apply to several. Explain why their school is your top choice and the qualities you considered when answering. An example of an answer to this question is:
I applied to schools with competitive programs I believe would be beneficial to my career. However, this school is my top choice because of the coursework. I also put into consideration the history of success with your programs and the instructors.
What do you think would be your biggest challenge in this program?
This interview question gives you the chance to explain that you’re well aware of the challenges attached to MBA programs. However, you should show that you’re confident that you can tackle these demands. Utilize these questions as an opportunity to show where you’re vulnerable and how you can use them to your advantage. Explain to the interviewers that you’re aware of potential obstacles, making you better positioned to handle them. Your answer could be like:
I am well aware of the complexities of taking a program like this. However, I feel up to the challenges. I know there will be resources available, and I plan to use them to give myself the best opportunities. I also plan to practice time management efficiently. A way I plan to do this is by pacing myself throughout the program duration.
MBA interviews can be very scary if you’re don’t prepare for them. The trick is to maintain a calm face and answer the questions confidently. We have outlined the 10 important MBA questions and answers you should know. This article will help you prepare well and ensure you’re alert and updated on what to expect. Ensure you always reflect honesty and modesty in your answers. In addition, you shouldn’t be too optimistic about your goals. With a mix of preparation, confidence, and optimism, you’re sure to ace that interview.