We know that heart-racing feeling that overwhelms you when you’re walking into an interview. Many of us have been there at some point or another, even those that look very confident. Although you can’t eliminate this nerve-racking feeling, you can minimize it by preparing before an interview. You can do this by going through common MBA interview questions you should expect. Having an idea of what an interviewer might ask you will help you craft the best answers. This way, you can avoid your nerves getting the best of you as you get through it. If you’ve chosen a high-ranking MBA school and you’re preparing for the interview, today’s your lucky day.
This article will be categorized into three sections and will cover
- Common MBA Interview Questions to watch out for
- Some common MBA Interview Questions you should ask
- Four tips to help you ace your MBA interview
Now that you’re aware of what to expect let’s dive right in!
Common MBA Interview Questions to Watch Out For
You applied to a ranking MBA school, and you’ve made it to the interview stage; congratulations! The next step is preparing for the much-expected questions that would be coming your way. The way you answer your questions determines the outcome, so take this seriously. Below are some common MBA interview questions you should expect and tips on how to answer them. They usually come in different variations, but they typically mean the same thing; let’s begin.
Tell Me About Yourself
This question is inescapable in an MBA interview. The interviewers generally want you to introduce yourself. This open-ended question might seem simple, but your answer is vital and needs to be well articulated. Ensure you keep it short and simple; 2-3 minutes is more than enough time. A safe place to begin your answer is by talking about your educational background. You can then advance your experience and accomplishments. Ensure your points also talk about your career goals and explain why you’re right for the school.
Why Are You Looking for a Business Degree?
Another common MBA interview question you might face is why you’re looking for a business degree. Most times, interviewers just want to understand how this course relates to your career plan. Your job is to give them an answer that will also convince them that this degree is ideal for you. For this reason, you should start with your motivations. Talk about the skills you’re looking for and how this business degree will help you further your career. Remember that interviewers are also trying to find out if you’ve carried out enough research. Be specific in your answer and avoid vague responses.
Why Did You Choose This School?
At some point, the interviewer might get curious about why you chose this school and none other. You need to present reasons why you believe that school is better suited to your goal. Salient points to include in your answer consist of the faculty, curriculum, school activities, and connection. You could impress them further by talking about a specific aspect that you find unique about the school. The answer you give should paint a picture in their mind that you belong in their community.
Why Should We Accept You Into This School?
This question puts you on the spot, and that’s what interviewers are always looking for. This point is where you sell yourself as a great addition to the school. This MBA interview question is a crucial opportunity to address the parts of the school you find exciting. Back your points up with evidence. Bring up your accomplishments and skills developed throughout your career to show the school how they’ll benefit from you. Also, explain how your professional and academic experience can help those around you.
What is the Most Challenging or Rewarding Academic Experience You’ve Had So Far?
This question requires you to travel down memory lane. Take a trip down your undergraduate days, talk about your favorite project, classes, and how a lecturer impacted you. When talking about a challenging experience, use the opportunity to demonstrate how you successfully overcame that difficult period. Ensure the challenging experience ends with you mastering the challenge and turning it into a positive experience.
Tell Us About a Leadership Phase In Your Life
Most business schools are looking for people with strong leadership skills and would like to know about yours. This question is quite common, and you should prepare how you’ll answer it in your MBA interview. Explain scenarios where you demonstrated different leadership skills. You could talk about a positive impact you made or a period when you successfully led a team. Another instance you could bring up is a situation that required you to take the ethical high ground as the leader. Of course, your answer should involve extracurricular activities during your undergrad days or outside your workplace.
Talk About Your Strengths and Weaknesses as Part of some Common MBA Interview Questions
There are times when interviewers ask about your weaknesses and strengths separately. However, it is sure to come up in your interview, so you should prepare yourself. Most times, interviewers want to learn more about your humility and how self-aware you are. It is recommended that you begin with your weaknesses; talk about some shortcomings and how you’ve dealt with them. Picking out your strengths is easy. Don’t go on and on about how good you are; pick two unique strengths that set you apart and validate your response with concrete examples.
What Do You Like About Your Current Work?
Interviewers want you to talk about something you’re passionate about; ensure you make them feel the passion in your words. Give reasons why you love your work or the aspects you enjoy most in your current job. Explain why you chose the career path, and if you’re changing career paths with an MBA, you should explain why you excelled in your current role.
Tell Us About Your Short and Long-Term Goals
Ensure the goals you’ve set short-term are achievable, and the long-term goals are in line with your passion. Some of your dreams should be business-oriented, so you can relate them to how an MBA plays a crucial role in its actualization. You can go the extra mile and explain how you think the business administration career can help you achieve your long-term goals. This aspect is where you show the interviewer how their program will benefit you in the long run.
Do You Have Any Questions?
This question is another common MBA interview question. Many people usually answer with a no, but that’s a mistake. Always prepare one or two questions that you would ask the interviewer. Doing this shows you’re serious and you’ve carried out your homework. If you’re clueless about what to ask, this next section efficiently takes care of that.
Some Common MBA Interview Questions You Should Ask
When the interviewer asks if you have any questions, you can finally stop holding your breath because it signals your interview is ending. You’ve answered the questions appropriately and positioned yourself as a vital addition to the school. Therefore, when this question pops up, never make the mistake of not asking a question. This aspect is essential and can help you gain helpful insight while also displaying your knowledge to interviewers. Below are critical questions you should ask in an MBA interview.
Question 1: What’s A Common Trait Students In This Program Tend To Share?
Most MBA programs have a profile they feel is the right fit for them. Sometimes, they’re focused on students with leadership skills or entrepreneurial skills. Asking interviewers about the common traits of their students gives you a chance to find out if you fit the profile. Sometimes, the answer to this question will also help you decide if you would want to join this program or not if accepted. When the interviewer describes the traits or profile, you can compare your profile and traits to their answer and fill in gaps you probably left empty.
Question 2: How Do You Think This Program Will Grow in the Next Five Years?
If you’re pursuing a program in an emerging field, finding out how this program will evolve over the years is vital. This question also shows the interviewer you’re genuinely interested in the program and its development. You’re able to find out if the program has the potential to grow or will be sitting behind others. Asking this question also presents an opportunity for you to describe how you can help achieve these changes.
Question 3: Knowing My Long and Short Term Goals, What Advice Would You Give Me About Where I Should Direct My Efforts In This Program?
When you ask this salient question, it shows the interviewers how seriously you take the MBA and that you’re open to suggestions. When you ask for advice, it also makes you look more competent, and research shows that it creates a connection between the person seeking advice and the adviser. When someone gives you advice, it usually shows care. Seeking advice from the interviewer establishes an affinity between you and the interviewer.
Four Tips To Help You Ace Your MBA Interview
You now know the questions you will have to answer and the questions that you can ask your interviewer. The next vital step is learning how to compose yourself for the interview and put your best foot forward. We’ve compiled five tips to help you ace your MBA interview; let’s take a look.
Tip 1: Be Proactive With The Common MBA Interview Questions
One way you can ace the interview is to start preparing from the moment you submit your application. Do not wait until you get an invite for the interview before reading through common MBA interview questions. If you’ve delayed it, it’s not too late. Start now. Do not procrastinate your preparation. Business schools are looking for proactive people and not reactive people; demonstrate that you’re a go-getter.
Tip 2: Research Your Chosen School’s Interview Process
Every business school out there has a unique approach they take as they conduct their MBA interviews. Some schools only have one interviewer, while some have more. You can also research how long the interviews take in each business school. It could range from half an hour to more. Doing your research will give you an idea of what to expect when you go in for your interview.
Tip 3: Prepare Answers for the Common MBA Interview Questions
Simply researching what the common interview questions are is not enough. You need to prepare possible answers you would provide when asked such questions. Pondering beforehand helps you identify which of your responses need work and what your strong selling points are. You should also find out the core beliefs of each business school and incorporate them into your answers.
Tip 4: Practice! Practice!! Practice!!!
The importance of practicing the interview questions beforehand cannot be overemphasized. Now that you’ve got common MBA interview questions in your possession, you should also practice your delivery. Ensure the answers are authentic and you don’t sound over-rehearsed when answering. One way to practice is getting someone to carry out a mock MBA interview with you. You can go the extra mile of recording the practice and replaying it to know areas you need to work on, like your facial expressions. It will also give you an idea of when you’re beginning to go off-track.
The experience you’ll gain while answering these common MBA interview questions will also serve as a learning process for you. Don’t forget to showcase your educational background and achievements as well as critical skills. Take time to carefully craft your answers to effectively demonstrate your passion for the business world and how you fit into the business school. We’ve also provided strategic questions to ask the interviewer and tips that will help you ace the exam. Knowing the common MBA interview questions to expect and questions to ask may not completely diminish your anxiety, but it will make your interview process more manageable.