MBA Interview Tips

A Guide to MBA Interviews

A woman being interviewed by a group.
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What Is an MBA Interview?

An MBA interview is a type of admissions interview given to applicants of an MBA program. Not every business school requires an MBA interview as part of the admissions process. However, there are some schools that will want to meet with you before accepting you as a student. In some cases, the applicant can request an MBA interview with the school.

Why MBA Interviews Are Important

An admissions committee can glean some information about you from recommendations, essays, personal statements, and other parts of your application, but an MBA interview gives them an opportunity to really learn who you are.

They can ask you questions they do not know the answer to or get clarifications on things they do not understand.

An MBA interview also gives you the opportunity to learn more about the school and ask any questions you might have about the program, career services, or campus facilities. Even if you feel like there is no other business school for you, an MBA interview will provide an opportunity to confirm you made the right choice.

Who Conducts MBA Interviews?

Every business school has different policies when it comes to MBA interviews. Typically, an MBA interview is conducted by one or more members of the admissions committee. However, it is not unusual to be interviewed by current students or alumni. Professors do not normally conduct admissions interviews, but there are a few schools who do assign faculty members to the task.

No matter who interviews you, expect a lot of questions and an evaluation.

Most admissions committees have a form that they work off. They will ask you specific questions from the form. If you are being interviewed by other students or alumni, don't expect anything different. They have probably been trained by the admissions committee to use the form or ask specific questions.

Read more about the different types of MBA interviews.

Common MBA Interview Questions

You could be asked almost anything during an MBA interview, but there are a few questions you should be prepared to answer:

  • Why [insert the name of your business school here]? - One of the first things you will be asked is why you chose this particular school. You need to have a good answer. Make a list of three reasons and be prepared to elaborate on them.
  • Why do you want an MBA? - This can be posed to you several different ways, but want they really want to know is why you want a graduate education and why you chose an MBA over another master-level degree. Again, make a list of three reasons, and then choose the best to elaborate on. Hint: "To make more money" should not be on your list.
  • What will you do with your degree? - You may not know which company you will be working for after graduation, but you need to at least have an industry, field, or one or more positions in mind. Business school is not college--you need to know what your major is before you start. Your ultimate career goal must be in line with your specialization and your choice to get an MBA. For example, you wouldn't apply to an MBA program with a specialty in marketing and then say you are thinking about working as an accountant for a non-profit.

    Get a list of some of the other most common MBA interview questions.

    MBA Interview Mistakes to Avoid

    Every MBA interview is different, but there are a few things you can do to really mess it up. The first is being late. There are very few good excuses that can be employed if you fail to show up on time. Being late for something like an MBA interview is rude and irresponsible. If you are late, you better show up fresh from a car accident or with a very good reason for your tardiness.

    Another common MBA interview mistake is not asking questions. Remember, an MBA interview is a give and take situation. The school wants to know more about you, and you should want to know more about them. At the end of the MBA interview (and sometimes throughout), you will be given the opportunity to ask your own questions.

    Don't waste it by asking something you already know the answer to. You should also avoid asking questions you can easily find the answer to. For example, don't ask about rankings. Most business schools post that information on their website, and if they don't, you can easily find it by doing a Google search. Get more tips on asking informed questions.

    Avoiding eye contact, mumbling, or not answering questions is also bad form. It makes it look like you have a major confidence problem, or worse, something to hide. Always be direct. Smile. Look your interviewer in the eye. And do your best to stay on topic throughout the interview. Here are a few other admission interview do's and don'ts.

    How to Prepare for an MBA Interview

    The best way to prepare for an MBA interview is to decide on how to answer the most commonly asked questions. If you do that, you will feel more comfortable and sound more intelligent and confident. You should also find something nice to wear, practice your handshake if necessary, and decide what it is you are going to ask your interviewer about the school. Finally, if you are unsure of anything, such as what to wear, where you need to go for your interview, or what you need to bring with you, be sure to ask ahead of time.