MBA interview prep is a must for any student looking to apply to competitive MBA programs. Preparing in advance, and preparing well, can be the key to acing those tough MBA interview questions. Getting professional interview prep help can be an excellent idea for future MBA applicants too, since having top-notch interview skills is an essential professional skill no matter your industry. This guide will cover how MBA programs use the MBA interview, how professional interview prep can help, tips for preparing for the MBA interview, the most common types of questions and strategies for answering them, and what to do after your interview is complete.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
How Hard is the MBA Interview?
Like any professional interview, the MBA interview is not an easy admissions hurdle and requires some advance preparation.
The MBA interview is the final step for students before being admitted to an MBA program. MBA interviews are a way for admissions boards to get more information on an applicant, and evaluate their communication skills, their professional presentation, and delve a little deeper into their backgrounds. The MBA interview is mandatory for schools in the US, though each school may use a different format or approach to interviewing.
Wherever you’re applying, the MBA interview is your best chance to promote yourself to the school’s admissions board and convince them that you are a top applicant. If you are invited for an MBA interview, accept the invite. Chances are the admissions committee has already reviewed your application and is seriously considering you for admission. Use your MBA interview as an opportunity to confirm they’re making the right choice by admitting you.
How hard your MBA interview is will depend on how well you tackle admissions interviews in general, but luckily interviewing is a skill that can be developed and improved over time. And interview prep and interview skills are something that professional interview prep services can help you with. They can also provide MBA application tips for students who are starting this process.
Why Get MBA Interview Prep Help
Students who already know that interviews are a struggle for them might consider getting professional help in improving these skills. If you’re applying for an MBA program, professional interview skills are a must, no matter your future career. Even if you're confident in your interview skills, MBA interview prep can be a benefit to you. Admission to MBA programs is highly competitive, and the interview is one of the make it or break it parts of the admissions process. Nailing the interview can boost your changes of getting in, whereas only giving a solid performance can mean you don't stand out from other excellent interviewees. Professional MBA interview prep help can put you back on top of the candidates' pool since they know what competitive MBA programs are searching for and what you can expect in your interview.
Interview prep services vary in the help they offer and the prices they charge. Interview prep services can vary from $75 an hour to over $250 an hour if their services are in demand. If you are seriously looking at interview prep services or MBA admission consulting to help you with the entire process of applying to graduate school, weigh your different options in terms of price per hour, services offered, and what areas you feel you need the most help with.
The services offered can include coaching on public speaking, professional comportment and etiquette, a guide on the MBA interview process and what kinds of questions students can expect, as well as CV and MBA resume feedback. The key to a successful interview prep is mock interviews, so students can practice answering questions and interview etiquette ahead of time and receive feedback on their interview performance.
Need to work on your MBA resume first? Take a look at this infographic:
How to Ace Your MBA Interview Prep
#1 Use storytelling
Storytelling is the key to how to prepare for your MBA interview. When preparing your answers to various interview questions, don’t just craft answers—use stories and examples. Storytelling is far more compelling and effective than stating cut and dry facts. Using a story to answer a question is more likely to be remembered by your interviewer or interviewers, since a story has unique, personal qualities to it that bare lists don’t have. Interviewers will respond far better to a memorable anecdote than the thousandth cliched answer they’ve heard in other interviews.
To develop story-based answers to your interview questions, start building a “story bank” or make a list of personal anecdotes you can share. Depending on the question type, some stories may be more useful than others, but it helps to have somewhere to draw from. Compile a story bank of stories from your personal life, your job, your extracurricular interests or hobbies, or your undergraduate experiences.
Go through them one by one to identify the key themes or lessons you learned from each. Tell the stories aloud to yourself so you can get the details down, then pick out the most compelling details that should be included in your answer.
If the question you need to answer is “tell me about yourself”, grab two or three stories from your childhood, high school and your undergraduate years and expand on any defining moments. Keep to the most relevant details—your personal growth, your passion for business and so on—and leave out the unnecessary fluff about how ever since you were a kid you wanted to be in business.
#2 Research types of questions
There are many types of questions MBA interviewers may ask you, including some common types we will cover more below or some more tricky MBA interview questions. Some schools will advertise the questions they ask during the MBA interview, and others won’t, but it’s a good idea to look up any information your program of choice has about its MBA interview process and the questions you can expect to be asked.
Knowing the types of questions in advance will help you prepare a strategy for answering them, which we will expand on further.
#3 Identify your key selling points
Before your interview, make a list of your “key selling points”, or the attributes and strengths you will bring to the MBA program you’ve chosen. This type of question is likely to come up, and you will want to have your arguments for why you should be admitted prepared ahead of time. Your answer will work as a sort of expansion of your graduate school statement of purpose, which may be required of your initial application.
Knowing your key selling points will help you pinpoint the personal stories that will highlight those selling points best. By relating the stories that best showcase who you are and the strengths you bring to the table, you’ll deliver better and more persuasive answers.
Many MBA programs emphasize leadership skills. If you know this is a strength of yours and a key selling point, pick out the stories about yourself that really showcase how good a leader you are and share them in your interview answers.
#4 Rehearse, don’t memorize
It’s helpful to rehearse your answers to various questions. As mentioned above, it can be good to tell yourself the stories and anecdotes you can share to practice your speaking. But avoid writing down and memorizing your answers word for word. If you practice reading from a script, you’ll sound like you’re reading from a script in your interview.
Focus on using your natural, conversational voice in the interview. You want to know the details of your answers inside and out and present those details in an organized way. But don’t force yourself to memorize everything perfectly. Even if your answers on the day of your interview come out a bit differently than you rehearsed, what’s important is to deliver the key information.
Wondering what types of MBA interview questions you will likely face? This infographic is for you:
#5 Use mock interviews
An excellent way to rehearse your interview answers is to use an MBA mock interview. This simulates the actual interview scenario by having a mock interviewer ask you typical questions you can expect to be asked in the real interview, and have you answer them. Services like grad school admissions consultants will often provide students with mock interview prep, and provide in-depth feedback on interview performance and answers. Professional MBA interview prep help also knows what admissions committees are looking for in their applicants, so they will provide the best advice on how to ace your interview and provide the most realistic mock interview settings.
Mock interviews are also an excellent way to put any feedback and advice you receive into practice. It’s easy to think of all the right body language and physical presentation you’ll need in your interview in your head before you enter the room. Having a mock interview lets you practice in person, so to speak, so that when you’re attending your actual interview, your professional body language and comportment is more natural and less distracting to you.
#6 Prepare questions of your own
A question you may be asked in the MBA interview is: do you have any questions about [School’s] MBA program? Never say no to this question!
Always emphatically answer “yes” to this question and come prepared with questions of your own to ask the interviewers. Having questions about the program to ask shows an interest in the school, demonstrates critical thinking skills and that you’re thoroughly considering the decision to attend a graduate program.
Write down the questions you want to ask ahead of time, and practice asking them in mock interviews or just aloud to yourself. Even if you’ve done thorough research on your chosen program, there may be some questions that can’t be answered online.
Ask your interviewers about the school’s culture, campus life, what resources are available for students, and what kind of professional opportunities are available to students through the school. These types of questions will show your interest in the program and demonstrate that you are carefully planning your time at the school.
Types of MBA Interview Questions
There are some common MBA interview questions you can expect to see, and variations of these typical interview questions as well. Whatever the question, it’s important to provide not just an example or an answer, but to share a story. There is a simple framework you can use to structure your answers and deliver your prepared stories in a focused, effective way. This is called the CARL framework, which stands for Context, Action, Results and Learning. Essentially, you provide a brief context for your answer, or the introduction of the “problem” or key message of your story. Action details the actions you took or what you did to solve the problem presented. Results are self-explanatory: did your solution work? Did you achieve the desired results? Learning is the concluding statements of your answer, outlining the primary lessons you learned from the experience.
MBA interview answer to question #1.
MBA interview answer to question #2.
MBA interview answer to question #3.
MBA interview answer to question #4.
MBA interview answer to question #5.
MBA Interview Follow Up Advice
After your MBA interview is complete, treat it like any professional interview. Thank your interviewer for the time, make eye contact, and state that you are available if they have any further questions about your application.
If possible, you can ask for a business card from your interviewer or provide your contact information if need be. Be sure to mention that you are eager to enroll in the program if you are accepted, and that you look forward to hearing back from the admissions board soon.
After your interview is concluded, it’s also a good idea to write a thank you letter to your interviewers!
Looking for more info on MBA Interviews? Check out this video:
Your MBA interview is a key part of being accepted to an MBA program, and while interviews can be challenging, this is also your chance to shine and stand out. Your MBA interview is the opportunity to wow the admissions committee and demonstrate the professional skills they can’t accurately gauge from your application alone. By preparing well in advance, using good strategies for each question and practicing your interview skills, you will be well prepared to ace your MBA interview.
1. What is an MBA interview?
Applicants to MBA programs may be invited to an MBA interview at their chosen schools. An MBA interview is usually the last step before admission.
2. Are MBA interviews required?
While not every business school uses MBA interviews to evaluate their applicants, it is a required component of the application process at US business schools.
3. What types of questions are asked at MBA interviews?
MBA interviewers may ask a variety of interview questions, although some typical ones include questions about why you’ve chosen to apply to this particular program, why you want to study at the graduate level, questions about your leadership or teamwork skills, and your career goals.
4. Should I use MBA interview prep?
Many students benefit from professional interview prep help. Especially if your interviewing skills need work or you are not confident about your interviewing presentation, interview prep can be a good idea.
5. What attributes does MBA interview look for?
MBA interviewers use the MBA interview to gauge an applicant’s communication skills, professional interview skills and to gain a deeper insight into who the applicant is and why they applied.
6. How do I prepare for my MBA interview?
The best way to prepare for your MBA interview is to start preparing ahead of time, identify the different types of questions you may be asked and prepare answers and strategies ahead of time, and develop your professional interviewing skills.
7. Do I need to send a thank you letter after my MBA interview?
It’s a good idea to send a thank you letter after your MBA interview, per professional interview etiquette.
8. How do I stand out in my MBA interview?
To stand out in your MBA interview, focus on being yourself, being prepared and providing strong, personal answers.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!