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MBA Interview Tips – Things You Need to Know


An MBA, or Master of Business Administration, is an advanced postgraduate degree in business management. 

It is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of business and management practices. 

To get a place, you need to get through the interview round to secure admission to this unique program.

This article will give you insights into the MBA interviews section and what to expect.

Types of Business School Admissions Interviews

Many business schools have added fresh and innovative approaches to the MBA and Master’s interviews in recent years.

Getting familiar with the various types of graduate admissions interviews is a smart way to start when preparing for this critical stage of the application procedure.

While approaches differ depending on the institution, the following are some styles you may encounter during your MBA admissions process.

Blind / application-based interview

In an application-based interview, the interviewer does not know your academic credentials.

The only information available is your name and a few necessary details about yourself.

Because your score and writing are not examined, it’s all about how you conduct yourself.

As a result, the interview is fairly open-ended.

Depending on each person’s unique perspectives, this might be a benefit or a constraint.

If you properly word your responses, you will have more influence over the path of the interview.

You must be alert to provide a complete and compelling image of yourself.

Non-blind / Comprehensive interview

In a comprehensive interview, the interviewer has access to your background.

So you can expect specific questions from the application.

What’s great about this type of interview is that an excellent application implies the interviewer probably unconsciously likes you.

Another advantage is some of the questions will be drawn from what you previously wrote about yourself, which is your comfort zone.

The flip side is that you will probably be asked much more about your writing; you must be prepared!

You have to add more value to the previously stated points in your application essays and résumé.

This will necessitate more self-analysis on your side.

Group interviews 

This is a novel method for business schools to determine which candidates are most suited to their courses.

In group interviews, applicants team up to solve an actual business world situation.

It is intended to simulate a collaborative learning experience. 

The interview will speak to you among many other applicants and engage in group discussions and activities here.

These interviews assess not just your skills in problem-solving but also your communication style and team-based skills.

READ MORE: How to Prepare for an Interview

Types of MBA interview questions

You will be asked a variety of questions during the MBA interview.

The purpose of these questions is to learn more about you. It is also to gain a sense of your personality and help the MBA admissions officers to understand why you should be admitted to the programs.

You must demonstrate to them that you will be committed to the course and that, once completed, you will utilize your MBA to achieve your objectives.

General questions

These are common questions in most interviews to discover your interests, personality, and background. 

  • Tell me more about yourself.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  •  Do you have any questions?
  •  What are your short-term goals?
  •  Are you a hard worker?
  •  Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Resume focused questions

These questions are designed to learn more about your achievements, ambitions, and plans for applying your MBA to your professional goals.

  • Walk me through your resume
  •  What aspects of your resume make you proud?
  •  What are your plans for using an MBA to advance your career?

Situational and behavioral questions

These situational questions might assist an interviewer in understanding your skills and history. Behavioral inquiries go behind the surface of your life to uncover preferences and motives.

  • What has been your most difficult challenge?
  •  How did you resolve the issue?
  •  What offers you mental fulfillment?
  •  What words will you choose to describe yourself?

READ MORE: 9 Key Questions You Need to Answer In Your Job Interview

How to prepare for the interview?

The interview may be the most daunting stage in impressing the MBA admissions committee.

Like a job interview, practice is the best approach to boost your confidence.

It will teach you to be confident and respond in an informed and natural manner in the interview. 

Practice makes perfect; in this case, it will mold you to talk confidently.

So, when preparing, identify the topics you must concentrate on and practice speaking.

Think each opportunity is a one-off.

Ask for guidance from your friends who are doing their first year of college, as they have very recently done the interview.

Here are some pointers to help you look smart in interviews.

Find out your main selling points and give evidence

You should prepare at least five key selling points to present during the interview.

A couple of short stories should support every point.

Your selling points and anecdotes should be related to your talents, personality or soft skills (leadership potential, collaboration abilities), contribution, and professional objectives. 

Keep the program’s key principles in mind, and look for examples to support your views.

And although practicing is essential, you must be careful not to appear excessively rehearsed, robotic, or to be attempting to take control of the interview. 

Learn how to face tough questions

Regardless of how thoroughly you prepare, you will almost certainly be asked a question you did not expect. 

Whether you’re questioned about a flaw or failure, the objective is always to react honestly and modestly.

Present yourself positively by emphasizing your progress, lessons learned, and ability to self-examine.

Tell a captivating success story to show how you’ve extended yourself in the past. 

What if you supplied an incorrect response? Don’t give up hope.

Take a deep breath, continue, and towards the end of the interview, ask for clarification on your response to the previous question.

This demonstrates self-awareness and confidence, and most interviewers will allow you to do so.

And hence you can gracefully answer tough questions.

Prepare questions for your interviewers

Prepare some thought-provoking questions to ask towards the end of the session.

It displays your genuine interest in learning further about mutual fit.

If you know the interviewer’s name before, do your research.

You can look at their LinkedIn profile and analyze it to help you tailor your questions. 

Alums have a tremendous chance to learn from their professional experiences and get insights to help them make informed decisions.

You might ask admission personnel questions about the school community’s strengths or logistical queries concerning assistance for spouses and families.

Understand the landscape of your MBA interview

For the MBA programs, you should expect a wide range of interviews. The interviews are performed mainly by current students, instructors, admissions officers, or alums.

You should be well informed about how various institutions approach new interview formats and employ different strategies.

You should familiarize yourself with each type of interview format and prepare accordingly.

Know your destination

Getting lost on the road to an interview can only add to your stress, so plan ahead of time, even if it means doing a trial. 

Dedicate time to visit the place a few days before the interview to determine the optimal route.

Nothing is worse than being late or coming looking like you just ran the 100-meter race.

READ MORE: Five essential tips for a successful job interview

Things to avoid during an interview

An MBA interview
An MBA interview

Not giving eye contact or giving a weak handshake

Lack of eye contact and shaky handshakes may signal a lack of confidence or that you are concealing something.

Making eye contact with interviewers shows that you are involved in the conversation and interested in what they have to say.

Whereas a weak handshake clearly shows you have a low confidence level.

Beating around the bush

Another thing not to do in any interviews is to deviate from a topic or dodge a question.

Not responding to questions, like avoiding eye contact, creates the appearance that you either don’t care or have something to conceal.

Accept responsibility for your actions in the past and illustrate how you overcame your difficulties.

Make no excuses.

If you want to make a relevant point after answering a question, ask the interviewer if you can.

Try not to give “politician’s answers” to questions, where you respond with something you’ve prepared, regardless of what you’ve been asked.

You don’t want your interviewer to respond by saying, “thanks for that, but that’s not what I asked.”

Talking too much or too little

Excessive talking may be interpreted as an attempt to dominate the session.

More extended responses can tire the interviewer and force them to stop listening to you.

Respect their time by keeping your responses short.

The interviewer will always follow-up questions if they need more information.

However, limiting your response to fewer than 30 seconds will unlikely provide the interviewer with the required information.

The interviewer may perhaps believe you have nothing further to contribute.

So find a good area between one word answers and endless waffling, and you should be fine.

Not asking questions to the interviewer

Most interviews will allow you to ask your interviewer questions at the conclusion.

If you haven’t prepared for this question, you will probably get confused and say “no.”

This is a big missed opportunity since it demonstrates a lack of participation and curiosity.

The key to every question you ask during your interview is to demonstrate that you want to learn more about the MBA curriculum and the institution’s ideals.

As a result, you should never answer “no” to this question and ask meaningful questions. 

For example, you can ask, “How would you define the responsibilities of the current position?” or something like “What qualities do you want in a candidate?”

READ MORE: Looking for a new job? Find our free resume templates here

How to present yourself on your interview day

How you carry yourself reveals your personality, which is detrimental to every other professional program, including MBA. Even your small mistakes can create a negative impression on the interviewer.

Check out the points to keep in mind on the day of appearing for the interview. 

Be on time

This applies to all interviews.

Arrive at least ten minutes early for the interview.

The interviewer will appreciate your promptness and punctuality. It will allow you to review your replies to the questions.

This will also help you compose yourself and be ready to meet with your interviewer.

Dress appropriately

How much you express to the interview panel in these seven seconds is critical, and your clothes will speak volumes in these early minutes.

Always dress appropriately, and make an effort to wear professional business attire. Formal suits are ideal for the occasion.

Take note of the colors and style.

For interviews, always wear solid colors. Make sure your shoes are clean and in good condition.

Maintain good hygiene and portray yourself how you would like the institute to perceive you.

Good body language

Your body language says a lot about your personality; it is the first thing interviewers look at.

Consider nonverbal cues like your handshake, eye contact and eye movement, posture, and facial and hand gestures. Make sure to extend your interviewer a firm handshake and a friendly smile.

Maintain constant eye contact during the interview.

During the interview, make sure you sit appropriately.

Slouching might give an incorrect impression to your interviewer. 

It’s natural to look away from time to time, but for the most part, maintain constant eye contact. It exudes confidence and inspires belief in whatever you say.

When you feel stressed, a smile typically relaxes your face, which makes you relaxed.

Your occasional smile indicates that you are enjoying the interview, which in turn increases your confidence. 

READ MORE: 5 Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid

How to answer the common MBA interview questions

Here are some of the frequently asked questions that every candidate faces during their MBA interview:

Tell me about yourself

How difficult is it to talk about yourself?

We do it without thinking about it every day. 

However, interviewers are not seeking your entire life biography but a pitch.

Because this is typically the first question addressed in an interview, it serves as your introduction.

Give a solid answer and identify the key talking points as to why you are a good fit for the school or program.

To be safe, restrict your response to two to three minutes in length, and consider keeping your past experiences brief while building on your most recent experiences and talents.

What are your strengths? 

This is your great opportunity to shine.

Keep in mind that the interviewer is searching for course-related strengths.

Mention a few of them: having leadership skills, being a good motivator, problem solver, performing well under pressure, active listening, loyal, optimistic attitude, willing to learn, taking the initiative, and paying attention to detail.

Whatever your top choice, be prepared to back it up with a circumstance or narrative that exemplifies this talent.

As you are undoubtedly aware, this is one of the most typical interview questions, so ensure you are well-prepared before meeting with the HR manager!

What is your biggest weakness?

A difficult one, since if you claim to have no flaws, you are plainly lying! 

Be honest and highlight a little defect in yourself.

Many individuals may advise you to respond with a good attribute disguised as a problem, such as “I’m a perfectionist” or “I expect others to be as dedicated as I am.”

Here you must list a genuine weakness and maintain honesty to a certain level. 

The trick here is to describe a genuine weakness that would not prevent you from grabbing your admission.

You shouldn’t say that you’re bad at entrepreneurship if you’re applying for an MBA degree.

Note to highlight what you’ve done to overcome and develop.

This question is all about your thought process and evaluation.

What do you hope to gain from an MBA?

This is an excellent opportunity to discuss how an MBA might improve or progress your career goals.

Be precise about how this program will help you better prepare for potential work challenges/opportunities.

If the program provides excellent partnerships with the sector/industry you want to pivot into, emphasize that.

For example, you can elaborate on your goal to run your own business after graduation.

Make it clear that you want to use the particular program to understand your present function better and cement your professional experience.

What do you think would be your biggest challenge in this program?

This question allows you to explain that you are aware of the demands of an MBA program and that you are confident in your ability to meet those demands.

Use this question to demonstrate your vulnerability and how it can benefit you.

Explain that you are aware of prospective hurdles and, as a result, are better positioned to conquer them.

Be honest, describe how you’ll deal with the problem, and demonstrate that you’re considering how to manage your time and resources.

Include specific examples of using this program’s materials with study groups, clubs, etc.

Final Thoughts 

Prepare to talk about your background, why you need an MBA today, and what you want to accomplish with it. So your interviewer gets a picture of the long-term goals you seek to acquire with this program.

You must also bring your candidacy to life with anecdotes, observations, and ideas.

Provide enough detail and enthusiasm to pique the interviewer’s attention.

Remember that building a rapport is more vital than anything you say.

The MBA interview is the final step in determining your eligibility to attend the school and the MBA program. You can ace the interview and create a good image with your preparation and dedication.

Also, build more industry connections as you move forward in your career. It can boost the advances you make along the way.

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