MBA interview tips – Things you need to know

Admission to a top business school is one of the accomplishments that most students with post-graduate and undergraduate education would like to put in their portfolios. There are several aspirants who wish to be admitted to a B school in order to obtain an MBA. But one has 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 other business schools have added fresh and innovative approaches to the MBA and Master’s interviews in recent years. Getting familiar with the various sorts 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 of the styles you may encounter during your MBA admissions process.

Blind / Application based interview

In an application-based interview, the interviewer has no knowledge of your academic credentials. The only information available is your name and a few necessary details about yourself. Because your score and writings are not examined, prejudice is reduced during the talent acquisition process. As a result, the interview is fairly open-ended. Depending on the unique perspectives of each individual, 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 in order 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 has an unconscious liking towards you, even if it’s a minor one. Another advantage is that at least some of the questions will be drawn from what you previously wrote about yourself, which really is your comfort zone.

The flip side is that you will most probably be asked much more about what you wrote, you must be really 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. Here you will be interviewed among many other applicants and will engage in group discussions and activities. These interviews assess not just your skills in problem-solving, but also your communication style and team based skills.

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 MBA 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 asked in most interviews to discover more about your interest, 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 past 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?

How to prepare for the interview?

The interview may be the most daunting stage in impressing the MBA admissions committee. Just like a job interview, practice is the best approach to boost your confidence. It will teach you to be confident and to respond in an informed and natural manner in the actual interview. Practice makes a man perfect, and in this case, it will mold you to talk confidently. So, when preparing, identify the topics on which you must concentrate and practice speaking. Think that each opportunity is a one off. Ask for expert guidance from your friends who are doing their first year of college, s they have very recently appeared.

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

Find out your main selling points and supportive tales

You should prepare at least five key selling points to present during the interview. Every point should be supported by a couple of short stories. 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 tales that incorporate behavioral examples to back up your views. And, although practicing is essential, you must be careful not to appear excessively rehearsed or to over the line into pushing your objective and attempting to take control over the interview. 

Learn how to face tough questions

Regardless of your preparation, you will almost certainly be asked a question that you did not foresee. Whether you’re questioned about a flaw, such as a failure, the objective is to react with honesty and modesty. Present yourself positively by emphasizing your own progress, lessons learned, and ability to self-examine. A captivating success story may be demonstrated by demonstrating 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 the profile to help you tailor your questions. 

Alumni have a tremendous chance to learn from their professional experiences and get insights that can 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 mostly performed by current students, instructors, admissions officers, or alumni. You should be well informed of how various institutions are approaching new formats in interviews and employing a variety of interview 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. There are few things worse than being late or coming looking like you just ran the 100-meter race.

Things to avoid during an 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. Whether you wish to make a relevant point after answering a question, ask the interviewer if you can do so.

Talking too much or too little

Excessive talking may be interpreted as an attempt to dominate the session. Longer responses can tire the interviewer and force them to stop listening to you. Respect their time by keeping your responses to two to four minutes. If the interviewer might need more information than you provide within that time frame, they might request it. 

However, limiting your response to fewer than 30 seconds is unlikely to provide the interviewer with the information they require. The interviewer may perhaps believe you have nothing further to contribute.

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 most probably get confused and end up saying “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 this question, “How would you define the responsibilities of the current position?” or something like “What qualities do you want in a candidate?”

How to present yourself on your interview day

The way 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

Our next MBA interview advice is to be early for your scheduled interview. 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.

Never, ever postpone an interview

Candidates are making mistakes by postponing their interviews. By postponing, you are communicating to the school that you are not entirely committed. Keep in mind that some applicants would give their best for the chance to be interviewed.

Dress appropriately

How much you express to the interview panel in these 7 seconds is critical, and the clothes you wear will say volumes in these early minutes. Your MBA interview dress should be comfortable but not too tight. The clothes you wear to an interview should make you feel very comfortable. This boosts your self-esteem.

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, and 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 a firm handshake and a friendly smile to your interviewer. 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. 

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 might it be to converse about oneself? We do it without thinking about it every day. However, interviewers are not seeking your entire life biography, but rather 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 is, be prepared to back it up with a circumstance or narrative that exemplifies this specific talent. As you are surely 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 have to 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 into which you want to pivot, be sure to 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 gain a better knowledge of your present function and to cement your own 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 the ways 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 best manage your time and resources. Include specific examples of how you may use this program’s materials with study groups, clubs, and so on.

Summing up

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

d dedication.