7 Essentials to Ace Your MBA Interview

February 16, 2016 | by Malvina Miller Complainville

With the round 2 interview season underway, former Harvard Business School Assistant Director Malvina Miller Complainville from the Fortuna team offers 7 top tips to boost your performance in your MBA interviews. (Full article on Poets and Quants.)

7 Essentials to Ace Your MBA Interview

1. Understand the MBA interview landscape

The importance of the MBA interview has never been greater. With fewer essays, I see an increased emphasis on interviewing. Interview formats vary widely across business schools: in-depth interview based on your application, a blind interview based on your resume, video questions to answer live on your computer, and/or a team based exercise.

2. Research what type of interview you will have

If you are applying to multiple schools you likely will need to prepare for multiple interview formats. Find out who will be interviewing you: admissions reps who know your application inside out and will ask you pointed questions based on your experiences (e.g. HBS, MIT Sloan, LBS); or alumni who just have your resume (Stanford GSB, Columbia, Kellogg).

3. Give yourself time to prepare for your interview

Feeling prepared is the best way to build confidence and will allow you to approach the interview proactively as opposed to reactively. Practice first on paper, then with video, then with someone putting you through your paces. Videotape yourself answering one question at a time.

4. Map out your key selling points and stories 

The content you prepare should include at least 5 key selling points to share during the interview. For each selling point you should have a couple of short stories to illustrate your point. Some of our clients find it helpful to map their selling points and stories in a matrix, inserting which questions can be answered with each story.

5. Know how to approach tough questions  

Tough questions about failures or weaknesses can be addressed by describing the actions taken to surmount the challenge and the learning curve associated with it. An MBA program is an opportunity for you to grow and stretch yourself; showing how you have stretched yourself in the past can become a success story.

6. Be ready with questions for your interviewers

You should prepare meaningful questions for the interviewer and these questions should be adapted to the interviewer’s profile. For admission representatives, you might ask questions specific to the strengths of the school community, or logistical questions. For alumni, you could ask questions specific to their own experience at the school and their career path after the MBA.

7. Stay grounded

If you are invited to interview it is because the school believes you have the potential. You really do have a chance of getting in. So prepare your key selling points and stories ahead of time, and go into the room feeling confident that they wanted you there, and enthusiastic about the prospect of joining the school’s community.

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