Among M7 schools, your prospects of admission are generally between 1 in 10 and 1 in 18. But secure an interview and your shot at acceptance has just improved to nearly 1 in 2. (Your odds are even higher with Fortuna in your corner – 75% of our clients invited to interview at a top 10 US school in Round 1 were admitted, and 90% at a European school.)
You now have a great chance of getting in, and now is the time to prepare with gusto. Even if you’re confident about your interview skills, you have a short window to impress, so you need to focus on the essentials, get to the point quickly and prepare to adapt to various MBA interview styles.
To support your efforts, we’ve consolidated our top articles on how to prepare for the MBA interview, from the M7 landscape and tricky questions to mistakes to avoid and what to wear on video. There’s also school-specific prep strategy from our team’s former gatekeepers to INSEAD, HBS, Wharton, Stanford GSB, Chicago Booth, Kellogg, and more, many of which contain additional video strategy sessions.
Don’t miss this definitive article by Fortuna’s head of interview practice, Malvina Miller Complainville, former Assistant Director at Harvard Business School. Malvina distills her advice into seven top interview tips, along with insights on the M7 landscape. (Her original 10 tips for Forbes, published in 2013, was viewed over 191,000 times.)
What should you do if your MBA interviewer veers into politics? Or asks you about a gap in your resume, to describe a time you’ve failed, or how you’ve been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic? Fortuna’s Judith Silverman Hodara, former Wharton head of admissions, delivers insights for 3 questions to anticipate, plus tips for facing the unexpected questions.
It may seem that interviewing on video is a disadvantage, especially for the extroverts among us who are fueled by sharing the energy of others. But the virtual interview has its advantages, along with unique considerations for setting yourself up for making a personal connection and positive impression. Even if you’re practiced with working remotely, know that MBA admissions is a unique audience. See Judith’s 7 top tips and tricks.
Dressing for the MBA interview is about being memorable for the right reasons, say Fortuna’s Karen Hamou. In the business school interview context, this means standing out for what you say versus what you wear. Karen discusses why it’s advisable to give your appearance thoughtful consideration, and what specifically to keep in mind for interviewing on video.
Conveying your ‘professional presence’ is the secret sauce of any great business school application. Fortuna’s Brittany Maschal discusses the three key qualities of professional presence cited by leadership expert Sylvia Ann Hewlett – gravitas, communication, and appearance – and how you can embody them to allow your best self to shine in the MBA interview.
Your MBA interview begins the moment you arrive on campus, and technically, your assessment can include any communication you’ve had with an admissions committee representative up until that point. Each and every interaction counts, from coffee chats with current students, to an encounter with a professor, to your exchange with the receptionist. And it isn’t over when you leave the interview – follow up is a key part of the assessment.
Having an alumni-led interview is a signal the school values the perspective its grads can bring – both to you as a candidate and to the interview process itself. And while alumni interviewers are not the final gatekeepers to whether you’re admitted or not, their influence provides vital insight to the admissions committee. Fortuna’s Melissa Jones discusses what can you expect in this scenario, what it means for how your candidacy will be conveyed, and how to prepare.
The reality at HBS is that you can have a flawless interview and still not land a place in its incoming class. Here are several key differentiators from Fortuna’s Karla Cohen that make the HBS interview unique, along with seven tips for making the best possible impression in your limited time to shine. Includes a video strategy session with Malvina Miller Complainville.
In stark contrast to the HBS interview, Stanford GSB interviews are conducted blind (resume only) by a GSB alum. But don’t be fooled by the collegial vibe – GSB’s line of questioning favors behavioral style questions that require your thorough and thoughtful preparation. The key to success is coming up with specific and substantive situational examples, says Fortuna’s Tatiana Nemo. Read on for her top tips, along with example behavioral style questions from recent candidates.
The Yale SOM interview tends to be a comfortable and friendly interview experience, lasting approximately 30 minutes. A unique feature, however, is Yale SOM’s pre-interview assignment. If you’re invited to interview (as are approximately 40% of applicants), you’ll be asked to reflect on a quote provided by the school and to submit your own quote for the interviewer to consider in advance. Read on for our team’s expert advice on tips for responding and how to prepare.
This dynamic, relational experience is about much more than delivering a strong pitch – Wharton’s admission committee wants to observe how you approach a challenge, present yourself, cohesively work towards solutions in a small group context and think on your feet. Fortuna’s Judith Silverman Hodara, former Wharton head of admissions, articulates what success looks like, along with advice for delivering your standout pitch on video.
The INSEAD interview is a dynamic one. None of its interviews happen on campus; instead, INSEAD draws upon a global pool of alumni interviewers to help evaluate applicants in the cities where they live. Interviewers are given a lot of latitude, which means there’s a lot of variability in terms of format, style and tempo. Fortuna’s Melissa Jones, former Assistant Director for INSEAD’s MBA Program in France, discusses what you need to know and what to expect.
Kellogg is the only top business school that seeks to interview every candidate who applies. It’s able to attempt this feat by flexing the strength of a worldwide network of passionate alumni, says Fortuna’s Julia Brady. And because the experience is distinct from being interviewed by a member of the MBA adcom, so too is the preparation. Julia offers key factors to keep in mind, along with seven tips for how to prepare.
The LBS interview – typically conducted by an LBS alum – is a dynamic one. Beyond the standard one-on-one interview, you’ll be asked to give a mini presentation with five minutes to prepare and five minutes to present. Fortuna’s Emma Bond, former LBS Senior Manager of MBA Admissions, decodes the LBS interview with expert insights on what to expect from LBS, what the school is looking for, and how to prepare to shine in your MBA interview. prepare.
Booth prides itself on how it approaches business education differently. You’ll want to have a nuanced understanding that distinguishes a Booth MBA – from its philosophy of education to its discipline-based process and flexibility of curriculum – and look for ways to communicate this to your interviewer. Fortuna’s Bill Kooser, former associate dean of Booth, offers Interviews are conducted blind and favor behavioral style questions.
The MIT Sloan interview, like its application, is unique among elite business schools. For one, it’s the only M7 program besides rival HBS in which the interviewer will have reviewed your entire application. Applicants invited to interview are also required to respond to MIT Sloan’s pre-interview questions – the first around diversity and inclusion and the second related to how you make data-driven decisions. Read on for essential strategy and tips.
The HBS Post-Interview Reflection is a distinctive element of the Harvard MBA evaluation process, and you’ll have just 24 hours to submit it the Admissions Committee after your interview. At first blush, this might feel like a timed test version of the HBS essay. Instead, think of it as a final opportunity to set yourself apart.