Are you preparing for an MBA interview? Want to know what questions are most commonly asked? In this EDUopinions article, we’ll dive into the MBA interview process so you can best prepare yourself. More specifically, we’ll go through the top 20 MBA interview questions and what interviewers are looking for in your responses.
What should you prepare for an MBA interview?
Interviews are often part of the business school application process. If you’re offered an interview, it’s a good idea to accept. Doing so gives you an opportunity to bring your application to life and show who you are to the interviewer.
To best prepare for your interview, you should be ready to speak about your previous academic and professional experiences in a relevant, concise and detailed way. You will likely discuss things you wrote about in your essays but in more depth. As well, it’s a good idea to be prepared with a few points you’d like the interviewer to remember. Try mentioning things that demonstrate who you are as a person and that will make you stand out from other candidates.
What do MBA interviewers look for?
MBA interviewers look for two main things. First, they want to see that you’re the candidate you describe yourself as in the rest of your application. They’re asking themselves, “does this applicant match the description in their essays?” Second, they want to assess whether or not you’d be a good fit for the specific programme you’re applying to. Are you the right person for the spot on this course? To be able to best respond to this prompt, you should have a detailed knowledge of the programme you’re applying to. Try to make the interviewer understand that you’ve done your homework and know what you’re getting yourself into.
What are the top 20 interview questions?
In this section, we’ll list the top 20 MBA interview questions and briefly discuss what they seek to assess.
MBA interview questions about your character
1, Tell me about yourself.
This is a classic first question to ask in almost any type of interview. The interview basically wants to give you a chance to introduce yourself and for you to get your bearings straight before diving into the rest of the questions. That said, don’t overlook this question. Prepare a concise yet detailed description of yourself that makes a good first impression.
2. What three adjectives best describe you?
Another common question to get to know a person’s character, should also be one you have a pre-prepared answer to. When choosing your three traits, be sure to choose positive and varied adjectives. This is not the place to bring yourself down, but it is the place to show the interviewer how wide your skillset is. Having short anecdotes to back up your adjectives is another great tip.
3. What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
This is most definitely of the top MBA interview questions. Telling the interviewer about your most positive qualities and abilities is fairly straightforward. Talking about your weaknesses may be more difficult, so be sure to reflect on this question beforehand. Being prepared to explain how you’re working on your weaknesses is also very important.
4. Describe a time you failed.
Similar to discussing your weaknesses, describing a time you failed may seem awkward in an interview. However, the interviewer wants to assess whether you can bounce back and learn from failure. Even if they don’t ask explicitly, you should explain how the experience taught you something.
5. How would your colleagues/supervisor describe you?
This question usually tries to understand how you are in groups. Of course, they can’t instantly verify your response with your colleagues or supervisor, but they can look back to your application references.
6. What are your hobbies?
Though personal topics are not often asked about in MBA interview questions, they can come up. For this reason, being prepared for basic personal questions is a must-do as well. Botching a question about your hobbies or interests may make you seem overly professional or like you’re playing a part. More than anything, remember who you are and to be yourself!
MBA Interview questions about your previous experiences
7. What are your academic qualifications?
Be prepared to discuss your undergraduate degree and/or whatever studies you’ve done up until now. Focus on how these experiences make you qualified and well-prepared for the MBA programme you’re applying to.
8. What sort of professional experiences do you have?
Especially for those who didn’t study business at the undergraduate level, this is an important question. Check your programmes entry requirements to make sure your professional experiences line up with their expectations. Explain clearly where you worked, what you did and what you learnt from the experience.
9. Tell me about a time when you were a leader.
Another top MBA interview question, this one can really give you a chance to shine. Though, MBA programmes aren’t necessarily looking for natural-born, experienced leaders. More so, they look for leadership potential. So don’t beat yourself up for not having a super impressive example.
10. What has been the most challenging thing you have overcome in professional life?
Again, the most important part of your response to this question is explaining how you overcame that experience. The severity of that challenge is less important than your reaction to it, so be sure to focus on your decision-making in overcoming it.
11. What are the most important skills you need for your current job?
This is another question aimed at seeing whether you have the potential to succeed in an MBA programme. If the skills you use aren’t particularly relevant for the MBA you’re applying to, try focusing on your potential. I.e., you’re a quick learner and highly motivated.
questions about the Programme
12. Why do you want to do an MBA?
This is most certainly a top MBA interview question. Your response should refer broadly to your career goals and what you aim to take from an MBA programme.
13. Why do you want to do this programme?
This question often follows the one above. By asking it, interviewers want to assess how well you think you’d fit in their programme. Once you’ve elaborated on why you want to do an MBA, the next step is convincing the interviewing that you should do this MBA.
14. What are your expectations for this programme?
This question may seem rather similar to the above one. Though with this one, you should try to focus on what you would aim to specifically gain from the MBA. What classes do you look forward to taking? Are there any professors whose work interests you? Maybe you’d like to join or start a student society/project? These are all things to mention here.
15. Why is an MBA the right step for your future?
Again this question may seem repetitive, but it’s trying to get you to consider other options for your career path other than an MBA. Don’t say, “all my friends are doing MBAs, so I’d like to as well.” Instead, you should be prepared to justify why an MBA is right for you and your future and why anything else (like your current job) isn’t.
16. What do you know about this programme?
After having hopefully thoroughly researched the programme you’re applying for, this is your opportunity to shine! That said, don’t just recite a random selection of facts. Mention the parts of the course that excite you the most and connect them to your academic and professional goals.
MBA interview questions about your future
17. What are your career goals?
This is a fairly straightforward question, but don’t take it for granted. The key to answering this question well is presenting your goals in a specific, ambitious and realistic way. Don’t say you want to go to Mars so you’re doing an MBA first. Instead, say you’re interested in exploring opportunities to make extra-terrestrial travel more accessible to the average consumer.
18. Where do you see yourself in five years?
This question is super common, and may even be in the top 5 of MBA interview questions. In this situation, the interviewer wants to understand your goals, but also your sense of time and direction. Are you someone who is actually passionate about business and will make good use of this MBA programme? Try to convince the interviewer that you’re in it for the long haul.
19. Who do you admire?
Again this may be a slightly personal question, but also a good opportunity to add some extra information about your goals, ideas and interests. Whoever the person you admire is, make sure to back up your reasoning. By all means, admiring your grandma is great. But be sure to explain why she’s so amazing, and if possible, connect that to your career goals!
Wrapping up an MBA interview
20. Do you have any questions for me?
Finally, the last question you’re likely to here in an MBA interview is “Do you have any questions for me?” This is a great opportunity to ask for clarification on anything the interviewer may have said. As well, you should come prepared with several questions of your own. These demonstrate your intrigue in the programme and help the interviewer see what interests you about the MBA.
Of course, if they’ve answered all your questions over the course of the interview, you can flip the question back to them and say, “Is there any part of my profile I can fill in or clarify?”
Hopefully, this article has given you an idea about what types of questions to expect in an MBA interview. Of course, this list is not exhaustive but is a great place to start. If you need help finding the perfect MBA for you or have other questions about business degrees, feel free to reach out to EDUopinions for free, personalised advice!