Although every admissions committee will ask different questions, there are, however, a few common MBA interview questions that come up quite often.
The most common questions will be:
“How would you present yourself?”; “Why do you want to do an MBA?”; “Why did you select our school?”
etc... Is that it? Nope!
The MBA interviewis not just about answering questions. It is also an opportunity for you to ask a few questions and to turn the standard question-answer exercise into a real exchange. Distinguish yourself! Also, keep in mind that great interviews will increase the possibility of having a scholarship.
How would you present yourself?
Most people do not seriously prepare for this question and when they are asked to present themselves, they think that reciting their CV is the right thing to do. Some of the applicants even repeat their name, their age and sometimes where they live! Let’s be serious: you are applying to a top MBA and the least you can do is to know exactly how to properly present yourself. I always suggest that my students start with their highest degree, then briefly talk about their first professional experience and finally their last professional experience. This is how you present yourself. This is also a subtle way and a great transition to bring to the table the next very important question: why an MBA.
Why do you want to do an MBA?
This question is crucial. Most people will develop an argument around the fact that they need an MBA because they want to shift into another career or because they have reached a ‘plateau’ and hence need an MBA to move up. The MBA is not the aim in itself: it is a way, among other ways, to achieve your goal. You do not need an MBA because you wish to move up or to become an entrepreneur. You need an MBA because you want to have a global vision of how businesses work. You need an MBA because it is going to provide you not only with academic knowledge but also with a network, a brand, legitimacy in terms of what you have achieved in your career so far. Last but not least, the MBA is going to sharpen your soft skills, improve your critical reasoning and help you evolve better among people with different academic and cultural backgrounds to your own.
Why did you select our school?
This is where most people fail to correctly address the question. “Well, I want to be part of your school because it is the best!” Wrong answer! Tell the interviewer something they do not know already. “Well, I applied to your school because I need your network, because you have great teachers, because I want to go into strategy consulting and your school is good at placing people within that field.” Do not get me wrong here: I am not saying those reasons are wrong. They are, however, incomplete. If you want to join a top MBA thinking that the school owes you everything just because you got an admission and you wrote a cheque, well you are wrong again. What is most important is that you position yourself as a contributor to the programme.
Top MBAs look for people who want to learn but who are also eager to share and teach the other participants what they have learnt before they joined the MBA. Contribution is essential. If you put yourself forward as someone who deserves to be offered an admission just because you scored high on the GMAT or because you had a great career path, you are wrong. The interview phase is a great moment for you to stand out from the crowd and to show the school you are a great potential MBA participant. Most people think they need to beg for a seat. Admittedly, the interviews can be stressful and challenging for people who are not used to them. However, if you show good management skills, if you show, as a top CEO would do, that you know how to think out of the box, that you have great leadership potential, that teamwork is key for you and that you are willing to contribute to the programme, please rest assured that the school will not only offer you a seat but it will probably grant you a scholarship.
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