MBA admissions revolve around predictions. Decision-makers want to know whether you’re truly a fit and committed to their institution. Do you bring something unique – and can you match up with your classmates?
To answer these hidden questions, schools use behavioral questions in applicant interviews. Scenario-driven, they open with “What would” and “Why did” – or increasingly “Tell me about a time” (TMAT). From there, they often follow up with questions to uncover results and lessons learned. Like any hiring decision, every MBA candidate represents an opportunity and a risk. For adcoms, behavioral questions can gauge a candidate’s creativity and problem-solving, planning and preparedness, and self-awareness and reflectiveness. More than that, they help to deduce a candidate’s impact on the class – and their potential as an alum.
KNOWING WHAT TO PREPARE FOR
Beyond behavioral questions, most business school interviews contain the standard “greatest hits” – led by the famed “Why an MBA”, “Why now”, and “Why here” troika. Many cover the biggest achievements, career goals, Plan B backup plans, and personal interests – not to mention how candidates will spend their time at the school and how the application process has changed them. Still, behavioral questions, by their nature, are unpredictable. That means they can elbow applicants off their carefully-honed narratives.
And every school does it differently.
Take Harvard Business School. Their interviewers love to dig deep into a candidate’s industry, corporate strategy, competitors, and product line. In past interviews, candidates have been asked to evaluate their employer’s leadership, technological capacities, and even training too. In deeply global programs like INSEAD and London Business School, candidates are often asked about the inner workings of international teams and clients. At the Wharton School, candidates are divided into teams and given 30 minutes to deliver a group presentation. From there, they are given 10 minutes to answer two questions: Why an MBA and Why at Wharton?
How can MBA candidates prepare for all that? Clear Admit can help with that. Every year, Clear Admit reaches out to MBA candidates to learn which schools asked which questions during admissions interviews. Not only can applicants prepare for those surprised behavioral questions, but they can gain some helpful nuggets on what to expect. For example, in the commentary, interviewees often discuss how long an interview took, how closely decision-makers reviewed their applications and resumes, and the differences between rounds. Even more, their responses provide clues on who will interview applicants, the format of the interview (on campus, Zoom, coffee chat), and even the formality of the meetings.
Wondering which questions you’ll be answering from Chicago Booth to MIT Sloan? Here are over 100 questions from two dozen schools to help you craft the most effective responses.
How will you contribute to DEI at Haas?
Tell me about a time when you had to overcome a challenge on a team.
Tell me about a time you had a creative solution to a problem.
Give me a one-minute introduction to who you are.
Give an example when you accomplished something to bring better results to your team.
What’s your definition of diversity?
Give an example when things didn’t go according to plan as a leader. What would you have done differently?
Why do you believe you have a fit with the school?
Could you share a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
Three words that you would use to describe yourself.
Tell me about a time when you fell short.
Tell me about a time you were motivated by a team.
Why did you change jobs? How was the culture different between the two jobs?
ideal team? What role would I see myself playing?
How have you changed the most?
What classes are you interested in at Chicago?
What can you tell me about your current boss?
Tell me about a time you had to convince multiple stakeholders with different points of view.
What would a successful MBA experience mean for you?
How do you incorporate diversity in your team?
where (Location-Wise) would you want to be in a few years?
What if in 5 years, something happens and the industry doesn’t end up where you think it will end up, what job would you go for? Does it change your plans?
What would you improve upon if you were running the school?
Tell me about a time where a process you succeeded?
Tell me a time when you had a conflict.
What’s your career goal? How can an MBA help you achieve your goals?
Do you feel you will be at a disadvantage going into (Industry)?
Tell me about a time when a project didn’t go according to plan.
Have you talked to any current students or alumni? What did you learn from them?
Describe a time you received constructive feedback.
How will you contribute to your study group?
Tell me about the negative feedback you received from a boss. How did that make you feel?
Tell me about a time you had to work out of your comfort zone and adapt quickly.
Describe a stressful situation or time when you were under a lot of pressure.
Tell me about a time you had to help someone without you gaining anything out of it.
What’s your biggest regret?
Is there a book you read recently that you really enjoyed?
What can you add to the incoming class?
Short-term and long-term goals?
What do you know about Team Fuqua Spirit?
Tell me about a time when you disagreed in a team.
What would you do if you were in a Team and a member did not do their part and the assignment/project was due tomorrow?
What makes up a decency quotient?
Tell me about a time you had a conflict with your boss and how you navigated it.
If you get into all the schools you apply to, how will you choose which school to attend?
Tell me about a time you had a conflict at work?
If you could be boss for the day, what would you do?
Tell me about a time when you had to work with a culturally diverse group of people?
What do you attribute to your success at XX Company?
Why do you think you’ve been promoted over your peers?
How do you compete with competitors in the space?
Who’s doing well in this space right now?
Are there any legal constraints around a specific part of your job? How does that vary across countries where you have worked?
What challenges were you trying to address through a specific initiative in a project?
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