Friday, February 15, 2013

The Master List of MBA Interview Questions

Not long ago I was asked for a comprehensive set of MBA interview questions. I am answering that here, although to be honest I think a comprehensive list has only marginal value.  Use this list below to figure out if you have any gaps in your interview preparation, i.e. topics you haven't yet considered and therefore might not be prepared to answer.  

At the same time though, be thorough in your preparation for a specific school's interview and use lists of interview questions used by that school to ensure you are ready ('s Schools Section is a great resource for this). While what follows here is a good starting point, it is not a substitute for the specific types of question and situations you will encounter at interviews with schools like MIT, Harvard, Wharton or London Business School. 

With that in mind, here are your interview starting points. Managing your appearance, projecting confidence and the questions you'll ask of your interviewer aren't included.

Small Talk
Did you have any trouble finding (building name)?
What do you think of (campus/current location)?
How have you enjoyed your visit so far?

Please introduce yourself.
Walk me through your resume.
Why did you choose x as your university major?
Why did you choose to work for company x?
Tell me a bit more about (any bullet point in your resume).
What would you like to highlight in your resume?
Walk me through a typical work day.
How have you shaped your career progress?

What are your career goals?
What are you short-term goals?
What are your long-term goals?
What do you see yourself doing immediately after graduating?
What do you see yourself doing in (3, 5, 10) years?
What is your ultimate goal?

Why MBA/Why Now?
Why get an MBA?
Why is now the right time?
Did you decide to apply for sponsorship or were you chosen?
Why did you decide to apply for sponsorship?

Why (School)?
Why are you interested in (school name)?
What (classes/clubs) particularly attract you?
What other schools are you applying to?
What is your criteria for choosing schools?
What would you do if you are accepted to all of them?
What will you do if you're not accepted to this program?
How do you feel a sense of fit with our program?

Leadership Questions
What is your leadership style?
Who is a leader you admire?
Tell me about a leadership experience.

Teamwork Questions
What is your usual role on a team?
How would you define your teamwork style?
Tell me about a teamwork experience.
Tell me about a teamwork experience on a high performing team. What did you contribute?
Tell me about a teamwork experience on a low performing team. How did you resolve any issues?

Other Stories
Tell me about your most significant accomplishment.
Tell me about a failure experience.
Tell me about a time when you had a creative solution to a problem or challenge.
Tell me about a time when you improved upon a process in your company or organization.
Tell me about a time when you received negative feedback. How did you react?
Tell me about a time when you had to convince others to accept your idea.
Tell me about your experience with an ethical dilemma.
Tell me about an international experience.
Tell me about a time when you had to motivate someone.
Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker.

Hypothetical Questions
Name one thing you would change about your company.
If you could be the CEO of your company for a day, what would you do?
If you could be the President of your country for a day, what changes would you make?

Strengths and Weaknesses
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What are your personal strengths/personal weaknesses?
What would your (supervisor, co-worker, subordinate, family member) says are your strengths/weaknesses?
What is your biggest concern about starting the MBA?

How will you contribute to our program?
What kind of clubs do you plan to get involved in?
What sets you apart from other applicants?
Why should we accept you to the program?

Outside Work
What do you do for fun/to relax?
What are your interests outside of your work?
Walk me through a typical weekend.
Why are you involved in (anything from the additional section of the resume)?
What book are you reading now?

Topics not Covered in the Interview
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Is there anything you wish I'd asked you?

John Couke