Business school offers an unique opportunity to expand your professional skills. Graduate programs like the Master of Business Administration (MBA) include interviews where you are close to becoming admitted into the business school. The interview is a crucial component to the admissions process where you are typically interviewed by the admissions director at the business school. Making it this far is a good sign, but it does not guarantee admittance. Being prepared for the interview questions involves serious preparation. Here are 10 of the most popular business school interview questions:
1. What Is Your Career Plan?
A very common question in many interviews, this question reflects how you will use the MBA program to advance toward your business goals. At this point in your professional life, having some blueprint is necessary to succeed with a MBA. Even if some details sound ambiguous, be prepared to flesh out the groundwork to what you might want to do with the MBA. The admissions officer or director wants to know how their school can help you become the professional you want to be.
2. Why Our School?
Business schools are extremely competitive, so the admissions officer or director wants to know why you even applied to their school. Simply answering you wanted to attend business school is a horrible reply to this question. This answer needs to have good details about the school and why you liked it, such as its faculty, research, facilities, etc. Even brief views on the school website, such as http://daniels.du.edu/ for the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, can help or should have helped you see why you wanted to apply for the school.
3. Why Do You Want a MBA?
Probably one of the more probing questions is to find out why you think a MBA is beneficial to you. This answer should have revealed itself in the essay you wrote to be admitted in the school. However, if it comes up again in the interview, you need to elaborate on many of the points found in the essay. Unlike question 1, the answer to this question will dive deeper into why you think the degree itself is more beneficial than say a Master of Arts (M.A.) or other graduate-level degree.
4. What Was An Example of Your Leadership Skills?
Business school is meant to train future executives and managers; hence every admissions officer will want to know what you feel was a great opportunity where your leadership skills shined. Leadership skills not only include leading a team in business, school, or volunteer work, but also includes time where you had executive initiative to make the right decision.
5. How Would Co-Workers Describe You?
This is a very tough question to answer. Not only may you feel uncomfortable, or simply not know, what colleagues think of you, you may provide the wrong type of answer. If you say, “colleagues think I am a team player”, this question shows no deep insight. Business schools want to know the business acumen you have coming into the school. Reflecting what past colleagues have said of you is important to establish with admissions. Therefore, if you know explicitly how colleagues have described you professionally, you should say it. To be best prepared for this question, you might want to ask old colleagues this question days before the interview.
6. Can You Walk Me Through Your Resume?
This is a common interview question for both business school and top finance or business firms, like on Wall Street. Essentially, this is a “tell me about yourself” question, however, it needs to be focused on your professional life (briefly where you grew up, schooling, work history). Besides just summarizing the resume, you want to explain your choices and investments. For example, if you capitalized on internships in college, add a remark on that experience.
7. What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?
This is a classic interview question. Strengths are typically easier to list as long as the strengths are focused. Cover more strengths that are based on your business skills or professional work history, like being a good listener or team building. Replying to weaknesses typically means you will state a weakness that you have challenged yourself to overcome. For example, you could say that you find your quick decision-making skills hinders you from hearing other voices or concerns. Therefore, you are trying to incorporate other insights before making decisions.
8. What Makes You Stand Out From Other Applicants?
Striking a balance between being modest, but championing yourself, this question includes replies of how your academic, professional, and personal history demonstrates your credibility for admission.
9. What Are Your Hobbies?
This is a typical question for most jobs where the interviewer wants to know what you enjoy outside of school work or general work. The answer can be tough to balance, however; on the one hand, you want to be authentic, but you also do not want to seem typical. Ideally, you are interested in business school because you like business. So, if you like reading as a hobby, explain how you like to read business books, magazines, or blogs. Try to use a hobby you enjoy authentically in a way that is a benefit to your intellectual desire to learn about business.
10. Do You Have Any Questions?
The universal rule of thumb is to always have a question. Having a question shows the interviewer that you are engaged and want to learn more or have a legitimate question that came up during the interview answered. Questions about the school’s interactions with certain job sectors or firms, specific details about facilities, student conference opportunities, or anything that might come up in your mind during the interview should be asked. It will show your desire to attend the school.