MBA interviews can be an anxiety-inducing part of the MBA application process. It's always difficult being put on the spot and selling yourself to admissions panels. To help those of you preparing for interview, we’ve gathered some successful strategies used by MBAs at their own interviews.
Any applicant who’s done their research will discover that questions typically revolve around background and work experience, career aspirations, knowledge of that particular school’s program and what makes it a good fit.
We asked our MBAs how best to approach interview preparation. There seems to be an art to succeeding at these interviews. Read on for some valuable tips!
Questions to expect
Joy Hunhammer was first to tell us about her experience of interviewing for a place on Copenhagen Business School full-time MBA program.
Joy grew up in Norway and worked as a branch manager and as a senior human resources advisor for Sparebanken Vest before heading to Copenhagen Business School.
In her MBA admissions interview, Joy was asked about her reasons for applying to the program. The admissions manager was keen to know if she wanted to do the MBA for the potential salary rise or to really develop herself in the long-run. She was also asked about her future career plans.
Her advice for applicants is to really reflect on why they want to study the MBA. She said: “Reflect! Why do you want to do this? Why here and not somewhere else? Make a list of the most important points and arguments for your choice, and be sure to bring that with you as a back-up note if or when you start questioning yourself.”
Prayer Trairatvorakul, a current MBA at IESE Business School, Spain stressed that your motivation for applying for the program has to be clear. At the interview, Prayer recalled being asked for her short and long term plans after the MBA; how the MBA could prepare her for it; why IESE; what other schools she had applied to; and the quintessential "Tell me about yourself" question.
These were questions relating to the written application, so Prayer didn’t find them too difficult.
On the questions of why IESE, Prayer talked about the diversity in the program, her personal motivation to continue with her knowledge of Spanish and pursue a bilingual MBA, a couple of professors she looked forward to taking classes with, the emphasis on ethics as stated in the school’s mission statement and, of course, Barcelona.
To the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question, Prayer talked about the different places she had lived and grown up, her former life as a poetry major and advertising creative, and aligning that with reasons for pursuing an MBA.
She wanted to move herself into decision-making roles on the business side that would be almost impossible for a person of her educational and professional background to do without additional skills and qualifications.
Check out our podcast The Business School Question.
Dario Maglione recalls being asked why he wanted to join Lancaster, if he was aware of the live projects, why he would make a good fit, what sort of experiences he could bring to the table, why he deserved a scholarship from the school, and what he felt would be the likely business and economic climate when he graduated in a year.
Dario worked as an engineer before heading to Lancaster University Management School.
He recently graduated from the full-time MBA and when we spoke he was deciding between four job offers.
He remembered how he spent over a year and a half getting into the habit of following current business and economics issues. He was a regular reader of papers like the Financial Times so at his interview was able to speak confidently about foreseeing fewer opportunities in the financial services sector and more in fast-growing Asia and the BRIC markets. Because Dario did not have a lot of business exposure, he was keen to show off...
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