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How Do I Handle Curveball Questions During My MBA Interview?

How should you answer an unexpected question during your MBA interview? Rosa Homburg, careers expert at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, explains

Mon Nov 1 2021

BusinessBecause
Interviewers like to ask unpredictable questions to gain an insight into MBA candidates’ personality and mindset. In this Applicant Question, careers expert at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, Rosa Homburg, gives her top tips for answering curveball questions.


What are curveball questions?

Although it’s an achievement to reach the interview stage, it still makes most candidates nervous about what to expect. One of the reasons for this is that interviews may include curveball questions—unpredictable questions that seem to be tricky to answer. 

Those questions could be about your weaknesses or failures, and interviewers may also ask you to identify yourself with an object and why. 

Your reaction and answers to those questions give interviewers interesting insights into your mindset, competences, personality, and true motivation. They also show how you handle pressure.


A fast-changing business environment

An MBA is a gateway to your next career level in a business environment that is increasingly complex, where organisations face challenges and uncertainties on a daily basis. 

Irrespective of the career you may choose after your MBA, you will likely face unpredictable situations in which you have to make decisions without knowing what the future may hold. 

Companies expect MBA students to know how to deal with challenges and change, so facing tricky and unexpected questions during your MBA interview can be a great preparation for your future job interviews. 


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©Frankfurt School of Finance & Management via Facebook


How do you prepare for unpredictable questions?

Preparing for unexpected situations seems paradoxical, but it’s possible. Here are some tips for you:

1. Analyse unpredictable situations you have faced

You have probably faced many unexpected situations during your career so far.

Think about specific challenges you have faced, for example during a project at work. Then reflect on your action steps. How did you handle this problem, what did you do to find a solution? 

Finally, note down the outcomes. What did you actually achieve? Analysing and taking note of those situations may help you realize that you have in fact already handled many challenges successfully. 

This may boost your confidence for handling curveball questions.


2. Prepare interview questions, but keep your answers flexible

There are many resources with interview tips, even guides on how to answer curveball questions. However, my advice is to keep your answers flexible enough, possibly just keeping some key words in mind as reference. 

That’s because curveball questions may change or include slight variations in every interview, so listen carefully and then answer. 


3. Be authentic

Preparing answers for possible interview questions is good, but keep in mind that overthinking and too much preparation may be counterproductive. 

It’s also important to stay true to yourself. Don’t rely on pre-fabricated answers that you find online, because interviewers will spot those easily. 

Allow yourself to be spontaneous, a little bit creative, and enjoy the experience.


Read another applicant question

How To Write A Successful MBA Personal Statement

Student Reviews

Frankfurt School of Finance & Management

Student

Verified

11/11/2019

Modern and global

Frankfurt School provided me with one of the best experiences of my life. I was an Erasmus student for a semester and could learn a lot. I took some mainstream courses like marketing and supply chain management, but also some innovative courses like applied persuasion and event planning. The professors are not only germans but from different parts of the world, mostly with international experience. The student life is great, the FS Bulls are a great community that is definitely worth being a part of. The best part is the campus, newly built with ultra modern architecture located in on the of the best neighbourhoods in Frankfurt am Main. You can find accomodation right next to it, many student residences at a fair price.

Student

Verified

30/09/2019

Career Oriented

I am a first year at the Frankfurt School and have been a prt of it for only a month; however, I can say for sure that the university provides its students with all the opportunities to grow professionally and personally. The majority of the professors are or have been successful professionals who easily relate the course material with real life and make lectures enjoyable. The extra curricular activities provided by the university are also a great step to life after graduation and give a head start for the students career.

Student

Verified

27/09/2019

University giving its students education of high quality and career prospects.

This university has helped me gain knowledge and experiences, that I lacked in my home country. Being in a great international surrounding, I have the opportunity to prosper and learn every day. The study program is very engaging, and the lecturers help you grow.

Student

Verified

17/11/2019

FSFM

I’m a bachelor student at Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and my overall experience was better than I expected. The classes have a small number of students, which makes the relationship with the professor better because they become easier to approach. During my years of study, I had both practical and theoretical classes, like innovation management, big data & analytics, econometrics. But the theories and concepts are directly applied to real-life problems due to many professors working in banks or consultancies, which is really good. FS supports students in finding internships and semesters abroad, but when it comes to housing not so much because it’s not that easy in Frankfurt. FS offers dorms, but it is only to a limited amount of students and the facilities aren’t the best. In terms of student organizations, there are a lot of different sport clubs for almost every kind of sport, also student consulting, student investment club, student politics club, music, arts, etc. Living in Frankfurt is good, it is very multicultural in Germany, with lots of cultural actives, museums, parks, etc. The nightlife is also nice with proper nightclubs compared to the size of the city, Gibson, Velvet, Adlib to name a few, and there also is a bar district in Alt-Sachsenhausend and a lot of bars where bankers go in the city center. The campus is not really comparable to an actual campus like the American universities, but it’s a big modern building that was built 2 years ago. I would definitely recommend it to a friend if you're willing to pay that much for uni, because there are still a lot of public unis in Germany that are comparably good (Mannheim, Goethe, LMU Munich...).

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