Logo BusinessBecause - The business school voice
mobile search icon

MBAs Share Their Tough Job Interview Questions

How do you prove to a recruiter that you're not going to leave after three months? MBAs share some tough job interview questions!

By  Ifeatu Nnaobi

Thu Nov 22 2012

Unless you've inherited a cushy board position in the family business, job interviews are an expected part of MBA life. But if you do your preparation well, MBA-style, job interviews shouldn't be something to freak out about, at least according to four people we spoke to recently. 
We asked MBAs from Grenoble Ecole de Management, EMLYON Business School, IE Business School and ESSEC Business School if any job interview questions have made them stutter, break out in a sweat or fall silent for, um, a bit too long.
To our surprise, they seemed to have handled their job interview questions quite confidently. However, the questions they found the toughest revolved around persuading the recruiter that they were the right person for the job. 
Viviane Picard, who studied at Grenoble Ecole de Management and now works for JP Morgan says that questions like: "Why you and not somebody else?" are especially common, and irritating, in the finance world. “I really don’t like it, but the guy has seen ten other people who are also good and experienced. This question then becomes about showing how driven and motivated you are and making the person believe how solid you are”, she says. 
Recruiters say that once a candidate has been invited to a job interview, he or she stands as good a chance as everyone else. When former Siemens engineer Kamal Middya, an EMLYON MBA, applied for a job at a Belgian start-up, they asked: "Can you adapt well to a more flexible environment that is continuously evolving?"
He says, “The start-up bosses asked me if I could be comfortable creating systems where none existed. This was tricky because I didn’t have the experience in doing this but then I had an MBA that I could draw on”. 
ESSEC Global MBA grad Mikaël de Talhouët had spent all of his working life in the French Military and the French Fire Brigade. He was asked: "How will you adapt to professional life in the private sector?". He answered the question by clearly explaining how his unusual background could prove an advantage.
“I explained to them how working for the military gives you special leadership skills but I made sure that I clearly stated my objectives in wanting to work for the company”, he says. 
Not all interview questions are as straightforward as these ones. Another EMLYON MBA, Kofi Boakye, was asked: "Persuade me that you won't leave after three months". He was able to talk his way through that. He was hired and spent more than three months in the job! 
IE Business School MBA Arti Sinha was asked: "What is the square root of 1000?" in a consulting interview. “I went blank for about three seconds but that was because I wasn’t prepared. I quickly pulled myself together and answered it”, she says. 
Like the other MBAs we spoke to, Arti is of the opinion that there are no tough questions in terms of who you are and what you’ve done. She says, “It’s just that sometimes they [the interviewer] can take you by surprise. When you are prepared you know what part of your story you want to share.”
Good luck to all the MBAs currently interviewing and don’t forget to share the tough questions they throw at you along the way! 
Photo Credit: Brian Gosline