How to Answer Common MBA Interview Questions
Getting admission in an MBA college demands a lot of effort. But it can be quite simple when you focus on the right aspects of securing an admit in your dream school.
First things first, you need to score fairly well in the required aptitude test or have a good GMAT or GRE score and meet the minimum score requirement as laid by the target university.
Also, some B-schools demand proof of English language proficiency, thus you need to have a good score in TOEFL or IELTS or PTE. Upon meeting the requisite admission and eligibility criterion, short-listed candidates have to crack the face-to-face or online interview.
Thus, as you peruse further, you will come across a few commonly asked interview questions.
But before moving to the crux, here are some basic tips to bear in mind for your interview round:
- Be confident about what you speak. Don’t be overconfident. The intent is to protect yourself comprehensively.
- When any prompt is based on your interest area, you need to showcase your underlying values as to why and how you developed an interest in that particular field. The more you know about yourself, and the better you can portray, and your selection chances get probably higher.
- You need not dig deep into your personal experiences that might flush the interviewer.
- Dressing appropriately and neatly is crucial. It’s advisable to have a formal attire, irrespective of the mode of interview, i.e., online or offline.
- Most importantly, when you enter the interview room, always remember to greet the interviewer(s) or the admissions committee formally.
Tips For Tackling MBA Interview Questions
1. Find out the most common MBA interview Questions
The first step to preparing for an MBA interview is to research the most common questions posed by your preferred university. Usually, there is a fixed set of questions certain asked by top-ranking universities. Although there is no surety that only these MBA interview questions will be put forth during the process, it would be helpful if you are well prepared for at least 60%-70% of the questions. You can get started by obtaining a sample of your potential MBA school’s interview transcript. Even though these are slightly modified versions, they will give you an insight into the entire flow of the interview process. In addition to that, you can make a comprehensive list of the commonly asked MBA interview questions. These can range from questions about your personality traits to your future goals and aspirations.
2. Prepare sample answers for recurring questions
Regardless of how confident you are in your oratory abilities, being well prepared for MBA interview questions is a must. To accomplish this, you can prepare a rough draft of what your answers would be like to general and specific questions. You can begin by revisiting the essay questions that you submitted earlier and identify your strengths and weaknesses. It is best if you are aware of your strong points to build them on them and mould them according to the questions asked by the admissions committee. It would also be a good idea to make your answers crisp and ensure that they align with the beliefs of your target MBA school. Finally, it would help if you made sure that your answers don’t have any loopholes, which means that they should solidify your knowledge and skills by creating a sense of coherence between your past experiences and future goals.
3. Understand the interview process of the chosen business school
The more you’ll understand the interview process of your target business school, the better it’ll be for you. Subsequently, it will increase your odds of getting admitted to your preferred business school. Thus, you need to figure out as many details about the interview process you can to be well prepared. Some universities have an interview panel consisting of several interviewers, while others conduct one-on-one interviews. You also need to pay attention to the typical duration of the interview round of your university and prepare accordingly. For example, some interviewers only have access to your resume, so they focus on that, while others know your profile inside out, so they are free to pose behavioural questions. This allows them more leeway to look into your abilities, learn about your background, and determine whether you’ll be suitable for the program.
Additionally, other schools might put you in a team and ask you to solve a business problem with other prospective candidates to test your team-working skills. Moreover, in some rare cases, the school might require you to send a video essay in addition to the written ones to get a sense of your potential to answer questions on the spot without any prior preparation.
4. Try to arrange a mock interview session
You might mug up all the important pieces of information to cover in your interview, but you cannot predict how it’ll turn out. Another practical step you can adopt during your preparation process is asking your mentor or peers to help you with a mock interview. No matter how prolific your answers are on paper, all your efforts will go in vain if you cannot deliver them effectively. Therefore you must try to create an interview-like atmosphere and practice answering MBA interview questions on the spot. Having someone assess your speaking skills and ability to stay on track with the given topic can significantly help you identify your shortcomings and areas of improvement. You can also record yourself while answering these questions and figure out where you lack and what you can do to improve.
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How to Crack your MBA Interview | Preparation Tips
Now, let’s have a look at the most common MBA college interview questions:
The personal interview round is a crucial part of the selection process of a prestigious business school. It seeks to gauge an applicant’s interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively. If you aren’t well prepared, it can be especially difficult. Here is a list of most common MBA interview questions:
- Tell me about yourself
This is the most common question. Be it a college or a job interview, this question is considered as an important metric to analyze an individual.
This question needs to be answered patiently and carefully. The way you answer would reflect on how much you know about yourself.
While answering this, you can highlight any of your professional achievements or personal experiences that helped you shape your demeanour.
Try to keep the answer short, around 2- 3 minutes, and everything you talk about would enable the interviewer to gain insights into your personality.
- Why did you choose an MBA?
This is more of an academic question rather than a personal one. You need to describe how your academic achievements motivated you to take up an MBA course.
Here, you also need to mention what you expect from the MBA course and also emphasize how it would help you achieve your career goals. You can gear your answer towards the benefits of the MBA program such as its market value, credibility, job opportunities, and the like.
- Why did you apply to this University (or) Why did you apply for this course?
You need to show them that you have done your research beforehand and also need to persuade them that this university is your most preferred choice.
You can quote varying instances while you answer this question, such as the facilities provided in the college, the campus area, faculty who are dealing with students, what the course would offer you, job placements, opportunities to develop networks, etc. For this, students must study the course-specific brochure and equip themselves with the details relevant to the repute of the university and the program offered by it.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
Being specific here is the key. You need to be clear and crisp while answering this question. You need to cite examples of how an MBA would help you materialize your goals. Also, goal clarity gives the interviewer the impression that you are quite organized and are serious about your career.
Your short-term goals need to convey your immediate post-graduate plans, whereas your long-term goals shall consist of the career plan you wish to materialize after 10 years or more after pursuing your masters’.
- Discuss a time when you were a leader (or) Give examples where you displayed extraordinary leadership?
This question seeks to know when and where you partook leadership roles, it could be anywhere whether in your high-school or workplace.
You can cite examples of leadership such as if you have ever led a sports team, you can describe how you have maintained team spirit and how everyone contributed to the success of your team.
You can also portray how you encourage your team members in times of grief and help them in organizing events and making them successful.
- How do your peers/supervisors describe you?
You need to describe anything related to your personal and professional characteristics. Don’t make things up rather try quoting realistic incidents smartly.
The interviewer would already know what kind of a person you are because your supervisor is the one who would have written your Letter of Recommendation.
Thus, you can picture what kind of a batchmate you have been and would benefit the peer group in their school. If you have worked prior to enrolling for a tagged MBA, you can also emphasize how you were at your current workplace.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Portray your strengths which help you stand out from others and also share any experiences to support your statements. Since no one is born perfect, you shall also know about the weaknesses you have or have faced in a particular situation but need to mend your statement such that you are taking steps to overcome them.
You need to drive the conversation towards the positive side by stating how you were able to tackle the situation and how stable you were during tough times.
- Tell me about a time where you overcame a particularly difficult challenge at work? How did you add value?
Think of any unusual experiences you might have faced or felt difficulty in facing. Don’t mention any small problems you have faced. Be subtly frank about what you have faced and how did it happen.
While stating the problem do not exaggerate or get into unnecessary details, and instead, just state the outline. You can also make a mention about who helped you in facing that situation.
Further, you can talk about how it contributed to your values and skills. This question just displays how you attempt to learn from perilous situations.
- What are you most looking forward to in business school?
You can portray how you are ready to face challenges and take up the opportunities thrown at you. Research the university well in advance so that you know what kind of opportunities they provide to students and quote it as an example.
Few universities also provide global/international tours which are both about fun and insightful.
You can also quote how you are going to manage your time and work to excel in your studies while being actively engaged outside the classroom as well.
- If you are admitted to our program, what do you think your biggest challenge will be?
You should be aware of the challenges faced by MBA graduates. You can elaborate on what potential challenges you might face or would have to face as a full-time or a part-time student and can explain how you are going to tackle that problem.
Also, challenges can be either small or big, but the interviewer’s only focus is to know how you plan to tackle such problems and challenges on your masters’ journey.
- Describe a time where you had to adapt to a different culture.
MBA colleges are diverse and invite people from varying cultures. Hence, you need to show that you are comfortable living and studying in a multicultural environment and that you are empathetic towards other cultures as well.
- What do you like most about your current work?
This question is specific to working professionals. Here, candidates can showcase their passion for work. If you like your work atmosphere or the opportunities you get there you can mention them.
The interviewer rather than knowing your annual package is more interested in knowing what you wish to churn out from your efforts and dedication in your career. Thus, candidates can talk about how their current workplace is enabling them to build on their skillset.
- Tell me about a time when you failed and how you overcame it.
Remember this point without fail that the failure has to be legitimate. It could be because of your whole team or just you. An act of negligence could be stated but it should be backed with strong reasoning. You need to mention and concentrate on how capable you are to tackle and solve complex problems.
Describe the end result you could realize and explain what you have learned from the situation and how it has helped you further in your workplace or in your routine activities.
- Describe how you managed to work with a poor manager.
This question tests your perception of your ideal manager. It is best that you briefly explain the problems you have had with your manager rather than blaming or criticizing him. You can state how you managed and adapted to the situation, how empathetic you were and how you made it work even though you were faced with such obstacles.
This question is asked to test and judge your fitness and adaptability to face unpleasant situations. While in business you come across several difficulties whether it be from colleagues or seniors, the way you handle or plan to approach them without losing your temper and criticizing your manager is tested by the interviewer.
- Why should we admit you?
This question evaluates how you would contribute to the program and the university. You can elaborate on how you are going to utilize the opportunities you will encounter during the program and what requisite skills and knowledge do you have which makes you a perfect fit for the program.
This is a trick question. Do not boast about yourself in an exaggerated manner. If you really have the personality and determination to get into the program, state a few compelling reasons and goals alongside explaining how your values and drive would enable you to positively contribute to the program as well as the society.
What are the most peculiar aspects in your profile?
In this question you need to answer what sets you apart from other candidates in your field of interest. Use this as an opportunity to expand on relevant qualities that make you the best fit for the programme. By having an honest and informative answer, you can help the admission committee recognize the valuable assets you will bring to the university. Talk about what qualities and skills make you a better fit for the course. Also put light on the endeavours you have taken up and the significant impacts created during your professional front.
- So far, what has been your most fulfilling academic experience?
- Give an example of a moment when you didn’t live up to someone’s expectations. What steps did you take to fix the situation?
- What other colleges or programmes are you considering?
- What do you expect from this MBA degree?
- What aspects of your current job do you enjoy the most?
- Can you tell me about a moment when you collaborated with someone whose personality is drastically different from yours?
- Can you talk about a recent significant achievement?
- How do you plan on utilizing the MBA degree to advance your career?
MBA HR Interview Questions
Q1. What is your motivation behind pursuing this specialization?
Q2. Discuss an instance wherein you handled a high-pressure situation.
Q3. Mention one aspect of HR management that interests you the most.
Q4. Talk about a situation where you used your problem-solving skills.
Q5. What do you think is the importance of analytical skills for an HR manager?
Q6. Have you ever had to depose anyone? How did you feel about that?
Q7. Explain the difference between group and team. Are you a team player?
Q8. How do you feel about feedback and criticism?
Q9. Can you describe your time-management skills?
Q10. As an HR Manager, how will you drive results?
MBA Finance Interview Questions
Q1. What do you know about investment banking?
Q2. What are the different kinds of taxes?
Q3. Could you explain how Private Banking operates?
Q4. What do you think is the major difference between horizontal and vertical mergers?
Q5. Why do you think that cost and financial account reconciliation is necessary?
Q6. What do you mean by Preference Capital?
Q7. What is the Difference Between Cost Accounting and Costing?
Q8. What is the scope of finance function?
Q9. Is it possible for a company to show positive cash flows but be in grave trouble?
Q10. Highlight the difference between real money and nominal money.
These questions might sound easy at a glance but are difficult. Do remember that these questions need to be answered carefully and keep in mind not to boast too much about yourself or criticize the referred person in your answer.
Be positive and confident in your being as your body language speaks a lot about you. Stay calm before the interview and don’t panic. These questions can be answered easily with wit if you prepare well beforehand and be a bit realistic while answering the interview questions.
Also, do not jump into unnecessary or personal details unless asked to elaborate on by the interviewer.
Hope these tips help you prepare better for your MBA interview.
ALL THE BEST!
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