Earning your MBA offers a great way to expand your job options and build a fulfilling career. To get into one of these programs, though, you’ll first need to do well on the MBA interview. Business schools conduct these interviews to learn more about MBA candidates. For many schools, this interview plays an important role in determining whether to accept candidates into MBA programs. While you might be nervous about your interview, there are ways to prepare and set your mind at ease. Knowing what to expect during your interview and how to get ready for it can help you feel more confident. Keep the following MBA interview preparation tips in mind.
Do All MBA Programs Interview?
Business schools typically rely on interviews to help them make decisions on which MBA program candidates to accept. When you apply to an MBA program, you should be prepared to do an interview. While you might come across a business school that doesn’t do interviews, this is rare. MBA interviews help business schools learn more about candidates and determine if they are a good fit for their MBA program. During these interviews, business schools pay close attention to the way candidates respond to questions and how they present themselves in terms of their appearance, personality, and demeanor.
How to Prepare for an MBA Interview
When preparing for an MBA interview, you might focus mainly on the questions you’ll be asked. However, there’s more that goes into MBA interview preparation. You’ll also need to carefully choose what you’ll wear and bring with you. These tips can help you make sure you’re fully ready for your interview, so you can focus on making a good impression.
What to Bring to an MBA Interview
You don’t need to worry about bringing much to your MBA interview. Your interviewers should have a copy of your resume, your admissions essay, and any other documents they might want to ask you about during the interview. You can bring copies of your resume in a portfolio just in case and a small notebook and pen if you want to take any notes, but you should avoid bringing other items, such as bottled water.
What to Wear to an MBA Interview
When dressing for your MBA interview, you should aim to make a good first impression on your interviewers. This means leaving the jeans and casual attire at home and putting on a business suit or other appropriate attire instead. You should dress professionally for your interview, which could range from a formal suit to a business casual outfit, depending on your interviewers. Some business schools prefer suits, while others prefer a more casual professional look. If your interview is taking place virtually, keep in mind that the same rules apply. You should wear professional attire for your virtual interview rather than dressing in jeans and a t-shirt.
How to Introduce Yourself for an MBA Interview
The way you introduce yourself during your MBA interview can make an immediate impression on your interviewers. Whether that impression is a positive or negative one depends on how your introduction goes. When introducing yourself, you should give a few basic details, such as your name, occupation or academic status, and a brief description of your family background. You should avoid going into detail about your family, where you live, your early school years, and other information that isn’t relevant. While introducing yourself, make sure you do so with confidence.
12 Common Interview Questions for MBA Admission
During MBA admission interviews, you can expect to answer several questions. While these questions can vary depending on who is interviewing you, MBA schools typically ask some common ones. Knowing what these questions are ahead of time allows you to prepare your answers. In addition to figuring out what you’ll say, you should practice giving your answers. Doing this can help you feel calmer and more confident during your interview. These are some of the most common questions asked during MBA interviews.
1. What can you tell us about yourself?
Your interviewers ask this to get to know you better in terms of your academic and work experience, as well as your career goals. You should spend a few minutes talking about your undergraduate accomplishment and experience. Talk about any relevant work experience along with any accomplishments. Avoid using this time to talk about anything that isn’t relevant to your career goals or your decision to pursue your MBA.
2. What leadership traits do you have?
Business schools are looking for MBA candidates who have strong leadership skills, such as being able to solve problems, make decisions, delegate responsibilities, communicate effectively, and provide effective feedback. You should discuss the leadership skills you’ve developed at school or at work. Some interviewers might ask for an example of a time where you were able to use your leadership skills, so it’s best to be prepared and think of one ahead of time.
3. What are your strengths?
Think about what kinds of strengths would make you a good MBA candidate and talk about a few you possess. Do you have excellent communication skills? Are you good at team-building or collaborating with others? Do you have outstanding time management skills or decision-making skills? Discuss a few of your biggest strengths and come up with examples of how you’ve used them at work or school. The answer to this question can show why you might be a good fit for the school’s MBA program.
4. What are your weaknesses?
Talking about your weaknesses can be difficult. You don’t want to give your interviewers a bad impression based on these weaknesses. However, keep in mind that they’re looking for honest answers to this. They’re also interested in finding out how you’ve handled situations where you had to overcome your weaknesses. Think about a couple of weaknesses you have, such as managing your time poorly or struggling to make tough decisions. While thinking about these, you should also make sure you can talk about situations where you were able to overcome these weaknesses.
5. Why are you interested in earning an MBA?
Interviewers want to know why they should consider choosing you for their MBA program over other candidates. For this question, think about why you decided to earn your MBA. Ideally, this should tie into your career goals. For example, you might talk about deciding to take on a leadership role in business and how earning your MBA can help you accomplish this. Avoid making it sound like earning a higher salary is your sole or main reason for earning an MBA. Interviewers are looking for candidates who have solid reasons for wanting to pursue this degree.
6. Why did you choose this school?
This question gives you a chance to show that you’ve done your research on the school and MBA program. You should talk about why you specifically chose this school or program from among all the options you had. For example, you might mention smaller class sizes, an online MBA program option, or course offerings. Your answer should let the interviewers know that this school or program offers exactly what you’re looking for.
7. What makes you a good candidate for this school?
This question offers another opportunity to show how much research you’ve done and what your skills are. For this question, talk about specific reasons that you are an ideal candidate for the school. For example, you might discuss how the school’s online program is perfect for you if you currently work full-time or you might mention how your skills make you an ideal candidate for the school’s MBA program.
8. What are your long-term goals?
Your long-term goals should be focused on your career. For example, you might talk about how you want to build a career in finance or healthcare management and how having an MBA with a career-focused concentration in your chosen area can help. When talking about your long-term goals, mention how earning your MBA is an important part of being able to achieve them.
9. What are your short-term goals?
Your short-term goals can focus more on your immediate situation, such as goals at work or school. These goals should be achievable in a short timeframe. For example, you might mention aiming for a certain GPA at school or completing an upcoming project at work. Your short-term goals should be more concrete than your long-term goals.
10. What has been your most challenging experience in school or at work so far?
This question gives you a chance to show interviewers that you were able to successfully deal with a difficult or challenging situation. Think about your toughest challenge at work or school, such as struggling with a complex project or having problems collaborating with co-workers or fellow students. Explain how you handled this situation in a way that highlights the skills and strengths you used.
11. What do you think the biggest challenge will be if you’re admitted to this MBA program?
For this question, interviewers are interested in finding out whether you have realistic expectations when it comes to MBA programs. To answer this question, consider what aspects of this program might be challenging, and explain how you plan to handle this challenge. For example, how you will manage your time wisely to handle a heavier academic workload while also working full-time.
12. What do you like most about your current job or most recent school year?
This kind of question gives you an opportunity to focus on positive aspects of school or work rather than challenges and difficulties. When answering this question, think about what you’re passionate about at work or school. You might discuss how your job allows you to improve your community or help others, or you might discuss how the most recent classes you took tie into your long-term career goals. If you have trouble coming up with something you’re passionate about, at least think of a positive experience to mention.
Questions to Ask an MBA Interviewer
You’re not the only one being interviewed. In fact, you should ask your interviewers a few questions during your interview. Your interviewers should provide you with an opportunity to do so after they have questioned you. Examples of questions you might want to ask include where you should focus your time and efforts in your MBA program based on your goals or what they might change about the MBA program from an objective point of view. You can also ask about common traits that successful MBA students at the school typically have and how the MBA program might grow in the next few years.
With these preparation tips, you should find it easier to get ready for your MBA interview. If you’re in the process of choosing an MBA program, please contact the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) today. Our Gary W. Rollins College of Business offers a 100 percent online MBA program, as well as a flexible programs with online and in-person classes. You can choose the program that works best for you and explore our career-focused concentrations in healthcare administration, business analytics, and finance.