Nailing The MBA Admissions Interview

You’ve made it so far. All of your application components came together to create an impressive portrait of a candidate that earned you an interview invitation. Now you need to prove that you’re as impressive in person as you are on paper.

I know—it’s easier said than done. The following tips will help you prepare for your interview so you enter on the big day feeling confident, optimistic, and ready to let your top choice MBA program know that you’re ready for business!

MBA Interview Tip #1: Relax

Anxiety will only trip you up, bust your confidence, and possibly make for an awkward, uncomfortable interview. To ease tense nerves, try learning some deep breathing exercises or visualizations to calm you down just before entering your interview, and even during it. Also, being well prepared is a sure way to build confidence and cut back on anxiety.

MBA Interview Tip #2: Know Thyself

Be able to answer the following crucial questions in a heartbeat: What are your short-term goals? What are your long-term goals? What do you hope to gain from attending this program? What will you contribute to your peers? To society? Which examples will you provide if asked about a leadership experience, a time when you failed, or your response to criticism?

MBA Interview Tip #3: Be Prepared to Answer Questions about Your Past

Knowing your resume, work accomplishments, and personal achievements is a good place to start, but you’re going to have to do more than simply reel off lists at your interview. Question the major turning points in your life that have brought you to this point. What did you gain from this particular job? From an influential experience? What if you hadn’t accepted that position?

MBA Interview Tip #4: Have Examples Ready

Your interviewer will probably ask you questions about your leadership experience, your goals, your strengths, and your weaknesses. A bland answer of “I’m good at motivating others” won’t cut it; instead, offer an example of a time in which your strength or leadership quality really carried you (and others) through a difficult situation.

MBA Interview Tip #5: Do Your School Research Beforehand

An interview isn’t just one-sided; you’ll be given a chance to ask questions too. Make sure that you’ve done your school research in advance—browsed the website, spoken to alumni and current students, etc.—so that you don’t end up asking a question whose answer you should already know. Furthermore, knowing about your target school’s mission, goals, and atmosphere will help you prove to your interviewer not only that you want to attend this school, but that you belong there.

Be prepared for your MBA interview. Review feedback from those who preceded you in the hot seat in the MBA Interview Feedback Database.

Linda Abraham is the CEO and founder of, a leading MBA admissions consultancy, and co-author of the new book, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.  Linda has been helping MBA applicants gain acceptance to top MBA programs since 1994.

Our Series on the Essentials of an Awesome MBA Application

Part I: The GMAT

Part II: Grade Point Average

Part III: Extracurricular Experience

Part IV: Work Experience

Part V: Leadership

Part VI: MBA Goals

Part VII: The MBA Resume

Part VIII: Getting Killer Recommendation Letters