Should You Accept That MBA Admissions Offer?


Interviewing with Alumni

And you thought interview with admissions is tough? Just wait until you sit down with an alum!

They are the ultimate gatekeepers, the guardians of tradition and excellence. Sure, classmates stay in touch. But these alums remain connected the faculty and administration. And they take their role – separating believers from imposters – very seriously.

But here’s why alumni interviews can be so stressful for applicants: They’re unpredictable. They may last 15 minutes – or however long it takes to enjoy a four course meal. They are individuals who may not be looking for the same qualities and experiences; what impresses one person may seem standard to another. Some don’t bother reviewing your application. Others will scour your tweets from the past six months. In other words, you need to quickly size up the alum quickly – and adapt your approach on the fly. No pressure there, right?

Many times, schools supply a list of questions to alumni. But that doesn’t mean they’ll follow the program (or ask follow ups of their own). So what types of questions can you expect?

Previously, Clear Admit published a series of first round interview questions asked by adcoms at programs ranging from Kellogg to Fuqua. Based on stories from applicants themselves, here are some questions to prepare for at your alumni interview:

University of Chicago Booth School of Business:

  • If you want to do [Insert Field], why do you choose Booth?
  • Tell me about your experience in retail.
  • Tell me about a time that you failed.
  • Tell me about how you handle a conflict.

 Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business:

  • Why did you pursue X job? What was your biggest accomplishment there?
  • What is your immediate short term goal? How do you think you will accomplish it?
  • Any regrets you have in your professional career?
  • Which other schools have you applied to? Which school will you chose if all of them accept you.
  • What about Duke attracts you to the school?

Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management:

“The alumni interviewer…began with questions I expected related to my application – tell me about yourself, why you decided to go to this undergrad, why you took this job, why business school now, what you want to do after MBA, and why Kellogg, your leadership experience, other skills you bring to the classroom. I was surprised at how depth they expect you to know Kellogg – the culture, academics, opportunities. For why Kellogg it was very important to understand what sets the school apart from others and why the school is particularly suited to your career goals.”

University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business:

“The adcom let me tell my story for the first 15 to 20 mins. Little to no follow up questions or interjections. After I finished she asked me very predictable fit type questions – why Darden MBA, why now, what do you how to get involved with, etc.”


To read additional questions and observations, click on the Clear Admit links below.

Sources: Clear Admit (Booth), Clear Admit (Fuqua), Clear Admit (Kellogg), Clear Admit (Darden)

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