Chicago Booth | Mr. Plantain & Salami
GMAT 580, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Filling In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28
Ross | Ms. Business Development
GMAT Targetting 740, GPA 4.0
UCLA Anderson | Ms. Triathlete
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
Columbia | Mr. Oil & Gas
GMAT 710, GPA 3.37
Chicago Booth | Ms. IB Hopeful
GMAT 710, GPA 2.77
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance Strategy
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Wharton | Mr. Market Analyst
GMAT 770, GPA 7.2/10
Harvard | Mr. Banking & Finance
GMAT 700, GPA 3.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
MIT Sloan | Ms. Canadian Civil Servant
GRE 332, GPA 3.89
Wharton | Ms. Energy To Healthcare
GMAT 740, GPA 8.4/10
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
MIT Sloan | Mr. Generic Nerd
GMAT 720, GPA 3.72
MIT Sloan | Mr. Brazil Consultant
GMAT 700, GPA 3.4
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Musician To Consultant
GMAT 710, GPA 1.6
Stanford GSB | Mr. Finance Man
GMAT 720, GPA 3.21
Yale | Ms. Social Impact
GMAT 680, GPA 3.83

How Not To BLOW Your HBS Interview

REPORT 4

“I interviewed yesterday with Adcom Person 1 (interviewer) and Adcom Person 2 (observer). Overall I think it went well. It was very focused on my experiences that I’ve had in the past few years. They were both friendly and the tone was conversational. They asked me the following questions:

What has made me successful at consulting firm

Asked several specific questions about some of my cases (probably spent ~7-10 minutes on this)

Asked about a time a client was pushing back or being passive aggressive

How my skills from one case have transferred to another case

What I liked to do for fun

If there was anything else I wanted to talk about”

REPORT 5

The interview went pretty well. The questions were all pretty straightforward, many from the lists you provided, while many were tailored to my resume. No real surprises, nothing from out in left field.

My interview was on campus at HBS. [Women 1 and 2] interviewed me. Woman 2 was the observer. Woman 1 asked me the following questions:

When did you arrive in Boston, and what have you been doing since arriving?

Did you go to a class? What did you think of it?

Woman 2, the observer, has seen your resume but not your full application. Can you introduce yourself to her, with the objective of explaining why you have ended up where you are?

What do you want to do after graduate school?

You wrote in your essay about [x experience] [lots of follow up questions]

What is a sector are you currently looking into, and what makes it interesting from an investment perspective?

What was your favorite deal at the investment bank you worked at? [follow up questions]

What’s a company you admire and why? [follow up questions]

Sandy, that’s going to be really helpful to a lot of candidates. I think those questions also very predictable and in a way reassuring. But is it really fair to say the interview is meant to weed out people?

I talk to lots of people who have been interviewed and then get official feedback from HBS, which is something they offer in various formats for applicants who have been dinged after interview (but not to applicants who have not been interviewed).  By far, the biggest reason given for the ding is an interview screw up.  Here is a typical example, Dee said  that I should try to “interview in more real-time, not try and come across too polished or canned…. Here’s a quote she read me from my interview report,  ‘seemed like he was worried about getting all of his points across in 30 minutes’”.

So what is the take away from that? 

The biggest mistake people make in preparing for the HBS interview is worrying about trick questions. In fact, the Poets&Quants’ story The Most Unpredictable Questions HBS Asks is something of a disservice because those “oddball” questions get people preparing clever answers and searching for more oddball questions.

Hey, I love that story and those questions are real. So which oddball questions are you talking about?

Here are some of them:

What are the two best pieces of advice you have been given, and why?

What do you want to be remembered as?

What is your definition of a leader? How do you fit that definition?

How do you make big decisions?

How would your parents describe you when you were twelve?

What is one thing I’d never have guessed about you, even after reading your application?

What is the one thing you would like me to remember about you?

And now, John, by reprinting them we have put the elephant in the room and people reading this will do just that. Think about oddball questions and clever answers.  That was cruel fun, but my advice to applicants facing interviews is NOT to do that.

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.