Writing An Effective MBA Resume

Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School

What Harvard Business School Asks MBA Candidates


Based on the rancor, you’d assume that Harvard Business School – not Stanford – was the number one MBA program. Take your pick: The school is sexist or elitist – and its case-based curriculum is woefully out of touch according to critics. Maybe such criticisms are comfort to the 8,490 full-time applicants that Harvard  rejected last year. In reality, those seeking a bastion of cold-hearted blue blood privilege are bound to be disappointed by Harvard. Women comprised over 40 percent of the student body in 2014-2015. Minority (25 percent) and international students (35 percent) were also well-represented. Oh, and over half of students enjoyed need-based scholarships.

For many applicants, Harvard is the dream school. Prestige and tradition is one driver. The network is another. From banking and consulting to entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise, Harvard is a leader. As a graduate, you’re almost certain to land a job…and a cool $140K package or more to start.

Before all that, you need to get in –nearly 90 percent of applicants don’t. If you’re talented enough to get past the gatekeeper, you’ll probably land an interview. Here, Harvard is seeking attributes like leadership, service, drive, intellectual curiosity, and vision, says Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, a leading b-school admissions consulting firm. So what types of questions can you expect in a HBS interview? Here are some sample questions that you should be prepared to answer:

  • What is your leadership style?
  • What book are you currently reading?
  • Name a leader that you admire.
  • Where will you be five to seven years post-MBA?
  • How will you continue learning in your next position?
  • What will you do if you do not get into business school this year?
  • Describe a situation where you successfully responded to change.
  • Describe a time when you helped someone at work.
  • Describe a mistake you’ve made within the past three years.
  • How would you describe your style for teaching peers?
  • Tell me about a time you failed.

Harvard adcoms, alumni, and students ask plenty of other questions, which are collected by Clear Admit as part of their admissions interview round ups. Here are some additional questions that you may want to prepare for if you interview with Harvard:

  • How would you explain an income statement to a non-finance person?
  • What areas of business interest you outside of your field?
  • What is the biggest threat to your company and what is your strategy to mitigate it?
  • If I talk to your team mates ( I lead a team), what kind of a leader will they tell me you are?
  • What does a typical day at your current job look like?
  • Tell me about a time when you received a piece of constructive feedback.
  • What makes X person at your company such a good leader? / What could this person do better?
  • Imagine I didn’t read your application, who are you?
  • What’s a company you admire and why?
  • What is some aspect of your personality you’re working on?
  • What professional criticism have you received that has really resonated with you?
  • When did you have trouble working in an interdisciplinary group?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • What comes easily to you? What comes harder?
  • An MBA is a major investment. What is it that would make it worth the time/money?
  • You seem to have a good amount of experience in negotiations, what component of negotiating is art and what part is science?
  • When you meet new people, what is their first impression of you and is this in line with how you actually are?
  • If there was no such thing as an MBA program, what would you do next in your career?
  • What is the next country that you would like to travel to?

DON’T MISS: HBS Students Dish On The Interview

Source: Business Insider

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