NYU Stern | Mr. Beer Guy
GRE 306, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Harvard | Mr. Cricket From Kashmir
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5/10
Harvard | The Insurer
GMAT 730, GPA 3.4
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seller
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Tepper | Mr. Automotive Strategy
GMAT 670 - 700 on practice tests, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Researcher
GMAT 700, GPA 3.2
Tuck | Mr. Land Management
GMAT 760, GPA 3.85
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Microsoft Consultant
GMAT N/A, GPA 2.31
Duke Fuqua | Mr. Backyard Homesteader
GRE 327, GPA 3.90
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28
London Business School | Ms. Audit Meme
GMAT 710, GPA 3.5
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Tepper | Mr. Insurance Dude
GMAT 660, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Indian Marketer
GMAT 680, GPA 8.9/10
NYU Stern | Mr. Middle Eastern Warrior
GMAT 720 (Estimated), GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Chile Real Estate
GMAT 740, GPA 3.02
Yale | Mr. Sustainability Manager
GRE 319, GPA 3.52
NYU Stern | Ms. Legal Officer
GMAT 700, GPA 4
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Social To Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Wharton | Mr. Mobility Entrepreneur
GMAT 760, GPA 1st Division
HEC Paris | Mr. Business Man
GMAT 720, GPA 3.89
Harvard | Mr. Football Author
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99

Five Advanced Questions To Help You Prepare For Your MBA Interview

Karen Marks, president and founder of North Star Admissions Consulting

Karen Marks, president and founder of North Star Admissions Consulting

In my last post, I discussed the standard MBA interview questions. Here are five advanced questions, and advice about how to prepare for your MBA interview.

  1. How do you handle conflict?

Business Schools are very interested in understanding how you get along with other people. They do not want to admit abrasive people who will disrupt the classroom and the study group, and ultimately be hated by their co-workers. They also avoid candidates who are unable to hold their own when challenged.

To answer this question, you need to be honest, balanced and diplomatic. Saying that you have never experienced conflict is a mistake (the interviewer will think that you are clueless or lying) and it is also a mistake to say that you revel in conflict. (Being too aggressive and arrogant does not signal leadership potential, it makes you seem deranged.)

I suggest coming up with a few examples so that you can illustrate your response. “I recently had a conflict with a co-worker that I was able to resolve by leveraging our preexisting relationship and my listening and negotiation skills…”

  1. How would your co-workers describe you?

This question tests self-awareness. It is also a cleverly disguised strengths and weaknesses query. The most effective answers that I have heard list two or three strengths and one weakness. Again, examples help; saying that your co-workers love collaborating with you because you always support them but being unable to relay an example of this dynamic undermines your credibility.

In terms of a less positive trait, you don’t want to flag anything truly alarming, so I would avoid using terms like abrasive or dismissive. Most people who are headed back to business school have very appropriate developmental needs that can be woven into this answer. Mention something like “My co-workers would say that I can sometimes focus more on the details than the big picture, which is something that I hope to address in business school.”

  1. What is the biggest failure that you have experienced?

Selecting the best illustration for this question takes time – you do not want to answer it off the top of your head. It is important to discuss a true failure, or at the very least a decision that you regret or something that you would do differently now. I have heard some very compelling personal responses, so you do not need to limit your response to the professional arena. However, whatever you choose, please exercise good judgment. You should also make sure to tell a complete story. Include an admission of fault and a proactive statement about how you have made positive changes as a result.

  1. What are you most proud of?

This is your opportunity to talk about what really matters to you. I would stay away from discussing accomplishments that are found on your resume unless you have something to add that will enhance your candidacy and allow the committee to learn more about you.

So, if graduating from college was a major accomplishment for you because you had to work full time to pay your tuition, this reflects very positively on you and should be shared. This is also an appropriate place to discuss risks that you have taken and to explain what motivates you on a personal level.

  1. What do you like to do for fun?

Believe it or not, this is an important question! The admissions committee genuinely wants to know what you do outside of work. It’s important for them to see that you will contribute to the community, not just go to class and then fade away. It’s fine to talk about reading, sports, travel, volunteer activities, obscure musical interests – whatever you really like to do.

It’s even better if you can tell them how you will continue these activities at school – “I look forward to skiing at the Dartmouth Skiway and to joining the Glen Tuck Scotch club.” By the way, I would sometimes ask this question in the middle of the interview, especially if I sensed that the candidate was struggling, as a way to put them at ease. Ideally, it should be an easy, relaxed part of the conversation.

Bonus Round – Do you have any questions for me?

You know that this question is coming, so why not prepare for it? You should ask two or three questions about things that you could not have researched on the web. So, no questions about class size or the student faculty ratio. Instead, if you are interviewing with a second year student you can ask them about their internship or their favorite class. Ask an administrator how they have seen the school evolve over the past few years, or about upcoming changes.

NEVER ask how you did in the interview, or about your chances of admission. And please don’t pass on this opportunity – it makes you seem disinterested and can undermine the great impression that you made during the rest of the interview.

Karen Marks has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Wellesley, and more. Over the last three years, clients have been awarded more than $8.5 million in scholarships, and more than 90% have gotten into one of their top-choice schools