Within the next few weeks, Harvard Business School (HBS) will send interview invites to thousands of lucky round one applicants. HBS interviews, like last year, will continue to be conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nailing the HBS interview, experts say, is more than often the last step to getting accepted. Andrea, a former Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School and consultant at Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered insights into the HBS interview process and shared a few tips for success.
DEVELOP A POINT OF VIEW
The interview experience is meant to give admissions officers a better understanding of who an applicant is outside of the numbers on their application. Therefore, it’s critical that applicants highlight their personal values and demonstrate a strong point of view during the interview.
“The single most important element of the interview is demonstrating deep intellectual curiosity with the ability to develop a point of view or perspective,” Andrea says. “HBS continues to assess leadership and academic and quantitative capabilities during the interview. Now, the focus turns toward personal qualities that are hard to assess in a deep way on paper.”
KNOW YOUR RESUME
Your resume will likely be used as a reference for questions during the interview. Andrea recommends applicants to know the details of their resume and key life decisions inside out.
“Prepare to answer questions ranging from major industry headlines to hobbies and interests,” Andrea says. “For example, if you’ve said you’re a historical fiction buff, be ready to talk about it. This interview will also cover the nuances of several of your life choices. Make sure your answers show character and introspection. You won’t have any notes in front of you, so become well-versed in your own experiences, both professional and personal.”
After your interview, you’ll be asked to submit a post-interview reflection within 24 hours. The reflection should be one page or less in length and highlight aspects of the interview that went well or offer details as to how it could have been improved. Regardless of how you choose to frame your reflection, Andrea says, it’s essential that you close it with a strong sense of perspective about where you’ve been and where you’re headed.
“End with a 30,000-foot reflection on what the entire process has meant to you, any deep insights you have as a result, and what lies ahead for you,” Andrea says.