Harvard Business School Interview? The Most Important Tip
Harvard Business School interviews around 1,800 candidates per year. Roughly 60% of those applicants are admitted.
If you are lucky enough to land an HBS interview, your chances of admission are strong. But it’s important to make it past the finish line. Stacy Blackman, founder of Stacy Blackman Consulting, and her team of admissions experts recently offered insight into the HBS interview and offered a few tips on how applicants for how applicants can effectively prepare.
MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER
In the interview process, HBS will focus primarily on assessing applicants’ personal qualities—as well as traits that are more difficult to measure on paper.
“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, an admissions consultant at Stacy Blackman Consulting and former Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School, says. “You cannot let even the smallest question seem surface level.”
HOW TO EFFECTIVELY PREPARE
The first step to preparing for your interview is to know your resume and life accomplishments inside-and-out.
“Prepare to answer questions ranging from major industry headlines to hobbies and interests. For example, if you’ve said you’re a historical fiction buff, be ready to talk about it,” Blackman writes. “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.”
You should also be prepared to share insight into why you made certain decisions and how those decisions reflect your self-awareness.
“Motivations, learnings, anomalies, growth, hesitations, and realizations are all ways to show depth of character and genuinely connect with the interviewer beyond the facts they have already read,” Blackman writes.
After your interview, you’ll need to submit a post-interview reflection. Blackman recommends keeping the reflection succinct and direct.
“If you believe the interview went well, you don’t need to write more than a few paragraphs,” Blackman writes. “But what if you felt you could’ve answered a question better, or think there’s something substantive you should have included? Then use the reflection to add clarity or dimension in a way that further demonstrates your intellectual curiosity. 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.”