B-school MBA Interview debriefs

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B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby MBACrystalBall » February 6th, 2013, 2:02 pm

If you have had experience with MBA interview(s), can you please share your story here? Your brethren will appreciate your knowledge sharing effort.

Please share the following details:

- Name of the school (please post a separate debrief for each school)
- A little about your stats (GMAT, work-ex, industry, anything else)
- Interview questions
- Your overall impressions about the interview (easy, tough, stress interview etc)
- Final result (admitted/rejected)
- Tips and advice for other applicants.

Note for MBA applicants:

If you are an MBA applicant, use this thread to become familiar with the kind of quesions you can expect.

But don't become over-confident and assume that you've cracked the code by reading this thread.

Given the fact that there are no absolute right or wrong answers, it's pretty common to think you've done well in the interview, only to hear the news a few days later that you've been rejected.

Keep in mind that the content, credibility and presentation of the answers to these questions are more important than the questions themselves.

If you need some professional help in getting ready for what may be the biggest interview of your life, we'd be happy to help with our interview preparation package.

Contact us on: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com.

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Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby prashanta27 » February 13th, 2013, 5:21 am

Manchester Business School / ESADE / CASS Business School

I had a GMAT score of 680 + 4 years of work-ex in Goldman Sachs FX Operations division.

Here's my experience with MBA Interview questions at different b-schools.

Manchester Business School MBA Interview (MBS)

The questions were primarily around my CV and transferable skills, i.e. describe a situation where you have shown leadership skills, communication skills etc.

Here's my full Manchester Business School admissions story.

ESADE MBA Interview

ESADE has a case study before the interview. You are given a case to read 30 mins before the interview. There are questions on the case and you have come up with a presentation(on paper).

The first ten to fifteen minutes of the actual interview involves you explaining your presentation and answering questions on the case.

The second part is all about your CV and competencies.

CASS Business School

This was a telephone interview. Although the questions were around my CV, the questions were posed at a much more granular level.

For e.g. I was asked to explain why, given my aim to move towards investment research/banking, a CFA would not be a better option for me than an MBA. I clearly did not do a very good job because they sent me polite rejection letter soon after.

Manchester Business School (MBS) and ESADE were schools that I had got admitted to.

A tip for all MBA interviews would be do the basics right, i.e. know your CV inside out, show up on time, and dress to impress.

Also, make sure your answers to the questions "why MBA now?" and "what after your MBA?' are logically sound.

Practice it with your friends, colleagues, and/or admission consultant. Solicit their feedback and more importantly work on it.

If you have queries, post them on the - Manchester Business School Forum.

All the best!
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Joined: January 12th, 2013, 11:15 pm

Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby Navin » February 19th, 2013, 9:56 pm

My interviews happened a while back - almost 8 years to be exact. My profile at that time:

GMAT: 730
Work ex: 2.5 years with a leading semiconductors company

I had ended up getting interviews with multiple schools but incidentally joined a school where I was not called for an interview. I will list out two examples:

1. Columbia Business School (CBS) MBA Interview

Interview type: Personal interview with an alumnus

Final result: Admission declined

2. Tepper MBA Carnegie Mellon (CMU) Interview

Interview type: Telephonic interview with an admissions officer (yes – those were pre-Skype interview days!)

Final result: Admit with scholarship

While the general structure of both the interviews was similar, the Columbia interview had been a “blind” interview i.e. the interviewer had not seen my application and had requested for my resume a day before the interview, whereas in the case of CMU the interviewer had access to my application. The questions asked follow a familiar thread:

• Take me through your resume
• Why do you want to do an MBA
• Why do you want to study in this particular school
• What are your plans post the MBA
• What are your biggest strengths / weaknesses
• Which other schools are you applying to

MBA Interview Tips:

• Know your resume inside out … be prepared to answer / expand upon any thing that you have put down.

• Know your application thoroughly.

• Have some intelligent questions for the interviewer.

• Dress for the part. More importantly, if you are not used to dressing formally on a regular basis (I wasn’t at that time), you should do a few dress rehearsals.

• Practice! Definitely get feedback from others on how coherent and natural you sound while giving your responses.

Other than being a measure of your communication skills, the interview provides the school an opportunity to see if you are indeed the applicant that your application suggests.

Moreover, it gives them an indication of how successful a candidate you will be when you are interviewing for potential career opportunities as a student … the same set of questions will come back in a slightly different format.
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Joined: February 16th, 2013, 11:43 pm

Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby pawan » February 27th, 2013, 10:06 pm

I have been interviewed with four business schools comprising of two Indian schools and two international schools namely, IIM - Ahmedabad, IIM - Bangalore, Oxford and Emory (GBS)

My brief profile – 680 (Q47, V37, AWA – 6.0, IR – 7/8), 8+ year Entrepreneurship experience (manufacturing)

IIM Ahmedabad (IIMA PGPX) Interview

The interview started with an extempore topic with two minutes prep time followed by answering/defending the arguments on the same for around 5 mins. The panel had no prior knowledge of the profile and had no idea whatsoever regarding the essays. All the KYC (know your candidate) work was done within the 2 minutes of the preparation of the extempore topic.

Then the questions started rolling with the questions pertaining to me and my industry. Followed by the generic ones e.g. why mba, why now, why us, why only PGPX when we have specialized programs. After exhausting all the specific questions, the panel brought up the abstract situations and questions discussing the state of the society and economy. 25 minutes of ordeal ended with a handshake.

Overall the interview was a tough one aiming to question the candidate based on the loose threads left in the previous answers. I was feeling quite confident until the result turned out to be dinged.

IIM Bangalore (IIMB EPGP) Interview

This was the most gruesome interview experience I have faced. The general consent among the candidates was that this interview process more resonated with the 2 year PGP program rather than the EPGP which consisted of candidates having experience of average of 10 years. Being more specific to my experience, I was interviewed with a panel of three professors.

The interview was a plethora of questions revolving around my profile (work ex and academics) and the industry. It is pertinent to mention here that this was a super stress interview in which I was interrupted nearly on all the occasions and I was not allowed to finish off my answers on several occasion.

In nutshell, I was grilled like Tandoori chicken and finally the result also turned out to be negative.

Oxford MBA (Said) Interview

Having faced two tough interviews, I was expecting this one also to be on the similar lines. But it turned out to be exact opposite. This time the interviewer had full details beforehand with him (as evident by his discussions on the points and events mentioned in the essays) and the interview process was engrossing with an aim to understand the candidate and reconcile the interviewee with the profile as projected in the essays.

The questions ranged from the candidate application (why mba, why now, describe yourself, discussion of challenges, strengths, weakness etc.) to the general knowledge and events happening around the globe. Also, the words of appreciation were used extensively by the interviewer in the conversation.

Overall, the experience was quite gratifying with the final result coming in my way with an admit.

Emory MBA Interview

Another relaxed interview experience. However the ambit of questions was constrained to the application and the essays. Apart from the regular why now, why us, strengths, weakness etc. there were questions specific to my application and essays indicating that the interviewer had studied the application in detail.

The tone of the interview was engaging complimented by words of appreciation. It was a short and crisp interview eventually converting in an admit.

I eventually opted for Oxford MBA.

So for the sake of populating the Take away list:-

1. The range of questions is not constrained to something which we can discuss. It can be anything under the sun. So the focus on execution is as important as on content. It can be as micro as 'a day in your office' to macro as 'solutions for the present economic turbulence'

2. Following the STAR method is definitely helpful. (If you are not sure what this is, ask Sameer Kamat)

3. Be razor sharp about the application and the essays. Read the essays well and prepare for the potential questions which can come to you.

4. Whether you give a correct answer to a situation question is not that much important than the way you react to it.

5. On the interview day - RELAX, be confident. More people screw their interview by getting nervous than getting audacious. (It does not mean that you have to be rude. Be polite but not nervous)
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Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby ajaarik » March 17th, 2013, 10:50 am

Guys and Gals, I was interviewed at all 3 schools I applied to - W.P. Carey School of Business (ASU), Fisher College of Business (Ohio State), and Wisconsin School of Business. GMAT - 680, Work Exp. - 5 years, 2 months (at the time of interviews)
Let me get into details now -

Fisher MBA Interview (admitted)

This was a face to face interview in Mumbai, India. Associate to the dean was traveling to India, conducting interviews, and meeting prospective students. Believe me, it was one of the best interviews I had ever appeared for. Actually, my wife (on her official visit) and I were in Mumbai that day.

When I met the person, he offered to interview my wife instead. I was surprised to say the least! We shared a laugh and started with the reason why we met. Since I have worked with clients from 14 countries, we spoke about different experiences, and my learning.

Post which, he asked me generic questions - Why MBA, Why now, Why Fisher. It wasn't stressful and lasted around 45-50 minutes. He offered me to explore Columbus weather. It felt nice!

Wisconsin MBA interview (wait listed)

This one was a phone interview and lasted around 28-30 minutes. Since it was a long distance call, the network connection broke quite a few times. Questions - Walk me through your resume, why Wisconsin and my post MBA career choices. I must say, I wasn't satisfied with the interview. I couldn't deliver the way I wanted.

WP Carey MBA ASU (admitted)

It was a Skype night. Yet again, my broadband provider showed me that I am yet to experience fine internet experience. Skype interview, lasted for 20 minutes, was converted into a phone interview later on.

Because of the ASU policy, I won't disclose the interview questions. However, I can tell you that the adcom had read through my application thoroughly. So, it wasn't a blind interview. Yet again, it was very relaxing experience. Not at all tiring! I was satisfied with the interview.

Suggestions to the prospective students-

1. Do not stress yourself. It is not a filtering mechanism rather a selection procedure. So,take it positively.

2. Read through your application completely. Did I tell you that I want to write this statement 5 times at least?

3. You should know why you are doing all this.

I believe, above suggestions should help you chase your dream!
Posts: 5
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:25 pm

Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby rahuln » March 20th, 2013, 11:38 am

Work ex: 5 years in Finance

ISB MBA Interview Questions

Interview type: Face to face with adcom and alumni

Final Result: Admitted

Before the interview I was asked to write an essay about a generic word. The sheet was then taken by the interviewers and filed.

It started with the usual question – Tell us about yourself. The interviewers already knew about my profile in detail and asked a lot of questions about my current job role. They wanted to understand the exact nature of my work and also my reasons for an mba. A lot of questions were on past experiences – any difficult situation, teamwork and failures.

There were some questions on ‘Why ISB’. How exactly ISB does fits in your long term goals and how will you benefit from the program.

I think it is very important to focus on the following points:

1. Know your work profile and resume in detail and be ready for very specific questions about your profile.

2. Keep some stories about your past experiences ready. Questions asked can be related to stories about success, failure, difficult situation, a difficult person you have interacted with , teamwork etc

3. The adcom is very interested about the approach you take while dealing with problems. That is why they asked behaviour based questions.
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Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby ritwikverma » March 25th, 2013, 1:17 am

I worked with MBA Crystal Ball and feel proud to say that I was interviewed by all the schools that I applied to. In all, 6 schools – Kellogg, Tepper, Kenan-Flagler, Simon, ISB, and Marshall. In this post I will tell you in detail about my experience with each of them.

My profile – 750(Q-50, V-41), 5+ Years of work-ex (IT Services).

I will be using two words – Familiar and Blind to tell you whether the interviewer was familiar with my application (essays etc.) or not, respectively. So, don’t scratch your head when you read: Skype-Blind!!! :P

CMU Tepper MBA Interview Questions (Skype – Blind):

Tepper was my first interview. I had done extensive research on the school and the program. I was well prepared for the interview. The interviewer was an ad-com member. Here are the questions that were asked:

Tell me about yourself. (A short crisp introduction –about one and half minutes long – was acknowledged and appreciated)

You said you worked with Spanish clients. Was there an instance when there was a cultural conflict or communication problems?

According to you, which is the most important characteristic that a leader should possess and why?

How would your friends describe you?

Why do you want to do an MBA now? Why did you choose Tepper?

Are you a good team player? Tell me about a time when you displayed skills of a good team player.

How do you think other students will benefit from your experience?

What do you do in your free time?

Any question for me?

The interview was more like a friendly conversation. The interviewer made me feel comfortable and I felt I did well.

Result - Admit

Kellogg MBA Interview Questions (Telephonic – Familiar):

I had initially got an interview waiver from Kellogg as some of the international students get. It is neither a positive nor a negative sign. It just means that for now, they haven’t got enough resources to conduct your interview and they might invite you for an interview if they like your application. So, when I received an interview invitation after being given a waiver, I was happy. The interviewer was an ad-com member. Here’s how the interview went:

Why did you choose this undergraduate institution? What did you say your rank was in the entrance examination? (Even though I was on phone, I could tell that she noted it down)

In your current organization, you were promoted within 2 years. Is that a norm or an exception?

How will your team mates describe you?

What type of leader are you?

Why did you choose Kellogg?

Tell me about a time when you displayed critical thinking.

Tell me about a time when you had to negotiate to get something done.

Was it a big change or a small change?

Why did they agree so readily to your suggestions?

How will you contribute to the program?

Which clubs do you like at Kellogg?

Any question for me?

The interviewer asked all the questions in quick succession keeping me on my toes throughout the interview. In the end, I felt I could have done much better.

Result – Denied

UNC Kenan-Flagler Interview Questions (Skype – Blind):

The interview was conducted by an ad-com member. The questions that she asked were:

Walk me through your resume.

Why did you change from your first company to your current company?

Why do you want to an MBA now? Why Kenan-Flagler?

What is your current role in your organization?

As a leader, have you ever taken any difficult decision? What was it?

What is your biggest achievement so far?

What are you interests?

Any questions for me?

Till then, I had attended 3 interviews and I felt Kenan Flagler’s was my best interview. I engaged the interviewer well and I could sense she was excited throughout the interview. I was sure that I will get an admission offer and I was kind of hoping for a scholarship too.

Result – Admit with $28k fellowship

ISB Interview Questions (In Person – Familiar):

I was interviewed by a 2-member panel who looked more like alumni rather than ad-com members. After a casual chit-chat about my journey to Hyderabad and my stay, the interview started -

Tell me about this project that you are doing currently.

Some more technical questions on the project…

How was the experience of managing the team?

What was your ‘carrot-and-stick’ for your team members?

Do you think such leadership style will work in all the circumstances? I don’t think so. Given a chance, what are the things that you could have done differently?

Tell me something about your previous project.

Followed by some questions on IT projects for Investment Bank clients…

Why should we take you? What is so different about you?

What functional knowledge have you gained from your current job?

Some questions on the business aspect of my previous project…

Have you decided your concentrations? What are they?

Some questions about my company and my views on its future…

Any question for us?

I felt the interview was a mix of stress and easy. There were two people in the room. One was more talkative and affable while the other looked sharp and ominous. It reflected not just in their body language but in their questions as well. In the end, I thought I had done reasonably well. Although, I could have answered few questions better, I never lost confidence throughout the interview.

Result – Admit after waitlist

Simon MBA Interview Questions (Skype – Blind):

Simon’s application was a free application for me and I never intended to join Simon. I applied to the program as I got an application fee waiver, TOEFL waiver and a GMAT waiver too (in the sense that I didn’t need to send the score through GMAC, but they accepted official soft copy of the score report). So, Simon’s interview was more of a practice match for me, just before my Marshall match (read: interview). The interview was taken by an ad-com member. The interview went something like this –

Walk me through your resume.

Tell me about your undergraduate college experience. (The interviewer kept enquiring until I told her about each of my extra-curricular activities during college and my achievements)

What is the biggest challenge that you see in coming to US for an MBA?

Is there any particular news or topic related to US that you are following? What interests you?

Other than these, there were general questions on why MBA, why Simon etc. The interview was good and I was confident on getting an admission offer and hoped for some scholarship too.

Result – Admit with $48k scholarship

USC Marshall MBA Interview Questions (Skype – Familiar):

This interview was taken by an alumnus as he told me the ad-com member who was supposed to interview me went on maternity leave. This person was working as a Marketing Manager in P&G and had a retail banking background prior to his MBA from Marshall. After exchanging pleasantries, the interview started –

Walk me through your resume.

What do you want to do after your MBA?

I understand why you want to move into this role after an MBA as it fits with your career so far, but what resources do you think Marshall will provide you to make this transition?

You mentioned about entrepreneurship at Marshall. Do you plan to start something of your own after MBA?

You have some very unique extra-curricular interests. Tell me about them.

These with some other generic questions summed up my interview with Marshall. In all, it was a pleasant experience. I was confident throughout the interview and engaged the interviewer well. I am hoping to get admit with some scholarship as well. :roll:

Result – Awaited

Btw, if you are interested here's my full application story - "Tepper School of Business Carnegie Mellon MBA"
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Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby chicagoan » April 22nd, 2013, 7:50 am

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business (Part-time MBA program)

Stats[/b]: GMAT 720, 13 years exp, manager at a fortune 10 company in Chicago, prior MS degree from a US univ

Interview: Met with an alum who had recently graduated and had achieved a career change due to the program. Was very cool and was interested in listening to my story.

Standard questions - why MBA at this time, why Booth over other options, goals/expectations from the program. Very informative discussion as well - many good take aways. Also spoke about some of the challenges in my line of work, how the MBA would help me move ahead, etc.

Great thing about Booth is the same faculty teach both full-time and part-time programs. So, the famed Chicago academic rigor is true even for the part-time program. Spoke about that aspect and also asked about access to career services as a part-time student.

Very cordial overall. No stress due to the interview. I did however have a couple of butterflies because after all, Booth is ranked #1 in the latest rankings. The Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago is swanky and is an awesome facility.

Final result: Admitted (Yay!)

Taking classes with some star professors now - including one who was an IIT gold medalist.

Tips and advice for other applicants:

Know your story and be able to articulate it at any time. Also prepare a number of stories that are not covered in the essays. Know who you are and where you want to go (this wasn't easy for me until I took the time to figure it out).

The interview will be easy if you do your homework.

Finally, smile and be confident.

An MBA application ding is not the end of the world, so do not appear desperate at any point in the interview. That quiet confidence will seal the deal.
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Joined: April 12th, 2013, 12:05 am

Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby blubbery » May 3rd, 2013, 12:49 pm

INSEAD MBA Interview

I was interviewed by an INSEAD alumnus for R2.

A little about me: Female, 690 on GMAT (with a rather embarrassing quant score), 10 years work ex in retail banking. I applied only to INSEAD.

The interview process for me was rather rushed as the first interviewer was unavailable to meet me within the timeframe provided by the school, and I was quickly scheduled to meet a replacement, who also had a very busy schedule. As a result, I didn't have much time to prepare.

My interviewer is a managing partner at a PE firm. He was very friendly and asked me to walk him through my resume, which I did, and interjected with pertinent questions about my various roles.

What was interesting was that he did not make it seem like a formal interview, but instead casually placed me in quite a few hypothetical situations to gauge my reaction, often provoking a response, and frequently played the devil's advocate.

For example, when he asked me a question on what kind of leader I thought I was, and gave me options to choose from, he tried to make me second guess my own response. It was a challenging interview in the guise of a casual conversation over coffee, and I found myself engaged till we got up to leave. The interview lasted 2 hours.

Three weeks later, I received my acceptance call.

My MBA interview tips:

1. Do your research. I wouldn't advise applicants to follow my lead and not prepare for their interviews. Read up aplenty on the school, activities, clubs, the course structure, the alumni network, and in case of multiple campuses, research all.

2. Be confident and be yourself. Don't engage in hyperbole or try consciously to charm the socks off your interviewer. Your profile was impressive enough to be shortlisted for an interview, so don't try to sell yourself too much. But at the same time..

3. Don't sell yourself short. Talk about your achievements and accomplishments, and bring them in as examples especially when you're asked the usual MBA questions (why MBA? why choose this b-school? where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?).

4. Be honest. If you don't know the answer to a question, say so and don't try and improvise and risk looking foolish.

5. Ask questions. Think of smart questions to ask your interviewer. Concentrate on relevant questions about the school and also ask your interviewer about himself/herself - why did they choose the school, how was their experience there, et al.

Good luck!
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Joined: May 3rd, 2013, 11:58 am

Re: B-school MBA Interview debriefs

Postby jain27 » May 7th, 2013, 6:22 pm

GMAT - 7XX, Work Ex. - 5 Years, Industry - Consulting

NUS Business School MBA Interview Questions (Skype - Interview)

The panel consisted of 2 gentlemen - Admissions manager and a senior professor of marketing

Questions (in sequence):

1. Please run us through your CV

2. Please explain a situation where you faced severe adversity, but you deployed your effective leadership skills, creativity and maturity to use the situation to your advantage

3. What are your major weaknesses

4. You have worked in India and Middle East - please explain the structural differences between these economies

5. We see that you have a strong background in economics and finance, could you please explain the fundamental Macro-Economic theory laid down by John Maynard Keynes, namely, "you should save in the good times and spend in the bad times"

6. Please explain your job role. Follow up Q - We see that you have a lot of interaction with the top level management of your clients; could you please list down and explain the key success factors for a consulting firm/ business?

7. Why do you want to work in Singapore and why NUS?

Result - Admit

Saïd Business School (Oxford University) MBA interview questions

Oxford has a panel of resident sector consultants (who are industry stalwarts in their respective sector of expertise/ experience). These sector consultants guide the students during the course of the program, in achieving their career goals in their chosen field. I was interviewed by one of these sector consultants.

1. Please give a 'thumbs nail' view of your work profile

2. Why MBA & what are your career plans over the next 5 years. Then there were couple of follow-up questions on this.

3. Why Oxford

4. Major Weaknesses

5. Major Strengths

6. Tell me about a situation where you faced severe ethical dilemma and how did you deal with it

7. How will you contribution to the program? Tell me one absolutely unique thing that you will bring to the program, considering we have people coming in from 60 countries.

8. Tell me about a situation where you demonstrated leadership skills?

9. Question on my hobbies - cricket and squash.

10. What is your opinion on the future outlook and stability of the Middle East region

11. If I give you a magic wand and you could use it to go anywhere in the world (and anytime in the past or future), where would you go? Why? and what would you do there? It should not be related to work, family or charity.

12. Do you have any questions for us

Result - Admit
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