How Not to Tank Your MBA Admissions Interview at HBS
Harvard Business School (HBS) is sending out the bulk of Round 1 MBA admissions interview invitations today. The remainder is slated for release on Thursday, October 4th. If you receive an invite—lucky you, as HBS interviews just 25% of applicants each season—make sure to avoid the following faux pas during your MBA admissions interview at this prestigious business school.
Don’t even think about winging your MBA admissions interview.
Harvard Business School interviewers love to throw off applicants with rapid-fire questions to test how well you know your resume and essays. If you don’t practice for this interview, you’ll really hurt your chances of admission.
Think of a few compelling anecdotes that you can adapt to fit the most common HBS interview questions. The anecdotes you share about your past experiences — both successes and failures — will give the interviewer some insight into your self-awareness and maturity. Make sure to practice in front of a friend, and consider recording yourself as you rehearse. That way, you can assess your body language and tone and make adjustments as needed.
Don’t try to be the “ideal” MBA candidate.
While it’s tempting to want to present yourself as the picture-perfect applicant, your interviewer is trying to suss out what exactly you, and nobody else but you, can bring to the program.
Speak candidly about your passions, interests, and professional goals. Your story should reveal how you confront life choices, the values and principles that help you negotiate complex situations, your beliefs, and your worldview. That way, you’ll come across as a fascinating person who has a lot to share with future classmates. In short, a great addition to the HBS MBA program.
Don’t bore your interviewer.
Another thing to keep in mind: Your interviewer may interview dozens of candidates. That means a lot of eager future-moguls talking about the same thing: themselves. So whenever possible, make the interview a conversation, not a monologue. By including the interviewer in the conversation, you’ll keep them interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.
Don’t forget to ask questions, too.
Come armed with a brief list of questions that highlight your knowledge of and interest in the school. If interviewing with an alum, it’s easy to engage in a comfortable conversation about their experience at the school. Not only will you learn more about HBS, but by asking thoughtful questions your interviewer will get another opportunity to see your insightful way of thinking.
Harvard Business School admits roughly half of all applicants they interview. Ultimately, your goal is to answer all questions in a clear, logical way. Also, maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor. And don’t forget to dress appropriately! Finally, show that you have an inquisitive attitude about the school and all that it has to offer students.
If you can master these tips, you stand a very good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.
Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)
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