Ace Your MBA Interview With 10 Simple MBA Questions
Any student who enters the MBA application has probably realised the extra mile can make a big difference. You’ll never know which sentence was enough to tip your application through the next stage. With that in mind, the MBA interview setting is a make-or-break-it moment. Mess up here and you won’t be making it to class. However, the interview provides a perfect opportunity to stand out with the MBA questions you ask.
Most prospective MBA students become fixated with the questions they’ll be asked but they also should focus on what to ask the interviewer. Knowing which questions to ask can demonstrate intuition and preparation beyond their expectations.
What to expect during an MBA interview
It goes without saying, your MBA interview starts as soon as you step outside your front door and ends as soon as you arrive back home. You will never know if you travel alongside your interviewer, admissions team or a member of the institution.
The key part of preparing for your MBA interview is understanding its purpose. You need to know your goals, present and future self and how will this MBA help you in your future. Reread your application to fully familiarise what you have written. You also need to know your interviewer’s goals; assess your communication skills, and ambitions and inform the admissions team if you are fit for the program.
MBA interviews typically last between 30-45 minutes. There is no standard structure to an MBA interview, so be aware of how the institution conducts interviews. You should be able to adapt as the interviewer can abandon questions and spring new ones whenever they feel necessary.
Purpose of asking questions
The purpose of the questions is to help the interviewer and admission committee to distinguish you from other applicants. Without the interview, the MBA process would be less personal and could potentially miss excellent students who appear differently on paper.
The simple task of asking a question can be enough to tip your application over the line. Those questions should help picture you as a motivated professional rather than another student. However, the questions you ask matter though. You could wreck your interview by accidentally asking the wrong questions which you could otherwise find on the website.
10 simple questions you’ll be asked during your MBA interview
MBA questions you should NOT ask
Understanding which questions you should be asking is easier once you know which questions to not ask. There are several types of questions you should never ask whether you are interviewing with the admission committee or an alumnus.
For example, you should not ask questions which:
- Can be easily Googled
- A closed ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer
- Show your unfamiliarity with the course or the interviewer
- Weaken your application
- Culturally inappropriate, discriminating, racist, political or personal
- Irrelevant to the course or institution
Examples of questions are:
- Does X institution have available parking spots? (easily Googled)
- Do you like the area? (closed yes or no answer)
- What is your job role? (unfamiliarity with the interviewer)
- I have been fired from X company, will this degree give me the skills I need to last in a job? (weaken your application)
- Do you have any children? (Personal)
- Is the campus on the path towards going green? (irrelevant to the course)
The only exception to this list is if you are entering blind interviews. Blind interviews are interviews where you don’t know anything about your interviewer until it has started. For this, you should pick broad questions that are not too obvious and not too irrelevant.
MBA questions you should ask
The key to any question you ask during your MBA interview is to show that you’re trying to learn as much about the MBA program and the institution as possible. Asking a question based on something you have read shows you have done some research prior to the interview.
The best questions should always fit one of the following four traits and should keep the conversation rolling;
- Allow for an open-ended answer
- Show thought, research and preparation
- Seek information not otherwise available
- Strategic and planned
Here are some MBA questions you should seek to ask;
- Knowing my goals, what advice do you have about where I should focus my time and efforts in the MBA program?
This shows your decision to take an MBA seriously and be open to feedback. Plus research has shown asking for advice makes people look smarter and creates a connection between both parties.
This question can be asked to both alumni and the admission committee.
- Based on this interview, where do you see me best contributing to the campus?
Universities don’t want applicants to sit in class and disappear home afterwards. They want students who are engaging and involved alumni. This question shows your intent to give back to your peers and the campus. By asking this question, you will be seen as a student rather than another interviewee and help convince them you’ll be beneficial to the program.
- Looking objectively at the program, what would you have changed or what would you change?
Despite the speculation, MBA programs don’t hold all the power. They are competing with other top programs for the best students. So asking questions that allow the interviewer to offer a weakness shows your confidence in getting into the program.
- What common traits do successful students in this program tend to share?
MBA programs tend to have a profile or typical types of students for their program. These traits could be leadership, discipline or integrity. By asking these questions, you can discover if you fit the ‘profile’ which may help you decide whether or not you will be accepted.
You should aim to ask a follow-up question by connecting your own profile and traits to see if the interviewer thinks you’re suitable for the program.
- How has the program changed compared to x years ago? How will the program change in x years?
These are two important questions you should seek to ask. This will give you insight into how the programs have changed over the years and how they will change with the current trends. You may also discover what the program has plans to add in the short or long term.
This will demonstrate to the interviewer your interest in the program and helps you understand its development. It could also provide an opportunity to become a leader who could help bring changes or even bring your own contributions forward.
This question is best suited for the admission committee who have the knowledge of the behind-the-scene plans.
- How did this program help influence your post-MBA plans?
We love talking about ourselves, and during an MBA interview is no different. By asking this question, it allows the alumni interviewer to talk about themselves and connect to you on a personal level. You can tailor this depending on who is interviewing you.
A similar yet general question How did this program help graduate post-MBA? can serve as a question for both the alumni interviewer and the admission committee.
- What do you wish you have done differently during your MBA?
Questions that allow the interviewer to talk about themselves and their MBA experience can be a very powerful tool. This will give you more insight into their experience and understand whether or not the program is for you. They will most likely give you advice on how you may spend your time during the MBA program.
This question should only be asked to alumni.
- How does the program define student success?
This is an open-answer question for both the alumni and the admission committee. By asking this, you gain insight into the type of traits and students that have been chosen for the MBA program.
- Why did you choose this program?
This question provides another opportunity to learn more about the program as well as the values and experience of the interviewer. This question could also pave the way to another question to connect your own motivations for choosing this program.
- What are some challenges you faced while studying this programme?
This question provides another opportunity for the interviewer to talk about themselves and their experience. Listen carefully as some challenges could sway your decision on whether this program is best for you. You should definitely ask follow-up questions once they have finished.
Other questions you can ask
- How did you balance your academic course and leisure activities?
- Why did you choose this school and program?
- Did you face any particular difficulties during the program, and how did you tackle them?
- How is the campus culture different to other schools?
- Can you give some examples of what you learnt in your MBA that you have applied to in your career?
- Which classes did you find most helpful towards your goal?
- Do you have any advice for candidates hoping to target others from [x industry]?
- What’s a typical day like?
- What groups or organisations can students in this program join?
Admission Committee Interview
- Are you anticipating any significant changes or add-ons to the MBA program?
- What new specialisation or courses are currently under development?
- Who are some successful alumni you like to talk about?
- Looking objectively at the program, is there room for improvement?
- How does my profile fit the school’s diversity and inclusion policy and goals?
- Does the program use business simulations and experiential learning?
At Lendwise, we understand the importance of an MBA. It can help you advance your career, earn a higher salary, and achieve your professional goals. But we also know they can be expensive.
We also understand that everyone’s journey is different. Whether you’re applying for a part-time or full-time MBA, the loan can help you achieve your goals. When you’re ready, you can *apply online. We’ll help get on the path to success.
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