Tips for answering common MBA interview questions

SOURCE: Marco Bertorello / AFP
Know what to expect and your MBA interview will be a walk in the park.

By Shekinah Kannan 

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Choosing the business school of your dreams, acing the GMAT, preparing your CV, transcripts, and essay are just part of the MBA application process. The journey, however, is far from over. Your next step? Gearing up for the MBA interview questions stage. 

Nailing the interview is key in the admissions process, particularly for highly competitive schools. The stakes are high, which means you’ll want to prepare accordingly to ensure you impress the panelists by putting your best foot forward.


It’s natural to feel worried, anxious and stressed out for the MBA interview when you don’t know for sure what will be asked, and how you should tackle their questions. 

Not unlike a job interview, you’ll want to practice answering some of the common MBA interview questions so that you’ll be able to bring your A-game and give informative, confident and succint answers.

If you’re ready to kick your nerves to the kerb, here are some common questions you should expect to answer in an MBA interview:

Tell me about yourself.

This is an inescapable job interview question that is also used for MBA interviews. Don’t let that deter you, however. This question is the perfect opportunity for you to speak briefly about your educational background, past professional experiences, and favourite accomplishments. 

Don’t just regurgitate the contents of your résumé — instead, try to include something memorable about yourself while tying back your answers as to why you want an MBA. Wrap it up in three to four minutes as you’ll have plenty more ground to cover later in the interview process. 

Your answers could touch on areas such as why you chose your undergraduate major, what you’ve managed to achieve so far in your professional career, and what you wish to accomplish in the future. 

Why do you want an MBA?

Use this chance to explain your motivations in detail. Explain your research, the MBAs you’re inspired by, the skills you wish to gain, how these skills match the scope of your dream job, and why you’re choosing to infiltrate a certain industry.

Any interviewer will admire a candidate who has done their homework.

Why did you choose this business school?

MBA goals aside, your interviewer will want to know why you set their sights on their institution. At this point, you should continue to prove you’ve done your research. Begin with all the elements of the school that caught your eye. These might include inspiring faculty members, a diverse student body, industry connections, and graduate success rates. 

Then move on to their MBA programme. You could highlight why you thought their programme is unique or ideal for you, or mention any student clubs or organisations you’re interested in joining, what component of the programme you’re most excited about, including study abroad or entrepreneurship projects, as some examples.


What are your strengths and weaknesses?

No one’s perfect, so here’s a chance to show some level of self-awareness with your strengths and weaknesses.

For the latter, this could mean sharing a story of failure that has helped you identify areas you need to improve in. Try to remain optimistic while sharing, as this will show you have processed the experience, you’re ready to grow and are actively working on improving your weaknesses. 

As for your strengths, pick a couple that you feel are unique to set you apart from other candidates. This could be a skill or even your one of your personality traits. For example, you could share a story that includes some tangible examples of how you’ve contributed to your team and how these outcomes wouldn’t have been possible without your input.

What have you accomplished as a leader?

Being a key part of a team is one thing, leading it is another. By listing your strengths and weaknesses, your interviewer gets a jist of who you are and who you will be as a student, but oftentimes, they’re also curious about your leadership skills.

Whether you’ve been involved in organising events to managing people and resources, have a few examples ready. These could be examples from professional settings or even as a volunteer.

Be sure to highlight the outcomes and explain how these experiences have strengthened your leadership competencies.