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MBA Admissions Interview

Now that you have learned some grooming and dress code best practices (read How to control the First Impression in MBA Admission Interview from our Interview Guide), let us look at the correct posture for your interview.

Often, after the initial introduction, MBA candidates tend to relax and slouch in the chair. Consciously make sure that you don’t do this. It not only reflects your attitude towards the interview but would also impact how you sound.

6 MBA Admission Interview Posture Tips

1) Stand Up straight
while greeting the interviewer: Chest out and stomach in, and you will naturally be in that position.

2) Back against the chair:
The best way to avoid slouching in the chair is to make sure that your back touches the backrest and makes a 60-degree angle.

3) Leaning Forward: The 60-Degree angle ensures that you are leaning forward for the conversation. It shows readiness and genuine interest in the interaction.

4) Watch your Hands: The first non-verbal cue that the interviewer looks for is the position of the hands after a tough question. Don’t cross it and...

I did my homework, researched about the Admission Manager, listened to his tunes, and finally made a pre-interview call. The Admission Manager, who was a part-time music director, wasn't interested in the call. I wasn't completely sold on featuring the MBA program in F1GMAT either since the school didn't publish post-MBA salary. The 15-minute call was one of the most awkward conversations I ever had. Mind you - I have been interviewing for 8 years.

I wasn't motivated. My research was peripheral - learning about the hobbies of the person I was interviewing instead of creating a conversation plan. Don’t make the mistakes I made. Follow these 5-conversation plans before the interview:

1) Be Ready with talking Points

Most admission team specifically mentions that the interview is about evaluating your candidacy, and expects the admission officer/alumnus to lead the conversation. I agree. Don’t interrupt or dominate the conversation, but the most awkward part of most conversations is the starting phase. I was prepared to talk about the admission manager’s passion – music, but felt that it would look forced. I waited till the ‘serious’ talk ended. The hesitancy altered the tone of the conversation. It was like one of the blind dates set up by parents. Both didn’t want to be there. Now it is an obligation.


What Motivates an InterviewerBusiness Schools might have obsessively evaluated your motivation to do an MBA, but don’t forget schools, and admissions team have motivations too. Selecting the best candidate is a goal not the motivation behind the evaluation. When an MBA Admission Interviewer - an Alumnus, takes time away from their schedule to meet you and discuss your plans, they are not getting paid by the hour as a consultant. For a member of the MBA Admission team, the interaction is much more focused. They cannot give excuses like “I was busy last week”. It’s their job.

The Clock Watcher

When candidate Y shook hands with the interviewer – an alumnus, the meeting had finally happened, after three rescheduling. Past two appointments were cancelled at the last minute, and Y was even considering calling up the Admissions team, but better sense prevailed. When rescheduling happens more than 2-times, you can be sure that the interviewer is a Clock Watcher, a fake busy body or genuinely overwhelmed consultant – you will never know, but the phone will be on silent not switched off, and between conversation, he will check for messages at least two or three times. As an interviewee - this can be demotivating,...

Nervous Interview in MBA AdmissionsF1GMAT: How can we prevent nerves from affecting our performance in the interview?

ZoomInterviews: There’s no substitute for preparation when it comes to feeling more relaxed and comfortable in the interview.  Many applicants underestimate how much preparation it actually takes to have polished and compelling answers.  When you feel confident in your answers, this helps to lower your nervousness.  Another reason applicants get a case of the nerves before and during the interview is because there are elements of the interview that they can’t prepare for.  Even if they have done their research and prepared their questions, there is always an element of uncertainty around how the interview will actually be, as well as the level of sophistication and professional polish that needs to be brought into the interview.  This is where actually seeing current MBAs give examples of effective answers and/or working with a professional interview coach that specializes in the...

MBA Admissions Interview Dos and DontsWe caught up with ZoomInterviews and asked them about the Do's and Don'ts for MBA admission interviews. We also asked them about the importance of a good handshake. They have some valuable advice for all you MBA hopefuls. Here is the transcript.

As in any other interviews, preparation is very important for MBA admission interviews. What are some of the pointers that an interviewee has to keep in mind before attending the interview?




F1GMAT:  During the interview process what are the Dos and Don’ts that a candidate has to keep in mind?



1. Make a connection between your career goals and what the school can offer you; explain to the interviewer why attending b-school, especially this one, is the next best step in your career.

2. Be able to convey your key message(s) for each answer in about 1 to 2 minutes maximum. If the interviewer wants to hear more details, they can ask a follow-up question.

3. Express your excitement for the ways you would like to contribute to the school through the various activities, student groups and individual initiatives you want to pursue.


1. Don’t try too hard to impress the interviewer.  They meet with amazingly qualified candidates year after year.  Be confident in your accomplishments to date, but most importantly, be yourself and show a humility as you...

MBA Admission Interview TipsTalking about oneself passionately doesn’t come naturally to us, unless you are in Sales. Most MBA Applicants are not happy with their current responsibilities. They want a change in career or career progression in alignment with their potential and talents. Schools, however, will evaluate you based on what you have achieved. If you can’t talk with passion about your achievements, the admission team would find you uninspiring.

We find people engaging for two reasons – humor and for similar values and interests. Unfortunately, you can’t use humor in MBA Admission interview. Matching hobbies always seems phony. So matching values is the key.

If the interviewer believes in risk taking, then you have to quote one instance from your life where you took a big risk, even if you have failed.

11 Tips to prepare for MBA Admission Interview

1) Read your essays several times. The first thing that the interviewer wants to do is to check whether you are the same person as revealed in the essay and the resume.

2) Go through all the projects in details. If the Interviewer has a background different from yours, you will get the...

MBA Admission Interview Question - How do you define success?When Booth’s Admission team started asking this question consistently over the past years, candidates were wondering whether they should cite the $275,000 post-MBA salary as success or give some profound statements like “the purpose of life is the life of purpose.” It is too deep, and MBA Admission interviewer will give that dreaded blank look. Save the Robin Sharma quote for some other time.

Context Context Context

Don’t give the pre-meditated answer that you had prepared two days before. Understand the context. Is the interviewer asking the question after a personal question, professional achievements, or following a question about your volunteering capability? Highlight your definition of success accordingly, and then elaborate on your prepared answer.

Life Success or Short-term Goals

Success is a broad term, and the admission team is not asking this question to understand your post-MBA goals. Unless the AdCom asks what success means in your career, you should answer success as a balanced individual, looking at four aspects of your personality: Career, Spiritual, Community, and Self-...

Harvard MBA Post Interview ReflectionAs part of the HBS MBA Admission Interview process, you will have to fill up a post-interview reflection in the ‘Application Status’ page, within 24 hours of the interview. We hope you have crushed the interview (if you are planning to attend the interview, Download F1GMAT's MBA Admission Interview Guide - strategies on how to influence the interviewer and guide the questions to your advantage), but here are five points worth considering for your post-interview reflection:

1) Don’t Seek Assistance from Reviewers

The major difference in the post-interview reflection is the format. In essays, you write the first draft, modify it with a few anecdotes from your life, and then finally seek assistance from friends/family or expert reviewers to polish the essays further, and make it ready for publishing. If you are planning to write the essay without any outside help, Download F1GMAT's ...

Creative MBA Admission InterviewWhen MBA Admission interviewer asks this question, a candidate’s natural tendency is to answer the question from the narrow scope of creation, but if you pay close attention, the interviewer is looking for evidence of self-expression.


Self-Expression needs a canvas and a story. Don’t worry if you have not written a single short story or you are not particularly good at telling funny anecdotes in parties. We are all great storytellers. Just stop reading this article for 60 seconds, and pay attention to the random thoughts that you are having right now about yourself.

No cheating…

No Distraction..

Just 60 seconds.


How were the thoughts structured?

“I have to ace this interview for my future,” “I suck at interviews,” or “I can master the interview; after all I mastered GMAT and Essays.”

Depending on the level of self-loathing or self-respect, your thoughts are primarily in the form of goals or judgmental statements. But once the statements die down, you will hear a story – a story about someone who overcame obstacles after obstacles to reach the...

MBA Admission Interview Biggest ObstacleBefore answering this question, you should know the other commonly asked MBA Admission Interview Questions. Based on the distribution of questions – professional or personal, you should plan for this question. We recommend that you include a personal account; something inspiring that led you to develop your principal personality trait. It can be persistence, communication, or leadership.

Persistence - Skill Development

Leaders often swear by this quality, and applicants never miss an opportunity to highlight this quality in the essays, but if you go by the traditional definition, persistence means continuing in the path of pursuing a goal without getting affected by the immediate outcome. If the immediacy of the outcome, however negative it might be, did not deter you from pursuing the goal - mention the experience for the ‘Most Difficult’ obstacle you overcame question.

One good example is Skill Development.

Skill Development: When you develop a new...

MBA Admission Interview Greatest AccomplishmentThis is where understanding your interviewer’s background (explained in MBA Admission Interview Guide) is important. For someone from a consulting background, the greatest professional achievement is when the consultant brings organizational changes that generate substantial cash flow, gives the client a competitive edge, and sparks a cycle of innovation. For investment bankers, raising millions of funds through cold calling, and for a technologist - creating a stable, secure system that serves millions of users are examples of greatest accomplishments.

Instead of worrying too much about the interviewer’s background, you can find comfort in the fact that four qualities find resonance with interviewers, irrespective of their background:

1) Persuasion

Persuading a client to accept your proposal or your team to work hard on your idea require skills in communication and a deeper understanding on human behavior. You develop the skill through failures, and through keen...

Walk me through your resumeAfter the initial pleasantries, 90% of the MBA Admission interviewer will start with this question – “Walk me through your resume.” We are assuming that you have rewritten your long-form job resume to a 1-page MBA Admissions resume.

Don’t Start with your Name

When we conducted mock interviews, almost all candidates started with “As you know my name is X.” What a waste of opportunity. The interviewer wants you to be professional about the interview, but this is not a job interview. You have crossed a large number of hurdles (GMAT, GPA, Work Experience & Essays) to reach here. Don’t force the interviewer to change the tone of the interview. A formal interview never fully gives the interviewer a chance to evaluate your personality. Either you will be uptight, revealing no creative spark in your thoughts or you force the interviewer to play the interviewer rather than someone who is having a conversation with you.

Chronology vs. Interesting

Before you start answering, ...

MBA Admission Interview Dont be Boring“I could connect with him like I have not connected with any other person,” shared an MIT MBA student about his Admission interview. “We felt completely engaged during our conversation.” Most interesting conversation will not have that awkward long-pause when you are searching for the next topic. Before you learn to be a master conversationalist, cross the first hurdle – “How not to be boring.”

1) Don’t Start & End everything with an “I”

When you are in an MBA Admission interview, the interviewer expects you to talk about yourself. Even if your contributions were visible, quantifiable and according to you -responsible for turning around the outcome for the team, the repetition of “I” in every sentence will force the interviewer to focus not on your thinking, but on whether you are showing symptoms of someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Mix “I” with “We” wherever you had to depend on at least one person in your team to complete a task.

2) Don’t Whine

Boring conversationalists complain about something bad that happened to them, and most probably dwell on the fate, bad luck or cite some cosmic...

MBA Admission Interview RapportBuild Rapport with the interviewer is a common advice given to MBA hopefuls. But no one has dissected what it means to build rapport. You can do a lot to create first impression – a genuine smile, positive thoughts about the interviewer, firm handshake, and steady eye contact without staring. The first impression rituals last for about 1 to 2 minutes. Beyond that, it is all about building rapport.

The need for building rapport is because of our instinctive behavior – the more we like a person the more we want her to succeed. This instinct has led to the success of writers, artists, actors, sportsmen, politicians and even “YouTube” personalities. No matter how antagonizing their opinions are, or how boorishly they behave, we like them because they have built a rapport.


Since humans have evolved to believe that anyone dissimilar is a threat, we constantly search for similarities. Those who were not alert to dissimilarity perished. This trait has been passed on from our ancestors. Even when there are no similarities, we subconsciously search for any evidence of similarity. The radar is always up, and we are receptive towards any clue, even...

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