MBA Admission Interview - Do's , Don'ts Before the Interview

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?



1. Research the school; reflect on your candidacy – what you can contribute to the school and how the school’s program will further your career goals; and practice, practice, and practice your answers for questions that you anticipate.

2. Build in plenty of time to arrive on time, which means 10-15 minutes before your in-person interview or to be settled in a quiet place to conduct a phone interview. Remember that interviewers get annoyed with bad connections during phone interviews.  For phone interviews, make sure you know who is calling whom and that you know when the interview time is, especially if the interviewer is in a different time zone.

3. Know who you are going to be speaking with.  Make sure you know how to pronounce his/her name properly.  Do some research on your interviewer, whether that person is an admissions officer, alum or current student.  It will help you to feel comfortable when you know who you are talking to.  Be careful about mentioning to the person that you did research on him or her.  This makes some people self-conscious although it is common best practice for interview prep.

4. Prepare questions to ask in the end of the interview which will show that you did your homework.  This is a very easy way to impress the interviewer.  Thoughtful, well-researched questions do a couple of things to bolster your candidacy:

(1) mostly obvious, they show that you have done your research on the school and
(2) they show that you take your candidacy seriously.  If you’ve spent the time to formulate good questions, this conveys to your interviewer that you really care.


1. Don’t think that you can go into the interview without a lot of preparation.  Applicants are increasingly better prepared and the process is very competitive.  The interviewing skills that helped you land your first job(s) out of undergrad will need to be upgraded for the MBA admissions interview.

2. Avoid over rehearsing your answers.  While practicing is critical to making sure you can effectively convey your key points during the interview, you don’t want to come across as if you’re delivering a pre-recorded answer.  Remember that you’re having a conversation with the interviewer.

3. Although you may be travelling to the school’s campus to do your interview and/or perhaps a new city, avoid staying out so late that you’re not well rested for the interview.  When you’re tired and unfocused, it is very apparent to the interviewer, and you only have one chance to make a great impression.

F1GMAT: Experts profess about the importance of a good handshake. In order to create a good first impression, how important is a good handshake and what are the other things that a candidate has to keep in mind?

ZoomInterviews:The handshake is an important part of the interview ‘ritual’ and also an easy way to make a positive first impression.  A good handshake involves making eye contact and smiling while firmly clasping the hand of the interviewer, giving 1-2 short pumps and greeting the interviewer by name – “Sarah, it’s very good to meet you”.  The force of your grip should match that of the other person, although if the interviewer gives you a limp handshake, you should still present a firm grip that is not too overpowering.  If you are an international applicant, and depending on your cultural norms, firm handshakes may not feel natural to you.  However, any admissions interviewer for a U.S. business school will prefer a firm handshake, which is part of American business etiquette.

Smile: Another important interview behavior is one that is quite easy to do, but often overlooked – smile.  Many times, applicants are so nervous in the admissions interview, their face shows no emotion, it’s totally expressionless, or worse, they seemed petrified.  Smiling is a way to connect to the interviewer, who wants to get to know you as a person.  Smiling also helps your answers to sound less rehearsed.  The reason for this is that smiling is one cue that signals that you are having a conversation with someone, as opposed to reciting pre-packaged answers.   Smiling is just as critical when you’re conducting a phone interview, where the interviewer cannot see your facial expressions, and emotions are primarily conveyed through your voice. 

The handshake and smile are just two of many small details that together help to make a great first impression.  Other things to consider 

1) Come in a freshly pressed suit (or sharp business casual if explicitly told you don’t have to wear a suit)

2) Make sure your hair is well groomed (including facial hair) and your nails are clean;

3) Carry a simple black or brown portfolio with you that contains a pad of paper, a high quality pen and copies of your resume/related application material;

4) Do not sit down until the interviewer has taken a seat; if the interviewer is entering a room where you are already seated, stand up to shake their hand and then wait for them to sit down before seating yourself; when you are exchanging initial greetings with the interviewer, you can briefly thank them for taking time to meet with you.  And finally, take the interviewers lead and let them control the interview.

Recommended Resources: F1GMAT's MBA Admission Interview Guide

ZoomInterviewsZoomInterviews provides premium MBA admissions interview videos and preparation. It offers video examples of admissions interviews featuring students from top schools, video guidance for answering the most challenging interview questions and serves as a complete source for all your interview preparation needs.

MBA Admission Interview Guide

The Guide offers detailed examples and strategies to answer about yourself, career summary, innovation, frequent job switch, managing change, handling conflict, the greatest accomplishment, low grades, difficult boss, backup plan, industry, role and gives you tips on managing first impression, improve likeability and lists the questions that you should ask the MBA Admission interviewer.

The Guide includes commonly asked MBA Admission Interview Questions for:

1) Booth School of Business
2) Columbia Business School
3) Ivey Business School
4) Johnson Graduate School of Management
5) Insead
6) Kellogg School of Management
7) Stanford Graduate School of Business
8) London Business School
9) Harvard Business School
10) MIT Sloan School of Management
11) Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Download MBA Admission Interview Guide

Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)

We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).

Pages: 327


"I have not reviewed many books for MBA Admission consulting companies but doing it now to give all applicants a brief idea on what the book covers. The book includes 31 top MBA programs - almost all the top schools you have heard or considering for your MBA application. Each chapter is categorized by US States where there is at least one top MBA program. So you have California and Massachusetts with the most number of MBA programs and several states with one top program (Washington, Minnesota, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Virginia, and Maryland) and other states with two to three MBA programs. The book focuses on four aspects of an MBA program - curriculum, cost, class profile and post-MBA salary. For me, the breakdown of the cost and post-MBA industry was useful to make my decision on selecting the top 5 programs for 2017-18. It is a fascinating read in an industry where consultants overprice for their expertise. I recently bought a 30-page guide for $49. Compared to the obvious observation in that book, the 300+ page, MBA in US - the Ultimate guide is a goldmine of information and analysis." - Verified Purchase (21st June 2017)

"I bought the ultimate guide after a friend recommended it for me. The guide covers a lot of ground on the history of each prominent US states and goes into the reasons why a certain industry emerged from each state. In addition to the analysis of the economy, trends and expected changes in the next 5 years, the book features top MBA programs in each state with an extensive study of its curriculum. Ultimate guide is an essential reference book for MBA Applicants if they want to shortlist MBA programs based on value and cost, and not just ranking. " - Verified Purchase (14th June 2017)

"Should be a required reading before applying for an MBA. School events and MBA Tours are PR events disguised as a Q&A. On the contrary, the book is an unbiased analysis of each Top MBA program in the US supported by a large dataset and historical context on each industry. The guide builds a case for indstries that are likely to emerge as favourite for MBA graduates. Thorough and a valuable book." - Verified Purchase (15th June 2017)

"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

Download How to Choose the Best MBA in US: The Ultimate Guide
(2018 Entering Class)

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