Harvard, Stanford and Wharton MBA Admission Interview Tips: Don't Be Late, Practice & Be Authentic

Interview Tips for Top Business SchoolsHow should I prepare for MBA Admissions Interview? What are the skills, personalities and fit that top schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton are trying to figure out through the interview? Are there any additional aspect of my application that should be highlighted in the interview or consistency is the key?

In plain English, through the interview process, they want to know that you can listen, respond and connect with another human being in front of you (not everyone is good at that!). It is not just your ability to talk, but also your ability to communicate effectively face-to-face with another human being.

To do this, practice talking about your candidacy OUT LOUD. Either talking about it to someone (friend, family member, spouse, dog, cat, hamster, etc.) or to yourself (yes, it will sound strange and weird at first).

Interviews are not intellectual exercises. They are not carefully rehearsed speeches. A great interview is one where BOTH the interviewer and interviewee are fully engaged in conversation (but obviously with the interviewee doing most of the talking).

Conversation = talking.

You don't get "good" at interviews by reading books, writing notes, or doing anything where it's all in your head. You have to get used to hearing these very themes coming out of your own voice – your career goals, why "b-school X" is the right place for you, what you've accomplished, your strengths and weaknesses, and so forth.

If you're not used to actually talking about this out loud - it's going to come across as awkward no matter how much you've "read" your notes or "written down" stuff or memorized complete threads of  "monologues" in silence. The interview room is NOT the best place to be vocalizing this stuff for the first time.

It has to be in your body, not just in your head -- so that it comes across as natural and engaging. If it is all in your head and not fully in your body (i.e. so that your body language responds to what you are actually saying), you WILL come across as disconnected, disengaged, distant, and dull.

Talking is a physical activity. Nervousness is a physical condition.

The more comfortable you are talking OUT LOUD about these things we  normally don't talk about everyday in our lives (why MBA, goals, accomplishments, failures, etc.) the less nervous you will get no matter how big the stakes are because YOU are the expert on yourself, and you are used to talking about it.

It's not about coming up with carefully scripted answers to specific questions - because an astute interviewer will pick up on the fact that it's carefully scripted. Insincerity or lack of authenticity is what KILLS you in an interview more than a stumble of a word here or there. No one, including the adcom or interviewer, likes to feel that they're being played or that you are putting on an artificial front - no matter how substantive you think you are, if you come across as insincere or "scripted", it is death.

So how do you "prepare" for something where you are supposed to come across as spontaneous and authentic as if you were answering their question for the first time? You do so by practice, practice, practice until you are so used to talking about it aloud that you can improvise around it. Anyone who has done sales will know what I mean. An interview is basically a sales pitch - with the product being YOU. A great sales  pitch isn't one that sounds carefully scripted, but one where the sales person knows the underlying sales points and product so well that he/she can respond in the moment without thinking and can then improvise -- the more one physically talks it out, the smoother and more comfortable one becomes with the material.

Interviewing is a physical activity - treat your preparation as such (and this goes with MBA recruiting as well -- i.e. you get better at case interviews by physically talking it out - being good at case interviews isn't purely about your "thinking process" but about being good at "verbalizing" your thinking process).

About Expert Author

MBA Apply (www.mbaapply.com) is a personalized, no-nonsense admissions consulting service designed to help you get into the world's top business schools.

Putting together compelling, cohesive and inspired applications is essential if you need to distinguish yourself from a sea of other highly accomplished professionals applying to business school.

Contact alex@mbaapply.com and have MBA Apply coach you through this process.

Getting into Harvard MBA is Not Like Catching a Shooting Star

Most applicants have this strange notion that you cannot get into Harvard MBA program without climbing Mount Everest, or leading a start-up to an IPO. 

Trust us, we evaluated a few Harvard MBA Admits. They are like you, but with one difference.

They are Masters at Personal Branding.

We will teach you:

1) How you should start the essay knowing that extroversion and passion are valued in Harvard MBA?

2) How you should demonstrate Active Learning?

3) How you should demonstrate confidence in decision-making?

4) How you should demonstrate your succinct communication skills?

5) How you should demonstrate your potential as an effective FIELD team member?

Also Included in the Essay Guide:

1) Six positioning tips that you should consider for your essay.

2) Two Sample Essays

Download F1GMAT's Harvard MBA Essay Guide 2016-17

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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