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 Download: 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, ethical dilemma, made mistake, contribution for the school, 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.

Pages: 204

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 (Team Discussion Strategy + Interview Tips)


1. Importance of MBA Admission Interview  
2. How to do Gap Analysis for MBA Admission Interview Preparation?  
3. 5 Conversation Plan for MBA Admission Interview  
4. Focus on the Interaction  
5. How can you control First Impression in MBA Admission Interview  
6. How to improve likeability in MBA Admissions Interview  
7. Avoid these 4 Handshakes  
8. How to highlight Personal, Cultural, and Academic Dimensions of your personality  
9. What motivates an Interviewer?  
10. How to Fine Tune your answers according to MBA Admission Interviewer's Personality Type  
11. How to answer the “Tell us about yourself” introductory question?  
12. How to answer Walk me through your resume?  
13. 5 Follow-up questions to expect  
14. What is the greatest accomplishment in your professional career?
15. What is your leadership style?  
16. How would you contribute at the School Community
17. What is the most difficult obstacle you overcame?  
18. Are you a Creative Person?  
19. How do you define Success?  
20. How to answer about Innovative Solutions?  
21. Answering Frequent Job Switch
22. How did you Handle Conflict?
23. How did you manage Change?  
24. Give an Example of an Ethical Dilemma you faced. How did you handle it?  
25. Answering Greatest Accomplishment
26. How did you Handle a Difficult Boss?  
27.Tell me a time when you made a Mistake. What did you learn from it?
28. How to summarize your Career?  
29. How to explain low grades?  
30. How to answer Scenario Questions?  
31. How to answer the Backup Plan Question  
32. How to discuss about Industry Experience & your Role?  
33. What Questions should you ask the AdCom after an MBA Admissions Interview?  
34. 7 Things to Consider for Skype MBA Admission Interviews  
35. 5 Must Read MBA Admission Telephonic Interview Tips  

Download MBA Admission Interview Guide

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