MBA Interview Question: How would you contribute at the School Community?

Business School admission team have the hard job of choosing candidates who have demonstrated a balance in academic rigor, professional growth, extra-curricular and volunteering experience. The most common reason for rejection in admissions is lack of experience.

With close to 25-35% of the applicants receiving interview invites for most top schools, interviews are a relatively easier hurdle to cross.

Any shortcuts – working 2-3 months and getting recommendation letter/experience certificate indicating 2-3 years of experience or made up stories on volunteering are revealed during one on one conversation.

While preparing clients during mock interviews, we reiterate the need to have at least 3 narratives on extra-curricular and volunteering with preference shown to experiences in the past three years. The more far off the applicant go back to cite involvement in the community, the more likely that they would face rejection.

Why School needs proof of volunteering?

According to a 2016 labour survey in the US, the lowest volunteering age was in the 20-24 age group with the highest in the 35-44 and 45-54 range. To break the trend, MBA Applicants who typically start their professional career at the age of 22 would have to break the stereotype, plan or emulate the ideals of their role model or parents. An applicant with no role models or ideals is tough to mould in an academic environment.

By demonstrating professional competence and social responsibility, you are demonstrating a unique combination of qualities. In our experience, continuous involvement in a non-profit is rare. Only a certain type of personality is rigorously giving their time for unpaid work. They are aware of the tradeoff. Nevertheless, they commit, partially to meet the standards of Ivey league schools and partly because they began to enjoy helping others.

If you are a non-American candidate, volunteering would be ‘the’ differentiator and for a good reason. Americans are the most generous culture in volunteering. The puritan ideals, and the step-up of women into the mainstream during world war 2, have exploded the number of non-profits in the United States. Despite moving around in the Global Giving index, the United States has been in the top 5 - consistently toppling the ‘nicer’ Canadians.  

On average, women in the US volunteer 6% more than men. So if you are an American male applicant, continuous involvement in one or two non-profits could be a key differentiator. For women applicants, low involvement in the community might deter your admission chances. Applicants try hard to break stereotypes, but there are some that need confirmation. We recommend women clients to emphasize their involvement in social causes.

Another reason for volunteering is that applicants with bachelor’s degree volunteer 12% more than associate or college graduates. The influence of your country, city and close-knit network is measured in your MBA admissions. The most consequential is the close network that you keep.

Volunteering is a key data on your potential and the network that the school could access.

#1. Student Clubs

Most student clubs are divided based on function, industry, travel, extra-curricular (music, acting, stand-up) and sports. The question is necessary for an MBA admission team to evaluate your potential contribution. One consistent reason for rejection in interviews is aiming too low or aiming too high. Any narrative that includes more than 3 clubs or only 1 club are good enough reasons for rejection.


Download F1GMAT's MBA Admission Interview Guide for Complete Interview Tips

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

Navigate F1GMAT

F1GMAT Services (MBA Applicants) 

F1GMAT's Books

MBA Salary(Latest Salary Data)
MBA Admission Interview Tips



MBA Application Essays

MBA Recommendation Letter

GMAT Tutorials

GMAT Question Bank

Top MBA Programs

Get F1GMAT's Newsletters (Best in the Industry)
Included in the Newsletter:

  • Ranking Analysis
  • Post-MBA Salary Trends
  • Post-MBA Job Function & Industry Analysis
  • Post-MBA City Review
  • MBA Application Essay Tips
  • School Specific Essay Tips
  • GMAT Preparation Tips
  • MBA Admission Interview Tips
  • School Specific Interview Tips
  • Funding Guidance and
  • Special Consultation Service (only for Subscribers)

Subscribe to F1GMAT's Newsletter