Business school application: Interview

Last year, I was surprised to see so many applicants blew their chance of admission at the last stage of the application process. If you get an interview invitation from HBS, you have to remember that your chance of admission is still lower than fifty-fifty.

Business People Sitting Nervously

There is no one best way to prepare for the interview.  It totally depends on your style and the school you are applying to. The HBS interview is arguably one of the most difficult schools to prepare for. Unlike some other schools, it is very difficult to anticipate the questions HBS’ AdCom may ask (schools such as Stanford and MIT Sloan are known for their “behavioral question” style).  Some of the features of HBS’ interview are:

    • It is conducted by an AdCom member
    • It finishes in exactly 30 minutes
    • Your interviewer reviews all your application material before the interview

It is difficult to provide general advice on HBS’ interview because the questions can vary depending on your background. However, from last year’s experience, I would say these are the four most important tips all applicants should remember:

    1. You must be able to explain every single detail on your application information (except for recommendation letters)
    2. Your answer must always be concise and straightforward (remember that there are only 15-18 questions in the 30 minutes)
    3. You must prepare for multidimensional follow-up questions for each of your answers (why? how? What else?)
    4. You should look professional

I actually spent considerable time preparing for the interview. I made a long list of expected questions, recorded each question on a voice recorder, and randomly played them back in order to practice by myself.  I also had several mock interviews just before the actual interview.

It is just 30 minutes. But the 30 minutes can change your life. Let’s practice!


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