An MBA candidate answering some common MBA interview questions

5 MBA Interview Questions & Answers for Freshers

December 15, 2023
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Importance of the MBA Interview5 Sample MBA Interview Questions From Top CollegesCommon Types of MBA Interview QuestionsTips to Prepare for an MBA InterviewFAQs

Though getting an invitation for an MBA interview from your dream business school is an amazing opportunity, feelings of excitement can quickly turn into a cocktail of anxiety, panic, and dread. To help you prepare and put your anxieties to rest, we have assembled this guide filled with common MBA interview questions, tips, and tricks to put your best foot forward during your interviews.

Importance of the MBA Interview

The interview is an important part of the MBA application process, besides your cover letter and statement of purpose. An interview can be the determining factor in a school’s decision to accept or deny a prospective student into their program. Not only is it a clear sign that your school believes in your potential, but it is also a chance for them to get a stronger sense of who you are and how you think. 

Schools formulate MBA interview questions to gauge whether a candidate is as capable as they appear to be on paper. The admissions committee uses this as an opportunity to judge your leadership, communication, and even analytic skills. Interviewers also want to learn more about who you are outside of your academics. 

This is a great time to show personality, authenticity and elaborate on areas that you were only able to briefly discuss in other parts of your application. Show your interviewer that you can present yourself clearly and effectively. 

Just as the MBA interview is a great opportunity for the school to learn more about you, it’s also a chance for you to do the same. Take this time to learn more about your school of choice from someone who is knowledgeable about their MBA program, whether it is an admissions officer, a faculty member, or alumni. 

The interview is also a great opportunity to explain any anomalies in your application, to remove any doubt about potential red flags. Some things that can be causes for concern include a lack of meaningful community service, any gaps in your resume, or skews in undergraduate academic performance. 

When answering MBA interview questions, you have a short window to make an impression on the interviewer. To make the most of your time, the best thing you can do is prepare.

Male student doing virtual interview

5 Sample MBA Interview Questions From Top Colleges

To help you prepare for your interview, here are five MBA interview questions and answers to help you practice! 

1. Can You Tell Me More About Yourself?

How to answer: Tailor your response to emphasize your suitability for the program. Maintain brevity and relevance in highlighting why you are the ideal candidate. Aim for a concise two-to-three-minute response, focusing on expanding upon your most recent experiences and abilities, while keeping earlier experiences compact.

Sample answer:

“I've always inspired myself to reach my goals because my vision is important to me. I've completed the education that was required of me and used every piece of knowledge in my job. However, I'm ready to develop my career and obtain the job I've always wanted. I've worked incredibly hard to get to where I am today and plan to achieve my goals of completing this program.
My education definitely prepared me for my first job out of college, but I want to aspire to do more in my life. My current education can only take me so far, and I'm ready to learn the skills and gain the knowledge in this program to have the opportunity to work in a better position at my dream company."

2. Can You Tell Me About a Time When You Worked Closely With Someone Who Had a Different Personality than You?

How to answer: Use the STAR method for a polished answer showcasing your adaptability to diverse personalities. Reflect on specific situations involving varied personalities, practice your response, and aim for seamless delivery.

Sample answer:

"I worked with someone on multiple projects during my most recent job, and he liked to work quickly from the start and fix errors later. However, I like to work after formulating a plan.
The first two projects involved fixing mistakes and spending more time than was necessary, so I explained my thought about creating a plan from the start. Although he still wanted to get working immediately, the following project took us less time because we were able to complete the tasks correctly the first time. I formulated a plan for every project after that because of our increase in productivity."

3. Describe a Time When You Failed to Meet Someone's Expectations. How Did You Resolve the Situation?

How to answer: Use the opportunity to discuss a challenging experience that shaped your growth and how you resolved the situation. Demonstrate how you transformed a setback into a learning opportunity, showcasing both personal development and conflict resolution skills to the interviewer.

Sample answer:

“I had a teacher who expected the best from all of her students. During a time when I had a lot of projects due at once, I was unable to show my best work on the project for her class. She was disappointed that my work had faltered compared to my previous work in her class. Although there were no redos for the assignment that would change my grade, I turned in the assignment again when my workload had diminished to show her that I knew what she expected of me."

4. What Do You Like Most About Your Current Work?

How to answer: Use this question to steer the conversation toward your genuine passions. Explain why you love your job and chose your current career path. Highlight specific rewarding aspects of your current work. Even if pursuing an MBA for a career change, express the reasons for your success in your current role, demonstrating an ability to find positivity in challenging situations.

Sample answer:

What I love about my current work is that it allows me to be innovative in many ways. Specifically, it gives me the ability to be creative through these ways: (include specific examples).”

5. What Do You Believe Would Be Your Biggest Challenge in This Program?

How to answer: This interview question lets you express your awareness of MBA program demands and your readiness to meet them. Embrace vulnerability as a strength, acknowledging potential challenges and showcasing your proactive approach to overcoming them. Share how you plan to manage time and resources wisely.

Sample answer:

“I understand the complexities of taking on a program such as yours. I can honestly say that I feel up to the challenge but know that utilizing resources available to me will give me the best opportunity for success. I plan to take my time management seriously and pace myself throughout the program.”

These MBA interview questions and answers will help you prepare for your interview and hopefully have you admitted to your dream MBA program

Female student being interviewed by man and woman

Common Types of MBA Interview Questions

The majority of MBA interview questions will center around conveying your story and your aspirations for the future. They will typically start broad and then become more specific as the interview goes along. 

When preparing for the interview, keep in mind that questions can cover a range of topics, and why MBA interview questions are asked. Below, we’ll discuss the five most common types of MBA interview questions. 

Weakness-Based questions

What are your weaknesses?

This type of MBA interview question can be difficult for candidates to answer; no one wants to represent themselves in a way that is less than flattering. Weakness-based questions are important in an interview because they allow you to show that you have self-awareness, humility, and sincerity. 

Being honest when answering this type of MBA interview question can add to your credibility. A good way to approach a weakness-based question is to frame your answer in a way that shows your growth, self-reflection, and commitment to improving. Begin your answer by first describing your weakness. 

Then, using a specific, concrete example, discuss not only what you have done to overcome or work on that weakness but also what the experience has taught you. Remember, business schools do not expect you to be perfect. The purpose of this question is to determine if you can learn and grow during your time on their campus.

Describe a time where you have experienced failure.

Besides explicitly asking about a particular weakness, your school can also ask you about a time when you have experienced failure. While it can be harrowing, failure is a reality for everyone; and is experienced by both individuals and companies alike. Just like the question about your weaknesses, an MBA interview question on failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Your answer shows that you have grit and the perseverance necessary to bounce back and push forward with new awareness. When answering this question, choose your example wisely. It can be from a time in your professional or personal life. Avoid responding to this question by shrouding your question in a success. 

You also don’t want to choose a substantial failure that the interviewer may fear can happen again. The important thing to do when answering a question about failure is to acknowledge the role you played in the incident and not blame others. Being accountable and introspective will add to your credibility and help you appear authentic to your interviewer.

School-specific questions 

These sets of questions aim to determine whether you have done your research and take attending their school seriously. School-specific questions help the interviewer to see you as a part of the school’s community and culture.

Why are you interested in our school or program?

You should go into this question having a good understanding of the values, culture and mission of your prospective school. When answering this question, the best thing that you can do is be specific. Don’t waste too much time discussing the school’s history, prestige, or regurgitating facts from their website. 

Instead, speak practically about why the school is a good choice for you personally. Talk about all the things that drew you into the school. This could include the faculty, curriculum, connections to the industry, and even a school’s location. You can also explain how the school aligns with some of your goals and values. No matter what you decide to talk about, make sure that it is something that interests you.

What other schools are you applying to?

Interviewers typically ask this question to avoid admitting candidates who will choose another school when the opportunity presents itself. While business schools understand and expect you to apply to different schools, every school ultimately wants to know that they are your first choice. 

Some interviewers will ask this question to better understand how you are selecting the schools that you are applying to; for example, are you applying to schools based on ranking or some other factor. Keep this in mind when you give your answers and most importantly, be honest. You want to show that the choices that you made are backed by thoughtful consideration and careful research. 

In your answer, also state that the school you are interviewing with is an excellent choice among the schools you have applied to and provide a specific element of the program that sets them apart. Karen Hamou, a Columbia Business School alum and former Deloitte recruiting lead, provides a sample answer to this question:

“Given my interest in doing my MBA in NYC, I am also applying to Stern. While Stern could also provide me with a strong finance education, CBS remains my number 1 choice due to its unique value investing program.”

No matter what answer you give for this question, remember that your answer will reassure you that you are serious about your prospective school.

Personal Questions 

Another type of MBA interview question that you can be asked is one focused on getting to know you outside of your academics.

Tell me about yourself. 

This is one of the most common MBA interview questions. Though this question may seem like an easy one to answer, many candidates get caught up in its open-ended nature, which can often cause them to give general and long-winded responses. 

The best thing that you can do for a question like this is to structure your answer beforehand, to have a short pitch ready to go. We recommend limiting your answer to a two or three-minute response, where you identify key points about yourself that relate to the school or their MBA program. 

You should use this question to briefly discuss your professional and academic background, your passions, goals, and accomplishments. Though we encourage you to have a pitch prepared for this question, it is important that your response doesn’t sound overly rehearsed; it should be conversational and authentic.

Why do you want an MBA?

When asking this question, interviewers are often looking for answers that are thoughtful and well researched. Comprehensively explain your motivations for pursuing an MBA and how it will help you further your professional aspirations. 

You can also use this type of MBA interview question to mention specific skills that you hope to attain by attending their school and how these skills will apply to your field or industry of interest.

Skill Assessment Questions

In addition to your professional aspirations, schools also want to ensure that you have a series of soft skills that will help them to determine whether or not you are a well-rounded candidate.

Tell me about a time that you demonstrated leadership. 

Leadership is a common skill that you will likely be asked about during your interview. Business school interviewers are interested in candidates who have the potential to be strong leaders in the future. 

To answer this question, prepare an example or two when you demonstrated leadership qualities, either in a professional setting or a community role. It is important to explore the initiatives that you led, the results you achieved, and the impact that your skills had on the situation. 

When talking about the assessment of your skills, also include any lessons that you may have learned that helped you to improve your qualities as a leader. Remember that leadership is much more than taking charge; qualities that make a good leader include listening, responding, and inspiring. It is always worth showing how you have grown while answering these types of MBA interview questions.

Tell me why you consider yourself a team player.

While business schools are looking for candidates who have leadership capabilities, they also look for those who can work within a team. The ability to collaborate effectively with others is an important skill for candidates to have. 

When answering this question, refrain from focusing on your success, what you did, and your contributions; the focus should be on the collective. The best way to approach this question is to use an example. 

When answering this question, keep in mind some of the qualities that make a valuable team player such as being a good communicator and being willing to compromise to avoid conflict. Your example should illustrate that you have, or have worked, on these qualities. 

Tell me about a time where you handled conflict. 

Another question that you may be asked is about conflict resolution. Interviewers may ask this question to determine how you solve problems. Being able to handle conflict is also an important skill to demonstrate because it is another indicator that you work well with others. 

Avoid saying that you have never experienced conflict or giving a vague answer. It’s best to answer this type of question honestly using a specific example. In your example, demonstrate that you can remain calm and act rationally in the face of a conflict and are able to understand the other person’s perspective.

Future Goals Questions 

What are your career aspirations? Where do you see yourself in 10-15 years?

This is arguably one of the most important parts of the interview. MBA interview questions that are based on your aspirations can demonstrate that you have a good idea of how you will apply all that you will learn during your MBA. 

Keep in mind that your school wants to be a part of your success story, and you should do all that you can to reference them and the opportunities that they will make available within your answer. Many candidates answer these types of questions by saying that they want to be a CEO, take on a managerial role in a multinational firm or work in a position that helps them to realize their true potential. 

Be careful of giving these types of answers. Not only are these answers common, but they also don’t tell the interviewer very much. They are far too up-in-the-air and not nearly specific enough. 

It is important to make sure your goals for the future align with your background, that your short-term goal (getting your MBA) and your long-term goals are in sync. The best way to respond to this question is to talk about a particular industry that you want to pursue after receiving your MBA or the role that you intend to take up rather than a designation. 

For example, instead of saying you want to become a CEO, you can say that you want to be a leader that solves real problems. While it’s good to show ambition when talking about your future goals, you also want to make sure that they are within reach and that you have a clear path to achieve them.

Hopefully after reviewing these question types, you’ll have a better understanding why MBA interview questions are important!

two young men shaking hands

Tips to Prepare for an MBA Interview

Here are some helpful tips you can implement when preparing for your MBA interview. 

Practice, But Don’t Memorize

It’s important to practice your responses to common questions but avoid memorization. While rehearsing helps refine your thoughts and delivery, overly scripted answers can appear insincere and robotic. Instead, focus on understanding the key points you want to convey, emphasizing your achievements, skills, and motivations. 

Practice maintaining a natural and conversational tone, allowing flexibility for adapting to various questions. This approach ensures that you appear confident, authentic, and well-prepared during the interview, leaving a positive and lasting impression on the interviewers.

Research the Program

Researching the MBA program is a fundamental point of the interview preparation. Familiarize yourself with the program's curriculum, faculty, and unique features to demonstrate a genuine interest in your academic and career goals. 

Understand the program's values, culture, and recent developments, allowing you to tailor your responses to highlight how your aspirations resonate with the program's offerings. 

Prepare Your Own Questions

Interviewers always appreciate it when you ask them questions at the end of an interview. It shows that you’re interested and engaged. This two-way exchange enriches your understanding of the MBA program and positions you as an enthusiastic and informed candidate. Develop questions about the program's unique aspects, culture, and opportunities for growth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

If you still have questions, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. How Should I Dress for My Interview? 

You should dress in business casual attire when going for an interview. Men should wear clothing like slacks or khakis, blazers, and loafers. Women should wear pants, suits, skirts, dress shirts, minimal jewelry, and minimal makeup. Both genders should wear neutral-colored clothing as well. 

2. How Should I Prepare for an Interview?

The best way to prepare for an interview is to prepare short responses and examples for potential questions like the ones discussed above. Brainstorm key selling points you want the interviewer to know about your personal and professional goals. 

These key points should relate to your strengths, personality, and soft skills, such as your adaptability and problem-solving skills. Practice answering each question aloud once you know what you want to say. Doing so will help you focus your response, keep track of your pacing, and stay on topic. 

3. How Do I Handle Answering Hard Questions?

Before formulating a response to a challenging interview question, pause briefly to organize your thoughts and seek clarification if necessary. When addressing these questions, articulate your approach and justify your reasoning.

4. What Should I Do If I Give a Bad Answer?

If you give a less-than-ideal answer in an interview, stay composed and acknowledge any shortcomings calmly. Redirect the conversation by offering a more refined response or providing additional context. Demonstrating self-awareness and a willingness to course-correct can leave a positive impression. 

5. Is It Okay to Ask an Interviewer for Feedback at the End of an Interview?

We don’t recommend asking for feedback on how you did or your chances for admission. Doing so can signify to your interviewer that you lack good judgment or aren’t confident in yourself or your answers. 

Many candidates think they bombed an interview, but weeks later, they get an acceptance letter into the school of their dreams. Just focus on being yourself and answering the questions honestly, clearly, and confidently. 

6. How Long Does an Interview Typically Last?

MBA interviews can last anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. 


Receiving an invitation for an interview at your dream school can be intimidating. It is an important moment to assess whether you are right for school, but also if it is right for you. How you address MBA interview questions can allow you to bring your candidacy to life. Keep in mind that an interview is a sign that you have already captured the school’s interest. 

So the best way to win them over is to be your true, authentic self. Relax and enjoy the challenge that this part of the application process brings. If you consider these tips, you stand a very good chance of having a successful interview.

About Inspira Futures

At Inspira Futures, our sole focus is to get you accepted at your dream business school. Our team of experts consists of former admission committee members and alums from Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB, and other M7 schools. Our goal is to help you write great essays, ace interviews, and win scholarships. Without any stress or hassle. Our clients have gone on to secure admits at the world's top business schools while also being winners of some of the most prestigious scholarships like Stanford Knight Hennessy, HBS Baker Scholars, and many others.
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