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The MBA Interview: Hardest, Weirdest + Most Frequently Asked Questions


We asked MBAs who interviewed at the top 10 programs — from HBS to Columbia — a series of four questions:


  1. What is the hardest interview question you were asked?

  2. What about the most unexpected question?

  3. The most common interview question?

  4. Any other tips, tricks or hacks for those preparing for the MBA interview?


We crowdsourced this information so you don’t have to and can instead focus on the more important things like getting ready to ace that interview. Keep reading below and if you’re looking for some one-on-one mock interview practice with MBAs at the top 10 programs, check-out thelighthouse.



The hardest


“‘What is your leadership style?’ It’s surprisingly difficult to come up with a concise and precise answer to this question. Because every leadership situation is different and calls for a slightly different style, it took a lot of thinking and synthesizing to get to down to an answer that felt representative of myself as a candidate without feeling canned or insincere.”— Emilie Futterman @ Kellogg


“What is a weakness that I have and how can this school’s specific MBA program help me address it?” — Hersh Lakdawala @ MIT Sloan


“I was asked to talk about my major life choices and why I made the decisions I did. It asked me to reflect on my motivations, emotions, intentions as well as future goals. Often times we don’t look back and know why we did what, but by doing so, you can shape your story in a more cohesive and authentic way.” — Cameron Cler @ MIT Sloan


“Picture yourself on a group project and someone isn’t pulling their weight. You can’t take them out of the group. How would you help this person contribute?” — Dabney Jean @ Kellogg


“Tell me about a time that you led a diverse team and how did you use the team’s diversity as a strength?” — Hao Shen @ Berkeley Haas


“The group interview at Wharton was difficult as it is an unusual format and requires preparation ahead of time to arrive to a collaborative answer. My year, the question centered around new ideas and how to improve the Global Modular Courses the school offered.” — Jennifer Wong @ Wharton


The most unexpected


“What would you be doing it you weren’t applying to business school?” This question can be interpreted a few different ways. I took it to ask what I would be doing if I wasn’t pursuing my professional goals, since I didn’t want to sound like I didn’t ‘need’ business school. So I launched into a highly detailed description of the sandwich shop I dream of opening one day.— Emilie Futterman @ Kellogg


What would you if you were not pursuing an MBA, or the MBA application process did not work out? — Hersh Lakdawala @ MIT Sloan


“What would you do if you are ultimately not accepted to business school?”— Hao Shen @ Berkeley Haas


“Tell me something that you believe that no one else you know believes.”— Cameron Cler @ MIT Sloan


“If you do not get accepted to our school what is your backup plan?” — Dabney Jean @ Kellogg


“If I gave you $50 million today, what would you do with it?” — Jennifer Wong @ Wharton


The most common


“Why do you want an MBA, specifically at this point in your career and at this school?”— Hersh Lakdawala @ MIT Sloan


“‘Tell me about yourself.’ Obvious, but it’s the most important. It’s launching point for the rest of the interview. You have to answer it well: descriptively, with hooks for the interviewer to latch on to and ask more about, and enough personality to set the tone for the remainder of the interview.” — Emilie Futterman @ Kellogg


“Tell me about a time that you overcame adversity.” — Hao Shen @ Berkeley Haas


“Tell me about a time where you faced a challenge / experienced failure and what did you do?” — Cameron Cler @ MIT Sloan


“Why do you want to go to our school?” — Dabney Jean @ Kellogg


“How will a MBA help my long-term goals?” — Jennifer Wong @ Wharton


Other tips, tricks or hacks?


“I would schedule my interview for later in the day and spend the first half of the day on campus, visiting classes, and meeting students. It helped me find the authentic things at the school that I could connect with and get excited about in the interview.” — Hersh Lakdawala @ MIT Sloan


“Figure out answers to standard interview questions and then take it a step further to understand who were the key players in those situations, how did you impact the events, and what were the results. Be yourself and share what you are passionate about and not what you think the interviewer wants to hear.” — Cameron Cler @ MIT Sloan


“Leverage current 1st year students because usually the questions remain the same and they can steer you in the right direction.” — Dabney Jean @ Kellogg


“Identify your passions. Tie that passion to a specific experience you’ve had. Learn to tell a story around that passion and experience.” — Hao Shen@ Berkeley Haas


“Spend a lot of time thinking about how you can craft a cohesive story. Your experiences are what they are, but what is the common theme that demonstrates your passion and how have your past experiences given you the capabilities to pursue that?” — Jennifer Wong @ Wharton


“Ask your close friends what they would say to common questions, as if they were interviewing as you. Chances are you’ve spent years telling them about your work experiences, why business school, what matters to you most, etc. It’s sometimes surprising what they have to say, and always enlightening.” — Emilie Futterman @ Kellogg

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