How I Nailed My MBA Interview and Gained Admission to Top 10 Business Schools–An MBA Interview Checklist for Success

A list of things to do before your MBA interview to help you prepare answers to the most common questions and gain admission to a top program, written by an expert Leland coach and Kellogg MBA.

Dalal A.

By Dalal A.

Posted February 3, 2023

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Hi, I’m Dalal A., an MBA and GMAT/GRE coach on Leland. I did not come from a “prestigious” undergraduate institution, have a great GPA, or work at a brand-name company, and yet I got into some of the best business schools in the world. Here is my advice for acing your MBA interview. I hope you find it helpful. If you’d like to work with me on any part of the MBA application, book a free intro call on my profile to get started!

MBA Interview Checklist

Preparing for an MBA interview can appear to be a daunting task, but it isn’t so bad if you know what you need to do. Here are several things that you can do before the interview that will set you up for success ahead of time. Use it as a checklist to guide you through this final step in the b-school application.

  1. Make sure that you have first learned about the school and the qualities that they are looking for in candidates. Take the time to learn about their missions and values, look thoroughly at the schools, talk to the schools’ staff, students, and alumni, and look at the accomplishments of previous candidates. See if you identify with any of them and ask yourself, “Can I envision myself here?” If you can, the interviewer will notice your passion and drive, and this will set you apart from the other applicants.
  2. Practice answering questions about your previous work experience and future goals so that you will feel calmer and more confident during the interview. When discussing these experiences and your skills, keep it brief and to the point. You don’t have very much time to go into detail.
  3. Arrive on time for the interview. Your punctuality speaks volumes, especially if the interviewer is running behind schedule. Additionally, if they are late, there is less pressure on you and they will allow you to breeze through your first-round flash questions.
  4. Be yourself and be confident without being arrogant. It is essential to maintain a positive attitude while remaining grounded. Many students experience anxiety before the interview, but this is a positive trait because it demonstrates that you care about the outcome.
  5. Maintain eye contact and listen attentively to the interviewer. A lack of concentration or attention indicates a lack of attention in the school. I can’t stress this enough: listen and show that you’re listening. In other words, when the interviewer is speaking, show sincere interest in what they’re saying and refrain from interrupting. Try not to daydream or start formulating an answer in your head. It is totally acceptable to pause occasionally to gather your thoughts. This will demonstrate your competence and maturity. In sum, practice the art of attentive listening.
  6. Display a genuine interest in the program. MBA interviews will typically last for 30 minutes, and occasionally, you’ll be given the opportunity to ask a few questions at the end of the interview. Prepare ahead of time and make a list of important, thoughtful questions. If you have trouble expressing sincere interest, it might be time to reconsider your choice of school and whether it’s the best fit for you.
  7. Come prepared. Make a list of your top three strengths, weaknesses, and priorities so you can easily recall them when answering questions about yourself during the interview. Conduct mock interviews with friends. The only sure way to improve and gain confidence is through practice.

Following these things helped me gain admission to several top business schools, and I hope it will help you as you prepare for the MBA interview. For additional guidance and personalized advice on any part of the MBA application process, I would be more than happy to work with you. Head to my profile and book a free intro call so that we can discuss your plans, candidacy, and application.

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