Everything You Need to Know About Business School Interviews

February 2, 2023

8 min read

Everything You Need to Know About Business School Interviews

Business school interviews are opportunities for candidates to show off their experience and skills, while also focusing on the main goal: getting admitted to the business school of their dreams.

So whether you’ve got an interview coming up or you’re just interested in the process, we’ve got you covered. Our comprehensive guide will include everything you need to know about business school interviews, from what to expect to commonly asked questions to how to prepare. 

What Is a Business School Interview?

A business school interview is usually one of the last steps, if not the last step, of the MBA admissions process. It involves a conversation between the interviewer — a representative of the business school or program — and the candidate. It’s a chance to show off to the interviewer and show them why you’re the perfect applicant. 

What Are Business School Interviews Like?

Business school interviews are basically a conversation between you — the interviewee — and the recruiter or representative from the business school. 

Even though it shouldn’t be a rigid, formal interview, it’s not just a casual discussion. The interviewer is still evaluating your personality, experience, and career goals to determine whether or not you’re a good fit for the school or program. You can expect a business school interview to include a bit of small talk and questions targeted to your career or even your personality. 

How Long Is a Business School Interview?

Although it completely depends on the school and program, you can expect your interview to last at least 30 minutes long, give or take. Many people report that their interview was around 45 minutes. It’s pretty rare to have an interview that lasts longer than an hour, since the interviewer has other candidates to evaluate too. 

How Important Is a Business School Interview?

Business school interviews are pretty important. At the end of the day, it can determine the final result of your business school application. 

This type of interview gives recruiters an idea of who you are, what you stand for, and what you’re looking to get out of the program. Most business schools are looking for sharp minds with significant leadership skills. 

Does Every Business School Do Interviews?

For the most part, every respected business school or program will conduct interviews for potential candidates. 

In fact, if the U.S. News and World Report lists the business school in its top 20 rankings, you can expect them to give interviews. The 2023 top 10 best business schools, according to the U.S. News and World Report, include:

  • The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago
  • The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania 
  • The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
  • Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business
  • The Business School at Harvard University
  • The Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
  • The School of Management at Yale University 
  • The Columbia Business School at Columbia University
  • The Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley
  • The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor

What Percentage of Columbia Business School Applicants Get an Interview?

The Columbia Business School at Columbia University is pretty selective. For those with a GMAT under 700, only 17% of candidates will get an interview.

What Percentage of Harvard Business School Applicants Get an Interview?

Like Columbia, Harvard is also selective in terms of interviews. About 20% of Harvard Business School applicants get an interview. Of those selected candidates, only about 50% will be admitted to the program.

How to Prepare for a Business School Interview

If you have a business school interview coming up — no matter how confident you’re feeling — you need to do some prep. Luckily, preparing for a business school interview isn’t a complex process. 

You can practice for the interview with some practice questions (for practice questions, check out the next section!). To do so, get a friend or family member to ask you random, potential questions and then do your best to respond to them. 

Recording your practice is even better, so you can go back and see where you might need to improve. An easy way to do this is through an AI speech coach like Yoodli. 

When you record or upload a video of yourself practicing, Yoodli analyzes it and provides free, instant insights about your speaking patterns. That way, you can skip the guesswork. You don’t have to try to figure out where your weak points are; Yoodli will let you know. 

Just a few of these analytics you’ll be able to use include:

  • How many filler words you use (and which ones!)
  • Your pacing and if it’s too fast, too slow, or average
  • Your word choice, including any non-inclusive language you might accidentally use
  • A full transcript of your speech with timestamps

Yoodli’s Interview Prep Function

One of the most useful Yoodli features — especially to business student prospects — is the interview prep function. You’ll be able to select pre-made questions from a list to respond to and receive direct analytics specific to each question.

For example, you can practice answering general prompts, like “Tell me about yourself” or “Describe your most challenging project,” or more finance-related questions, like “What’s a section 338 election?” It totally depends on what you’re looking to practice.

Business School Interview
Practice for your business school interview with Yoodli’s specific interview prep capability.

You can also input your own questions and prompts by typing them into the text box.

Once you’re done responding to a question, you’ll be able to see the respective analysis for each question, from the actual analytics to AI speech coach comments and a full transcript.

When you’re responding to these business school interview practice questions, just make sure to avoid rambling, not use excess fillers, and make good eye contact.

Other Quick Business School Interview Tips

Besides practicing with potential interview questions, there are a few other useful things you can do to help you prep for your upcoming interview. 

  1. Don’t come to the interview empty-handed. It’s a great idea to have examples of your most note-worthy accomplishments, like in a portfolio, so that you have a way to show off your successes. 
  2. Help your interviewer remember you. Most likely, you’re not this interviewer’s first candidate. As such, you want to give them a couple of interesting pieces of information about yourself so that they can recall who you are later on. 
  3. Don’t force industry-related lingo during your conversation. Even though you might be tempted to use all the business-related vocabulary you know, the interview is supposed to be a conversation. If you’re not acting like yourself, they won’t be able to get an accurate image of who you are and what you stand for. 

Before we dive into the business school interview questions you should be practicing with, let’s address your attire.

What Do You Wear to a Business School Interview?

It doesn’t matter if your business school interview is online or in-person: You’ll need to be dressed in appropriate, professional clothing.

Usually, business casual is a safe bet. Outfits like a blazer or a nice sweater that pair well with pants or a skirt — depending on what you’re feeling — are good options to consider. You want to be comfortable but also dressed for the occasion

Business School Interview Questions

Business school interview questions can be very versatile, but can generally be separated into two categories: personality- and career-related.

The interviewer will most likely ask you a few questions to get to know you as a person. These personality-related questions are pretty typical, and you’ll probably be familiar with many of them. 

One of the most popular prompts in interviews is: “Tell me about yourself.” If you’re not sure what to say when interviewers ask this, check out our quick video on crafting the perfect answer to this prompt:

Learn how to easily answer the prompt: “Tell me about yourself.”

Other common personality-related questions you might encounter during this type of interview include: 

  • Can you walk me through your resume, including your educational experience? 
  • Can you tell me about a time when you used your leadership or managerial skills?
  • What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
  • How do other people describe you?
  • How do you deal with stressful situations or situations where you’re under pressure?
  • Do you like working with a team or independently better? 
  • Tell me a time when you made a mistake. How did you handle it? 

The interviewer will also ask you career-related questions. During these industry- or career-related questions, you might have to sell yourself, so be confident. 

These could include questions like: 

  • Where do you see yourself in three years? Five? Ten?
  • What are you hoping to get out of the program?
  • What are the skills you’re looking to sharpen during your time in business school?
  • Why do you want to earn a business degree?
  • Which international business figure do you look up to?
  • Why should we choose you over other applicants?
  • Why are you interested in this school or program?
  • Do you have any questions about our program or school?

What Questions Should I Ask at a Business School Interview?

You should also consider asking your interviewer questions during your business school interview. It’ll show them that you’re engaged and interested in the conversation. Just remember to wait until the interviewer is finished asking you questions. 

Some questions you could ask the interviewer include: 

  • When considering the MBA program, in which areas do you think there’s room for improvement?
  • What are some examples of insights you gathered during your MBA? How have those insights helped inform your career?
  • What is the campus culture here like?
  • How does this school compare to [another school you’ve been looking at]?
  • Are there any upcoming changes to the MBA program that you’re anticipating?
  • What are the newest courses or specializations that are now available?

Why Is It Important to Prepare for a Business School Interview?

Business school interviews are critical to the admission process. It’s important to prepare for your interview because you want to give yourself the best chance of acing it. The best way of doing that is through dedicated practice. 

Using potential business school interview questions and practicing your responses to them via a speech coach like Yoodli is a surefire way to become more confident and comfortable for your upcoming interview. 

The Bottom Line

Business school interviews are often the last obstacle to your school or program admission, so you want to make sure you nail it. That’s why practicing these potential questions is so critical — not just in terms of this interview, but with regard to your future career as well. 

Although such a big interview can be nerve-wracking to say the least, preparation is your best defense.

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Start practicing with Yoodli.

Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.