How to nail your MBA interview in 5 steps

If you are reading this, chances are you have already received an invitation for an interview at your dream MBA program. Congrats! Getting through that first round of selection already is an achievement. Here are a few tips for your MBA interview to bring you a step closer to joining your dream MBA program.   

1. Preparation is key
Many people turn up without having thoroughly prepared for their MBA interview. Three to four hours of preparation are optimal and should include:
- Re-reading your application;
- Researching as much as you can on the school, the faculty and the ethos of the program;
- Running mock interviews with a mentor.
Get in touch with current students or alumni as they will be able to share valuable tips for your MBA interview, and give you a feel of the program and the school culture, two important factors which influence your ‘fit’ for the program. Without learning sentences by heart, you can prepare some of your answers based on lists of commonly asked questions.

2. Be consistent from start to finish
If you have followed our guide to acing your MBA application, you would certainly have already made a great impression. It is important to be consistent in the quality of your exchanges with the school you have applied to. Whether you are communicating with them by phone or email, make sure you remain professional. On the day of the interview, maintain the same professional attitude while you are waiting to be called in. Avoid being on your phone or doing anything that would indicate that you are not ready such as eating, changing your shoes, and asking other candidates for information. After the interview, remember to follow up with an email.

3. Be yourself and know yourself
First and foremost, re-read your application! Interviewers tend to orient their questions based on what you mentioned in your cover letter, so make sure you know it inside out to avoid looking unprepared. Now, here is the most important of tips for an MBA interview: be yourself! Do not try to please the interviewer, as you can never know what they are looking for. What makes you unique is what will differentiate you from other candidates so don’t try to fit the mold. Just tell your story and be authentic!

4. (Really) answer the questions  
Many MBA interviewees don’t actually answer the questions they are asked. Sometimes it is because they are stressed out and struggle to organize their thoughts; other times, they are so desperate to talk about something they have achieved that they go completely off-topic. When the interviewer asks a question, listen carefully, take the necessary time to compose your thoughts, and do not rush. You are not judged on the speed at which you answer but on the quality and honesty of your arguments. Do not hesitate to ask the interviewer to clarify or repeat the question; it will show that you are focused and willing to give the best answer you can.

5. Ask the right questions

One last tip for your MBA interview: ask good questions. There is always time at the end of an interview for you to ask questions, so make good use of it. Asking the right questions shows you are prepared, passionate and confident. It can also help you know more about the school and program and eventually, allow you to make a better decision if you happen to be accepted into several programs. For more details on what to say, read our article about the 4 questions you should ask at your MBA interview.

What other MBA interview tips have been useful to you? Feel free to share them with us. Still hesitating whether you should join a program like the ESSEC Global MBA? Download our guide “How to find the perfect MBA” and find out about the 4 key things you need to consider if you wish to thrive in your professional life.

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