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Tough MBA Interview Questions and how to handle them

The odds of landing an MBA interview can increase dramatically if you have a high GPA or GMAT score. So, if you have reached this stage, it’s time to pat your back. After several months of hard work, editing and re-editing your admission essays, applications and whatnot, you are finally there. 

Ah, the dreaded interview. Once you reach here, it is clear that the college believes in your potential and that the destination is extremely close. But you’re still not there yet. 

The mindset you go into your interview with determines a lot. You must be confident, but not overconfident. Charismatic, but not servile. While preparation is important, you can never be 100% ready for the kind of questions that will come your way. So thinking on your feet is a required skill. However, a little preparedness for the kind of tough questions you might be faced with always helps. 


Preparing for the Tough MBA interview Questions


Before I get into the tough questions, let me get this straight. There is no replacement for practice. I strongly advise you to go for as many MBA interviews as possible. This allows you to prepare better for the B-school you aspire to get into. Read this success story of a student on how he aced interviews and got selected into top B-school. 


In that spirit, here are 7 tough MBA interview questions and how to handle them :

  • What is your Biggest Weakness?

Qualities interviewer is Looking For:

  • Perseverance 
  • Dedication
  • Hard-working nature


This question, or one of its variations, can usually be quite frightening for applicants. How can one answer it then without putting their candidature at stake? The answer is simple- convert your weakness into a learning lesson and your failure into a stepping stone to success. However, you must not choose a weakness or a failure story that is just a badly concealed story of your success with a minor pitfall. The weakness should also be substantial, but not in a way that it leads to the interviewer doubting your candidature because it might happen again.


An Ethical Dilemma you Faced at Work and What did you do to Resolve It?

Qualities Interviewer is Looking For

  • Decisiveness
  • Maturity 
  • Morals
  • Honesty 
  • Non-partisanship
  • Ability to strike a balance

Work-related questions. Quite a few, if not all, MBA applicants have some previous work experience. Based on this, the interviewers can come up with different kinds of questions to judge your decisiveness, maturity and morals. If asked about workplace conflicts, present an angle which shows your non-partisan decision-making and problem solving ability. Do not speak ill of your coworkers and explain what you learnt from the conflict. Do not make it seem like you had any part to play in the commencement of the conflict.

When asked about an ethical dilemma, do not show the interviewer that you were corrupt or submissive. Showcase your honest nature, and if the context asks for it, your ability to defend what is ethically right. However, do not come across as someone who is willing to jeopardize the company for their values. Instead, when talking about workplace conflicts, you must try to show your ability to strike a balance between the two sides of an argument.

  • Three Words you Would want Someone to Think While Remembering You?

Qualities Interviewer is Looking For

  • Humbleness
  • Ability to think from others’ point of view
  • Emotional intelligence 


The interviewer here is looking for someone humble who can look at their own selves from an outside perspective as well. Here, you must show your ability to get into another’s person’s shoes and think from their point of view. Make sure that the words you use for yourself do not come across as arrogant but do not downplay yourself as well.

When talking about how others would perceive you, show your emotional intelligence and try to give examples for each quality you talk about. You can prepare for this question by asking some of your friends beforehand how they would describe you.


  • What Makes you a Suitable Candidate for this Business School?

Qualities Interviewer is Looking For:

  • Self-confidence
  • Knowledge about the Business School
  • Research skills

In this question, you must show self-confidence once again without seeming brash. You must talk about how you would benefit the campus and how the intellectual environment of the campus would benefit you. Thus, you must put adequate research into the business school to know about the types of candidates they require. For instance, the Harvard Business School usually wants to know about your vision and how the college would help enhance it. The Stanford Business School, on the other hand, focuses more on personality-based and behavioural questions.


You must also talk about specific skills that the business school provides and something it is known for imbibing into its applicants to show your prior knowledge of the college. Talk about how an MBA would help revamp your career. You can also talk about recommendations you achieved for attending that particular business school. Basically, in order to answer this question, you must introspect and make a list of all the things that attracted you to that business school in the first place and then link them to your personality.


  • Tell us About the Gap in your Resume.


Qualities Interviewer is Looking For

  • Introspective and reflective nature 
  • Straightforwardness
  • How did you fill the gap


Here the interviewers are expecting an answer which is both straightforward and contemplative. Do not lie to the interviewer, yet do not make it seem like you are making up an excuse. Instead, tell them why the gap was important for you and what you learnt from it. Do not make it sound like you slacked off during the gap. 


Tips to Prepare for your MBA Interview


  • Practice speaking conversationally but confidently about yourself in the mirror. Be sure to curate a portfolio of your best work.
  • Be ready to talk at length about your accomplishments and qualities in a reflective manner and show the interview a side of you that didn’t come through in your essays.
  • Showcase something unique about yourself that the interviewer will remember you by. Do not try to out-wit the interviewer.
  • Avoid going on about the same qualities over and over. Your answer should showcase your multi-dimensional perspective to tackling things.
  • Maintain a friendly and constructive disposition.

Also read this blog where I share some more tips in detail on acing an MBA interview round. 

I hope these tips were insightful and helped you understand what the atmosphere of an interview room would feel like! If you are expected for an interview soon, then you must be prompt with your research and have a thorough understanding of yourself as a candidate. That being said, keep your confidence levels high and have faith in yourself, and you will surely crack that interview!

Read More:

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What is the Cost of Harvard MBA?

MBA without work experience – Is it worth it?

The Best Online MBA Programs of 2021 

How to get an admit to NYU’s Stern School of Business? 

How to crack University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business? 

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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