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Posted on April 30, 2021

MBA Interview Debriefs of MER Students

The interview is one of the most critical parts of the MBA application process. It is the final step in your journey to your target school that can make or mar your chances of success. So, it is vital to be well prepared for it. Through the interview, the schools want to know who you are beyond the written word. The first and the most critical step in the MBA interview preparation is to know your content and understand questions that a particular school may ask you.

Interview Debriefs

We, at MER, requested our successful students this year to share their interview questions. Some of them have gladly shared their interview debriefs. We have compiled their questions/ interview experience in this blog. We have also included interview debriefs of a few former MER students.

Let us look at the interview questions of Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Harvard, ISB, Ross, McCombs, Schulich, Imperial, IE, and Manchester, and the candidates’ comments on their overall interview experience.

I. Chicago Booth

Shekhar- Booth Admit with $40K scholarship- 2021

The interviewer was an alumnus who worked in the same field as me. So some part of the discussion revolved around technical aspects specific to the industry. Please find below my interview questions:

  1. The first question was about my experience of working in rural India before my current job. Some follow-up questions around my major learnings and achievements in the job.
  2. Tell me about yourself outside your professional life, about your family, your interests.
  3. What made you join your present organization? What do you do? (This was a long discussion where the interviewer also talked about his/ her experience in the industry and about emerging trends.)
  4. Why MBA?
  5. Is there anything else that you think I must know? (I talked about my interest in History and how it has influenced my worldview and decisions in life.)

Following my answer, the interviewer said that he did not have any more questions and that the interview was over. Then he/she opened the conversation for my questions. I asked about the experience at Booth, his/her post-Booth entrepreneurship experiences and sought advice on how I could make the most productive use of my time at Booth. I gained some wonderful insights from the alumnus.

The interviewer was very conversational, even cutting me off a few times or expressing their perspective on my experience/opinion. The interview was very fluid and conversational. It was designed to help me present the best version of myself. 

II. Chicago Booth

Pardeep -Booth Admit- 2021

 My interviewer was an alumnus. He told me beforehand that he prepared a list of questions. He asked me the following questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. How do I manage my work in the current startup without feeling "fear of missing out"?
  3. If my startup grew into a big company, what are some of the tasks I would allocate to others?
  4. Why do you want to attend Chicago Booth specifically?
  5. Is there a time you had a disagreement with others, and how did you resolve the problem?
  6. Is there anything else you would like to tell me? (For this, I just included my long-term goals and talked about how I transitioned from the health professions into my first startup)

The interview was primarily conversational and went on for one hour. Between each question, we had a casual discussion and small follow-up questions to the answers. I spent the last 10 minutes asking questions about his experience at Booth and particular classes and clubs that I was interested in. Poonam, I want to thank you for all of your help and guidance.

III. Chicago Booth

Vergil- Booth Admit- 2021

  1. Walk me through your resume.
  2. What are your career goals?
  3. Why MBA?
  4. Why Booth?
  5. How to keep the balance between work/study and life?
  6. Also, he asked me what and how I contributed to my company

The interview lasted for about one hour.

IV. Indian School of Business

Praveen ISB Admit- 2021

A panel of three people conducted ISB Interview. They asked me the following questions:

  1. How nervous are you on a scale of 1-10? (I said I am not nervous)
  2. Tell me about yourself.
  3. Explain in detail about your current job
  4. What inspired you to pursue an MBA
  5. Can you comment on your lack of formal schooling?
  6. What are our short-term goals?
  7. How is your experience connected with short-term goals?
  8. Your description of goals matches more with the general management role. Can you explain your contradiction?
  9. If you don't get your desired role, what is your plan B?
  10. What is your plan c?
  11. What are the current challenges that your industry faces?
  12. Why ISB?
  13. Any questions for us?

All the members grilled me on specific questions about my schooling, goals, and why ISB. The interview lasted for 50 minutes, and out of 50 minutes, 30 minutes centered around my career goals. Overall, it went very well.

V. IE Business School

Praveen- IE Admit- 2021

My interviewer was an admission committee member who aimed to get a holistic picture of me as a candidate. He asked me the following questions:

  1. Briefly introduce yourself.
  2. Can you tell in detail about current work responsibilities?
  3. Can you explain the lack of schooling part?
  4. Tell me about a challenge you faced in your professional career.
  5. What are your immediate career goals?
  6. If you were asked to launch a product in your region, what factors would you consider?
  7. Why MBA, why IE?
  8. Do you have any questions for us?

VI. Imperial College

Ishan- Imperial Admit- 2021

  1. Tell me about yourself?
  2. Why MBA?
  3. Why Imperial?
  4. What are the macro trends going to be in the post-Covid world?
  5. What do you like about working in a team?
  6. If your manager asks you to do something and you think it is not the best approach, how would you handle it?
  7. Tell me about an incident in which you showed leadership.
  8. Tell me about a business article that you read recently? (And there was a follow-up question as well).

Overall, it was a great experience for me. As far as I can tell, the first 6 questions went really well, and the 7th question was also fine. But I could have done better in the 8th question.

VII. Manchester School of Business

Ishan- Manchester Admit with scholarship– 2021

  1. Take me through your CV
  2. Why do you want to do a second MBA? Why Manchester and why now?
  3. What drives you at work?
  4. How would you contribute to real-life consultancy projects at Manchester?
  5. What will you do in Manchester to achieve your future goals?

The entire interview lasted for 30 mins. And I was much more prepared for this interview than I was for Imperial. I did a lot of practice for these questions as I went through the GMAT Club forum and was aware that they focus on only these questions. Also, thank you for your help with interview prep.

VIII. Kellogg

Rohit Kellogg Admit- 2020

The excerpts of my Kellogg interview are as follows:

  1. Could you walk me through your resume?
  2. Why did you choose to be a doctor?
  3. What made you transition to civil services
  4. Give me two examples of your leadership experiences and what made it challenging?
  5. What did you learn from it?
  6. How will your peers describe you in 3 words?
  7. What two pieces of constructive feedback do you get from peers?
  8. What are your three most significant strong points in your application?
  9. What are your two biggest fallouts in your application?
  10. How do you see Kellogg helping you?
  11. What do you bring to Kellogg?

IX. Kellogg

NishaMcCombs, and Ross Admit- 2021

I just finished my Kellogg interview. Overall, I think I personally did a good job with the answers, but I do not know how the overall interview went itself. It was not really conversational at all. Here are the questions:

  1. How many people were in your intern class and who got an early promotion with me?
  2. Tell me about a time you failed.
  3. Tell me about a time when you lead a team (I talked about Diwali).
  4. Tell me about a time when you experienced conflict
  5. Why Kellogg, why MBA

Unfortunately, she did not ask me my short/long term goals and I was most excited for this answer as I wanted to discuss my professional and personal goals. Thank you for your help.

X. Harvard

Mansi- Harvard MBA Graduate- 2020

I am so glad to share about my HBS interview that happened a couple of hours ago. My interviewer was Chad Lose, director of admissions. He had an amazingly warm personality that made me at ease (this may seem like a standard statement, but honestly, I have not met a person who is as friendly and appealing as him!) He started the conversation by talking about my day and Mumbai Stay. He then said that he notices many candidates flying from Delhi, and we had a little conversation about Delhi and Mumbai.

He started by acknowledging my international experience and my scuba diving experience. He said he dived in college, and we talked a bit about my diving experience in India and outside India. He asked me the following questions:

  1. Tell me about your Indonesian experience? You said these people didn't like you initially? And how did you respond?
  2. How was it working in the male-dominated industry? Did you know about it? Were you prepared?
  3. What is your current role at Cairn?
  4. What exactly do you do in business planning?
  5. What sort of technical requirement do these business units give you?
  6. How was the transition from technical to business planning?
  7. Do you still go to the field?
  8. What next would you like to talk about now? (I replied that I want to talk about my future career path and how I intend to transition from oil and gas to clean energy?)
  9. What do you think of the oil and gas industry globally as well as in the Indian context? Who are the major players?
  10. How does it work in India? How is the service provider industry in India different from that outside India?
  11. In your intended role as a future executive in the industry, what is the one thing that you would like to do?
  12. What are the other industries you are interested in?
  13. What do you think about the retail and e-commerce industry?
  14. Give me two examples of when you think you were a good leader?
  15. How is your relationship with your father now?
  16. What is the one thing about HBS that you hope is true?

It was an amazing experience, and I mean it. They genuinely wanted to know me better- that is it. No grilling questions, no playing devil's advocate, no stress interview, we just had a simple conversation about me. Overall, I believe that I gave my best. Of course, there were some things that I think I could have answered better, but I believe that happens in every interview. 

XI. Schulich   

Dinesh- Second Year Student- 2021

My interview with Schulich went well. The questions were totally unconventional. Please find below the brief of my interview discussion.         

  1. Tell me something interesting about your job profile?
  2. Why do you want to pursue investment banking?
  3. You say you want to do CFA. Why didn't you do that in past seven years?
  4. You have written blogs about financial inclusion, demonetization, etc. Tell me something on demonetization, which I don't know?
  5. What are your interests outside of work? and association with tutoring. (He asked about my association with tutoring and even asked names of 5 or 6 students. He also asked about a reference person at the home where I teach.)
  6. Do you have any questions for me?

XII. Michigan Ross

Pablo-Ross MBA- 2019

Yesterday, I had my Ross interview. I was a bit anxious, but the interviewer was so kind, and we had a very straightforward and genuine conversation. He liked how my resume showed career progress and liked the way I showed interest by reaching current students and other people from the Alumni Club in Chile.

We had many things in common, so we started talking a bit about his and my work, in Spanish. That helped warm-up and relieved some anxiety. He then asked, 'walk me through your resume, 'why MBA' and 'why Ross', and I felt my answers were thorough and fluent. I stuck to what we wrote in the cover letter for MIT, combined with Ross essay #2, and it worked fine.

We also talked about team leadership in a way I did not expect, but again the work I did with you was very useful. I started by talking about my previous experience mentoring people, which was on my resume, and then added a background (not prepared where I was not successful at training. I explained the situation, the gaps of that analyst, the efforts for mentoring and reassigning her to different roles. Finally, I described how I made the tough decision of firing that person after discussing it with my boss.

In the end, we talked about his MBA experience, and I asked him about Bain, where he had worked after his MBA.

Related Resources:

6 Things to Consider During an MBA Interview

MBA Interview – Helpful Tips

Since 2011, MER has assisted hundreds of applicants to get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs. (Poonam, President, and founder of MER is one of the 5 highest-reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

You may email Poonam at poonam@myessayreview.com with questions about your interview prep.