Exit Polls: Interview Reports for Stanford, Haas, Sloan, Columbia, Booth and Fuqua
Many of the top MBA programs have fairly similar interview formats – conversational discussions about your past and future that are meant to assess “fit” as well as your true desires to attend the school and its alignment with your goals. As part of this, most interviewers are looking to see what you might contribute to the class and what your personal vision and interests are. To help make this a little more concrete, we asked some of our clients to submit summaries of their interviews so that you can compare and contrast. Note that no two interviews are the same – especially when conducted by alumni. But hopefully this will give you an idea of what to expect on your interview day!
Note that we only edited these summaries when clarity was needed. We wanted you to hear straight from the sources!
Overall the interview was very focused on past experiences. There were a small number of questions explored in great depth. Expect a lot of follow-up questions to discuss details (ie. tell me more about the brainstorm you held – who was in the room? Who came up with the idea you landed on?) as well as your rationale (ie. how did you decide distribution was the main barrier to growth?). Also, less time was spent on subsequent questions, so if you have multiple options for the first question, I’d choose the answer that has a lot of rich detail so that you can handle all of the follow-ups.
- Tell me about a proud work achievement (35% of convo)
- Tell me about a challenge you faced (25% of convo)
- Tell me about a challenging team dynamic (15% of convo)
- Tell me about a time when you helped the performance of a struggling team member (7% of convo)
- Do you have any questions for me? (18% of convo)
- Why Stanford
First, the ‘Day at Haas’ I attended was the only day being held for Round 1 applicants (I confirmed this with student ambassadors). There were 71 applicants there. A girl I talked to said that two alumni (not present at the event) told her that the people invited to ‘Day at Haas’ are Haas’s top applicants. I have no idea if that’s true, but I will say that everyone I met also received an interview invite to at least Stanford, Harvard, Wharton or Kellogg. I think everyone I talked to had also interviewed at Harvard.
Overall the interview was very focused on cultural fit and future ambitions. Definitely more questions than other interviews I’ve had. Expect to discuss how Haas’s defining principles are relevant in your past work experiences, how they relate to your “why Haas”, and even how they relate to your future ambitions.
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why Haas?
- Why hospitality?
- Why is now the right time to get an MBA?
- What kind of company and role do you see yourself in post-MBA?
- Speaking of the defining principles, provide both a work and a personal experience of when you’ve demonstrated Haas’s defining principles (they will not tell you what the principles are so you must know them ahead of time!)
- How would you contribute to the Haas community?
- Tell me about a challenge you faced.
- Tell me about your ideal summer internship.
- Do you have any questions for me?
The interview was not blind – the interviewer had read the essays and application. However, it was overall fairly conversational and covered the following themes:
- Experience at company (large consulting firm)
- Most enjoyable thing / most challenging thing at current company
- Key experience / accomplishment
- Challenges / pushback in the project discussed in the interview essay
- Most ambiguous problem
- How I discovered Sloan
- What I want to do at Sloan
- What I do in my free time
The interview was focused on inter-personal skills and teamwork. Specific questions were as follows:
- Walk me through your resume?
- What do you like to do outside of work?
- What do you hope to do after business school?
- As you know, recruiting is competitive and not everyone gets their first-choice internship offer. What is your plan B if your short term goal doesn’t work out?
- Why MBA?
- Why Columbia (and J-Term specifically)?
- How do you see yourself getting involved on campus?
- Learning team – tell me about a time that you experienced conflict on a team and how you dealt with it?
- Influencing/persuasion – tell me about a time when you had to convince your boss or client of your idea or course of action. What was your approach and what as the outcome?
- Any questions for me?
The Tuck interview covered the main themes listed below over the course of ~50 minutes. As a result of many follow-up questions, the applicant ran short on time and was only able to ask two questions.
- Why did you choose your undergrad university?
- What are your short term and long term goals?
- Why MBA?What would you like to contribute to Tuck?
- What would your team describe you as?
- What type of leader are you?
The interview was fairly conversational, with a lot of follow-up on your answers, so be prepared. Be very specific on why Booth.
- Why MBA now (why not one year earlier or one year later?)
- Given Booth’s reputation as a serious/quant heavy school, what about Booth convinced you that it’s the right place for you, especially given you are looking for softer leadership and general management skills?
- What will your two years at Booth look like?
- Booth believes in questioning assumptions, give an example of a time you had sway the opinion of your client or supervisor.
- Booth is always there to pick up you in case of failure. Can you give an example of a time you failed professionally, with serious consequences for you/ your company?
- Any questions for me?
- Can you walk me through your resume?
- Why MBA?Short term / long term goals?
- Why Fuqua?
- How will you contribute at Fuqua?
- Tell me a time you had to communicate something difficult to people at work, how you approached it, and what was the outcome?
- Greatest strength, greatest weakness?
- What’s your leadership style and how do you get people to follow you?
- 3 things you think are important to success as a group?
- Questions for me?