Questions to Ask MBA Admissions Officers in Your MBA Interview
As if the stress of preparing what you will say about yourself during your MBA interviews wasn’t enough, you’re likely also trying to think of questions to ask MBA admissions officers, if one (or two!) will be your interviewer. Not to fear, with a number of former MBA interviewers on our team, we can help you come up with some strong questions to ask MBA admissions officers. Importantly, we can also tell you what NOT to ask.
Why Thinking of Great Questions to Ask MBA Admissions Officers Matters
Do the questions you ask really matter, you may wonder? Yes! They demonstrate three key things. First, they show how interested you are in the program based on the research you’ve done. Second, they often demonstrate how well you listened to the interviewer (and attentive listening is key to succeeding in a team environment like business school).
Third and perhaps most importantly, the questions you ask are an important tool for engaging your interviewer and winning him or her over. Like it or not, much of the application assessment process is subjective, including the reports interviewers write after each interview. As such, you want your interviewer to like you and be excited to support you!
So, as you’re coming up with your list of questions to ask MBA admissions officers, keep in mind these common mistakes our team has seen in the Q&A portion of the interview (and what to ask or say instead):
1) “I think I’m all set – I don’t have any questions.”
Oh really? Well, that’s no fun.
MBA admissions officers (and alumni interviewers for that matter) look forward to answering questions about the school. Many current students and alums even volunteer to conduct these interviews, so you can infer that they love talking about their school. If your interviewer gets to spend the last five minutes talking about themselves or their school, the conversation will end on a high note, and they’ll associate that high note with you!
Feelings aside, “no questions” essentially equals “no intellectual curiosity” to most interviewers. We just spoke for 20-30 minutes; if you don’t have any questions, that’s a red flag for me.
2) “What is a weakness of your program?”
You may think that this is a great demonstration of intellectual curiosity and critical analysis. However, recall the recency bias – you want your interview to end on a high note. You want your interviewer to wrap up the interview inspired and excited for your matriculation to the school!
Instead, focus on finding out interesting or subjective information about the program. For example, my favorite question (for adcom interviewers only) is what recruiter feedback has been. Big recruiting firms tend to back-channel info to admissions about the perceived quality of candidates and that’s super interesting for applicants. Inherent in a neutral question like this will often be some pros and some areas of development for the school. But allowing them to talk about both is key!
3) “Is an MBA worth it?”
If you are asking this in the interview, you are demonstrating a complete lack of having prepared for this process. This question should have been vetted WELL in advance of being invited to interview.
It would be fair game to ask them, based on what you’ve shared of your goals, what advice they have for how you can best spend your time in the program. You can also glean how forward-thinking and adaptive their program is by asking your interviewer how the curricular areas of focus have evolved during their time working at or attending the school and how they see these continuing to respond to the needs of students in the future.
4) “What percent male/female was last year’s class?”
Aside from #1, this is probably the biggest mistake people make in the Q&A section of their interview. Any question like this is completely off limits because the data is available in less than three clicks on Google.
Never ask a question that is directly answered in the school’s publications – website or otherwise. You can pull down the recruiting report as well as the class profiles and course offerings yourself (and if you haven’t done this, they will wonder if you really put thought into your research). Avoid asking hard facts because they are probably already out there somewhere (and if they aren’t, they won’t tell you anyway).
If you’re preparing for your interviews and looking for advice or a mock interview to trial run your strategy, please reach out!