News, advice and resources for business school applicants
Dec 12, 2014

Harvard MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / AdCom / On Campus


The following Harvard MBA Admissions Interview summary was provided by a recent applicant:

My interview was very pleasant. It was quite rapid, though, and the 30 minutes were over before I knew it. As others have stated, there was one main interviewer asking the questions and another who was taking notes. I purposefully engaged them both when answering, rather than ignoring the notetaker. The interview was very congenial, with a lot of non-verbal feedback (smiles and laughter) throughout. The questions I was asked are below:
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Dec 8, 2014

Harvard Business School Round 1 Decisions, Round 2 Deadline Shift

300px-Harvard_business_school_baker_library_2009aRound 1 applicants to Harvard Business School (HBS) can expect admissions decisions this week, and Round 2 applicants can take an extra day to make sure their applications are absolutely perfect before hitting submit, HBS Admissions Director Dee Leopold shared in a recent post to her Director’s Blog.

Just before Thanksgiving, Leopold wrote that her team would soon be entering “hibernation time here for making decisions and checking them twice. Or three times.” She added that they were on track to get Round 1 decisions out by Wednesday, December 10th, at 12 noon Boston time. Good luck to all of you anxiously awaiting word! Continue reading…

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Dec 3, 2014

Harvard Business School Study Attributes Leadership Gender Gap to Corporate Structures

300px-Harvard_business_school_baker_library_2009a2A recent study by two professors from Harvard Business School (HBS) and a third from Hunter College examined the career ambitions of 25,000 HBS alumni to help understand the gender gap that exists in senior management positions. They found that despite similar ambitions upon joining the workforce, male respondents were much more likely than their female counterpoints to feel like their goals were met. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the survey’s results showed that this disparity had more to do with corporate structures than with women “opting out” to have families.

The study, “Rethink What You ‘Know’ About High-Achieving Women,” was conducted by HBS Professor Robin J. Ely, Pamela Stone of Hunter College and HBS Gender Initiative Assistant Director Colleen C. Ammerman and published this month in Harvard Business Review. Instead of finding that women’s careers were sidetracked because they chose to prioritize family over work, the researchers discovered that the women who left their jobs after having children did so because “they find themselves in unfulfilling roles with dim prospects for advancement” or facing other career limitations. “It simply isn’t true that a large proportion of Harvard alumnae have ‘opted out’ to care for children,” they continued.   Continue reading…

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Dec 1, 2014

Harvard MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / AdCom / Off Campus

300px-Aerial_of_the_Harvard_Business_School_campusThe following Harvard MBA Admissions Interview summary was provided by a recent applicant:

30-minute interview with two women, one interviewer (who had read my application) and one observer (who had just seen my resume). They were both very friendly and it felt more like a conversation than an interview.

1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Tell me about a leadership experience.
3. How did you find [previous job]?
4. Why did you choose to go to [current country of residence] and [current job]?
5. How did you make the transition?
6. It seems like you have moved around a lot across the world. How do you adjust to new cultures / countries?
7. Tell me about a challenge you have faced at work.
8. What are your short-term and long-term goals?
9. What professional criticism have you received that has really resonated with you?
10. Is there an industry you’re interested in outside of [past and current industries]?
11. Anything else you want to mention?

For more Harvard MBA admissions interview questions, check out the Harvard Interview Reports Archive.


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Nov 18, 2014

Harvard MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / AdCom / On Campus

A recent applicant shared their Harvard MBA admissions interview questions with us:

The interview started with some break-the-ice conversation, and she asked for my impressions about a new part of the campus tour.

She mentioned that her colleague in the room had only seen my resume but nothing else and asked me to introduce myself.  We then progressed through a series of questions:

Why [Ivy League undergraduate institution] for undergrad?

Why did I pick my major?

What was it like getting interviewed for [your first employer]?  Give me an overview of the hiring process.

I saw a few lower grades on your transcript?  What context can you provide on that?  She expressed knowledge that she knew I was in a competitive major and that courses weren’t graded on a curve.

What would [your first employer] say about strengths/weaknesses?

Why did you transition to [your current employer]?

Why do you want to get an MBA?

When did you have trouble working in an interdisciplinary group?

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Have I kept up with my singing and music [I had a lot of involvement in that in college]?

What would you like us to ask you?

For more reports with Harvard MBA admissions interview questions, see our Harvard Interview Reports Archive


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Nov 13, 2014

Harvard MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / AdCom / On Campus

Happy businesspeople, or businesswoman and clientA recent applicant shared her Harvard MBA admissions interview questions with us: 

I interviewed with an associate director of admissions, plus an observer from the admissions team. The interview had a friendlier tone/vibe than i expected and conversational, BUT still no real indication of how you are doing/did

-Where do you want to start?  (they let me pick what I wanted to talk about)

-Ok you joined as the X# employee, what has changed since then?

-How was this role different from your first two?

-Why didn’t you like your previous industry?

-Long conversation about my industry. Lots of questions involved testing me on trends in the industry, what solutions I think exist to improve things, specific examples of companies in areas I mentioned, etc. Lots of probing. Felt like cross examination a bit to see if I was who I said I was.  Also asked specifically about a project/area I mentioned in the essay.  Wanted to know more specific details.

-What surprised you most about your industry?

-What comes easily to you? What comes harder?

-MBA is a major investment. What is it that would make it worth the time/money?

-What would be your dream job?

-And after MBA you would do X…? (X was what I’m currently doing now, which is NOT what I put on my application as post-MBA goals. So clearly they were checking to see if I could hold the story together.)

For more reports with Harvard MBA admissions interview questions, see our Harvard Interview Reports Archive

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Nov 12, 2014

HBS MBA Admissions Interview Report: Round 1 / Adcom / On Campus

Here is a recent HBS MBA admissions interview report: It was truly an enjoyable experience. From the time you check in until you leave, they work hard to help you relax and be comfortable. As far as the interview goes, they brought the group of us with interviews in our time slot up to a lounge area surrounded by small conference rooms. One-by-one, adcom members came out and called people into their room. In the room, my interviewer and observer introduced themselves. The interviewer explained that she is very familiar with my application and would be asking the questions. The observer would be quiet and taking notes. Then the interview started…

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Nov 12, 2014

Demystifying the Mysterious World of Business School Rankings

DemystifyingMBAIG_finalWITH_LOGOIt’s not every day that MBA rankings end up trending on Facebook, and yet yesterday that’s exactly what happened. When Bloomberg BusinessWeek released its biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs, the results shocked many and created quite a buzz. According to Bloomberg BW’s most recent calculations, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business has stolen the number one spot, knocking Harvard Business School out of the top five for the first time in history.

Just how did Bloomberg BW decide which programs rose to the top and which fell from grace? As it turns out, the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University just a few weeks ago released an infographic that provides a clear and concise overview showcasing the rankings methodologies employed by five major publications: Bloomberg BW, along with U.S. News & World Report, the Financial Times, the Economist and Forbes.

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Nov 11, 2014

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business Tops Latest Bloomberg BusinessWeek Ranking

fuquaDuke University’s Fuqua School of Business shot to the top of Bloomberg Businessweek’s biennial ranking of full-time MBA programs, released today, up from No. 6 two years ago. In the process, the North Carolina school unseated the reigning University of Chicago Booth School of Business and pushed Harvard Business School (HBS) out of the top five for the first time in the history of the rankings.

The formula Bloomberg BW employs to arrive at its rankings is as follows: 45 percent of the score is based on how recruiters rate MBA hires from the school, another 45 percent is determined by how graduating MBAs judge their program and the remaining 10 percent is based on faculty productivity, as measured by a tally of research published in leading journals. Continue reading…

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Nov 10, 2014

Harvard MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1/ AdCom

English: Harvard Business School, as seen from...

-How did you choose (your investment bank)?
- How did you find (your private equity firm)?
- Did you find (your area of interest) or did it find you?
- What is your most proud accomplishment at (your private equity firm)?
- What has made you successful at what you do?
- You seem to have a good amount of experience in negotiations, what component of negotiating is art and what part is science?
- Tell me about times when you’ve struggled?
- When you meet new people, what is their first impression of you and is this in line with how you actually are?
- Explain the way that you aligned interests as discussed in your essay regarding (a major work project).
- Assuming I know nothing about (the topic of your work project), explain to me the landscape of (the topic of your work project) in Africa.
- If there was no such thing as an MBA program, what would you do next in your career?
- What is your dream internship?
- Tell about a company outside of (your area of interest) that you appreciate?
- How would you like Amazon as an employee or vendor?
- How does your life outside of work look?
- What is the next country that you would like to travel to?

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Oct 31, 2014

Stanford Graduate School of Business Calls It Quits for MBA Admission Blog

stanford new residential buildingDon’t look for future posts on the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA Admissions Blog. In a final entry earlier this week, the school announced that it was saying goodbye to its blog. All prior blog content will remain accessible through mid-December, after which prospective applicants will need to keep up with news and developments regarding Stanford MBA admissions via other means.

“Our blog has begun to resemble a Tesla at a gas station,” wrote admissions staffer Victoria Hendel De La O as part of a final post on October 29th. She attributed the decline of the blog to the school’s increasing reliance on other forms of social media to communicate updates. Indeed, posts to the Stanford MBA Admissions blog have grown increasingly infrequent over the past year – with the last post going up back in June. Continue reading…

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