Should You Rely on Published Questions When Prepping for MBA Admissions Interviews?

At first, you can’t believe how fortunate you are to have found a published list of interview questions asked by your dream business school. Now interview prep is going to be so much quicker and easier than you had imagined. All you have to do is develop and memorize answers to those standard questions, right? Well, not really.

From our experience advising over 5,000 MBA applicants over the past three decades, The MBA Exchange knows there’s an upside and a downside to using published questions for preparation. First the good news: assuming the questions came from a credible source that collected them from actual, recent interviewees (a big assumption!), you can gain some sense of what the school wants to learn about its applicants. So, it can’t hurt if you consider these questions as you formulate your interview strategy and tactics.

However, there’s also some bad news: First, although it may appear that MBA applicants who share interview questions are just trying to be helpful, it’s important to remember they’re competing with readers for the same seats. So, you should view their published submissions with due caution.

Second, by memorizing answers to a finite set of questions, you may begin to sound robotic, orchestrated or insincere. Spontaneity is essential when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of MBA admissions officers.

Third, the school is not obliged to ask every interviewee the same questions. If adcoms see that applicants are starting to sound alike, these gatekeepers are likely to pose questions not included on published lists and/or probe deeply to test the substance and authenticity of the initial answer.

Based on our experience, The MBA Exchange strongly advises applicants to be more strategic and methodical in their interview preparation. This includes taking an objective look at your candidacy to help you anticipate which components to emphasize, explain or ignore during the interview. We also recommend considering the school’s vision, priorities and values when it comes to evaluating applicants so you can factor that into the type of questions you’re likely to face.

Succeeding in an MBA admissions interview is the essential last step in your overall campaign. Taking a tempting shortcut by relying solely on published questions could keep you from convincing the school you can add value to, and truly belong in, their incoming class.

If interview preparation feels like a daunting task, consider engaging the services of professional admissions consultants like those at The MBA Exchange. Our comprehensive approach delivered by expert advisors can help you tackle any question – whether published or unexpected. The stakes are too high to choose “easy” instead of “smart” when preparing for your admissions interview.