Top HBS MBA Interview Tips from Actual Interviewees

by on October 25th, 2017

We know that many of you Class of 2020 hopefuls are eagerly awaiting your interviews with the Harvard Business School (HBS) admissions committee. To help you prepare, we’ve rounded up the top interview tips from last year’s experienced candidates, as reported in the Clear Admit Interview Guide. You can thank us—and them—by paying it forward and submitting reports of your own after you interview.

HBS Round 1 interview invitations rolled out in early October, and candidates are expected to have their interviews from mid-October to mid-November. Whether on campus, via Skype, or in any of several global hub cities, HBS interviews are all “non-blind,” meaning the adcom members conducting your interview will have fully examined and be familiar with your application.

Without further ado, let’s see what sage advice last year’s class passed on.

Know Your Story

An accepted candidate in Round 1 last year remarked:

“In preparation, I would suggest knowing your story/experiences and understanding what characteristics you want to portray (do not be scripted). Just answer the question being asked. Don’t try to make every single point you want to unless it is specifically asked for, you don’t want to dig yourself into a hole. The interview, I believe, is meant to get to know you, how you’ll fit in, and how you’ll perform in the classroom. If you missed something that you REALLY wanted to talk about, you could potentially include that in the post interview reflection. Also, it’s going to be very difficult to do, but try not to analyze every part of the conversation post interview. You’re likely your harshest critic.”

Another interviewee in a hub city shared this reflection after the interview:

“The questions were all quite out of the box. The interviewer probed into something I wrote in the essay. I would suggest that interviewees really know their stories inside out. You need to be able to explain your motivation. It seems HBS cares a lot about the ‘why’ in each question.”

How to Get to Carnegie Hall

“Practice! Practice! Practice!” was a common theme. Though ultimately rejected, one candidate offered the following words of wisdom:

“I’d recommend spending plenty of time practicing with consultants and making sure you have your bases covered. I felt comfortable that I put my best foot forward, which makes the ding burn just a bit less!”

Meanwhile, a successful international applicant shared a few more takeaways from a Round 2 interview:

“My advice would be: Prepare in advance. Rest before the interview. Immerse yourself in an environment that makes you feel at peace. Be ready to jump from one topic to the other, and above all, do not forget to keep that smile on your face.”

Are you preparing for your HBS interview? Don’t forget to check out our Interview Guides for a deeper dive into each school’s process! Also, share your interview experience in our Interview Archive to help your fellow peers.

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