How Not to Tank Your MBA Admissions Interview at HBS

MBA admissions interviewSee here for NEW 2021 HBS interview advice, including format, evaluation criteria, and sample questions.

Are you gearing up for an MBA admissions interview at Harvard Business School? Lucky you, as HBS interviews just 25% of applicants each season.  Make sure to avoid the following faux pas during your MBA admissions interview at this prestigious business school.

Don’t even think about winging your MBA admissions interview.

Harvard Business School interviewers love to throw off applicants with rapid-fire questions to test how well you know your resume and essays. If you don’t practice for this interview, you will hurt your chances of admission.

Think of a few compelling anecdotes that you can adapt to fit the most common HBS interview questions. The stories you share about your past experiences — both successes and failures — will give the interviewer some insight into your self-awareness and maturity. Make sure to practice in front of a friend, and consider recording yourself as you rehearse. That way, you can assess your body language and tone and make adjustments as needed.

Don’t try to be the “ideal” MBA candidate.

While it’s tempting to want to present yourself as the picture-perfect applicant, your interviewer is trying to understand what exactly you, and nobody else but you, can bring to the program.

Speak candidly about your passions, interests, and professional goals. Your story should reveal how you confront life choices, the values and principles that help you negotiate complex situations, your beliefs, and your worldview. That way, you’ll come across as a fascinating person who has a lot to share with future classmates. In short, a great addition to the HBS MBA program.

Don’t bore your interviewer.

Another thing to keep in mind: Your interviewer may interview dozens of candidates. That means a lot of eager future-moguls talking about the same thing: themselves. So whenever possible, make the interview a conversation, not a monologue. By including the interviewer in the discussion, you’ll keep them interested and engaged in the most important topic of all: YOU.

Don’t forget to ask questions, too.

Come armed with a brief list of questions that highlight your knowledge of and interest in the school. If interviewing with an alum, it’s easy to engage in a comfortable conversation about their experience at the school. Not only will you learn more about HBS, but by asking thoughtful questions, your interviewer will get another opportunity to see your insightful way of thinking.

Harvard Business School admits roughly half of all applicants they interview. Ultimately, your goal is to answer all questions in a clear, logical way. Also, maintain an open, friendly, and professional demeanor. And don’t forget to dress appropriately! Finally, show that you have a curious attitude about the school and all it offers students.

If you can master these tips, you stand a good chance of coming out of the interview with flying colors.


Contact one of our SBC Principals to request availability for HBS interview preparation by emailing asap. As a reminder, HBS interview prep support at SBC is available only after interview invites have gone out. Here’s the overview of SBC’s interview prep services.

If you have an interview coming up, you will want to review SBC’s interview prep services. The key to interview success is practice and we provide you with all the tools you need to do just that.

  • Leverage our video platform to practice, view yourself and improve
  • Work with our experts for live rehearsal and feedback
  • Download a guide for lists of practice questions, tips on how to prep and overviews of interview formats
  • Experience a real group interview before your big day

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