If you are preparing for your business school interviews, you might wonder what schools are really looking for. Why do they ask certain questions, and are there right and wrong answers? Here is the truth about what your interviewer is evaluating with these common questions.

  • Walk me through your resume.

Deceptively simple, this is actually a very difficult question. You need to know how much detail to give, how long to take, what points to emphasize, and how to encapsulate your story in a cogent and articulate way. Schools are testing your judgment, your ability to perform in front of a future employer, and your level of preparation. Quick tip: Try not to take more than two and half minutes explaining your resume.

  • What do you want to do after you graduate?

The best examples are specific (consulting for a firm like McKinsey or BCG) but not too specific (new product innovation for Apple.) You want the schools to understand that you have focus, but you don’t want them to worry that you will fall apart if you don’t get your dream position. The interviewer is also evaluating your understanding of your target field, and whether or not your goals are realistic, given your professional experience and interpersonal skills.

  • Why are you interested in this school?

This question tests whether or not you have researched the program, whether you really want to attend, and whether or not you are a good cultural, professional and academic fit. Provide details about the curriculum and how it is ideally tailored to help you acquire the skills that you need to excel. Mention course names, professors, immersion learning and international opportunities by name. You should also reference clubs and activities in a way that demonstrates that you have done your research, and that you will get involved. So, for instance, instead of saying that you want to join Tuck’s non-profit club, mention the Tuck Gives auction and Tuck’s Center for Business and Society.

Also, you might be surprised to hear that citing a school’s prestige is a bad idea, since it might seem like you would be equally happy at any highly ranked school. It’s much more persuasive to highlight the ways in which this program is an ideal match for you, beyond the rankings.

  • Do you have any questions for me?

With this question, the interviewer is again testing your judgment, your level of preparation, and your sincere interest in the school. It is a terrible idea to ask how you did in the interview. It is also bad form to ask critical questions about the school, like what is your least favorite aspect of the program. To make a fabulous last impression, ask for information that isn’t readily available on the website. For instance, what is the most popular course, and why? Or reference a few notable speakers who have presented in the last few months, and ask who is scheduled to visit. The best questions reflect your familiarity with the program, and your genuine desire to learn more.

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Karen Marks

Karen has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Wharton, MIT, Tuck, Columbia, Kellogg, Booth, Haas, Duke, Johnson, Ross, NYU, UNC, UCLA, Georgetown and more. Clients have been awarded more than $70 million dollars in scholarships, and more than 98% have gotten into one of their top choice schools.
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