Harvard And Stanford MBA Interview Advice

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Within the next few weeks, Harvard Business School (HBS) will send interview invites to thousands of lucky round one applicants. HBS interviews, like last year, will continue to be conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nailing the HBS interview, experts say, is more than often the last step to getting accepted. Andrea, a former Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School and consultant at Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently offered insights into the HBS interview process and shared a few tips for Health Blog.


The interview experience is meant to give admissions officers a better understanding of who an applicant is outside of the numbers on their application. Therefore, it’s critical that applicants highlight their personal values and demonstrate a strong point of view during the interview.

“The single most important element of the interview is demonstrating deep intellectual curiosity with the ability to develop a point of view or perspective,” Andrea says. “HBS continues to assess leadership and academic and quantitative capabilities during the interview. Now, the focus turns toward personal qualities that are hard to assess in a deep way on paper.”


Your Tech Blog will likely be used as a reference for questions during the interview. Andrea recommends applicants to know the details of their resume and key life decisions inside out.

“Prepare to answer questions ranging from major industry headlines to hobbies and interests,” Andrea says. “For example, if you’ve said you’re a historical fiction buff, be ready to talk about it. This interview will also cover the nuances of several of your life choices. Make sure your answers show character and introspection. You won’t have any notes in front of you, so become well-versed in your own experiences, both professional and personal.”


After your interview, you’ll be asked to submit a post-interview reflection within 24 hours. The reflection should be one page or less in length and highlight aspects of the interview that went well or offer details as to how it could have been improved. Regardless of how you choose to frame your reflection, Andrea says, it’s essential that you close it with a strong sense of perspective about where you’ve been and where you’re headed.

“End with a 30,000-foot reflection on what the entire process has meant to you, any deep insights you have as a result, and what lies ahead for you,” Andrea says.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Harvard Business School

Next Page: Stanford GSB Interview Advice

Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA students. Stanford photo

The Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) values individuals who can not only lead, but lead with a strong sense of self-awareness. The GSB (which ranked number one in P&Q’s Top Business Schools ranking) has an estimated acceptance rate of 6%, making it notoriously difficult to get into.

Tatiana Nemo, Expert Coach at Fortuna Admissions and former Stanford GSB alum & MBA Admissions interviewer, recently offered insight into what Stanford GSB is looking for in an applicant and how applicants should go about approaching the interview process.


Nemo says that Stanford GSB seeks out applicants who have the three key qualities: sound analytical skills, creative instincts, and strong performance. Demonstrating strong proficiency in each of these Travel blog, Nemo says, is critical to gaining admission.

“In identifying stories that convey both specificity and substance, you’ll want to keep in mind what Stanford GSB cares about most,” Nemo writes. “Not only is Stanford looking for demonstrated leadership potential, it’s seeking evidence of your intellectual vitality, personal qualities and community contributions.”


One of the key differentiators of Stanford GSB’s interview process is that the interview is conducted blind. This means that only your resume is shared with the interviewer, as opposed to the entire application.

Nemo says that applicants can expect the interview to include: a brief intro, 30 to 40 minutes of behavioral questions, 15 minutes about the Stanford experience, and a closing.

“Most candidates are asked to give a short self-introduction, so be sure to craft your MBA elevator statement,” Nemo writes. “The interview will be a conversation—you can expect the interviewer to be pleasant, and you’ll have the invaluable opportunity to ask those nitty-gritty questions at the end that only someone who has gone through the program can respond to.”

And while the Stanford GSB interview will likely be conversational-style, Nemo says, applicants should come prepared with their point of view and evidence.

“The key to success is not just thinking about answers to standard questions (why the MBA, why this school, etc.), but coming up with specific – and substantive – situational examples,” Nemo writes.


As your interview concludes, the interviewer will ask whether you have any questions. Malvina Miller Complainville, Fortuna Admissions Expert Coach, says applicants should come prepared with key questions having done thorough research.

“This kind of thoughtful preparation demonstrates your genuine interest in learning more about mutual fit,” Complainville writes. “If you know your interviewer’s name ahead of time, do your research – look him/her up on LinkedIn for example. Considering your interviewer’s profile will help you tailor your questions accordingly. For alumni, you have a valuable opportunity to learn from their experience and glean insights that can help inform your decision.”

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, Fortuna Admissions, P&Q, P&Q

Next Page: Harvard Business School MBAs weigh in on the MBA’s value.

A woman wears a mask in the Stamps Reading Room at Baker Library on the campus of Harvard Business School Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. The School requires face coverings and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Earning an MBA from Harvard Business School (HBS) is a phenomenal feat. With an average starting salary of $125,000 and an expected 10-year ROI of 320 percent, Harvard MBA grads get the full value of their prestigious degree. But an MBA education is a costly investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. At HBS, the total cost of attendance for just one year of an MBA lands at $111,542.

In the second part of a Harvard “MBA Voices” blog, HBS alumni answer the central question: Is an MBA worth it?


Many aspiring MBAs choose to pursue the degree as a means to advance their career or bump their salary. While those are valid reasons to earn the degree, many HBS alumni say that the real value of the MBA is the growth opportunity—both on a personal and professional level.

“The standard argument against getting an MBA is that you can progress in your field without one by spending those two years getting more experience,” Scott Robertson, a 2019 HBS grad and now Director of Government Commercialization at Solugen, says. “The problem is that most people who hear that argument have only experienced a tiny fraction of the universe of career possibilities. I believe that the key to a happy life (or a successful experienced business) is constant reevaluation of your core principles—along with having the strength to update those principles when required—and an HBS MBA is the ultimate chance to do just that.”

Dilan Gomih, a 2019 HBS grad and now Senior Director of Digital Talent/Strategy and Instructor at Barry’s, says that she wouldn’t be where she is at today without HBS.

“From a personal standpoint, I’ve had the confidence to take risks and be the leader in the room because HBS prepared me to be,” Gomih says. “From students to faculty, I met some of the people who I am the closest to now and I could not imagine my life without them. From a professional standpoint, the HBS MBA opens doors that I never knew existed—but they opened because the HBS name speaks for itself.”


Another reason why the HBS MBA is so valuable is the network that it provides students.

Robertson says if it wasn’t for his HBS education, he wouldn’t have come close to reaching the goals that he set out to achieve.

“The HBS network and the credibility of the degree opened doors that I would never have even thought to knock on,” he says. “I have ended up working in some of the most exciting, cutting-edge life sciences companies in the world, and I never would have even considered the industry before coming to HBS.”

Others highlight the diversity and longevity of the HBS network as key indicators that the HBS MBA is indeed very valuable.

“I met so many interesting and accomplished people from varied backgrounds that I never would have otherwise met,” Adam Friedman, a 2020 HBS grad and Vice President at Linden Capital Partners, says. “The networks I built with these people are an invaluable resource as well as a source of great friends.”

Sources: Harvard Business School, Harvard Business School, The Princeton Review

The post Harvard And Stanford MBA Interview Advice appeared first on Poets&Quants.


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