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Harvard Business School Students Offer Winning Tips on Admissions Interviews

October 25, 2012 9:35 pm0 commentsViews: 252
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If you are about to have your admissions interview at Harvard Business School (HBS), you may wish you knew how to dress. For a man should you wear a blue suit or a black suit? What kind of tie? Should you wear cologne?

For a woman, what length of skirt should you choose? What about the shoes? Any jewelry?

That sort of information, and a great deal more, is provided in a new guide called The Unofficial Harvard Business School Interview Guide, a 43-page book that is culled from current Harvard Business School students. The guide also features real interview questions that current students were asked in their interview.

The admissions guide is compiled each year by The Harbus staff, which is Harvard’s MBA student newspaper. Staff try to get first hand advice not just from people who were interviewed in the past, but from students who were successful in the enrollment and interview process and got into the business school. This information is of great help to students who are trying to gain admission into HBS, because so much emphasis is put on the interview.

The editors of the guide say that they send out surveys of the current HBS class, and they receive responses back that detail some of the questions the students were asked in their interview. They sort the questions into six categories:

  • Experience
  • Leadership
  • Career
  • Current Events
  • Curriculum
  • Situational

The question categories for experience, leadership and career encourage the interviewees to tell a story about themselves, as they reflect on their past achievements and challenges. The questions that focus more on global events, or on the curriculum, allow admissions staff to gauge the perspective of the applicant. Having the types of questions laid out clearly in the guide helps the applicants to get ready for the inevitable unusual questions that arise in the interview.

This year, the guide from Harbus has 20 pages of interview questions, and each one with a few paragraphs of advice. There also is a walkthrough step by step that helps the applicant to get ready for the big day. Also included is suggested things you should do when you are at Harvard, so you can be better prepared for any questions that come up about the school.

Considering how many strange questions you may get, you would be well advised to pay the $50 for the guide. If nothing else, it will help to better prepare you for this very tough interview. Keep in mind that this guide also could be useful if you are applying to any other top business school, such as Stanford, Wharton or Kellogg.

Some of the most unusual questions that were published in the latest guide include:

  1. What was the brand of your university where you obtained your bachelor’s degree?
  2. What kind of chocolate is your favorite?
  3. How did the recession affect your life?
  4. How do you think your parents would have described you when you were 11?
  5. Why did you get a C in this math class?
  6. What companies do you keep up with that are not Google or Apple?
  7. What is one thing you know you will never be as good at as other people?

For every question in the guide, the editors give you some good advice on how to give good answers to tough questions.

However, the guide for HBS hopefuls has much more. There are many other great tips that will help you ace the interview. You may be surprised, but one key piece of information is to make sure you do not get to the interview late. In general, get to your interview 20 minutes early.

Also, scan the headlines of all major business news sites, and read any story that seems important. Also review any sites that cover your business industry in detail.

In the few weeks before the interview, read through your application so that you know every part of it in great detail. One of the worst ways to blow the interview is if you are asked something from your application packet and you are not familiar with it.

All in all, if you follow the tips in this guide, you will have a better chance of being admitted into Harvard Business School and earning a very prestigious MBA.