Tough Business School Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

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Why did you get a dog? What was the last book you read? What kind of people annoy you the most and why?1 

Not the questions you were expecting during your MBA or Masters admissions interview? As the graduate business school interview evolves, so do the questions schools are asking potential students. Acquaint yourself with some of the toughest b-school interview questions, and some tips for how to be prepared to answer them.

Question 1: Describe a failure in your life. 

Most MBA or Masters candidates come to their admissions interviews prepped with stories of success and achievement, but schools also want to hear how you handle adversity. Before your interview, identify a real failure that affected you, discuss how you reacted to the situation, and what you learned from it. If you can, connect your lessons learned to a story of future success.2 

Question 2: How will you take advantage of the resources we provide?

Pop quiz! Have you done your homework on this MBA or Masters program? Schools want to know you have a thorough understanding of their program and believe it’s a good fit for you. Answer with specific examples that reference the curriculum, extracurricular activities, and career services, and describe what excites you most about the offerings.3  

Question 3: Describe a time when you had to deliver bad news. 

Top business schools know the importance employers place on interpersonal skills in today’s global workplace. This question gauges your emotional intelligence, teamwork skills, and communication abilities as well as how you deal with conflict. Use concrete examples, always speak positively about employers and colleagues, and clearly express your approach and the outcome.4  

Question 4: Tell us about an ethical dilemma you faced. 

Students and alumni personify a school’s values, and admissions staff want to ensure you’re prepared for this responsibility. This question assesses your integrity and moral character. Choose your dilemma carefully. If you can discuss one that didn’t have an obvious solution, you can illustrate how you showed leadership, tact, and maturity to navigate the circumstances effectively.5 

What started as a formality, has grown into a robust and defining element of your b-school application. Today’s MBA or Masters admissions interview requires that you come prepared for the tough questions designed to keep you on your toes.

Read more about some common interview questions and answers.

1. Poets & Quants. (February 19, 2018). MBA Interviews: The Latest Tricky Questions. Retrieved on November 20, 2018 from:
2. Clear Admit. (February 20, 2018). Seven Hardest MBA Admissions Interview Questions—and How to Answer Them. Retrieved on November 20, 2018 from:
3. Ibid.
4. Poets & Quants. (February 19, 2018). MBA Interviews: The Latest Tricky Questions. Retrieved on November 20, 2018 from:
5. Blackman, S. (February 16, 2018). Answer the 5 Hardest MBA Interview Questions. U.S. News & World Report.

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