Common Business School Admissions Interview Mistakes to Avoid

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From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you’re being interviewed.

Looking to ace your admissions interview to business school? Don’t fall victim to avoidable blunders – below are some common MBA or Masters interview mistakes and how to avoid them.

Being inauthentic. The purpose of your graduate admissions interview is to help the school get to know you better. Don’t give answers just because you think it’s what they want to hear. Says former business school admissions dean Dr. Don Martin, “Putting your best foot forward is one thing, but being phony or acting fake is quite another.”1 During your interview aim to be genuine, interesting, and memorable; be yourself. 

Skirting the truth. B-school admissions personnel have experience, and they can tell when you’re avoiding a topic or embellishing a story. Have a termination you need to address? Do it. Is your GPA less than stellar? Take responsibility.2 Your interview is an opportunity to give context to the information in your application and ease any reservations schools may have regarding your background. 

Not listening. An MBA or Masters interview can be intimidating – you’re trying to articulate your strengths, values, and experiences all while appearing relaxed and composed. Be careful not to focus so much that you forget to listen to the questions being asked.3  Slow down and take time to understand, reflect, and formulate your answer. 

Forgetting the small stuff. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, you’re being interviewed. Don’t dismiss interactions that take place outside of the interview—from faculty to students to staff, you’re making an impression on everyone you meet. Be polite, give a firm handshake, make eye contact, and smile!4

Being virtually unprepared. Depending on the program, you may be asked to conduct a video interview, either in lieu of or to complement in-person interviews. Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prepare the same way for your interview. Additionally, you will want to ensure you have a quiet and private place from which to talk, with a tidy and neutral background. Give yourself time to test the technology beforehand and download or install any needed software, as systems vary. And keep a calm head – the way you manage yourself in an interview (whether virtual or in person) is a reflection on you, including how you handle any technical issues or problems that arise.  

At the end of the day, schools want to enroll students that are not only qualified but that will bring value and a unique perspective to the classroom. So have fun and appreciate the experience! Read more about the importance of preparing for your MBA or Masters admissions interview.


1. Martin, Don. (July 27, 2012). Don't Make These 5 MBA Interview Mistakes. U.S. News & World Report. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/07/27/dont-make-these-5-mba-interview-mistakes.
2. Poets & Quants. (June 28, 2010). Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid. Retrieved on November 20, 2018 from: https://poetsandquants.com/2010/06/28/common-interview-mistakes-mba-applicants-need-to-avoid/.
3. Martin, Don. (July 27, 2012). Don't Make These 5 MBA Interview Mistakes. U.S. News & World Report. https://www.usnews.com/education/best-graduate-schools/articles/2012/07/27/dont-make-these-5-mba-interview-mistakes.
4. Poets & Quants. (June 28, 2010). Common Interview Mistakes to Avoid. Retrieved on November 20, 2018 from: https://poetsandquants.com/2010/06/28/common-interview-mistakes-mba-applicants-need-to-avoid/.

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