You have just received your HBS interview invitation and now you realize that you need to prepare for one of the most important interviews of your life. After all the Harvard acceptance rate for those interviewed is still only 50%. This guide will tell you what to expect during the interview and what are the most frequently asked questions during a Harvard MBA interview. Be sure to spend ample time preparing, because you know that everyone else invited by Harvard to interview will be also.
What to Expect in the HBS Interview
The interview will be 30 minutes long and will be conducted by two admissions committee members. It can take place on-campus, off-campus hub, or even sometimes over skype. There are many Harvard MBA interview questions that pop up pretty frequently, but Harvard has a lot more variation in the questions they ask than other schools. Harvard is going to dig deeper and ask follow up questions, similar to a McKinsey behavioral interview. You can expect anywhere from 5 to 18 questions during the interview. On average Harvard will ask you 11 interview questions.
Harvard will ask a lot of detailed questions about your resume and essays. Expect the adcoms to have read your full application. They seem to ask a lot of questions about choices and transitions that you have made. They will ask not only why you made that transition but how you made the transition.
List of HBS Interview Questions
Here is a list of the most common Harvard MBA interview questions. It is compiled from Clear Admit interview reports. I calculated the probability of a person receiving each question in an interview so you know which questions to prepare for most. Sometimes they will ask a slight variation to the questions below.
- (70%) What are your weaknesses? What is negative feedback you have received? What do you struggle with?
- (60%) Why did you choose ABC employer or transition to ABC employer? How did you get XYZ job?
- (55%) Is there anything you wish we had asked?
- (50%) What are your long term goals / plans? What do you want to do post MBA?
- (45%) Tell me about yourself.
- (45%) Why did you pick your college?
- (45%) What are your strengths?
- (35%) Why get an MBA?
- (30%) Describe your industry and role? What do you make of XYZ new competitor in your industry?
- (30%) What do you do in your job? What does a typical day at your current job look like?
- (25%) What is your dream job (or internship)?
- (20%) Tell me about a challenge you have faced.
- (20%) Tell about a company outside of your area of interest that you appreciate?
- (15%) What do you like to do for fun? What do you do outside work?
- (15%) Was moving to the United States (or other country) hard? Did you experience a cultural shock?
- (15%) Why Harvard? How have you gotten to know us?
- (10%) Why did you pick your major? What was the process?
- (10%) How did you get these promotions?
- (10%) Tell me some more about your siblings or family.
- (10%) What would you do differently if you were CEO of your company?
- (10%) What’s an issue in the news you always follow?
- (10%) Did you visit an HBS class? What did you think?
Interestingly they don’t frequently ask why Harvard as much as other schools. Perhaps because Harvard is one of the most prestigious and hard to get into school in the world. You should prepare for at least the first 9 HBS interview questions on the list because you have a very high chance of being asked one of these questions. Be sure to read my guide on how to prepare for an MBA interview.
For students applying to Harvard undergrad, check out the Harvard acceptance rate analysis at College Admit Me.