top of page

The 7 Toughest MBA Interview Questions (And How To Answer Them)

There’s a lot of excitement when you reach the interview stage. But it’s usually accompanied by fear as well. Unlike your written application, the interview requires you to immediately respond to questions. You can’t step out to think or dial your friend to confer. Yes, preparation is the key, but you may still encounter curveballs that you haven’t bargained for. In such cases, it’s important to keep your poise, display confidence, and maintain your presence of mind.

Let’s take a look at the 7 toughest MBA interview questions along with some useful tips on how to tackle them.

1. Give an example of a time you failed.

Everyone has failed at some point in time. This question essentially seeks to understand what you learned from your experience. While you don’t want to convey incompetence through talking about a catastrophic failure, avoid bland examples that don’t demonstrate any true growth. You have to be able to deconstruct what went wrong and present a convincing picture of grit and persistence that helped you overcome the failure and emerge stronger and wiser.

2. What other schools are you applying to?

There can be several reasons why a school wants to know the answer to this question. However, these reasons are irrelevant. You should answer this question honestly and provide your rationale behind your school selection. The important part is to then make a case for the school you’re interviewing with by providing talking about the school’s culture and values and specific elements of the program that make it your first choice based on your selection criteria.

3. What are your weaknesses?

While failures are situational, weaknesses are intrinsic. Once again, this question, much like the failure one, seeks to understand the initiative your have taken to overcome your weaknesses. You should avoid clichéd answers such as “I’m a perfectionist” (unless you have a compelling example). Instead, allow yourself to be vulnerable and infuse authenticity into your response while describing your progress in a way that demonstrates true growth.

4. Describe a time when you were involved in a conflict/were part of a difficult team.

This question is tricky since it can turn into a situation where you find yourself vigorously defending your choices. The best way is to take an objective approach and then dissect the situation from the perspective of the various parties involved without taking sides. You should also highlight your learning and if possible, provide an example where it was subsequently used. This approach displays maturity and emotional intelligence, much needed traits when handling conflict.

5. What do you dislike about your job?

While this question appears to be straightforward, it’s actually not. Your critique should ideally avoid personalities and your own biases and present your story through the lens of your career goals. So the aspects of your job that you dislike should be (at least some of) the reasons why you’re pursuing the MBA. At the same time, you also need to be careful that what you don’t like doesn’t go against anything you’ve written in your application.

6. Why do you need an MBA to achieve your goals?

You need absolute clarity of thought to answer this question, especially if you intend to pursue entrepreneurship post your MBA. In this case, the admissions committee wants to see if you have considered the implications of pursuing an MBA. Since an MBA costs time and money, you need to convince them that attending business school is going to have a significant impact on your career trajectory and is the best option for you professionally.

7. What concerns do you have about doing an MBA?

This question requires a nuanced approach. While it’s important to answer the question, the bottom line is that you’re still providing reasons, valid though they may be, that dissuade you from pursuing the very thing you’re applying for. The key to answering this question is to provide reasonable concerns such as the investment or the opportunity cost of the duration of the program but to then balance it with all the reasons why it does make sense to pursue an MBA.

There are other types of difficult questions as well. These could be questions related to social or business events and trends. They could be quirky problems such as “How many coins can fit in this room?” In such cases, the school is usually trying to see how you handle pressure and work through problems. Questions can also be specific to candidates about things such as a gap in the resume or an unsavoury incident. The best way to answers these questions is to keep your composure, take your time, and be straightforward.


LemonEd can help you with all elements of your MBA application.

Call today for a free consultation.


bottom of page