Careers

The most common interview questions at the 5 best business schools in the US

Harvard Business School
Brooks Kraft LLC | Corbis | Getty Images
Harvard Business School

Going to a top business school can open doors for almost any student but getting in is not easy. In order to nab a spot at prestigious business schools, students need excellent GPAs and strong GMAT scores. They also need to ace an interview.

According to U.S. News & World Report, MIT, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago and Harvard University are the five best business schools in the country. Poets & Quants and Clear Admit gathered some of the most common interview questions asked at each of these top programs.

Here are a few of the questions you can expect to be asked when interviewing for admission to some of the best business schools in the country:

Massachusetts Institute Of Technology
Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

Average undergraduate GPA: 3.57
Average GMAT score: 722
Acceptance rate: 11.6 percent

Common questions:

  • What do you define as success?
  • Tell me about a time you influenced someone.
  • Tell me about a time when you dealt with conflict.

4. Stanford University

Average undergraduate GPA: 3.74
Average GMAT score: 737
Acceptance rate: 5.7 percent

Common questions:

  • What accomplishment are you most proud of?
  • Which defining Stanford principle do you most embody?
  • How would you handle a conflict amongst a team of MBA students?

3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

Average undergraduate GPA: 3.6
Average GMAT score: 730
Acceptance rate: 19.2 percent

Common questions:

  • Why Wharton?
  • What is your usual role on a team?
  • Do you have any questions you'd like to ask to ask?

1. University of Chicago (Booth)

Average undergraduate GPA: 3.61
Average GMAT score: 730
Acceptance rate: 23.5 percent

Common questions:

  • What motivates you?
  • How have you handled situations that you weren't prepared for in the past?
  • Tell me about a time when you've had to deliver bad news or feedback to a team.

1. Harvard University

Average undergraduate GPA: 3.71
Average GMAT score: 731
Acceptance rate: 9.9 percent

Common questions:

  • If you had six months to do two very different things, what would you do?
  • What is one decision the leadership team at your current company should make?
  • Tell me about your most important extracurricular activity. What have you learned from it and will you stay involved if you attended business school?
The John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.
Rick Friedman | Getty Images
The John Harvard statue in Harvard Yard at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.

When you apply to business school, preparation cannot be overstated. In order to give yourself the best chance of landing a spot at your dream school, you will need to practice answering interview questions like these.

Fortunately, schools often ask similar questions. For instance, many schools will ask a question similar to, "What motivates you?"

Aurora Meneghello of Repurpose Your Purpose says that the best response to this question is the honest one. "This is one of those answers to [respond to] authentically."

Nicole Wood, CEO and co-founder of career coaching firm Ama La Vida suggests mentioning something specific about the program that would motivate you.

For instance, if you are interviewing at a school like MIT, you may want to say that technological innovation inspires you. However, if you are interviewing at Harvard University you might want to mention international business.

By being honest and connecting the dots between what motivates you and the school you are applying to, you can tell the truth and make yourself stand out at the same time.

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