Invited to interview by HBS? Here are the Harvard Business School interview questions from four different candidates.
The transcripts come from clients of Sandy Kreisberg, founder of HBSGuru.comwho in any given year helps to rehearse and prepare more than 100 invited applicants in mock interviews. In all probability, Kriesberg walks through more interviews with HBS candidates than anyone other than a few people on the HBS admissions team who actually conduct the 30-minute sessions.
His sample size–100+ out of 1,900 interviewed in any given year–gives him a unique look at who makes the cut and who doesn’t. His advice in How Not To BLOW The Harvard Business School Interview is essential watching.
HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FROM FOUR CANDIDATES
The questions an MBA applicant receives in a Harvard Business School interview can vary significantly because each session is tailored to the individual candidate. At HBS, interviews are 30 minutes long and are conducted by an MBA admissions board member who has reviewed a candidate’s application. Typically, one admissions staffer asks the questions while another takes notes.
It’s important to remember what HBS is looking for in a successful candidate, in an interview or the application one submits to get an interview. There are three core things every candidate must haveaccording to HBS: a habit of leadership, analytical aptitude and appetite, and engaged community citizenship. All three should be subtly reflected in one’s interview answers.
What follows are four recent examples from four very different candidates: a project manager, an analyst in an investment banking firm, an analyst in a private equity shop, and a veteran of the U.S. military.
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR A PROJECT MANAGER
How has Covid impacted your job and industry?
Are people working at home?
Are you working at home?
How was that?
What technologies are you using to keep up to date with remote fellow workers?
Do you find some people adjust better to remote work?
OK, let’s get off of Covid.
What was the most exciting project you worked on this year?
What role did you play?
How did you ramp up?
What would you do differently, looking back on this project?
How do you handle pushback?
Have you ever been criticized unfairly in your opinion?
What did you say?
What would you say the most valuable feedback you ever received was?
What were the circumstances?
What kind of leader do you aspire to be?
What is going to be hard at HBS besides managing your time?
What is going to be less difficult?
How do you think you will be different after your two years at HBS?
We receive applications from many highly qualified applicants in your industry–why should we admit you?
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR AN INVESTMENT BANKER
How has COVID impacted your business (lots of follow-up about my impact on deals, clients, co-workers, etc)?
Tell me about your favorite deal, your hardest deal, and a deal that got away–and why?
How do you market yourself to investors?
What is your firm’s ‘secret sauce’?
What types of investors are attracted to your firm and why?
What has been the biggest challenge in raising money?
Tell me about a time you influenced somebody else
As you think about the roles you’ve had — deal maker, working with your portfolio companies, team lead, and fundraising –which have been the hardest for you and why?
Would you ever want to run a company full-time?
How would your impact be different as an investor vs as a CEO?
How have you learned about HBS?
What do you wish I asked you about?
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR A PRIVATE EQUITY ANALYST
Can you talk about the recent deal on your resume (Lots of follow-up questions)
What do you do in your current role?
I see you have worked in different offices, and on different continents of your Bank, what are some of the cultural and operational differences? Which office did you enjoy most?
How would your supervisor describe you?
What constructive feedback have you received in the past?
What did you learn at JOB 2?
Tell me about your goals. Where do you want to work? What could you see yourself doing if those goals do not materialize?
What will you get from an MBA?
What did you think about doing your exchange semester in D? 1
Can you tell us more about living in A and B?
Can you tell us about Extracurricular A?
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR A MILITARY VET
What made you decide to join the military?
Tell me about the team you currently work with. Lots of follow-up–what is team culture, who is a ‘leader,’ how do we make decisions,
Give me two words your teammates would use to describe you.
What is a piece of constructive feedback you’ve received from your teammates?
What were the goals you set for yourself in the military?
When did you decide on pursuing an MBA and why?
What are you interested in doing?
What is a company you would be interested in working with and why?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself?