Tag Archives: Interview Preparation

HBS Round Two Interview Invites

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: February 4, 2017)

Round Two Interview Invites for HBS Class of 2019 Applicants

The Harvard Business School Admissions Committee sent out interview invitations to its second round applicants in two distinct waves, at 12pm noon ET on January 25th and February 1st, 2017.

For the lucky 900-or-so applicants who received an invite (~20% of second-round applicants), the scramble to prepare will begin quickly, as interviews will be conducted from February 3rd until March 6th (HBS Second Round Decisions are expected to be released on March 22nd).

But first, the answer to your most common question:

What are the odds of being admitted after receiving an interview invitation?

Our estimate is 55% to 60%. It’s high, but low enough to make a lot of applicants have regrets. Every year, brilliant candidates call us after their HBS interview wishing they had better prepared for it… Unfortunately, there is no second chance.

To help you be on the right side of the applicant pool, we wanted to put all our interview prep resources in one place. These resources should help you get ready:

What it’s like to interview at HBS: Kyle’s personal account of what it is like to interview at HBS, from receiving the email inviting him to interview to receiving the phone call congratulating him on his admittance.

Mastering Every Admissions Interview Question: Advice and tips on how to best prepare for an MBA admissions interview — at HBS or any other MBA program.

Post-Interview Reflection: Guidance on how to approach preparing for, drafting, and sending HBS’s 24-hour post-interview reflection email.

Mock HBS interviews: Interviewing is a skill, and the unfortunate truth is that many of us think we are better at interviewing than we really are. It requires practice, which is why we would encourage every candidate interviewing at HBS to take advantage of our interview preparation services:

  • Email us if you are interested in a mock HBS interview.
  • One mock interview plus personalized feedback is $295, and two mock interviews plus personalized feedback is $495.
  • Kyle or myself — both HBS alumni — will work with you personally during the mock interview, which will mirror the HBS admissions interview process as closely as possible: first, we will review your application prior to the interview; second, we will conduct a 30-minute mock interview with you via Skype; and finally, we will provide you personalized feedback immediately after the mock interview or at a time of your choosing.
  • Slots fill up quickly, so please email us to express your interest or get more information.

Alternatively, you can secure your spot directly by signing-up via paypal. We will get back to you within 24 hours to arrange a suitable time slot. Simply use the form at the very end of this post.

If you’re looking for additional guidance on your application or have any questions about the MBA admissions process, please reach out to us via our free consultation link.

We also offer a comprehensive “HBS ding analysis” package, along with hourly consultations to discuss round three strategies for unsuccessful round two applicants. Keep in mind that HBS is a re-applicant friendly school, with up to 10% of re-applicants in each class (see an inspiring story from a successful re-applicant here).

Should you have questions about our ability to help you, we’d like to invite you to visit our “client feedback” page. We have pasted a few emails from past clients below.

We’re happy to help, even with last-minute questions and requests. Good luck!

“Dinged by Stanford, accepted by HBS! Thank you guys SO much for all of your help. Really appreciate it. As for the service- excellent! You guys took your time answering all my questions and really grilling me hard. I loved the experience and would definitely recommend it to anyone else interviewing at HBS. Regarding [your competitor] Sandy [the hbsguru] I had a pretty good, but completely different experience. (…) But if I had to pick one I think I’d choose you guys. From you and Kyle I got the traditional mock interviews, and fantastic specific feedback on my style, tone, answers, etc. and 2 interviews was great. I had a fantastic experience.” O., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“I wanted to follow up with good news: I got into HBS! The interview itself was, as everyone says, totally impossible to predict (60-70% focused entirely on me describing my current company’s technology and business model), but the practice of being nervous and answering impossible-to-predict questions with you guys was valuable and let me push past my (high) stress level.Thank you!” A., HBS MBA Class of 2016

“On December 11th I found out that I was admitted to HBS. Prior to my actual HBS interview, I had conducted a mock with Vincent of MBA Admissions Advisors. Our session made a huge difference in the preparation process, but it was only after the actual interview [at HBS] that I realized how well I had been prepared. Vincent made very detailed observations about my performance, and after our debrief session I had a very clear picture of my strengths and areas for improvement. Perhaps the most important thing I worked on with MBA Admissions Advisors was how to think on my feet in order to answer any question, as opposed to preparing answers to a laundry list of publicly available questions from past HBS interviews, a much less valuable exercise. During our mock interview, although Vincent had a list of targeted questions based on my profile, he did not seem to be following a script. He built on my responses with follow-up questions to constantly challenge me. This was exactly what happened during my actual HBS interview. Last but not least, Vincent remained engaged throughout the admissions process, and he by far exceeded my expectations. He gave me access to valuable interview preparation resources, remained available to answer questions, and systematically responded to my emails promptly. I was delighted to receive ‘good luck’ messages the day before my actual HBS interview and on the school’s first round decision day. These little things made working with him a great experience. “ I.S., HBS MBA Class of 2016

Secure your spot now:


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The Wharton Team Based Discussion

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: February 21, 2015)

NOTE: If you’d like to participate in a practice Wharton Group Interview, please find more information here.

Tips to Prepare for the Wharton MBA Team Based Discussion

A few thousand candidates submitted their Wharton applications for the Class of 2017 just a few weeks ago. As Wharton is scheduled to release interview invites for Round 2 applicants on February 11, it’s worth thinking about how Wharton’s group interview format differs from the traditional MBA interview.

We regularly receive inquiries about Wharton’s group interview and have been among the very first to offer mock team-based discussions for those looking to practice. However, we thought it would be helpful to also analyze Wharton’s interview here on our blog as well.

Although quite innovative among U.S. business schools, group interviews have been used for years by other leading MBA programs, including IMD. Because of their increasing importance for applicants to top MBA programs (Michigan Ross announced a similar move towards group interviews recently), we’ve decided to provide our readers with some advice to prepare for their upcoming group interview, using Wharton as an example.

Perhaps the most important — and often forgotten — mindset to have heading into the group interview is this: You aren’t competing against your fellow group members. You are competing against other groups. Those who succeed at the group interview will often do so as a group, with the stock of all five or six team members rising in the eyes of the admissions committee. On the flip side, those who fail often do so as a group as well. Based on estimated acceptance rate at Wharton (more or less 20%), 2 to 3 applicants in each group should receive an offer (the school interviews roughly 40% of its applicants), and groups that work well as a team can expect to be on the higher-end of that range.

This collaborative mindset should help ease the pressure on you to have a brilliant idea. The exercise isn’t about which team members come up with which ideas, it’s about which team members best advance the group discussion. So if you’re struggling to brainstorm ideas that add depth to the conversation, don’t panic. As long as you’re building on the rest of the group’s ideas, asking smart questions, and respecting the other members in the group, you’re doing your part.

To that point, it’s important to appreciate the value of three character traits the admissions committee will look for:

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Preparing for the MIT Sloan MBA Admissions Interview

By Vincent Ho-Tin-Noe (last updated: December 31, 2014)

Last week, MIT Sloan started inviting candidates to participate in its Behavioral Event-Based Interviews (BEI). As often in the past, the school will be inviting candidates on a rolling basis. In the US, it started with West Coast candidates but will be extending invites to candidates located in other regions over the next few weeks. For example, East Coast invites should start going out on October 27, while the last batch might be sent in three or four weeks from now only.

For the lucky ones who have already received an interview invitation from MIT Sloan, we’d like to share some advice regarding MIT’s Behavioral Event-Based Interview. While perhaps not as radically different from the traditional MBA admissions interview as Wharton’s Team-Based Discussion, MIT Sloan’s behavioral interview requires a healthy amount of respect and a unique style of preparation.

How is MIT Sloan’s Behavioral Interview Different?

Unlike most MBA admissions committees, MIT Sloan focuses its interview exclusively on a candidate’s past actions. As the adcom writes in its interview preparation guide, “Instead of asking how you would behave in a particular situation, the interviewer will ask you how you did behave.”

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to interview, this distinction will manifest itself in two ways:

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My HBS Interview Experience

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: September 12, 2014)

What It’s Like to Interview at HBS

My invitation to interview at HBS came on the first day that the admissions committee began emailing candidates. It was a relief, to be sure, but it also was undoubtedly a bit nerve racking. Three days later, I received a follow up email, this one with a link to an online portal where I would actually schedule my interview. I chose an afternoon spot on a Monday on campus in Boston. It allowed me to fly up from Washington D.C. during the weekend, ensuring I would be settled in and wouldn’t face any logistical snags come interview day.

The morning of the interview I kept completely free. I wanted to make sure I was well rested and unrushed. At noon I attended a luncheon hosted by the HBS admissions committee for applicants interviewing that day. We had sandwiches and made small talk in the back room of the Grille, a staple of the HBS dining circuit. There were a few of us there, and we each took turns asking relatively low-risk questions of the admissions staffer that had joined us.

After an hour or so, lunch wrapped up, leaving me about 90 minutes before I was scheduled to be at Dillon House, the admissions building at HBS. I walked across the Charles River and had a cup of coffee, rehearsing my answers to the most basic interview questions (strengths, weaknesses, why an MBA, why HBS). By that time I was wishing I had scheduled my interview for a little earlier. Time seemed to be passing pretty slowly.

I started heading over to Dillon House about 2pm, arriving 10 minutes before my scheduled interview. When you walk in the door, there is a short hallway with a big glass window on your left, so I could see the receptionist through the glass pane well before I could actually say hi to her. I greeted her warmly, and she told me to take a seat while I waited for my interview to begin. I did, playing with one of those mini Zen gardens you find in offices sometimes to keep my mind from wandering.

Sure enough, at 2:30pm on the dot, an admissions officer walked out to greet me. She walked with me about 30 feet to a small office in the back of Dillon House, and along the way we made small talk about my trip in to Boston that weekend.

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HBS Round 2: Preparing for Your Interview

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: July 6, 2014)

On January 29, HBS sent out interview invitations to many of its Class of 2016 applicants (including round two applicants and round one candidates whose application was “deferred” to round two). Around 20% of all round two applicants received an interview invitation on January 29, and a second round of invites will go out to candidates on February 5, according to the HBS admissions blog. Interviewed candidates will then stand a 60% chance of being admitted to the #1 MBA program in the World (according to the latest Financial Times MBA rankings).

We’d like to wish the best of luck to everyone, and for the happy few who have received the coveted email from Dillon House, it is time to prepare for the last step of your application. While we have been writing about the HBS interview process for a while on this blog, we thought it would be helpful to bring all of our resources together in one place:
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