MBA Interviews: Tell Me About Your Weaknesses

How to discuss weaknesses in your applicationsReason for asking the question: To ensure the applicant is humble enough to recognize that nobody is perfect, and to see how introspective he or she can be in an assessment of oneself.

How to prepare: This question requires some real reflection. Nobody is perfect, yes, but one can always be striving to be his or her best self. In a work context, what areas do you need to develop? Where do you find yourself stuck? Is there a consistent theme that comes up in your annual review – something you need to work on? Jot a few things down as you work on answering this question. Sometimes we don’t want to acknowledge our weaknesses to others – a natural thing!

Once you have identified a few areas for improvement, think about how to portray those weaknesses so they could also be considered strengths. For example, being too detail-oriented might bog you down with too much work, but it ensures you are thorough, leaving no stone unturned. In this particular example, you are overworked, BUT you also have a strong work ethic.

Important things to remember: As you detail your weaknesses, be sure you also identify how you are working to improve them.

Additional things to consider: Try to have at least two weaknesses to discuss, and don’t have them be situational, such as, “my network is weak since I am primarily surrounded by IT people.”

Do you know the 10 commandments of MBA interviews?
Jennifer Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.

MBA Interview Questions: What Questions Do You Have?

Watch our webinar on The 10 Commandments of MBA InterviewsReason for asking the question: To make sure the candidate has all pertinent information necessary about the school, as well as to confirm that he or she has thoroughly researched the program and consequently has thoughtful questions.

How to prepare: This will most likely be your last opportunity to ask questions of the program before you find out the admission decision, so make sure the questions count. Take enough time to consider this prior to your interview, since this is perhaps the only question you can be positive will be asked in the interview. Write your questions down if need be.

You do not want the questions to be procedural in nature, such as, “When will I find out about your decision?” Those types of questions can be asked at the very conclusion of the interview (if necessary), but well after your primary questions. Questions should be well thought out and perhaps give the interviewer pause before answering. After all, the interviewer has had YOU in the hot seat for the last thirty minutes with challenging questions, so you should have some in return!

The best questions are the ones that make the interviewer have to dig deep into his/her knowledge to answer, or better yet, might be ones the interviewer can’t answer then and there. In this case the interviewer will need to check into a question and get back in touch with you. YES! One final opportunity to have a connection with someone critical to your admission decision. Thoughtful questions could focus on “big picture” things like school strategy, trends or specifics related to particular coursework.

Important things to remember: Even if you have memorized all the content on the school’s website, visited campus and already asked (and had answered) all the questions you think you could possibly ever have, you better not have a blank stare, or a simple, “None,” answer.

Additional things to consider: As a general rule of thumb, plan on two-three questions (not of the procedural type).

Do you know the 10 commandments of MBA interviews?

Learn how Jen Weld can help you get accepted!
Jen Weld, has guided clients to acceptances as an Accepted admissions consultant since 2010. Prior to joining Accepted, she served as an Assistant Director of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program for four years. She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing. Let her help you market yourself to top MBA and Executive MBA programs.

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MBA Interview Questions: Why This MBA Program?

Tips on answering the popular "Why MBA?" questionReason for asking the question: To gauge the sincerity with which the candidate is approaching the school.

How to prepare: You need to make sure you show that your reasons for applying to the program go well beyond the obvious reputation, location, or network. Your job in answering this question is to convey your sincere enthusiasm for the school. You need to be as specific as possible. Appropriate topics for a convincing response:

1.  Unique curriculum necessary to reach your goals

2.  Faculty you are excited to learn from

3.  School clubs or organizations you are particularly passionate about joining

4.  Components of the program that intrigue you – study abroad, entrepreneurship project, etc.

5.  Aspects of your visit to the school (provided you have had the chance to visit) that really got you excited about being a part of the community – classroom environment, conversations with students, admissions officers, or other prospective students.

Important things to remember: When preparing your answer, select aspects that are unique to the program, and make sure your answer isn’t one that could be valid for other schools you are looking at. Hopefully this is an easy question for you to answer since you are legitimately excited at the prospect of attending the school.

Additional things to consider: If the school is not a top choice, you still need to do the job of convincing your interviewer that it makes sense to offer you admission, and if admitted there would be a decent chance you would attend. Even if this is a “safety school,” you need to be respectful of the school and interviewer.

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews!

Jennifer Weld worked as an admissions consultant and Former Asst. Dir. of Admissions at Cornell’s EMBA program (4 years) prior to joining She has an additional 10 years of experience in higher ed and corporate marketing.

Related Resources:

Why MBA?
MBA Interview Questions: Walk Me Through Your Resume
The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews

10 Commandments of MBA Interviews Webinar Recording Available

The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews webinar aired live recently – were you lucky enough to catch it?

If you missed it, then you certainly missed a good one; but no worries – the webinar is now available on our site for instant viewing or download (for a limited time only).

MBA Interview Commandments

Learn 10 indispensably tips that will help you ace your interviews when you view The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews for FREE today! Helping You Write Your Best

MBA Interview Nice-To-Know #5: Your Interviewer

Click here to download your copy of How to Ace Your MBA Interviews!“MBA Interview Nice-To-Know #5: Your Interviewer” is excerpted from the special report, How to Ace Your MBA Interviews. To download the entire free special report, click here

In the words of a Columbia applicant who was asked “was there something you wish you had known ahead of time?”:

Yes – I wish I had known more about the interviewer: what company she worked for, her role in the organization, her seniority, etc. That would have helped me mentally prepare for the kind of person I would be speaking to and be able to relate to her better.

If you have your interviewer’s name, Google him or her and try to glean a little information about this person so you can connect better on an interpersonal level. If you don’t know your interviewer’s name or simply can’t find it on the Internet, don’t sweat it. It isn’t a must.

Nationally recognized career coach Dr. Lois Frankel advises job applicants before a job interview to remember that, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” I am a firm believer in that adage.

Tips to help you ace those MBA interviews! Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Preparing for Behavioral and General Interview Questions, a short video.
• Seven Tips for MBA Interview Prep
• MBA Admissions According to an Expert