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Harvard Business School Case Study Interview Question

Today is the final day Harvard Business School will extend Round 1 interview invitations, and to prepare nervous applicants, the school’s independent newspaper The Harbus has shared five common MBA interview questions that cropped up last year during the admissions interviews of current first-year students.

Here, we share excerpts from the article, which provides valuable, first-hand tips for successfully navigating the questions frequently posed by HBS interviewers:

Walk me through your resume.
The Harbus says: “Make your resume a narrative rather than merely relating a series of unconnected events. Focus on upward progression…Keep your ‘walk’ to 5 minutes, and don’t spend all your time in one area versus another.”

What is one thing I’d never have guessed about you, even after reading your application?
The Harbus says: “Here is an opportunity to go beyond your achievements – or at least your business-related achievements – and tell your interviewers about something that really makes you tick…Think about what would make you an interesting or valuable section mate to have at HBS.”

What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had this week?
The Harbus says: “Keep this professional, worldly and, most likely, news-related…use this as an opportunity to showcase your preparation, especially your morning news routine.”

How do you make big decisions?
The Harbus says: “This is another perfect question for examples. Tell a story, but make sure the actual decision has a logical, step-by-step process behind it. Show your personality in the answer too…don’t be afraid to talk about your gut.”

Describe an ethical grey area you had to navigate.
The Harbus says: “The hardest, most complicated, problems and questions often result in the best leadership development. Don’t try to whitewash the situation; acknowledge how hard the choice was and walk the interviewer through the process you went through to come to your final outcome.”

For more tips on how to answer each of these real Harvard Business School application interview questions, follow the link above to the original Harbus article.

You may also be interested in:

MBA Essay Advice for Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School Fall 2016 MBA Essay Tips
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This entry was posted in Application Tips and tagged Harvard Business School, HBS, MBA admissions interview, MBA Interview advice, round 1, The Harbus.
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Harvard Business School Interview Questions & Report: Round 1 / Adcom / Campus

The following Harvard Business School / HBS interview questions and report were submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant. Good luck to them!

When did you get in to Boston?
Did you attend a class?
Why did you choose X engineering?
Did you have any internships while completing your undergraduate degree? Tell me about them
Why did you choose to work for Company Y?
Questions about early rotations at Company Y and specific roles that weren’t written about much in my application
Tell me about your experience during the Natural Disaster Z
What were your recognition awards at Company Y for?
Tell me about your new/current role at Company A
What do you find most challenging about your current role?
Why did you get a dog?

It was a very humbling atmosphere to be in at Harvard. I have lots of opportunity to chat with other interviewees and hear about what they’ve done. Everyone there was very accomplished in their own field, and it was amazing to be with a group of people that’s so diverse. It was hard for me to really feel competitive with any of them (granted I have a very specific and non-tradition industry background) because of how different everyone’s backgrounds were. Really at this point it seems more like an exercise in “how do we want the class structured” than “do they deserve a spot”.

The class visit was great, very engaging. Learned a bit about stock price valuation based on DCF versus Comparables methods. Afterwards a couple fellow Canadians (one from my undergrad university) came up and had a chat with me which was nice.

Prior to the interview, there were lots of people who were clearly anxcious sitting in a room with me. We chatted a bit in the 5mins leading up to the interview, but obviously it got a little tense.

The interview itself I felt went really well. My interviewer asked a lot of questions, and they were mainly directed at filling in details behind things only touched upon in my application. The type of stuff that doesn’t make it on to your 1 page resume in detail anymore because it was 5 years ago. I choose to believe (haha) that was because she was just trying to make my case stronger, and that my references and I had adequately described my last few years of work experience. Between questions the interviewer did watch the clock, felt as though that was mainly to make sure we kept to the 30min time limit because some of her questions went down the rabbit hole based on my previous answers.

No Surprises
Generally, I thought the interview was structured like I expected (focused on why I made certain decisions, and how they impacted me) but the subject matter was different than I expected to an extent. It was fine since I could answer those questions relatively easily.

What surprised me was that towards the end of the interview the interviewer actually made positive comments to me about my application. I had expected the stone face, poker player type of interview with little to no feedback – however she was willing to make comments like “what’s great about your application is that you have a lot of leadership experience which we usually only see in military applicants.” While that doesn’t mean I’m in by any means (Dec 12 is coming up fast!) it was a bit of a confident boost which has made the waiting a little bit easier.

Conclusions about School
I think Harvard will always have an elitist reputation with the general person/population, BUT I don’t think it’s deserved. Sure the criteria and screening process are rigorous, but the people I’ve met (students, adcom, prospective students, professors) are very kind and down to earth. It’s a school I can imagine enjoying because of the people. Until you’re there and you meet everyone I think you’ll always have the fear in the back of your head that the reputation is true.

Posted in: Interview Questions & Reports

Schools: Harvard Business School

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