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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

January 30, 2012

UC Berkeley Haas MBA Interviews

My post on Haas MBA admissions essays can be found here

Before reading this post on UC Berkeley Haas MBA's admissions interviews, I suggest reviewing the former Director of Admissions for the Full-time MBA Program's excellent Tips for Acing the Admissions Interview. I also suggest that you listen to the short podcast on interviewing found at http://www.haas.berkeley.edu/haas/podcast/audio/haas_mba_interview_tips1.mp3. The advice is very simple and clear and applicable to most schools. If you think you will get special insight about the Haas interviews from listening to this, you will likely be disappointed, but still it is worth a listen.  For my overall perspective on interview strategy, see herehere, and here, and here.

The interview reports found at clearadmit.com and accepted.com make it clear that you need to know your resume completely as you will be asked about content in it ("Walk me through your resume"). Review it carefully and consider what your interviewer might ask you to explain more thoroughly. If it is on your resume, it is fair game.

My colleagues Steve Green and Jessica King have compiled and organized the following list of common Haas MBA questions based on publicly available reports.

-Tell me about yourself / Take me through your resume (be prepared to explain why/how you changed jobs)
-Why an MBA?  
-Why part-time?
-Career goals?
-Why now?
-What will you contribute to Haas?
-Are there any clubs/activities that do not exist that you would like to start?

BEHAVIORAL QUESTIONS (For my advice on behavioral questions, see my post on MIT.)
-A challenging leadership/teamwork experience.
-A time you led a group.
-A time when you were a humble leader.
-A time you failed/were on a team that failed.
-A time you displayed good teamwork.
-A time a team member was not pulling his/her own weight
Interpersonal skills
-A time when you met resistance/faced a conflict in a professional setting, either with a team or a person. How did you deal with it?
-A time you faced an interpersonal challenge.
-A time you received constructive feedback and how you responded.
Berkeley-esque questions
-A time you advocated for change/going in a different direction.
-A time you took a risk.
-A time you did something really innovative.
-A time you made an impact at the office.
-Something you wish you could have done differently.

-How would you describe your management/leadership style?
-How do you define “leadership?” Give an example.
-How would your boss, co-workers, subordinates describe you? Friends? (give both strengths and weaknesses)
-3 strengths? 3 weaknesses?
-What book are you currently reading?
-Putting aside your professional life, tell me about your personal life and the activities that define you (he honed in on the "other interests" section of the resume right from the start)
-Tell me about your process for self-reflection. How do you define/measure success and then evaluate whether you've been successful in a particular situation?
-Tell me something about yourself that’s not on your resume.
-What do people like about you?

As you can see from the above, you need to be prepared to answer routine MBA questions, some of which might be asked in a behavioral style. It is important that you be prepared to show your fit to  Haas and be well prepared to answer the above Berkeley-esque questions. Remember BILD!

I see no reports and have not been told about any trick questions really. Be prepared to ask questions about the program. If you have an alum interview, be prepared to have a number of questions.

Interviewers (students, adcom, or alumni) are usually friendly and consistently try to create a very relaxed interview atmosphere. Most interviews are conducted with students on-campus or alumni off-campus. I did read some reports of relatively weak student interviewers, so don't be surprised if this should happen. Regardless of how your interviewer performs, just be relaxed and positive. This is an interview about fit and your own potential, so make sure you can explain in depth why you want to attend Haas, how you will contribute to it, and what you intend to do afterwords. Previous contact with alum, visits to campus, and/or intensive school research are all great ways to prepare.

Campus interviews are scheduled for 30 minutes and usually last 30-45 minutes. Alum interviews seems to last about 45 minutes to an hour.

Click here to find out about my interview preparation services.

-Adam Markus

I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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