HBS Students Spill Their Secrets for a Successful Admissions Interview

If you were among the select few to receive an invitation to interview at Harvard Business School this afternoon, congratulations. Just think: only months ago you were sweating over GMAT prep books and “hounding your recommenders with the ruthless perseverance of Dog the Bounty Hunter,” as the Harbus‘ Editor-in-Chief Daniel Selikowitz likes to put it.


Preparation is one of the key distinguishing characteristics between those who excel at their interview and those who fumble. The Harbus, the independent student news organization at Harvard Business School,  asked current HBS students to dish advice to you, the prospective HBS student and potential member of the class of 2016. Here are their key takeaways:


The below quotes should whet your appetite for a much meatier and in-depth analysis of how current HBS students prepared for their Harvard Business School (and other top business school) interviews and what they did to distinguish themselves. The Harbus provides this analysis and much more in its annual Admissions and Interview Guide. You can learn more about the guide and purchase it from the Harbus website.  Proceeds from the guide support the Harbus Foundation, a charitable organization that supports non-profits in the Boston community.


HBS Students Spill Their Secrets for a Successful Admissions Interview 

“Know your application inside and out. Sounds simple, but review it. Know your story and practice explaining key achievements that you mention  in your resume or essays.”


“To practice, I did 6 simulated interviews with HBS students that proved invaluable in my preparation.”


“Prepare three or four good stories (which could be adapted to answer practically any question), then record yourself on iSight answering 20 minutes of questions. Watch to assess your body language, tone.”


“Know your resume cold. Know your essay(s) cold.”


If you were reading your application, what questions would you have for yourself? Those are probably the questions you’ll get on interview day.”


“As you think about your strategy for answering interview questions, it’s a good idea to rehearse your answers, but do not memorize them! That will come off as inauthentic and can really hurt your chances.”


“HBS students are expected to be able to think on their feet in the case method. The interview screens for that.”


“You will be asked a lot of questions—often in rapid fire fashion. But don’t forget to get your own message across.”


“ What do you want to convey to your interviewer? Find a way to get your points across in your answers.”


“When preparing for your interview, practice being succinct in your answers. HBS is looking for articulate students who can make convincing statements or arguments without going on and on forever.”


“ Remember, it’s only a thirty-minute session, so your interviewer will get frustrated if you are taking up too much air time.”

lakeisha nicole landrum  lake

lakeisha nicole landrum harvard harvard business school