Nail Your HBS Interview: 6 Practical Tips for Success

Harvard Business School interview tips

Are you dreaming of attending Harvard Business School (HBS)? Congratulations! It’s a highly competitive and prestigious program that can open countless doors for your career. But before you can join the ranks of successful HBS alumni, you have to pass one crucial hurdle – the interview. As a highly selective institution, HBS puts a lot of emphasis on its interview process, with only around 25% of applicants receiving an invitation. So, how can you increase your chances of acing the HBS interview and securing a spot in the program?

In this post, we’ll share six practical tips to help you nail your HBS interview and impress the admissions committee. Let’s get started.

Understand How HBS Interviews Work

Before diving into your HBS interview preparation, it’s crucial to understand how the process works. Unlike traditional job interviews, HBS interviews are conducted by second-year MBA students and last for around 30 minutes. The interviewers have access to your application materials but will focus on getting to know you as a person rather than just reviewing your achievements and qualifications.

They may ask behavioral and situational questions to assess your potential fit with the HBS community. Additionally, note that the HBS interview is not a one-on-one conversation; there may be multiple interviewers or other candidates present. Knowing these details will help you better prepare for the interview and set appropriate expectations.

Know Your Personal Story Inside and Out

Your personal story is one of the most critical elements of your HBS application, and it’s equally important during the interview. The interviewers want to understand your motivations, goals, and values that drive you as a person and a future business leader. Take the time to reflect on your journey, including significant experiences, challenges, and achievements.

Be sure to practice telling your personal story in a concise yet compelling way. This will not only help you answer interview questions effectively but also showcase your communication skills and confidence. Remember to stay genuine and avoid memorizing scripted answers – the interviewers are looking for authenticity.

Research HBS’s Values and Culture

As a renowned business school, HBS has a distinct set of values and a unique culture that sets it apart from other institutions. It’s crucial to research and understand these aspects before your interview, as they may come up in your conversation. Take the time to explore HBS’s website, read about its mission and values, and talk to current students or alumni if possible.

This will not only help you showcase your knowledge during the interview but also demonstrate your interest in the program. Additionally, understanding HBS’s culture will also give you a better sense of whether it’s the right fit for you and help you tailor your answers accordingly.

Practice, Practice, Practice

As with any important event, practice makes perfect when it comes to HBS interviews. Research common interview questions and practice answering them out loud. You can also ask a friend or family member to conduct a mock interview with you to simulate the real experience.

Additionally, consider seeking feedback from someone who has been through the HBS interview process before, such as an alumnus or current student. This will not only help you refine your answers but also give you a better understanding of what the interviewers are looking for. Practice will increase your confidence and help you make a lasting impression during the actual interview.

Be Confident, but Not Arrogant

Confidence is key during any interview, and that includes the HBS interview. However, there’s a fine line between being confident and appearing arrogant – and you want to avoid falling into the latter category. Remember to balance your achievements with humility and showcase your strengths without putting down others.

Additionally, be mindful of your body language and tone, as these can also convey confidence. Maintain eye contact, sit up straight, and speak clearly and assertively. Remember that the interviewers are looking for well-rounded individuals who will contribute positively to the HBS community – so let your genuine self shine through.

Follow Up with a Thank You Note

Harvard Business School interview tips

After your HBS interview, it’s essential to follow up with a thank-you note to your interviewers. This is not only a polite gesture but also an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the program and highlight any key points you may have missed during the interview.

Ensure that your thank-you note is personalized and genuine – avoid using generic templates or copying from others. Express gratitude for the interviewer’s time and reiterate why you believe HBS is the right fit for you. This small gesture can make a significant impact on the admissions committee and leave them with a positive impression of you.

Acing the HBS interview requires a combination of preparation, confidence, and authenticity. By following these six practical tips for success, you can increase your chances of impressing the admissions committee and securing a spot in this prestigious program. Remember to understand how the HBS interview process works, know your personal story inside and out, research HBS’s values and culture, practice, exude confidence without arrogance, and follow up with a thank-you note.