Scott Edinburgh
February 1, 2024

How to Prepare for the Harvard Business School Interview?

Harvard Business School Building

Round 2 Harvard Business School interview invitations were recently released. If you were fortunate enough to be selected, now comes the challenging part: understanding how to prepare for the HBS interview.

The MBA interview is an incredibly important component of the application process, and it is critical that you adequately prepare.

Wondering where to begin? Personal MBA Coach is well versed in the intricacies of the MBA interview process.

Should you want additional support, our team of former M7 interviewers conduct mock interviews every year for all of the top business schools. Clients who use our MBA interview preparation services see a 70-85% conversion rate!

What Should You Expect From The HBS Interview?

While many other top programs have “blind” interviews where the interviewer has only your resume, Harvard Business School interviewers read your entire application and come prepared with very specific questions to ask.

HBS interviews can often be 2 on 1, which means you may have two interviewers asking you questions at the same time or more likely one interviewer and one observer. Do not be caught off guard by this and be sure to make eye contact with each interviewer equally.

While always only 30 minutes long, HBS interviews are challenging. In fact, out of all of the top MBA interviews, the HBS interview is one of the hardest.

How Should I Prepare For The HBS Interview?

As with any interview, practice is key! You may wonder what they will ask. It depends on your application and unique situation.

At Personal MBA Coach, our team of admissions directors and interviewers predicts the most likely questions to be asked. In fact, each interview is pretty unique for us, which is a departure from the normal process of asking common interview questions.

This means you will want to know your resume from top to bottom and be ready to clearly explain your goals and why you want an MBA. You also should be prepared to talk about weaknesses in your application and/or any gaps or inconsistencies. For example, if you decided to switch industries mid-career, be sure that you have a logical and well-thought-out explanation.

Everything is fair game!

In Addition To Knowing Your Resume Cold, Prepare Your Stories In Advance.

We find that bulleting is most effective here. This way you can note the skills you want to highlight and will be prepared to pivot your stories as needed.

You should be able to adapt four to five stories to cover most top questions. For instance, a story about stepping up in the office could be applicable to a question about a time you had an innovative idea OR a question about a time you helped a coworker. Try to assign your stories to possible questions in advance.

Avoid spending too much time setting up the scene. Instead, stick to the main steps you took and how you excelled in each example. It can be helpful to break your stories into situations, actions, and results.

You Also Should Ensure You Can Articulate Your MBA Goals.

Be prepared to explain, clearly and concisely, what you hope to accomplish in your career, why you are interested in this path, and how you will be successful. Prepare specific examples that you can use to back up these plans. If you need help articulating your MBA goals, check out Personal MBA Coach’s blog here.

What Is The HBS Post-Interview Reflection And How Should I Approach It?

Unique to HBS, applicants are asked to submit a written reflection, due within 24 of completing your interview. This reflection offers candidates to chance to share how they felt the interview went, discuss what they enjoyed about the experience and provide any additional perspective they wish they had shared at the time.

Be sure to use this opportunity to reflect on the interview itself! Do not consider this an additional essay or the time to discuss new aspects of your profile. Personal MBA Coach recognizes this is a challenging task and offers all HBS comprehensive clients and HBS interview preparation clients individual support on the HBS post-reflection.

As with any interview, practice and planning are key! Personal MBA Coach has former M7 interviewers lined up to do mock interviews with you. Plus, HBS mock interview post-interview reflection support is included with all Personal MBA Coach Comprehensive Packages.

Our clients have told us this is one of the most worthwhile steps they have taken to enhance their candidacy, helping them build the confidence they need to excel in the interview.

Find out more about our Harvard Business School interview preparation and post-reflection support here.

As part of Personal MBA Coach’s HBS interview prep, we will review your entire application before your HBS interview. Then, your HBS interviewer will ask you very thorough questions, focusing on weak areas of your application or topics that are likely to be covered during your HBS interview.

Are you also hoping to secure an interview invite from Wharton? Get a head start by taking a look at Personal MBA Coach’s advice on Wharton’s virtual TBD.