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Interview Prep Tips

Berkeley Haas MBA interview questions and strategy 2022

Introduction

Congratulations on getting an invitation to a Berkeley Haas interview!
The MBA from Haas is consistently ranked as one of the best in the US, so though your test scores, grades, essays and letters of recommendation have gotten you this far, it pays not to be complacent and prep for the interview as intensely as you prepped for everything else so far.

The Berkeley Haas interview format

Berkeley Hass usually interviews applicant through its alumni pool.  Normally, those interviews can be in person, but given the current COVID-19 crisis, interviews are being done through Zoom/Skype and last anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes.

If this were a normal year, on campus interviews would usually be led by second year MBA students.

In either case, interviews are usually friendly and the interviewer will not have read your application, which means this is a blind interview.  This also means that there is little room for deep probing questions.  Probing questions – if they are asked at all – will usually be superficial and based on potential issues raised in your response.  

Questions will be split into three broad categories:

Firstly, classic MBA interview type questions (for example, “why do you want to get an MBA?”).  

Secondly, light probing questions that seek to shine some light on issues that the interviewer might have picked up in one of your verbal responses.  

And last but not least, behavioral questions – these are such a staple of MBA interviews that I have written an extensive article on how to deal with behavioral questions here.  Berkeley Haas tends to focus on questions designed to probe how much of a team player you are.

Berkeley Haas MBA interview sample question list

  1. Tell me about yourself/walk me through your resume (usually the first question asked)
  2. Why do you want an MBA?
  3. Why Haas?
  4. Why is this the right time for you to get an MBA?
  5. What do you want to accomplish at Berkeley Haas?
  6. How will you contribute to Berkeley Haas?
  7. Tell me about a time you worked with a diverse team
  8. Tell me about a time you had to manage conflict
  9. Tell me about the greatest risk you took
  10. What was the most complex problem you’ve faced?
  11. Tell me about a time you had to lead a team or person
  12. What was the best piece of advice you received and why?

Conclusion

Even though Berkeley Haas does not stray too far from the norm when it comes to its MBA interviews, it pays to practice – and practice a lot.  Ultimately, it is repetition that will make you feel more at ease with the format, the questions and answering them in a clear, concise and convincing way.

Voomer is an AI-powered interview platform built by AI researchers from the MIT Media lab that allows you to prep on your own time, as much as you like.

Check out Voomer and start prepping for free today!

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

“Why do you want an MBA?” and “Why MBA?” in your interview

Introduction

Your interviewer will almost definitively ask this question during your interview. Though it seems like a simple, easy question, you’ll be surprised how many people stumble with their response, taking their chances of getting accepted.

Even if you have a great reason for applying to an MBA program inside your head, it pays to articulate that in a concise and compelling way that will make you a shoo-in applicant.

What is admissions looking for?

MBA applicants tend to focus on the requirements for getting into a particular program. That seems logical, since those requirements are usually listed on the admissions website (for example, GMAT ranges) and those requirements are used as a hard cut-off for applications – so they are extremely important.

They are also important for admissions, but think a little harder about who admissions wants in their program.

Admissions wants two things: People that have achieved great things in the past and will achieve even greater things in the future.

That’s why the “why do you want an MBA” question is so important. This gives the person interviewing a clue as to what you are going to do with your MBA. Every business school wants their alumni to go on to do great things – increasing the prestige of said business school.

How to answer “why do you want an MBA” on your interview?

Get all the reasons for applying to an MBA that are inside your head into words. Be forward thinking, reflect on what you want to accomplish next and how an MBA will help you get there.

Looking at all those reasons, pick out the one that makes sense with the narrative arc of your life and career while at the same time pointing to an exciting future.

So for example, if you worked all your life in big pharma and want to apply that knowledge to a small scale biotech – mention that! Compliment your answer with comments on how an MBA is key to fill in gaps in your knowledge and how you’ll be able to make connections with people from the science and medicine departments of the university – clearing a path for you to join a start up.

Another example is if you’ve worked in small non profits all your life and want to amplify your impact through a larger organization. Or you’re a career corporate warrior and want to take on more demanding and complex roles, potentially even starting new departments and leading culture shifts.

Mention your past, but focus your answer on the future and why an MBA will get you there.

What NOT to answer!

I’ve seen people mention this all the time when asked “why do you want an MBA” in an interview and they are all answers that will greatly diminish your chances of getting accepted:

  1. I want to increase my income
  2. This MBA program has a great ROI
  3. I already live in this city, so it is convenient
  4. I currently live in a foreign country and want to live in the country where the program is held
  5. I wasn’t accepted into the other programs I applied to
  6. I’ll only get a promotion if I have an MBA

These might very well be reasons for you to get an MBA, but they should never be the main reason. If you do what you love well, you’ll probably reach those goals as a consequence of going a great job.


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Conclusion

The question “why do you want an MBA” might seem trivial and you might think you have it squared away inside your head – actually articulating it in a compelling way to someone from admissions in an interview is a whole different ball game.

Take the time to properly think about this question and make sure you do lots of practice runs so you are comfortable answering “why do you want to do an MBA?”.

Voomer is a great way to get that practice since it was built from the ground up with this scenario in mind.

Questions on Voomer match what you’ll get on the interview of your dream school. After going through a set of questions, you’ll get an artificial intelligence powered report on your results with specific, actionable steps you can take to improve your performance.

Your response is broken down into multiple components and analyzed individually and then as a whole. From delivery to content to body language and camera position, multiple data points are analyzed to ensure you have the best MBA video interview prep available.

Categories
Interview Prep Tips

MBA video interview – how to prep for success

Introduction

An increasingly large number of MBA schools is using video as part of their admissions process.  We believe that this trend will only accelerate.

That is driven in part by the logistical and health issues that COVID-19 has brought upon us and partly because it truly does give admissions departments a better, more rounded view of who the candidate really is.  Some MBA admissions departments started using video almost a decade ago – and haven’t looked back.  That gives us a good idea of how much value this relatively new assessment technique brings.

Types of interviews

“MBA video interview” is actually a catch all term for several different types of interview.  To add to the confusion, admissions departments use different terms for the same thing.

Synchronous video interviews are when a actual, real person is on the other end of your Zoom or Skype call asking you the questions in real time and listening to your responses.  Stanford GSB for example, uses these types of interviews on some of their programs even before COVID-19 hit.

Asynchronous video interviews are when you listen to a pre-recorded question.  Then, you usually have a certain amount of time to prepare a response and then another pre-determined amount of time to respond.  Kellogg is an example of a MBA program that has been using this video interview format for several years.  

Video essays are when you receive a (usually) written prompt and have to respond to that prompt via video in your own time and generally with a lot more flexibility in how to respond.  MIT Sloan is an example of an MBA program that has been using this video interview format for many years now and has even “exported” it to other business schools it has a relationship with, such as the Asia School of Business.  

How to prepare for the video interview

Though the above video interview categories might seem very different, they are actually pretty similar when it comes to how to prepare for them.

Let’s break this down into two broad categories: how and what.  “How” refers to your presentation skills.  “What refers to the answer itself, the meaning of the words coming out of your mouth”.  

The “how”

You’re applying to a top flight MBA program – play the part.

Dress the part.  That means your clothes should be business casual (at least the top half of your body!) and your personal grooming should be put together.  Recording your videos while still in pajamas with bed hair probably won’t go down well with admissions.

Make and keep eye contact.  This is especially true when recording for the asynchronous video interviews where there is no one on the other end of the camera as you are speaking.  It is a very strange experience which feels very unnatural, which is why you have to practice quite a bit to get this part right.  Use a tool like Voomer to  get used to looking straight into the camera while speaking.

Vary the tone of your voice.  That is important for two reasons:  Firstly it helps to keep the person reviewing your answers engaged.  Remember these people are reviewing multiple videos – and lets face it, they are humans too and get bored or zoned out.  Secondly, varying your tone helps with adding emphasis to parts of your response that need emphasis.  Perhaps a certain keyword you know admissions is looking for can be highlighted with a change in tone or pause.  Voomer has tools to help you practice those two presentation skills.

The “what”

Most of these types of interviews are what’s called “behavioral interviews”.  The interviewer is trying to figure out how you react and respond under certain circumstances – a difficult teammate, falling sales numbers, etc.

There are two key things to the “what”: Firstly, keep your answers grounded in real life examples from your life and business experience – don’t come up with hypotheticals to say you “would” react in a certain way.  Applications want to hear what really happened.  Secondly, keep your answers formatted under the CAR method.  CAR stands for Context, Action, Results.  Essentially, what the situation was, what you did to resolve it and what were the results of that action.

I recently wrote another article that discusses in depth what a behavioral interview is and how to ace one here.

That helps the interviewer easily parse out the information they need for your reply and fill out the report they have to submit.  Remember – you want to make their lives easier!

Conclusion

There is no easy solution – its practice, practice and more practice.  That’s how you’ll get better at MBA video interviews.  Though you can make things easier on yourself by using a MBA video interview prep solution like Voomer.  

On Voomer, you’ll find questions that are specific to each program’s style (some drawn directly from question banks and current applicants) and AI-powered video assessments that help you improve your performance dramatically in the shortest amount of time possible.