Oxford Said MBA Interview

If you are selected for an Oxford Said MBA Interview, you will be invited to come to the School and have your interview here. The School also offers interviews at key locations in other countries – your invitation to interview will specify all options available at that time. Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an in-person interview whenever possible. However, if you are not able to attend in person Oxford will arrange a Skype interview for you. This will not affect the final decision. For applicants based in the UK an in-person interview at Oxford is required.

Your interview will be a one-to-one discussion with a senior member of the Admissions Team, the Careers Development Team, Faculty or an industry advisor. Industry advisors are a select group of senior executives who have experience of working for leading firms across a broad range of sectors, who also work closely with our careers team.

The Oxford Said Interview

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  1. Tell me something about yourself
  2. What are your career goals and why did you decide to pursue a MBA?
  3. Why did you select Oxford?
  4. Which other schools did you apply to and why?
  5. Have you heard back from the other schools? What were the results?
  6. What are your major responsibilities at work?
  7. Tell me about a situation where you faced a challenging situation as a leader. How do you deal with people of different natures like an extremely introvert or an extremely extrovert person?
  8. You have half a day and a magic wand that can take you anywhere on earth. Where would you go and what would you do if that thing you do is not related to family or business?
  9. What is the difference between a leader and a manager? Are you a leader or a manager?
  10. In your current job what are the areas where you think you have room for improvement?
  11. Why should we accept you into Oxford? Give me 3 reasons?
  12. If you don’t a job after MBA what is your back up plan?
  13. How do you deal with cultural differences in people?
  14. What challenges do woman face in the corporate world?
  15. What are your weaknesses? What are you doing to improve upon your weaknesses.
  16. Any questions for us?

Interview Transcript - 1

My interview is with an admission rep via Skype

Total time is 1 hour, has 2 parts: 40 minutes for questions about me, and 15 minutes for me to ask questions.

Questions are composed of 4 areas:

  • Standard questions: why MBA, why Oxford
  • My academic profile: if I used any GMAT training program, what my GPA is
  • My work experience: if I have led a team, describe a time I have to convince people of my idea, describe a time I resolve conflict in a team (and what I would do differently if it happened again), if I have worked in different countries.
  • My career aspiration: what I intend to do after MBA. In this case it’s consulting with M/B/B. Then I was asked some more questions like: why I am suitable for this role.

Questions for Oxford: here I asked a couple of questions about the career centre, Consulting Career Workshop (Oxford’s new initiative).

In summary it was a fairly alright interview, however I’ve received the result and it was a Ding! Not sure why, but I expect it may be something to do with yield protection (I was asked if I’ve applied elsewhere, and which stage I was up to, I said LBS and up to interview stage).

Interview Transcript - 2

A pleasant conversational interview with a senior member of the admissions committee. Be prepared not only with answers to “expected” questions but also with a delightful attitude (dress formally, smile, think of questions, etc.) . Lasted for almost 25 minutes and was structured as follows:

  1. Why Oxford in general and why Said in particular?
  2. How will you add value to Said business school?
  3. What do you expect from Said business school?
  4. How did you prepare for the interview today?
  5. Have you ever came to Oxford?
  6. Tell me about a failure and the lessons you have learned?
  7. Do you have a role model(s)?
  8. Have you applied to any scholarships?
  9. Questions for me?

Expect an answer in the first week of March.

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Interview Transcript - 3

I was interviewed by the Director of Admissions and she was very polite and friendly which put me at ease immediately.

Questions asked:

Why do you want to complete an MBA at this time in your life?

Why pursue an MBA at Saïd in particular?

What do you want to do post MBA, and how have you prepared for this career transition?

Please describe the biggest challenge you’ve faced at work.

Please describe a time that you worked successfully in a team?

Do you think that your GMAT score is reflective of your quantitative ability? Would you be willing to re-take the exam if we asked you to?

What other schools have you applied to? What stage of the application are you at with them?

Finally, why should you be given a spot on the MBA program here at Saïd?

Any questions?

Interview Transcript - 4

I interviewed on-campus at Oxford Saïd with ~30 other candidates who had traveled to Oxford from all over the world. Interviews lasted 30 mins – spread throughout the day – and were all with ad-com. The ad-com I interviewed with had read my entire application, and referred to it on her laptop while we were talking.

Her questions were pretty straight forward:

  • Why an MBA now?
  • Tell me about what you’ve learned from previous jobs (my background is non-traditional so I had to make the connection to what I wanted to get out of business school)
  • What motivated you to switch careers?
  • What do I want to do post-MBA?
  • Tell me about a time you failed and what you learned from it.
  • Tell me about your greatest accomplishment.
  • Why Oxford Saïd?
  • What other schools did you apply to?
  • What questions do you have for me?

The overall interview was quite conversational and I felt like I established good rapport with her.

When we weren’t interviewing, we had information sessions about Oxford Saïd, Career Services, the GOTO class, Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, and even one from Prodigy Finance (the student loan company). We got to have lunch with current students, then went on a tour of the Said building. At the end, we were given bus tickets for the Oxford Hop-on-Hop-off bus to tour the whole campus, which was very beautiful.

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Interview Transcript - 5

The interview took place at a business in downtown San Francisco with a member of the admissions teams. It was clear they had read my entire profile and knew my post-grad goals well. It was a formal interview but it was also very conversational and welcoming; you can tell the admissions team wants to engage with you on a deeper level to see if you are a good fit for the program. I had a low GMAT Quant score that the interviewer asked about, which I had been expecting, so I had an answer prepared in regards to how I’d still succeed in the program. I was asked about my experience with Oxford, the Open Day I attended, my work experience, my goal organizations and what I had done to research my post-grad goals/ career path. Be prepared to explain what unique qualities you’d bring to the program.

The entire interview process with Oxford has been wonderful. I appreciate that they tell everyone the same day whether you have been accepted or not, so you are not checking your email every five minutes throughout the entire week. The staff are there to give candid answers about life at Oxford, availability of programs and faculty. I also get the feeling they are really interested of growing and continually improving the program.

Interview Transcript - 6

The interview took place at a business in downtown San Francisco with a member of the admissions teams. It was clear they had read my entire profile and knew my post-grad goals well. It was a formal interview but it was also very conversational and welcoming; you can tell the admissions team wants to engage with you on a deeper level to see if you are a good fit for the program. I had a low GMAT Quant score that the interviewer asked about, which I had been expecting, so I had an answer prepared in regards to how I’d still succeed in the program. I was asked about my experience with Oxford, the Open Day I attended, my work experience, my goal organizations and what I had done to research my post-grad goals/ career path. Be prepared to explain what unique qualities you’d bring to the program.

The entire interview process with Oxford has been wonderful. I appreciate that they tell everyone the same day whether you have been accepted or not, so you are not checking your email every five minutes throughout the entire week. The staff are there to give candid answers about life at Oxford, availability of programs and faculty. I also get the feeling they are really interested in growing and continually improving the program.

Interview Transcript - 7

I had a Skype interview with Oxford Saïd in early February 2015.

The interviewer was a sector consultant and associate professor, with background in finance and investment. He told me at the beginning of the interview that it will last 30 minutes.

I read several interview reports as part of my preparation, and it seemed to me that Oxford does not have a consistent interview style, i.e, questions can vary immensely, depending on who your interviewer is. Because my interviewer was a sector consultant, I read up on general knowledge about my home country’s economy and about my sector beforehand. However it turned out that I was not asked any of those questions, the interview focused more on understanding my experience and personality to decide whether I am a good fit for the school.

The interviewer was very polite but did not show much emotion (whether he liked the answers), except for one question. He took a lot of notes.

Questions I were asked:

– Tell me about yourself

– Why MBA

– You seem to have taken several important roles at a young age. Is this because the market is immature?

– Tell me how you have progressed in your career?

– What is your short-term goal after MBA? (and some short questions relating to that)

– Why Oxford

– What is special about you? How do I pick you from a crowd?

– What are your values?

– How good are you at working under pressure?

– If you had half a day to go anywhere in the world, and this is not related to school or work, where would you go?

– Anything I have not covered and you want to mention?

– Any question for me?

My suggestions:

Be very brief and to the point in your answers. 30 minutes is a very short time. If you spend 5 minutes on an answer they may have to cut you off halfway or switch to another question.

Status: Admitted.

Interview Transcript - 8

The interview wasn’t as casual as some reports suggest. My interviewer had a investment banking background and I definitely got the impression he was trying to push my buttons. It is the sort of interview I would expect for a front office role so nothing strange there. And as “pushy” as he maybe I think the interview was fair.

Questions:

– Why MBA? Why Saïd?

– Tell me about your role at XYZ company.

– Give me an example of a time you lead a group.

– Give me an example of a time you were involved in a dysfunctional group? How did you cope?

– What would your friends say your strengths/weaknesses are?

I did not visit Oxford before the interview and I definitely got the impression he did not approve. For my next application I will definitely go in person and visit first. He did ask which college I will apply to make sure I had done my research.

Overall tough but fair interview.

Interview Transcript - 9

Just had my interview last week, and it was a very pleasant experience. The interviewer had clearly read my application and even quoted a line from one of my essays.

I was extremely nervous going into it because I have a background in humanities (art history), scored very low on the GMAT (610), and have only 3 years of work experience (Oxford average is 6 years). However, the interview was relaxed and friendly, all the staff at Saïd were generous and kind, and it felt very positive afterwards. A few years ago I started a relatively successful social enterprise in Oxford and we mostly talked about this.

The first thing he said was “Welllllll, this is a very interesting application…”

Questions:

– Please walk me through the structure of your business.  How did you come up with it, and how do you make decisions within the business?

– Are there criteria for what makes a co-operative business work successfully?

– Go back in time and tell me what brought you to this stage

– Why are you interested in bicycles? (My business works primarily with bikes)

– Your GMAT score is pretty low, how would you cope in class and what are your feelings about actually doing the course?

– What would you do afterwards, and what if you can’t stay in the UK to continue your business?

– What would you do differently if you could start your business again?

– Is there a difference between failure in the US and the UK?

The interview was in person and very relaxed, more like a conversation. At the end I asked a few questions:

– What are some examples of summer projects/internships that non-finance students have done?

– What is it like to be a woman on campus and what is Saïd doing about recruiting more women?

About me: Humanities/Art History background, 26y, female, 610 GMAT, USA but live in the UK

Status: Admitted

Interview Transcript - 10

I want to write about my interview experience as I have benefited from reading other people’s experience.

I had my interview over Skype and it lasted 30 minutes, with a sector consultant specialised in finance. Questions were all expected though communicating over Skype and not being able to sense the interviewer’s body language made me more nervous and affected some of my answers. I had no idea how it went afterwards and eventually received an offer.

Interview Questions (not in exact order)

– Why MBA, why now and what I am looking to gain from MBA

– Consideration on choosing an MBA

– My career plan

– What is my contribution to class

– Qualities that’d make me good at what I do in my future job

– What would I do if I can go back for half a day (exclude family/friends/volunteer related subjects)

– Leadership example when I didn’t have authority

– What do I consider leadership traits

– What are my values

– A situation where I thought differently from others and how I went about convincing others of my point of view

– Additional things to add (I had none)

At this point in the process and looking at other people’s experience, I am even more certain that anyone’s chances of getting into a good program depend on so many factors that are outside of our control, and the quality of my answers depends on my knowledge in many areas that cannot be prepared in a mere three months. Hence your fate in a way is decided even before you decide which school to apply to, so choose well, work hard and good luck, but don’t ever take a rejection seriously as it says nothing about your abilities.

Transcripts were first published on clearadmit.com and gmatclub.com

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