Stanford GSB MBA Interview

Stanford GSB MBA interviews, while so hard to get, are not necessarily that hard in anyway. This interview about fit is determined by an alumni “gatekeeper.” Chances are good that this gatekeeper might be in your industry or in some manner have a complementary background for assessing you.  For example, if you are perceived as lacking a particularly important attribute (professional experience in the field related to your goals or English skills for example), don’t be surprised if the alumni is someone who is in a good position to judge this. In some places with few alumni, a high level of complementary assessment (e.g., McKinsey applicant interviewed by Boston Consulting Group alum) would be less likely. Stanford GSB interviews are well known for going long. Do not stress out! If the interview is going longer than expected(of course in a pleasant way), that means you have managed to impress the interviewer.

Stanford asks a lot of situational questions. So brace yourself accordingly. Stanford GSB appreciates “We” rather than “I”. Though you want to portray yourself as an achiever, you cannot afford to sound arrogant.

Frequently Asked Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your background/walk me through your resume.
  • Tell me a bit about yourself
  • What extracurricular activity are you most proud of?
  • What did you take away from your undergraduate experience?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • Tell about a time you streamlined operations/made things more efficient? What did you do?  How did you measure its success?
  • What metrics did you use?
  • Tell me about your international experience.
  • Why a Stanford MBA?
  • Why do you need an MBA?
  • Why now?
  • Why Stanford?
  • How would you decide between schools if you got into multiple MBA programs?
  • What will you bring that is unique to the program?
  • How will you contribute to Stanford?
  • What are your short-term goals? Long-term goals?
  • Where else have you applied? How have those worked out?
  • Explain how you are ready for academic rigor.
  • Character & Challenges To Your Beliefs And Values
  • Difficult Work Relationships
  • Criticism And Feedback From Others
  • Failure
  • Books You’ve Read
  • Inspiration, Passion
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership

Interview Transcript - 1

  1. What are your 5-7 years ahead career goals and how will Stanford help you achieve them.
  2. Tell me about a situation when the company wanted to do something and you wanted to do something else and how did you convince them?
  3. I spoke about the difference in opinion between me and the other Colence founders and how I gradually resolved the difference to implement what I wanted.
  4. Out of so many things about Stanford, what is the one thing that makes Stanford so important to you?
  5. Choose what fits your profile best. For me it clearly was the entrepreneurial mindset and the close-knit community (not sure which one did I actually speak about then)
  6. Tell me about a difficult situation in office.
  7. You can talk about a difficult situation with an overseas boss or anything relavant. What could you have done differently to improve the outcome. I spoke about my transition from an Indian manager to a Chinese manager at an early stage in my career.
  8. What do you do outside work (extra-curricular)
  9. Describe hobbies where you have achieved some milestones and which make you stand apart. I know there will be a long list. But I spoke only about the 2-3 most important ones – Head, College dance society and Leader’s for Tomorrow – Anti Drug Anti Ragging campaigns.
  10. Why did you follow this path/took this job (trying to connect all the dots in my life)
  11. I narrated my logic behind gaining some formal experience before joining and expanding my family business.

There were lot more questions which were borne out of my replies. But those were very specific to my career choices.

Interview Transcript - 2

1 Alumnus. Met at his office. Interview started 10 minutes late but lasted for exactly 60 minutes (which can be broken down into: 5 of minutes breaking the ice, 45 minutes of interview and 10 minutes of me asking a question and wrapping up). Friendly environment.

Here are the questions, in order asked, to the best of my memory:

  1. A) Introduction
  2. Let me introduce myself
  3. B) Future
  4. Why MBA?
  5. Why GSB?
  6. Post MBA plans?
  7. Why post MBA industry?
  8. C) Behavior
  9. What is your biggest accomplishment at work?
  10. Tell me about a leadership experience?
  11. Tell me about your most meaningful achievement?
  12. Tell me about a good leader
  13. Why? What makes him a good leader?
  14. Have you ever demonstrated these qualities?
  15. Tell me about a bad leader?
  16. Why? What would you have done if you were in his shoes?
  17. Tell me about a time you were faced with two attractive situations (you made a difficult decision)
  18. Why was it difficult?
  19. D) Closing
  20. Any questions for me?

My advice would be: prepare in advance. know your stories (esp. behavioral ones). be confident sharing them. No need for superhuman stories. Just be genuine and reasonable. And, do not forget to keep that smile on your face throughout ?

demo_image

Have a Skype Interview ?

Excel in Skype interviews with these simple tips.

Learn Now

Interview Transcript - 3

Initially it was a little difficult to find a mutually agreeable time. After some back and forth, we were able to find a time during the week to meet in the city (East Coast). The beginning was certainly very conversational, as we are both from the same area, and this certainly helped break the ice.

The interview ended up lasting about an hour and covered the following questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why did you decide to study X as an undergrad.
  3. Walk me through a typical day at job X.
  4. Hardest decision you have had to make at X job.
  5. Why and MBA / Why now?
  6. What happens if an MBA doesn’t work out.

Overall the tone was conversational, however at times it got intense as he spun questions off my responses. We conducted the interview in a hotel lobby, which meant it was a little louder than I had hoped. I followed up with an email note the same day, and he quickly responded wishing me well in the process.

Interview Transcript - 4

Interviewer was a really nice guy. He started by giving a lot of details around his history, experience, education, and activities (basically a blow-out of his LinkedIn). Overall the structure was broader question with drill-down questions. He really emphasized that he was looking for very specific examples.

Questions he asked me:

  1. Talk about a time you identified an opportunity no one else had recognized yet? (Standard GSB question, I talked about a specific org I started)
  2. Follow-up: How did you grow the organization that you built?
  3. When is a time you stepped beyond your immediate responsibilities?
  4. Follow-up: What would have happened if you didn’t do anything about it?
  5. Follow-up: What were some blocking issues you ran into when dealing with this issue? How did you resolve them?
  6. Follow-up: What was your immediate role?
  7. Talk about a time you didn’t get along with someone
  8. Follow-up: What did you do to remedy the situation?

Questions I asked him:

  1. What were your highlights from GSB (1) around classes (2) people (3) others?
  2. Follow-up: Specifics about classes
  3. Follow-up: Specifics around regrets/other highlights
  4. Asked about a specific hobby he is currently really involved in that I was interested in as well
demo_image

Frequently asked Situational and Behavioural interview questions

Practise Now

Interview Transcript - 5

Very typical to Stanford interview. No oddball questions, relaxed and a very good feeling of the process and after. We met at the alumnus office around lunch time and interview lasted exactly 45 minutes.

I was asked:

  • Tell me about the time you faced an obstacle
  • Tell me about the time you worked with a difficult person
  • Tell me about the time you were innovative
  • Do you have anything what you would like to me to say about you to ad com?
  • Questions for me?

Excited about the decision.

Interview Transcript - 6

The interview was in the office of the alumnus. It was strictly behavioral with examples of leadership.

45 minutes interview, 10-15 minutes for Q&A

1) Describe an accomplishment in the past 5 years you are proud of.

2) Explain a situation when you were blocked from your goals and you figured your way around it

3) Give a leadership example

4) Why MBA, Why Stanford

5) How do you deal with conflict

6) Anything else you want to add…

Interview Transcript - 7

My interviewer was a banker. Very friendly and personable. He stuck to the clock, asked me questions for 30 mins and gave me 15 mins to ask him Qs. For the most part, I spent the first 30 minutes explaining my reasoning behind every transition, educational and professional on my resume.

  • Why did you do a Master’s degree (non-MBA)?
  • Why MBA, you already have a Master’s? Why now?
  • Why Stanford?
  • What other schools did you apply to? Why?
  • What has been your most significant accomplishment and why?
  • Explain to me how you lead in your work or in some other context?
  • Tell me about a time when you failed within a team.
  • What was your favorite class in college?

Questions I asked the interviewer:

  • How has the MBA influenced your career and life?
  • What has the GSB done for you that no other b-school could?
  • What was your fondest memory at the GSB?
  • Given my background, how can I make the most of the Stanford MBA?

Interview Transcript - 8

The interview lasted about an hour. the guy explained he would go through a standardized list of questions… also spent 5 minutes explaining the process: interview was a good sign but not a guarantee of success blah blah blah.
you have already quite a list of academic achievements. why do you need mba then? when did you realize you needed one?
… and why stanford?
explain to me how you lead in your work or in some other context? i want to understand how exactly you do.
what has been your greatest accomplishment?
Criticism you received: example and how did you react? what did you think of your supervisor then?
Tell me about a nonbusiness book you read?
Tell me how you influence your peers [given that you’re working mainly with peers]? I want a precise example of how you achieve this influence/leadership. there, it was clear he wanted an episode / very precise set of actions.
Tell me about an occasion when you were under bad leadership. what did you learn?
then it was his turn to talk. i asked him about his background and progression and how stanford played a role in it. then we discussed about how stanford most helped him become more entrepreneurial and he gave some useful tips as to how best use the faculty. then his wife called and he apologized he had to leave!

Interview Transcript - 9

The interview lasted about an hour. the guy explained he would go through a standardized list of questions… also spent 5 minutes explaining the process: interview was a good sign but not a guarantee of success blah blah blah.
you have already quite a list of academic achievements. why do you need mba then? when did you realize you needed one?
… and why stanford?
explain to me how you lead in your work or in some other context? i want to understand how exactly you do.
what has been your greatest accomplishment?
Criticism you received: example and how did you react? what did you think of your supervisor then?
Tell me about a nonbusiness book you read?
Tell me how you influence your peers [given that you’re working mainly with peers]? I want a precise example of how you achieve this influence/leadership. there, it was clear he wanted an episode / very precise set of actions.
Tell me about an occasion when you were under bad leadership. what did you learn?
then it was his turn to talk. i asked him about his background and progression and how stanford played a role in it. then we discussed about how stanford most helped him become more entrepreneurial and he gave some useful tips as to how best use the faculty. then his wife called and he apologized he had to leave!

Interview Transcript - 10

Met with the alumni at her company in a meeting room. The interview lasted 45 minutes. This was definitely a very conversational interview which allowed me to speak to my experiences in my professional, academic, extracurricular, and especially my personal life. I can only describe this as one of the most enlightening and down-to-earth interviews I’ve had thus far. We went through her list of “Stanford recommended” questions:

  1. What was the point/situation that made you realize you wanted an MBA?
  2. Why Stanford?
  3. Tell me about a challenging time for you.
  4. Tell me a time where you failed as a leader. What was the reaction of those under you?
  5. What do you believe to be your greatest achievement?
  6. Tell me about a great leader you had and what you learned from this person.
  7. What was the best college course you took?
  8. Why aren’t you applying to schools X and Y?
  9. What is the best constructive criticism you’ve received?
  10. What is a non-business book you’ve read and what did you learn from it?

Then, I was given 5 minutes to ask her questions. During the interview we conversed on women in business, swapped book recommendations and community service orgs to look into, and both spoke about our passion for “why Stanford.” We discussed Stanford’s culture, class dynamics, location, which classes to take, professors and their research, and hands-down, how the GSB offers the best leadership development and growth through its general management program. We also discussed opportunities in the social sector – though I had clearly emphasized my interest in marketing. Since I had been to campus several times for the 1) Info Session, 2) GSB Tour, 3) Lunch w/ Student, and 4) In-Class Visit, I was also able to speak about the GSB on a personal level to reinforce the “why Stanford” for me.

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

You may also like

Perfect your interviewing skills

demo_image

2 mock interviews with feedback

Work with us and convert your dream school
demo_image

INR 10,000

Schedule Call Now