MIT Sloan MBA Interview Questions

I Intro
II Sample MIT Sloan MBA Interviews
III Insights From Past MIT Sloan MBA Interviewees
IV Behavioral Event Interviews BEI

I Intro

Whether you interview on campus or at a hub interview elsewhere in the world – all of MIT Sloan interviews are conducted by Admissions Committee members. Unlike a lot of other schools, Sloan does not leave your fate in the hands of a random student or alumnus. Admissions Committee members are well trained and use a common set of criteria to evaluate candidates and avoid bias. That means you’ll get a fair shake at MIT Sloan. Most interviews last about 45 minutes and are always described as more of a conversation than an interrogation….so relax and enjoy the experience.

In the past MIT Sloan was probably more focused on selecting MBA candidates for pure intelligence/achievement rather than giving equal weight to candidates’ communication skills. Recruiters weren’t as pleased with the communication skills of Sloanies as they were with MBAs at other schools – so in recent years this is something the MIT Sloan Adcom has been addressing. What that means for you is that they will be looking for great interpersonal and communication skills and style in the interview.

Unlike most other schools, MIT Sloan will not ask you about your future career goals. The MIT Adcom recognizes that many students deviate during business school from what they say they want to do before business school. Instead the Adcom will focus on past behaviour as a predictor of future behaviour – taken a step further, they’re interested in learning about the way you framed and reacted to situations in the past as an indicator of what you’ll likely do in the future.

You’ll also notice that Sloan doesn’t focus that much on questions like why an MBA? or Why Sloan? – the Sloan Adcom sees the school’s greatness as a foregone conclusion (rightfully so) and doesn’t spend time making candidates put on a dog and pony show about MIT Sloan. Of course, admissions committees only want to extend offers to candidates who they believe WILL enrol in their program (and keep their yield high… Yield = offers extended/offers accepted each round). So being enthusiastic about Sloan and asking some pertinent questions about the school or slipping in something you’d like to do at Sloan if admitted doesn’t hurt.


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II Sample MIT Sloan MBA Interviews

Be sure to check out the last section on the type of interviews Sloan uses: Behavioral Event Interviews (BEI). Notice that none of the typical MBA questions are present: Walk me through your resume. Career goals. Why MBA? Why this school?

mba interview one

  • Tell me something you would add to your resume
  • Things are obviously going well for you professionally, when did you realize that taking a step back from your professional career and going to get your MBA was the right decision for you and what triggered that decision?
  • Sloan obviously emphasizes innovation – tell me about a cool, new technological innovation you’ve learned about recently
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when your expectations weren’t met, how did you react and what did you do as a result?
  • Tell me about something you’re involved with outside of work
  • Questions for Interviewer
  • We had a conversation about the Sloan culture and he gave several examples and stories and I also asked specifically about the labs. He gave a very long explanation about the labs, several examples and then advice about how to pursue the right lab at MIT.

mba interview two

  • What specifically did you do to become better as a mentor for BUILD?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you felt like you really affected the outcome of something.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time that you really wanted to do something and were told that you couldn’t.
  • (Behavioral Question) Have you ever had a mentor at work?
  • (Behavioral Question) Have you ever mentored someone at work?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a failure.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time that you had to work with someone difficult.
  • (Behavioral Question) You seem like a really nice person, have you ever been on a team where you think people didn’t liked you?
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview three

  • Any updates to your file to add?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult colleague.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you faced low morale.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you changed a culture.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you impacted an organization.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you acted as a mentor.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about your transition between firms.
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you received unexpected feedback?
  • (Behavioral Question) Have you ever advocated something that didn’t go through?
  • What else did you expect to cover that we didn’t?
  • “Whose idea was that?” was a follow up to many of the questions
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview four

  • How on earth do you pack for 6 months across various climates in one backpack? (This was the first question out the gate about my sabbatical, as expected)
  • In the last 3-6 months what are you most proud of?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when a project team had a conflict
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you needed to convince someone of something
  • What question did you wish I would have asked?
  • Questions for Interviewer
  • Why didn’t you apply to LGO? (This was asked as the last question after my opportunity to ask him a few questions, and seemed to be posed more of a curiosity question but it was great that we had worked through a good answer!)

mba interview five

  • Tell me about this company you started – what happened to it?
  • Was it hard to dissolve it? Tell me about that experience.
  • How did you start the XYZ project at your company when you didn’t have the company’s full buy-in?
  • How were you selected for your latest assignment?
  • (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you had a difficult interaction with someone
  • (Behavioral Question) How do you do all that you do?
  • (Behavioral Question) How do you deal with stress?
  • Any updates since you submitted your application?
  • Questions for Interviewer

mba interview six

  • Any changes since the application?
  • How did you get these leadership opportunities (ref. to my nonprofit work)?
  • (Behavioral Question) How did you convince people of change? How was it perceived?
  • (Behavioral Question) Did you struggle on a team, and how did you resolve it?
  • Why at this time take an MBA?
  • Anything else you want to highlight from your Resume on it or not on it?
  • Questions for Interviewer


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III Insights From Past MIT Sloan MBA Interviewees

It was very informal – definitely more of a conversation and he had lots of insights and advice for me based on some of the stories I talked about and questions that I had. For example, I talked about how the debate program I lead is expanding to Japan and he had a bunch of advice for me about Japanese business etiquette which I found really insightful and helpful. Come up with a couple stories that you can share that are NOT part of your essays or application. He started off the interview (and this theme continued throughout) by saying that he had read my resume and essays and that’s why I am here – he wanted to learn more about me that he couldn’t find on paper.
 – Interviewed by Admissions Committee Member on campus

Be relaxed, have good questions prepared (he spent a lot of time answering my questions) and know your story. His interview style is very professional but friendly, but he definitely can see through BS (without making you feel like you are getting screened for BS, per se). It was different than the Alumni interviews I’ve had. His questions were a bit deeper and intentionally ambiguous in way that I could see being useful to an evaluator. For me personally, his questions required a bit more mental energy, but not in a bad way. I’d encourage candidates to think about how events affected them personally (ex. emotions, did an experience lead to greater confidence, induce fear, force personal change, help you understand something new about yourself, etc.), because you can tell that he is analyzing responses. Overall it was a good experience and I really liked him. 
 – Interviewed by Admissions Committee Member on campus

I attended a student lunch prior to my interview with other applicants. Overall, the experience was very casual with no structured events (the lunch was buffet-style and people came and left as they pleased). The questions were generally very open ended. My interviewer had my resume in front of her and took notes on it. She listened closely and wrote a lot down. She was friendly and conversation was very casual.
– Interviewed by Admissions Committee Member on campus

The interview was formal, but not intense. There were many other interviewees there and much of the interesting conversation was with them. At one point, the dean of admissions dropped by. She was very easy going, answered all our questions and kept the mood light. Overall Sloan conveyed a down-to-earth, friendly atmosphere. She gently probed parts of my app, but was very friendly. I honestly felt she was just trying to get to know me better.
– Interviewed by Admissions Committee Member on campus


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IV Behavioral Event Interviews BEI

Type of Interview

The MIT Sloan MBA Admissions Committee conducts Behavioral Event-Based Interviews. The concept behind Behavioral Event Interviews (BEI) is past behavior is a reliable indicator of future response in a similar situation.
BEI is different from the traditional screening interviews:

  • Instead of asking how you would behave in a particular situation, the interviewer will ask you how you did behave.
  • Expect your interviewer to question and probe your answers.
  • The interviewer will ask you to provide details and will not allow you to theorize or generalize about several events.
  • The interview will be a structured process that will concentrate on areas that are important to the interviewer, rather than allowing you to concentrate on areas that you may feel are important.
  • You may not get a chance to deliver any prepared stories.
  • Most interviewers will be taking copious notes throughout the interview.

What the admissions committee is looking for

The interviewer will be looking for concrete and specific examples revealing one or several of the following traits during the interview:

  • Influencing others: the ability to influence a person, group or organization.
  • Relationship building: the ability to build and maintain professional relationships.
  • Drive: the ability to set an objective and achieve it.

Preparing for BEI

  •  Recall a recent situation that showed favorable behaviors or actions, especially involving work experience, leadership, professional relationships, teamwork, planning, etc.
  • Prepare short descriptions of each situation; be ready to give details when asked.
  • Be sure the story has a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • Be honest; don’t embellish or omit any part of the story.
  • Be specific. Don’t generalize about several events; give a detailed accounting of one event. The interviewer will not give you the benefit of the doubt if there is something missing from your story.
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