Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Overview.
The Berkeley Haas admissions committee will invite a limited number of applicants to interview for its MBA program during the 2021-22 MBA application season. Top MBA programs like Berkeley Haas generally interview 2-3 applicants for every available place in their upcoming MBA class. While an invite is already a great sign that you stand a chance of securing an admit, remember that you’re now part of a highly competitive subset of the overall applicant pool. I recommend preparing for your interview with the help of this guide and, optionally, the Mock Interview Service.
Tip: If you’re wondering if interview invites have already gone out for the 2021-22 application season, I recommend checking out the MBA LiveWire for real-time updates.
Where? On-campus in the U.S. or off-campus internationally. With Whom? Current Students or alumni.
In the U.S., most Haas MBA interviews are led by current MBA students and take place on-campus. If a candidate can’t travel to campus, a Haas alum will conduct an off-campus interview.
During the 2021-22 MBA application season, the Berkeley Haas MBA program will be conducting blind interviews. A blind MBA interview is one in which the interviewer has not read the applicant’s MBA application (recommendations, essays, short answers etc.). What the interviewer does have access to is the applicant’s resume (and, if they decide to do an internet search, the applicant’s LinkedIn profile or any other biographical information on the web such as an ‘about me’ page on a organizational or community website).
That gives the MBA applicant free range to weave stories and material from their application into the interview. If the MBA interview is in-person, applicants should bring a paper copy of their resume to the interview location as a courtesy to the interviewer. If the interview takes place online then applicants should have a PDF copy of their resume handy should the interview request that it be sent via email. Oftentimes busy MBA interviewers won’t have spent much time reviewing the applicant’s resume before the interview. That’s why Berkeley Haas MBA applicants should be ready to give their interviewer a 2-minute overview of who they are at the beginning of the meeting (note that this is often the first interview question anyway, ‘So tell me about yourself…‘).
Influence of interview on admissions decision? Low to Moderate.
The reality is that a successful interview will not help an applicant secure an admit to Haas’s upcoming MBA class, but a failed interview can hurt an applicant (i.e. result in a ding). Not obvious at first blush, below, interested readers can delve into an explanation of why that is.
Imagine you’re the Berkeley Haas MBA Admissions Committee. For the 2021-22 MBA application season you’ve secured more than 100 alumni volunteers, scattered across the globe, conducting MBA admissions interviews for Haas. Jane concludes in her report to the admissions committee that MBA applicant #1 is ‘great‘ and Bill reports in that another applicant, applicant #2, is ‘a good fit‘. You (the Berkeley Haas MBA admissions committee) only have one place left to fill in the upcoming MBA class. Which applicant would you choose?
It will be a very difficult choice because with so many different interviewers, it’s impossible for you (the Haas MBA admissions committee) to quality control the process and make good use of the qualitative feedback you receive from interviewers. After all, what’s the difference between a ‘good fit’ and a ‘great’ applicant? The truth is that the admissions committee is really only interested in one question: Would this applicant make for a great classmate at our school? Is this person a good fit with our school culture? and conversely, Are this person’s attitudes and manner of comporting himself at odds with Haas culture? i.e. Is this person a jerk (insert adjective of your choice here)?
A successful 2021-22 MBA interview at Berkeley Haas is one in which you persuade your alumni interviewer that ‘Yes!’ you would be a great classmate and you are a fit with the culture. This won’t help the application per se, but it won’t hurt it either (which is the important thing). If instead you fail to convince the alumnus that you are a great fit, and on top of that do something to actively put him or her off, then it can seriously hurt your application. Nobody wants to recruit a jerk to campus.
I hope that my explanation makes sense to you and sheds light on the student or alumni-led MBA interview which always carries less weight in the decision process than an admissions committee or staff-led interview (where quality control is possible and results an be normalized). At schools with student or alumni-led interviews the written application takes on greater importance. MBA programs with student or alumni-led interviews include: Berkeley Haas, Chicago Booth, Columbia, Dartmouth Tuck, Duke Fuqua, INSEAD, Kellogg, London Business School, Michigan Ross, Stanford, UCLA Anderson, Wharton, and Yale.
At the other end of the spectrum, schools that rely on a small group of trained admissions committee members or staff to conduct interviews. At these MBA programs the interview plays a greater role in the admissions process (relative to student or alumni-led interviews). MBA programs with admissions committee-led interviews include: Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, UVA Darden and NYU Stern.
Sign up for a Berkeley Haas Mock MBA Interview.
Below you can listen to a former client receive feedback on his answer to Why an MBA?. You can earn more about my Mock Interview Service here ($150 for 1.5-hour session).
When faced with an impending interview, you may be tempted to scour the internet and amass an exhaustive list of interview questions. What will you do with all those questions? Most Berkeley Haas MBA interviewees will think through answers to each and every one in their head. Sometimes they’ll write out their exact answers on paper and then practice them verbatim. The problem with those strategies is that the first one isn’t very efficient and then second one will leave you sounding robotic when you rattle off your answer out loud.
When I work with Berkeley Haas MBA applicants during a mock interview session, we focus on developing answers to a few specific questions (like Tell me about yourself? What are your goals? Why MBA? Why school X?). We then use other questions (Strengths/Weakness?) and behavioral questions (Tell me about a time when…?) to develop a core set of stories. It might surprise you to learn that most people have just 4-6 core stories. That’s because with just a few core stories clients learn to answer multiple interview questions.
At a minimum I would suggest that you prepare the following questions for the Berkeley Haas interview:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are your short-term goals and how can Haas help you achieve those goals?
- What would you get involved in outside the Haas MBA classroom?
- What would others say are your two core strengths and one area for improvement (weakness)?
- + Prepare stories for at least 3-5 behavioral questions of your choice. An example would be: Tell me about a time when you encountered pushback. Tell me about a time when you worked in a professional setting that was diverse. What was one challenge you encountered? Tell me about a time when you received constructive feedback.
- Have you ever encountered a diversity issue in an organization?
- Is there anything you’d like to talk about that we didn’t cover?
- + Prepare two solid questions for the interviewer.
Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions.
Below you’ll find mock interview sequences from Berkeley Haas MBA interviews. Studying the sequences will give you a sense of what sort of questions tend to come up.
Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions 1
- Tell me about yourself.
- (follow on question) How have you managed to advance so quickly within the company? What’s your secret?
- Seeing as you’re doing so well for yourself, why think about getting an MBA and why now?
- How would your colleagues describe you?
- Which Haas resources would benefit you?
- As a student, how would you contribute to the Berkeley Haas community?
- (Behavioral Question) Could you tell me about a time when you had to make a decision with imperfect information?
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when a team member wasn’t pulling his or her weight. What did you do?
- Any questions for me?
Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions 2
- Tell me about yourself and specifically why you made the career switch? (Candidate had transitioned from marketing to corporate finance)
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years and why pursue an MBA?
- Why Haas?
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you accomplished something that positively impacted an organization.
- Tell me about your volunteer work, specifically your involvement with ABC NGO.
- (follow on question) Do you think your community organizing will translate over to your time at Haas? What will you get involved with at Haas?
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you failed to meet your goal.
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you advocated for inclusiveness.
- Which of our defining principles at Berkeley Haas resonate with you? (Question the status quo. Confidence without attitude. Students always. Beyond yourself.)
- What questions can I answer for you about the program?
Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions 3
- Tell me a little bit about yourself and the decisions that have led you to where you are now.
- Could you tell me about this particular consulting engagement? (From candidate’s resume)
- What are your short and long-term goals?
- Which resources and clubs at Haas would help you reach your short-term goal?
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you didn’t see eye to eye with someone.
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you mentored someone who was different from you.
- What would your colleagues like to change about you?
- Tell me about a company or a CEO that you really admire.
- What kind of blogs/online media do you read for industry news?
- Do you have questions for me?
Berkeley Haas MBA Interview Questions 4
- Please walk me through your resume.
- What is one lesson you learned from your time working in India?
- What is the best thing about your current role and what is something you don’t enjoy very much?
- What are your goals immediately after completing an MBA program?
- Why Haas?
- What will your Haas classmates remember you for?
- (Behavioral Question) Is it possible to be creative in Finance? Tell me about a time when you used creativity on the the job.
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you bolstered low team morale.
- (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you had to use analytical skills to solve a problem
- Outside of work, what are you involved in?
- Any questions