Overview.
MIT Sloan MBA Interview Experience.
Preparing for your MIT Sloan MBA Interview.
MIT Sloan MBA Interview Questions.
Behavioral Event Interviews BEI.


Overview.

Invitation-Only Interviews.

Interviews at Sloan are ‘by invitation only,’ meaning that the Admissions Office extends invitations to selected applicants after reading their application—and only those invited applicants can schedule interviews. The school’s website states that approximately 20% to 25% of applicants are invited for an interview. Applicants who are invited for an interview are provided a short prompt to respond to—on the MIT Sloan website, the prompt is specified as follows: ‘In 250 words or less, please describe how you, as a member of the MIT Sloan community, would work to create a campus that is welcoming, inclusive and increasingly diverse.” Applicants are typically asked to send in their response no later than 24 hours before the interview.

Application-driven Interviews.

At Sloan, admissions interviews are ‘application-driven,’ meaning that the interviewer will have reviewed the candidate’s entire application at least once before the interview and will use that information to customize the conversation. Therefore, the interview could include very specific questions about the applicant’s work history, target industry, educational background, or essay content. In addition to providing clarification on whatever topics the interviewer raises, applicants should seek to add new information beyond what is covered in their application, such as additional stories, recent accomplishments, or further reflections.

Where? Usually on-campus or off-campus in hub cities.

Some Sloan interviews are conducted face-to-face on the school’s campus. Although the location of your interview has no influence on your chances for admission, in-person interviews can sometimes feel more natural, with you and your interviewer sitting down together in a quiet space at the school to have a conversation about your candidacy. On-campus interviews also allow you to interact with students and admissions representatives during your visit.

Sloan offers off-campus, face-to-face interviews in hub city locations across the world to which admissions representatives travel. ‘You will be asked in your application to list the closest city to where you live and receive an invitation accordingly,’ the school’s website states.

For some interviews, typically for candidates who are unable to meet in person due to military deployment or other factors, Sloan offers Skype interviews. ‘We might do [Skype interviews] for those who are far away, but we feel that it is important to be face-to-face with the candidate to be able to pick up on any nonverbal cues,’ the school’s senior director of admissions is quoted as saying. These interviews generally follow the same format and carry the same weight in the evaluation process as the other types of interviews the school offers, but some candidates may have difficulty establishing a connection with their interviewer when they are not physically face-to-face. If you do a Skype interview, treat it exactly as you would an in-person interview. Find a quiet place with a reliable connection, remove any possible distractions, and dress the part!

With Whom? Only admissions officers.

Although some schools involve alumni and current students in the interviewing process, at Sloan, admissions officers are the only people who interview candidates, both on and off campus. ‘All of the interviews are conducted only bymembers of the Admissions committee who have read your applications,’ the school’s website states. ‘Professors, current students or outside alumni are not involved in reading applications or interviewing.’


MIT Sloan MBA Interview Experience.

Our clients who interviewed with Sloan in the past few years consistently described their interview experience with the school as ‘friendly,’ ‘relaxed,’ and ‘conversational.’ In fact, some have underlined the relaxed atmosphere of the school’s interviews, specifically noting how comfortable the experience was. Sloan is not interested inputting candidates on the spot or trying to stump them, but rather in making sure that applicants have a solid grasp of the ways the MBA program would benefit them and how they would fit with the school’s community. Because admissions committee members conduct all interviews at Sloan, interviewing with the school is a valuable opportunity to gain insider information and ask questions about the program. Past clients have reported that their interviewers were eager to answer questions and left ample time for them at the end of the interview. Here is a sample of what past clients have said about their interview experience at Sloan:


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.


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.

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. 

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.

Preparing for your MIT Sloan MBA Interview.

The Sloan website states that the school’s interviews are ‘behavior based,’ meaning the interviewers concentrate on the interviewees’ past behaviors by asking them to provide examples in detail. Therefore, you must be ready to share your most interesting stories in such areas as leadership, teamwork, and professional relationships.

Sloan wants to hear specifics about your professional accomplishments and leadership potential, so be prepared to provide detailed information and stories in these subject areas beyond what is presented in your resume. These types of queries often account for the majority of the questions asked and can include such prompts as ‘Tell me about a time when your idea was rejected.’ or ‘Tell me about a situation in which you disagreed with a colleague.’

Our interview reports for Sloan indicate that ‘Why do you need an MBA?’ and ‘Why now?’ are topics that the school’s interviews very often include, in addition to other career goals questions.

Sloan’s interviews consistently include very school-specific questions. Past clients noted that they were asked ‘Why Sloan?’ and often other Sloan- related queries as well. If you are not ready to answer these types of questions in detail, you must invest the time necessary to get to know Sloan thoroughly and to identify the programs, centers, clubs, classes, professors, extracurricular opportunities, and other resources it offers that relate directly to your plans and your personality.

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.

At times, the interview will include personal questions to help the interviewer evaluate whether you would be a good match with Sloan’s community.

Mock interviews can be particularly helpful way to prepare for your interview. Try using a timer to get a sense of how long you typically take to answer each question, and practice in front of a mirror. Don’t want to go it alone? Learn more about my Mock Interview Service here.

Listen to an excerpt from a mock interview. Question: Why an MBA?

MIT Sloan MBA Interview Questions.

Although you can never be certain which questions you will receive, and questions will undoubtedly vary to some degree, these samples serve to illustrate how a MIT Sloan interview is likely to progress.

MIT Sloan Mock Interview 1
  1. Why an MBA, and why now?
  2. What will you be involved in at Sloan?
  3. Did you experience any push back when you were working on [X project]?
  4. How did you convince people to go forward with the project?
  5. Do you have a formal leadership role? Does anyone report to you?
  6. Do you have other leadership experience?
  7. Have you ever worked with a difficult person?
  8. Have you ever received tough feedback?
  9. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you set a goal for yourself and achieved it.
  10. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you have failed.
  11. Is there anything you thought I would ask but didn’t?
  12. What is the best restaurant in New York City?
  13. Do you have questions for me?
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 2
  1. Tell me about how you found company X and what you did there.
  2. How big was the company when you started?
  3. How about when you left?
  4. How did you choose people to be on your team?
  5. How did your role evolve over time?
  6. Did you spend time in the office or the field?
  7. Tell me about a successful/impactful project at your job.
  8. Tell me about the transition to your current role.
  9. What are you doing there?
  10. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you were the expert on something and had to convince others to get on board.
  11. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you were working with someone you considered difficult to work with and what you did to address the situation.
  12. Did you consult anyone prior to the conversation? How did he react when you approached him?
  13. Why are you pursuing an MBA, and why Sloan?
  14. Is there anything you wished I had asked you, or do you have questions for me?
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 3
  1. Do you have any updates to your application?
  2. What is your company, and what is your role?
  3. Did you seek out the company?
  4. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a difficult interaction you’ve had.
  5. What would you do differently?
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you had to persuade someone.
  7. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you had to challenge the status quo and you faced push back.
  8. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you had to energize a lagging team.
  9. Why do you think the team was lagging/fragmented?
  10. Is there anything else you wish we’d covered?
  11. Do you have any questions for me?
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 4
  1. Tell me something you would add to your resume
  2. 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?
  3. Sloan obviously emphasizes innovation – tell me about a cool, new technological innovation you’ve learned about recently
  4. (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?
  5. Tell me about something you’re involved with outside of work
  6. Questions for Interviewer
  7. 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.
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 5
  1. What specifically did you do to become better as a mentor for BUILD?
  2. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you felt like you really affected the outcome of something.
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time that you really wanted to do something and were told that you couldn’t.
  4. (Behavioral Question) Have you ever had a mentor at work?
  5. (Behavioral Question) Have you ever mentored someone at work?
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a failure.
  7. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time that you had to work with someone difficult.
  8. (Behavioral Question) You seem like a really nice person, have you ever been on a team where you think people didn’t liked you?
  9. Questions for Interviewer
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 6
  1. 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)
  2. In the last 3-6 months what are you most proud of?
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when a project team had a conflict
  4. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time when you needed to convince someone of something
  5. What question did you wish I would have asked?
  6. Questions for Interviewer
  7. 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!)
MIT Sloan Mock Interview 7
  1. Any updates to your file to add?
  2. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult colleague.
  3. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you faced low morale.
  4. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you changed a culture.
  5. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you impacted an organization.
  6. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you acted as a mentor.
  7. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about your transition between firms.
  8. (Behavioral Question) Tell me about a time you received unexpected feedback?
  9. (Behavioral Question) Have you ever advocated something that didn’t go through?
  10. What else did you expect to cover that we didn’t?
  11. ‘Whose idea was that?’ was a follow up to many of the questions
  12. Questions for Interviewer

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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