How to Stand Out in an MBA Group Interview

Have you been invited to a group interview—or hope you will be?

Some of the world’s top MBA programs use a team-based interview format, and we won’t be surprised if this trend grows in the future. Business schools want students who will play nice with others, and so watching how someone interacts with peers before anyone’s even admitted can be very telling.

Here’s what you don’t want to do during a group interview:

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  • Dominate the conversation
  • Cut others off or dismiss someone’s idea entirely
  • Raise your voice
  • Roll your eyes, cross your arms, or display any other kind of negative body language
  • Take out your phone or any other electronic device

Those may seem like obvious tips, but in the heat of the moment you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget you’re being judged. (Once again, this is exactly why some schools like this approach!)

Here’s what you should try to accomplish:

  • Demonstrate you’ve done your research (if given a topic in advance)
  • Listen—truly listen—to the others in your group when they speak
  • Seize any opportunities to either build upon or refer to someone else’s point
  • Put the group’s goal ahead of trying to get airtime
  • Offer to summarize if the conversation has reached a point where the group would benefit from a quick recap

As many MBA applicants are born leaders who are used to taking charge, you’ll need to be conscious of the fact that you might be surrounded by lots of Type A personalities and adjust your style accordingly.

However, if you tend to be on the shy side, don’t let others intimidate you. If no one’s given you the chance to get a word in, you’re going to have to find an appropriate way to join the conversation before it’s too late.

Remember: Self- confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.


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