Princeton Review’s 2023 MBA Ranking + What To Expect In A Harvard MBA Interview
Maria |
February 8, 2023

If you’ve been listening to Business Casual, you’re probably aware that our hosts are not fond of MBA rankings, but either way, who doesn’t like a little bit of drama to spice things up when things are getting serious?

There are three factors that John pointed out as to why MBA rankings have very little credibility: Either the approach is rather vague, the number of students from each institution that participated in the study is mysterious, or the findings are very bizarre.

In this episode, our hosts will talk about not only the newly released MBA ranking from Princeton Review but also the dos and don’ts when preparing for a Harvard MBA interview.

Episode Transcript

t[00:00:07.450] – John

Well, hello, everyone. This is John Byrne with Poets and Quants. You are listening to Business Casual, our weekly podcast with my co host Maria Wich Vila and Caroline Diarte Edwards. Caroline, of course, is the former director of Admissions at INSEAD and a co founder of Fortuna Admissions. Maria is the founder of Applicant Lab. Would you believe there’s yet another MBA ranking out? Came out last week? It’s one that has come out a lot of times. We tend not to pay a whole lot of attention to it because, frankly, as MBA rankings go, we tend to think this has very little credibility. But we want to mention it anyway. It’s the annual ranking of the Princeton Review, which is largely based almost entirely, in fact, on student opinion and student surveys. Reason we don’t like this ranking is because the methodology is vague and it’s kind of mysterious because you don’t even know what the sample size is of student opinion from each school, and the results are incredibly quirky. So we’re going to get into that, and we’re going to get into something else. Last week, Harvard Business School released its round two interview invites and rejections.

[00:01:27.410] – John

And we want to talk specifically about what that Harvard MBA interview is like, the do’s and don’ts, what to expect, how it differs from other schools, and how best to prepare for it. But first, let’s talk about the Princeton Review ranking. One of the interesting things about this is that Princeton Review does not rank the schools overall by their on campus MBA programs. Instead, it has 18 different categories. Some of them are kind of silly, some of them aren’t. And essentially it only ranks the tin number in each of these categories. So they do things like best professors, best Classroom experience, best Campus environment, best career prospects. That all makes sense in a way. Some of the rankings don’t make sense. For example, the best campus environment, according to Princeton Review surveys, number one is Cornell. Now, I have nothing against Cornell. I kind of like the school, and it’s a fantastic MBA experience. But living in Ithaca, New York, in the frozen ground and the dreary winters and walking through that campus with all its barren trees, how can that be number one? When Stanford, where students can stroll in their sandals and shorts and under palm trees in January and February and have first class, world class facilities that are brand new?

[00:02:59.840] – John

How can the campus environment at Stanford not rank at all in the top ten in Cornell be one? So that’s one of the issues with this ranking, but there are plenty of others. Maria, you took issue with the ranking of the most competitive MBA programs. Tell me why.

[00:03:19.470] – Maria

That’s not the only one I took issue with. As you pointed out, any ranking that is dependent entirely upon student votes is fundamentally flawed for a variety of reasons. Quickly, to summarize, that not to get all conspiracy theory and tinfoil hat on you, but one can imagine that perhaps students would band together and say, okay, team, let’s all vote to get our school into the top ten. But also because I think students because by definition, students who are currently in business school have only attended one business school. And so, of course, how are they going to be able to compare, right? So if you if like, to your point about Ithaca, like, hey, Ithaca is beautiful, right? But that person who went to Cornell, they didn’t go to school in California, they didn’t go to school in Chicago, one world class city, for example. To your point, it was just a weird way to do things. And I think of all the ones that had the weirdest results, as you commented on, they have the most competitive students. And so I think those of us, all three of us who have worked with admissions and with schools for years, we might have our own opinions on which schools have the most competitive students.

[00:04:38.010] – Maria

But this ranking had, number one, the Acton School of Business in Austin, Texas, which is a school that, honestly, I’m embarrassed to admit, act in school. I have never heard of you. It is a school with 30, 330 full time enrollment. And so when you get some of these look, the good news about this ranking is that it helps some otherwise less famous schools step into the spotlight, which I am all for, because I do think that people need to broaden their perspectives and their horizons when it comes to looking at schools. But at the same time, if you end up with these completely whackadoodle results, it completely destroys the credibility of your ranking. And so, yeah, the one of the most competitive students was a real head scratcher for me.

[00:05:29.130] – John

Was there any brand name school in the top ten for most competitive.

[00:05:36.570] – Maria

IMD in Switzerland? Which I don’t necessarily I guess competitive is perhaps an open ended term. I thought IMD was pretty collaborative. And actually the other sort of, quote unquote famous school or typical top school in that list is Darden at number nine, which again, I think of Darden University of Virginia Darden School of Being as being one of the most collaborative and supportive programs out there.

[00:06:01.910] – John

Yeah, absolutely fascinating. Caroline, your thoughts on this? I will also say, incidentally, that there is an absence in the top ten of many international programs. I think ie. In Spain makes the list somewhere obviously IMD in terms of maybe a negative sense in terms of having the most competitive students. What’s your sense of this?

[00:06:26.270] – Caroline

Yeah, I thought actually perhaps the international schools have been excluded entirely because I’ve just been looking through your article about it and in various categories, I didn’t see any of the international schools listed at all. So I’m not sure quite what’s going on here. So it is a very bizarre list, and as Maria says there’s selection bias here. So people always get reattached to well, it’s very unusual if they don’t get reattached to the school that they’ve chosen, right. And they think that that’s the best school out there because they’ve picked that particular school, and of course they’re going to say that that’s the best school. So it’s it’s a bizarre methodology, but hey, I mean, if it gives some additional visibility to some schools that are lesser known, then I think there’s some value there. And we often complain that candidates revert to, or sort of automatically drawn to, particularly the M seven schools without necessarily knowing the schools particularly well and really understanding where they have the best fit. And so in some ways, it’s refreshing to have a ranking that has some very different names at the top. And so perhaps some candidates will spend a bit more time looking at other programs that they might not otherwise have researched.

[00:07:50.790] – John

You can’t get into INSEAD, Wharton, Columbia, MIT, Kellogg, Chicago, all of whom fare poorly on this list, but you can get into some of these other schools. It’ll make you feel really good about yourself. Yeah.

[00:08:04.730] – Caroline

Well, there you go. Yeah, it’s a good day for those schools.

[00:08:10.270] – John

Now, one of the things we did as sort of a silly exercise, but I think on some level enlightening, despite the problems with this ranking, is we took the top ten of the 18 categories, the most positive and the most relevant to a student. And that would include the quality of the teaching and the classes, the classroom experience overall, the best campus environment and the best career prospect. Those actually four of the 18 categories because you could argue things like best family friendly, okay, that’s fine. Best for minority students, it’s fine. Best for women, okay. But it comes down to the quality of the teaching, what that classroom experience is like, what it’s like to be on that campus, and how helpful will the school be for your careers. And if you isolate those four categories and then you look at the ranks that are applied, here’s what you find. You find that in the top ten is UVA, Virginia Darden number one, which is kind of surprising, but at the same time, they are known for having fantastic teaching and have long been known for that. In fact, some of the research-oriented business schools have often dinged Darden for emphasizing teaching too much.

[00:09:39.370] – John

Number two is Duke. Three is Cornell. Four is Michigan. Five is UNC. Six is Stanford. Then it’s Vanderbilt, Darden, carnegie Mellon, UCLA, Rice, University of Washington, and Harvard. Not an all bad list of MBA programs, frankly. If you focus on those schools that rank in the top ten for best professors, best classroom experience, best campus environment, and best career prospects, you can you can look at this on our site just called, the 2023 Princeton Review MBA ranking. The top ten of the top ten and then we also have a more thorough article on this ranking called MBA Ranking Business School Careers, Culture, and Curriculum. So that’s enough on Princeton Review for sure. Let’s talk about Harvard Business School. Okay. In the typical year, Harvard Business School, it’s estimated interviews about 1900 candidates. That’s also out of roughly close to 10,000 applicants in any given year. So under 20% get interviewed, and then usually about half to 55 or 60% actually are invited to attend after they complete the interview. But each interview has a certain kind of format. It’s 30 minutes long. It’s done by an admissions officer who has already reviewed your application. There’s another admissions officer more often than not in the room or the zoom session who takes notes while one asks questions.

[00:11:22.250] – John

And this is obviously high stakes for the people who are invited to an interview and have made that cut and now have basically a 50 50 shot of actually going to Harvard. So you can think that there’s a fair amount of anxiety that people would walking into that parallel. What can they expect?

[00:11:47.810] – Caroline

Yes, it is a very interesting format. So, as you say, it’s quite different from the format at other schools. And it’s quite a high pressure format, I think, compared to, for example, alumni interview that you might have at some of the other schools, which is often a bit more relaxed and much longer. So with Harvard, they’ve scheduled 30 minutes. So in practice, you probably got about 28, 29 minutes of conversation, and they will get to the point very quickly. And often the interviewer is so they’re very focused. Often it’s quite a sort of poker face style interview in many cases. And the candidate needs to be very well prepared to have thought in advance about the points that they hope to get across.

[00:12:42.660] – Maria

Right.

[00:12:43.020] – Caroline

Because that time will go very quickly and be prepared to answer for some very specific questions, because unlike interviews with some other schools, they will have spent quite a bit of time pouring over your application beforehand. With other schools, it’s not necessarily the case that the interview will have spent much time reviewing your application. Often they will have just reviewed your resume. So the interviewer will have spent quite a bit of time delving through your recommendations, your essays, your resume, et cetera. So they will have some very specific questions about things that you’ve done, choices that you’ve made. And so you need to be prepared to explain things perhaps on and be challenged perhaps more than you might be in some other MBA interviews. So it’s definitely worth preparing. And I think that with interviewing for any school or any job, practice definitely helps, right. Interviewing is a skill, and practice can maybe not make perfect, but it definitely helps you to feel better prepared and more confident going into that session. So I would definitely encourage candidates, even if they’ve been through a number of job interviews, et cetera, it will be a different format.

[00:14:07.930] – Caroline

So do your research into the types of questions that can come up and sit down with someone or with a couple of different people and get them to put you through your paces, because it will definitely help you feel more confident and better prepared and therefore more likely to put your best foot forward in the actual interview.

[00:14:32.190] – John

Now, before starting the session, we just found out that Maria had just done a mock interview with the candidate at Harvard Business School who obviously has been invited to interview. So Maria, what kind of questions can someone assume would be asked?

[00:14:48.970] – Maria

Well, I think it’s helpful for anyone going into the Harvard interview to take a step back and realize that I think a lot of what drives the interview format is the fact that the Harvard Pedagogy is based on the case method, right? Virtually every class you take there is based on the case method. And when you think about what makes for a successful case method discussion, it’s one that is pretty lightning fast. You’re going to want to cover a lot of material in very little time. If you raise your hand in a case method class, you have to make your point quickly, yet clearly enough. If you go so quickly that you’re just touching the high level points and you don’t provide enough detail to back up what you’re saying, that’s not great. So you have to find a balance between being concise, yet also providing enough information that other people understand what your point is. Case discussions often will turn on a dime and go in completely different directions. You walk into class, okay, I think I know, I know what we’re going to do and what we’re going to cover. And then boom, five minutes in.

[00:15:48.190] – Maria

Let’s figure off on some tangent on, you know, footnote three at the bottom of page eight and that ends up being the most of the discussion, right? So, because if you think about what makes for a good, successful case discussion, that then helps us back into, well, if part of the interview is trying to get a sense of who is this candidate going to be in my classroom? That’s why, for example, the Harvard, the Harvard interview is often famous for being a bit contentious or a bit aggressive, or you getting pushback on something. Like you’ve said that you want to help these people in the Middle East, but you’ve never been to the Middle East. That’s weird, those sorts of questions. It’s not because Harvard is mean or because the interviewer is a cruel person, but because in a case discussion, it’s not a very interesting case discussion if everyone agrees from the get go, I mean, in that case class could be over in five minutes. It’s a good discussion when people debate, but that debate has to be handled in a certain way. And so part of why they will try to perhaps criticize something you’ve said or something you’ve written.

[00:16:53.900] – Maria

It’s not because they care, but it’s because they want to see. How do you respond to criticism? How do you respond to the unexpected question? How do you respond to me if you’re talking too long? And I’m like, yeah, I get it. You know what? I need to move on. Does that shake you? Do you get defensive if I’m like, yeah, your career vision doesn’t make any sense. That’s stupid. Like talking pets, whatever it is. Even if I think the talking pet business idea is a wonderful idea, it’s not about whether or not I care. It’s I want to see how you respond to someone criticizing something that you’ve said. So I think the reason I went into this is I think that this helps us think about, okay, what should I expect? I should expect lots of rapid fire questions. I should expect those questions to not necessarily follow a standard format or order. I should expect questions that try to push back on something I said, whether it’s my career goal or my explanation for something I did. And I should also expect to get because another thing that they’re looking for is leadership ability.

[00:17:55.970] – Maria

I should expect to get some questions about how did I achieve a certain thing? What specific steps did I take? You say here that you convinced the CEO to do something. How exactly? Why would the CEO listen to you? Those sorts of really delving into the nitty gritty of how you accomplish something in terms of questions that might throw you off kilter. I might be like, yeah, so you took a Women in Cinema elective your sophomore year of college. Why did you do that? Something like that to get at your motivation and how you make decisions, but also that rapid fire element of it. Anything in your written, in your application is fair game. They could even say, like, oh, you know what? Your recommender said that one of your areas for development is X. What do you think about that? Do you agree with that feedback or something? It could be literally anything or anything.

[00:18:50.570] – Caroline

You’Ve left out of your application as well, because sometimes candidates leave a little gap in their resume and hope that the school won’t notice. And you can be sure that if you do that, that’s what they will hone in on.

[00:19:03.650] – Maria

Exactly.

[00:19:07.710] – John

When you started your mock interview earlier today, what was the first question you asked a candidate?

[00:19:14.070] – Maria

I asked a motivation question around why did you choose your major? Especially because it was a major where they went to a college that had a couple of different variations of a similar major. And so I said, well, why did you choose this specific major and not this other major that also offers similar, some might argue perhaps even more relevant coursework than in your field than what you studied, right? Trying to get it, trying to get it. Like, how do you make decisions and how do you trade offs always have to be made. So how do you make trade offs when you have to make big ones?

[00:19:49.870] – John

And each interview at Harvard is different, right? According to Harvard, each interview is tailored to the individual in the room. So there’s no set standard list of questions that every single candidate gets, right?

[00:20:06.610] – Maria

Correct. But I do think that there are different buckets of questions that you can expect. And so what I do in my in my box is I say, look, here are, like, the most common buckets that you might get, and I’ll tell you in a second what those are. And we don’t know. Some interviews will touch upon one question in each bucket. Some interviews will be 20 minutes on just one bucket. So in my mocks, I try to cover something from every bucket. But, you know, I’ve had so I had someone once who was from a European country who was, like, in the venture capital field in that in that country, and their career was like, yeah, I want to I want to go to HBS, and I want to go back into venture in my country and help grow the ecosystem. It was literally 20 of the 30 minutes was like, how big is the venture ecosystem in your country? Who are the major players? What’s the best investment you’ve made? It was all about the venture eco. It was 20 minutes in just the career bucket. Wow. But interestingly enough, they were so sad.

[00:21:01.610] – Maria

They’re like, oh, I didn’t get to talk about my leadership. And I said, look, I think the silver lining here is that if they were worried about your leadership skills, they would have asked you about that. And the fact that they didn’t probably means that the rest of your application gave them a good enough sense, and, in fact, this person was ultimately accepted. So the different buckets will be what motivates you. How do you make big decisions? The career plan that you mentioned, right, Harvard harvard does not care a ton about your career plans. In the written application, they only give you 500 characters to talk about it, and you’re not supposed to go into it in the essay, but in those 500 characters, you can really give them a lot of rope. You can really hang yourself with it. So getting questions on, like, is this a reasonable idea? Why would you do it this way? Why did you go work for this consulting firm? Because they don’t have any offices in Egypt, but this other consulting firm does. So those sorts of just kind of poking holes at things, I think is a good way to think about it.

[00:21:58.980] – John

What’s more important, the answers or the clarity with which you answer them and your professional presence?

[00:22:06.410] – Maria

I think the substance matters a little bit more, because if somebody gives a perfectly polished answer, but that answer is one in which it is revealed that maybe they really didn’t have that impact that was implied in their essay. Maybe they kind of exaggerated. And when I pressed a little more, like, how did you do that? Like, well, okay, so really it was my boss who went to the CEO and didn’t but the point, you know, I put together the email that might get sent to the boss. Like, that substance to me matters more. And the reason I say this is because HBS rightfully thinks that once you go through the case, if you come in not being super polished, we will polish you. So that’s part of what the training is about. But somebody who is super polished, but who there’s empty fluff underneath that polish. I think that person is less likely to get in.

[00:23:02.410] – John

What do you think is the advantage of being interviewed in person versus by Zoom? Is there an advantage?

[00:23:12.030] – Caroline

I think that I personally greatly prefer in person, but that’s a personal preference. And the younger generation are very used to interacting virtually, and so maybe equally comfortable having the session on Zoom. So I think that’s a personal choice. And the interviewers have to be very careful not to be biased towards candidates that they meet in person. Right. They’re very aware of that. But I don’t think that you’re at a disadvantage in how the interview will conduct the session and will perceive you. I think it’s more a case of how you feel and what environment you feel comfortable in. Perhaps you feel more comfortable sitting, be able to sit in your office or at home and do the session virtually. And some people just find it very weird talking to people on a screen and would much rather sit down with somebody in person. So I think that’s very personal. But often logistics will just decide which option you have. Right. So I wouldn’t worry about that dimension and whether that affects your chances or not. Because the interviewers are very experienced in both formats, and they will be very careful to make sure that your chances are equal, whether they’re meeting with you in person or whether they’re meeting you on Zoom.

[00:24:43.460] – John

And what should you wear? You still shouldn’t show up in a T shirt or let’s say the opposite of that suspenders. Is that right, Maria?

[00:24:54.430] – Maria

Yeah, I mean, it’s a business school interview, so you would probably wear I don’t think you have to go out and buy a three piece suit if you don’t already own one. However, I do think that you would to wear, at a minimum, what you would normally wear to a work meeting. So, yes, try to, when in doubt, go more formal. It’s always better to be more formally dressed in any situation than not formally dressed enough.

[00:25:20.950] – John

Yeah, exactly.

[00:25:21.940] – Caroline

But also be comfortable. I once had a candidate who admitted afterwards that he had put on a bit of weight during the pandemic and he couldn’t breathe in his suit and so poor guy was really struggling to breathe during his interview. So try on your outfit beforehand and make sure that you’re comfortable, because there’s nothing worse than sitting there and sort of trying to fidget with your outfit, but try not to look like you’re fidgeting with your outfit. You’ve got enough going on without worrying about what you’re wearing.

[00:25:55.830] – Maria

Wow, that’s great advice. Yeah. Try it on first. Just make sure it still fits. Yeah. I think I had someone a year or two ago say that they went to an in person interview as things were opening up again, post pandemic, and their shoes, like, something like the shoe was broken, they had meant to get the shoes repaired, they’re nice dress shoes, but they had forgotten. And then they’re on the door, on the way out the door, and like, oh, my, nice dress shoes. Like the sole need to be resold or something. So, yeah, do prepare. Try on your outfit in advance, especially if it’s been in a closet for the past several years of the pandemic.

[00:26:35.240] – John

I’ve heard of candidates who go to Boston and they make sure they have two white shirts instead of one, in case they spill coffee in the morning on one, and a brand new suit, frankly, and shoes just to make a really good impression. But if you go in there, like some of these investment bankers suspenders and cufflinks, I think that’s bad news too, don’t you think?

[00:26:59.030] – Maria

You don’t want to come across like a Gordon Gecko jerk.

[00:27:02.590] – John

Exactly.

[00:27:03.670] – Maria

Yeah. I don’t think you’re going to impress anyone. Like, oh, well, wow, this person, we were sort of on the fence about them, but then they came in with these really expensive shoes or this brand new suit. So up. That’s the thing that changes it. It’s not really going to have the impact if you’re going to spend an hour shopping for a new suit, I’d rather have you spend that hour reflecting on the choices you’ve made and how you’ve accomplished the things you’ve accomplished. Yeah.

[00:27:29.570] – John

And I would imagine, in terms of dress, the goal is not to stand out.

[00:27:34.110] – Maria

I don’t think there’s a goal one way or the other. I don’t think it’s about standing out or fitting. I think it’s just about wearing something that I’m taking this seriously, you guys. But you also want to Caroline’s point, you want to be comfortable. I don’t think the dress matters as much as perhaps people think it does. Yeah.

[00:27:47.450] – Caroline

You don’t want them to notice your dress particularly. That’s right. It should just blend in. And what you want them to notice is you and what you have to say. So it’s perhaps better not to wear something that’s too eye catching. Right. Like something that is particularly unusual or particularly loud, because you want them to remember you and not what you’re wearing.

[00:28:12.110] – John

Right. Yes. Are there trick questions?

[00:28:16.030] – Maria

I think one of the goals is to try to find a trick question at the end of a mock interview. Someone will often say like, wow, that you really got me out of left field on that one. And I’m like, good. I consider that to be a successful mock then, because if somebody comes in and they’re too polished and they’re too prepared look, if the case method involved memorizing your answers to what the conversation was going to be the next day, then memorized answers in an interview wouldn’t be a problem. But if I get the sense that someone has really scripted their answers like, oh, I know she’s asking me the weakness question, I’m ready for that. And it’s a scripted, perfect answer, I’m going to try it. The more they are like that, the more I’m going to aim for more left field trick types of questions because I want to see how do they react in a more real world discussion environment.

[00:29:05.150] – John

Yes, totally makes sense.

[00:29:06.910] – Caroline

And that’s something I think that particularly nonnative English speakers need to be careful of, because I’ve seen candidates where the temptation is to memorize answers because they’re nervous about their grammar and their language and being speaking English perfectly. And so they spend so much time practicing and rehearsing that when you do a mock interview or an interview with them, then you can tell that they’re regurgitating the response that they have memorized word for word. And it’s never a good idea, as Maria said. And so it’s better to know your points, but don’t memorize like blocks of text. And don’t worry if you’re a non native English speaker and you make a grammatical mistake here or there, that’s absolutely fine, right? That’s okay. They’re really focusing on the content of your message, but they will be thrown a bit if it sounds like you’re just regurgitating content that you have memorized. Worse the word and that will make you sound very wooden, unfortunately.

[00:30:13.090] – Maria

And even worse is if somebody memorizes an answer and the variation of the question asked is slightly different because then you’ve gone off. I have in the past sometimes had to be like, look, I’m sorry, that’s not the question I asked. The question I asked was blah blah, blah, blah. It’s a little bit irritating, honestly.

[00:30:35.130] – Caroline

I have a colleague who used to interview for Harvard and she said that once they had a candidate who actually said in the interview, well, actually the question that you should have asked is.

[00:30:44.110] – Maria

This.

[00:30:47.070] – Caroline

Don’T do that either.

[00:30:48.510] – Maria

Don’t patronize your interview words, golden words of wisdom. Do you know if that person they didn’t get in.

[00:31:04.950] – John

You raised an interesting issue here because do you notice the difference between the people who actually pass what is ultimately a test, an interview test, and those who don’t? What’s the difference? Or can you not make observation on that?

[00:31:22.760] – Maria

So after I do my mocks, I. Keep a little secret thing where I sort of write down, like, what did I think they did? Well, what did I think they didn’t do, and what do I think their chances are? Or if they don’t get in, what’s going to be the reason? And I think for me, again, it goes more to substance as opposed to style. So, for example, some people really do exaggerate on their resumes. Some people flat out lie on their resumes. And those things, as Caroline said, if you think they’re not going to notice that you’re telling, you’re making a pretty bold claim on your resume for a 24 year old, they’re going to notice and they’re going to hone in on it. And there have been times when I’ve asked some pretty probing and direct questions, and it’s become clear that, oh, well, when I said that, it was 1000% profit. And then you’re like, okay, so you were lying, right? You were lying. And so that is an immediate way of knowing that they’re not going to get in. So for me, it is more about the substance and getting to the story of, okay, you had this accomplishment, but did you accomplish it because you were simply a good little worker bee who was following instructions?

[00:32:27.610] – Maria

Or did you accomplish it by taking a risk, by winning someone over, by coming up with an innovative idea that no one had had before, right? So two people can have the exact same bullet point on the resume, right? Increased profits by $5 million. But one person did it by simply showing up and doing the bare minimum because the project had been laid out in such a way where the $5 million is inevitable. Or someone else might have done it by literally moving mountains, convincing CEOs, convincing investors, like doing incredible things, interpersonally motivating a team that was about to quit, whatever it is. So it’s the devil’s in the details of how you made it happen. And so for me, that’s what ultimately, ultimately tells the difference coming into the interview. Two people might have the same resume or the same rough accomplishments, but then at the end, I tend to judge them based on, okay, was it really at the end of the day, wasn’t it your boss? Oh, your company has this is a template that your company uses for all of its clients. So cool, but also not as impressive as someone who invented a new template.

[00:33:32.210] – John

Yes, very good. So don’t come off as arrogant. Don’t claim things that really you weren’t entirely responsible for. Don’t appear scripted. Don’t go on and belabor an answer and take up so much time. Answer the question and shut up. Those are all good things to do, right?

[00:33:57.130] – Caroline

Absolutely.

[00:34:00.570] – John

All right, so if you’re one of the lucky ones and you’ve been invited to interview at Harvard, now you have a basic idea of what you can and should do. And I think practicing even though you don’t want to be scripted, but you want to just go through it with someone. It could be a friend, it could be Caroline, or it could be Maria, or it could be someone else. I think that’s a helpful exercise, as long as you make sure you’re not essentially rehearsing or scripting, but just getting good advice as to when to stop talking, what not to say, and how to put your best foot forward overall. So good luck to you if in fact, you are going to go for a Harvard Business School interview over the next few weeks. Meantime, if you want to be entertained, take a look at that Princeton Review ranking. It’s plenty entertaining. This is John Byrne with Poets and Quants. You’ve been listening to Business Casual. Thank you.

Princeton Review’s 2023 MBA Ranking + What To Expect In A Harvard MBA Interview
Maria |
February 8, 2023

Maria

New around here? I’m an HBS graduate and a proud member (and former Board Member) of AIGAC. I considered opening a high-end boutique admissions consulting firm, but I wanted to make high-quality admissions advice accessible to all, so I “scaled myself” by creating ApplicantLab. ApplicantLab provides the SAME advice as high-end consultants at a much more affordable price. Read our rave reviews on GMATClub, and check out our free trial (no credit card required) today!