As your MBA admissions interview starts to wrap up, you will be asked if you have any questions for your interviewer.
Asking if you have any questions has two functions. First, it elegantly signals time is almost up. Second, it elicits your questions for her examination, and they are definitely part of the overall interview test.
What questions you ask says a lot about your personal, social, and organizational judgment. They are tricky to get right.
On the one hand, you want to use your questions to sum up and refocus your interviewer on your strengths, goals, and resonance with the MBA program you are being interviewed for.
On the other hand, your question has to be a real question, and not only that, must target an area the interviewer can reasonably be expected to know about.
Generally, keep questions at a senior level: ask about the school’s approach, emphasis, or opportunities. Don’t seek perfunctory information about library access or gym facilities.
Definitely don’t ask questions the answers to which are available on the Web or in the student guide, or anything you should know already or could easily find out yourself.
If you are talking to an admissions officer, you can pick an element of the program or extramural opportunities, and seek to know more how this may fit with your expertise or goals.
By way of example, assuming you bring experience in HR you may say something like: “Given my extensive experience in applying the ‘balanced scorecard,’ will there be scope in the management accounting electives for me to continue to broaden my specialization in employee evaluation?”
If you are talking to an alumnus from five years ago, your question could be how the school’s brand holds up in a particular part of the job market, or something based on where in the world you are sitting.
Don’t ever ask your interviewer to judge the business school or MBA program in the marketplace, or compare it to others, or to “sell” the school to you, as in: “can you give me three reasons I should come here?” Believe it or not, it happens.
Do not, under any circumstances, ask the interviewer to give you an on-the-spot assessment of how you did. Their professionalism demands they do no more than shake your hand, bid you farewell, and not let on whether you aced or flunked. Show your professionalism by expecting this.
Excerpted and adapted from Avi Gordon: MBA Admissions Strategy – From Profile Building to Essay Writing, 3rd Edition. McGraw Hill Education, Open University Press. Available April 2017