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Behavioral Questions in an MBA interview

Updated: Feb 1

MBA interviews are different from regular job interviews. They are structured to test your ambition, motivation, and your leadership skills. The interview questions are quite different to those you may have been asked during a job interview or a case interview.

Whether in-person or virtual, the interview will almost always begin with small talk and an introduction. Then, it will likely move to motivation and behavioral questions. Lastly, it typically concludes with the interviewer giving the interviewee the chance to ask their own questions.

In this blog, we will explore some specific behavioural interview questions and how to prepare for them using the SCAR technique.

What is a behavioral interview question and how do you prepare for it?

A behavioral interview question focuses on a “typical” workplace situation. These are usually questions based around leadership, teamwork and team-building, collaboration, communication, flexibility and adaptability, responsibility and accountability, crisis management, diversity, time management, determination, and values.

These questions usually have a classic telltale opening such as:

  • Tell me about a time when…

  • Have you ever…

  • Describe a time when you…

  • Give me an example of…

Humans have evolved to communicate using stories, and generally, that’s also the best way to answer behavioral interview questions: Structure your answer around a specific story. So, think back to your past experience (professional experience preferably) and dig out stories that you could use in your answers.

Then, structure your stories using the SCAR technique (also known as the STAR method).

SCAR interview response technique

SCAR is an acronym that stands for Situation, Challenge, Action and Result. It’s a straightforward technique that you can use to answer behavioral interview questions. It works well because it prevents you from rambling and forgetting to mention a critical part of the story. This is the SCAR framework:

  • Situation: Describe what had happened, with specific important details to set the context.

  • Challenge: What was the challenge that you had to overcome?

  • Action: Specifically describe the steps you took to address the situation.

  • Result: What was the outcome that you achieved? Also, quantify or qualify the results.

With the SCAR framework, it’s easy for the listener to follow the narrative and your role in the story, which is crucial for their assessment.

But, instead of trying to remember specific answers to specific questions, create a memory bank of stories that you can apply to different questions. Then use the question bank below to rehearse them!

What are some common MBA behavioral interview questions?

Here’s a list of 30 MBA behavioral questions that you should prepare in order to ace your interview:

  1. Tell us about your most significant achievement.

  2. Tell us about a time when you successfully achieved your targets and how?

  3. Tell us about a time when you failed to meet your targets. How did you handle this situation?

  4. How do you manage to work effectively under pressure?

  5. How do you handle the situation when you make a mistake?

  6. Have you ever been in a situation where you were underworked?

  7. Tell us about a time when you made an unpopular choice. How did you implement the decision?

  8. What is your risk tolerance? Did you ever make a risky decision? Why? How did you handle it?

  9. Have you ever postponed a decision? Why?

  10. Can you recall a time when you went above and beyond the call of duty? If so, how?

  11. Tell us about a time when your schedule was interrupted? How did you handle it?

  12. Have you worked on multiple projects simultaneously? How did you prioritise?

  13. Have you ever delivered something under tight deadlines? How do you manage the stress?

  14. Tell us about a long-term project that you led. Were you able to stick to the timelines and the budget?

  15. Have you ever convinced a team to work on an assignment they weren’t enthusiastic about? How did you convince them?

  16. Tell us about a time when you had a conflict with a co-worker and how you handled it?

  17. How do you handle disagreements with a co-worker?

  18. Have you ever handled a difficult situation with a senior or someone in the leadership? How did you tackle that situation?

  19. Tell us about a time when you felt your boss made a poor call. Then, please explain how you would have done it differently.

  20. Tell us about a time when you had to multitask and how you handled it.

  21. Tell us about a time when you lead a team.

  22. Tell us about a time when you had to revitalise a stagnant team.

  23. Tell us about a time when you challenged the status quo.

  24. Tell us about a time when you needed more hands on the deck. How did you ask for help?

  25. Tell us about a time when you had to make an unconventional choice. How did you convince your team about it?

  26. Tell us about a situation where you received push-back. (Follow up!) Now tell us about an instance when you pushed back.

  27. Recount a difficult conversation you had at work. (Follow-up:) How did you handle the conversation?

  28. Tell us about how you build relationships at the workplace.

  29. Tell us about a time when you were given constructive advice. How did you implement it?

  30. Tell us about a time when you mentored someone. What’s your mentorship style?

Want to sit with me 1:1 to strategize and rehearse for your interview?


About Us

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Hi, I'm Sam.  I'm the founder of Sam Weeks Consulting. Our clients get admitted to top MBA and EMBA programs.

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