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Resume- vs. Application-Based MBA Admissions Interviews

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Understanding Behavioral Event Interviews (BEI)

Just as application-based interviews can be more comprehensive and delve deeper into applicants’ candidacies than traditional résumé-based interviews, they also often incorporate questions that stray more from a recap of or drill down into your résumé. These are known as behavior-based or behavioral event interviews (BEI).

Perhaps nowhere is the Behavioral-Event Interview (BEI) more prominent than at MIT Sloan School of Management. At Sloan, interviewers may break the ice with a few questions about your background, but in short order they’ll get down to the business at hand: in-depth behavioral questions designed more to get at your personality and communications skills than to go over points included in your résumé or having to do with your career goals or interest in the MBA. “As part of your interview, you will be asked to provide specific examples of your personal and work behavior, such as how you persuade others, work as part of a team, and demonstrate leadership,” the school website says.

So, what’s the best way to prepare for a behavior-based interview at MIT Sloan—or for behavior-based questions at schools that may otherwise lean more toward résumé-based interviews?

Richmond offers the following tips:

  • Know the types of behavioral questions the school typically uses and be sure to select a host of stories or anecdotes to share accordingly.
  • Use the STAR or CAR method to outline your responses and stay on track (see below).
  • Listen to your interviewer’s follow-on questions and be sure to go with the flow (rather than forcing a rehearsed message).
  • Be sure to touch on what you thought, felt, said and did in key instances.clear_admit_interview_star_method


We hope this second in our series of interview pieces helps you have a better sense of what to expect on interview day and how to prepare.

If you’re gearing up for an interview at a leading business school, don’t miss Clear Admit’s Interview Guide Series. Featuring school-specific interview prep strategy, evaluation of how the adcom weighs the interview, in-depth analysis of the most frequently asked questions by that school and more, these are a valuable resource to help you prepare and are available for 21 different schools. There’s also our Interview Report Archive, where applicants share their personal experiences interviewing at a range of schools and learn from those of others. And don’t forget, you can share where you are in the process—and keep tabs on your peers—via MBA LiveWire

See the other parts in our Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview series:

MBA Admissions Academy

Episode 20: Interviews I: The Basics

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