How to prepare your stories

Posted by Amy (HBS MBA Class of 2015) on

The interview is a great opportunity for the school to learn more about you. When the interviewer asks you a question, she is often most interested in the stories you share as part of your response. It is worth giving some thought to the stories you wish to share in the interview. While you don’t want to sound too rehearsed, being confident telling your important stories will put you at ease in the interview.

To prepare your stories to share in the MBA interview:

  1. Find your stories.
  • Go through the example interview questions and think about relevant situations that you have been through you can share to demonstrate you response.
  • Spend some time on this - often the best example to share won’t be the first that comes to mind.
  • Probably, there will be around 6-10 stories that will come to mind that you could incorporate into your responses to 80% of the questions. These are the stories you should focus on being really getting comfortable telling.
  1. Prepare how you will tell these stories.
  • To share these stories, a great framework to use is “situation, complication, action, resolution”.
    • Situation: what was the situation?
    • Complication - what happened to complicate the situation?
    • Action - what action did you take?
    • Resolution - how did the situation resolve?
  • Make sure your stories are not to long - no more than a few minutes per story. If the interviewer wants more details, they will ask.
  1. Practice, practice, practice!
  • Get comfortable telling these stories. Practice telling your stories - with your family, friends, in front of the mirror.
  • Make sure you do not sound too rehearsed. Each time you tell the story, imagine it is for the first time. Ask your friends and family to give you feedback on this.
  • Finally, practice incorporating these stories in your responses to the example interview questions. This exercise will also help you identify if there are any other stories you should prepare. As each question is different, you will naturally emphasise different aspects in different answers.