My Haas MBA Interview: Oil Drilling to Consulting

Delighted as I was at having received an interview invite from Haas (UC Berkeley), I began furiously preparing for the interview. I had gotten interview invites from other schools such as MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth and I preferred both these schools to Haas. Nonetheless, I decided to give Haas a shot, since MBA admissions are uncertain and its difficult to predict outcome. In the end, of course I didn’t make it at Chicago Booth and MIT Sloan, and chose to matriculate at Haas. Today as I look back, some of my mates who did get into MIT Sloan and Chicago Booth haven’t done as well as me. I realize that its only up until a certain point that the brand name of your school can help, beyond that its your own hard work and dedication. Though initially I chose Haas since I didn’t have an alternate, I have to this day never regretted the decision. I have had the best time of my life at Haas. The cohort has been amazing and most of them have done very well for themselves.

Haas MBA Difficult Interview Questions

My Background: My pre-MBA work experience revolved around oil exploration and prospecting. I worked as an engineer at a lee-known American oil drilling company. Had a pretty good GMAT – 750 and a GPA of 3.7, which were both above the Haas stats. Had several extra-curricular activities under my belt, the only problem however was that I never had any promotion after my 4 years of work experience.

My Interview Prep: I unfortunately didn’t choose application rounds wisely. Instead of distributing my applications, I applied to all 3 Booth, MIT Sloan and Haas in the same round. So most of my preparations were targeted at Sloan and Booth. I did however notice that many past interview questions were similar in all the 3 interviews.

My Interview: I chose to be interviewed by an alumnus off-campus. The interviewer was friendly and war. The interview tried to make this seem more like a conversation than an interview. Of course there were interjections and he deeply probed some of my responses, but that helped me better so that I knew where I had to emphasize. This helped me save quite a lot of time. The interview went on a little longer than expected, and this was a very positive sign for me. Below are questions from my interview:

  1. Why have you chosen to apply to Haas? What makes you believe that Haas is the ideal place to get an MBA given your profile?
  2. Your stated goal was to convert from Oil Drilling to management consulting. How feasible is this given the specialized nature of oil drilling?
  3. What are some important milestones in your career? How has your responsibilities within the organization changed over the past 4 years?
  4. You have a good GMAT and GPA, can you narrate times when you had to overcome difficulties to achieve these?
  5. What is your greatest weakness? What steps have you taken to overcome your weakness?
  6. Someone under you in your firm seemed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. How do you deal with this person? What actions will you take?
  7. If selected to Haas what clubs will you join and why?

Author: Homer

Homer has an MBA from a top-three US B-School. An Indian engineering graduate from a non-IIT (IITs are Indian equivalents of our tech schools such as Caltech and MIT), Homer is hope for all non-IITians looking to get into Harvard/Wharton/Stan. Homer has a BE degree in mechanical engineering from a college in the south Indian city of Bangalore. Homer says that he was never a great student in his earlier days or at engineering school. What then worked in his favor? Well he founded a mechanical engineering startup after working for a couple of years at a renowned German automobile company. Homer has the longest pre-MBA work experience in our family - 4 yrs at his first job in a no-name mechanical engineering firm + 2 yrs at the German automobile maker + 3 yrs at his startup. Homer sold his startup back to his former employer and is now a top consultant (MBB consulting). Watch out for posts by Homer (to avoid them, of course!).