My NYU Stern Interview Questions: Tax Advisor’s Tale

Ever gulped a beer can in under 60 seconds celebrating having got something after a long time ? Well, that’s what I did after hearing about my NYU interview invite. My MBA Admissions consultant assured me that NYU Stern was bit of a stretch. Anyway, he was wrong, and I did make it all the way through to the interview (and even matriculated at Stern)!

My Background: I was a tax adviser at a non big-4 audit firm in Chicago. I really wanted to transition into consultancy and eventually to private equity. It was too ambitious for me. Anyway, I had an undergrad in finance from a little known, no-name university. I think I had decent GMAT – 720, and a decent GPA – 3.8/4. I had been working for over 4 years at my job and had been promoted from an analyst role.

NYU Stern Difficult Interview Questions

My Interview Prep: Like I said, B-School was a pretty big deal for me, particularly, Stern. I prepared for the interview quite sincerely and earnestly. I looked through all interview questions and took prep packages from a big-shot MBA admissions consultant. Cant tell if it helped, but it certainly helped calm my nerves in making me feel prepared.

The D-Day: I think if there’s one thing I could go back and changes in my interview, it would be my nerves. I was unnecessarily nervous. The pressure that I had to convert this interview was too heavy on me. Even in the first couple of minutes, I could hear my voice shuddering as I started my first answer. I think I made it through because the adcom was incredibly understanding. Offering me water and suggesting that she was really impressed with my app so far. I regained confidence and was able to give a great interview. Since I panicked I forgot many of the answers I prepared, but decided to calmly reflect the real reasons, and genuinely make an attempt at the answers. In the end I would like to think that I wiped out the blot of a nervous start. This could be you, if you are looking for advise on beating the NYU Stern interview, there’s just one thing I would like to tell you: don’t over-prepare! While you must always prepare, don’t obsess. I think in my case my undoing was that I thought way too much of the consequences of messing this interview up. Don’t think about those things. Do your best and leave the rest to God (if I may). That was just my 2 cents, here are the questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What is the one interesting thing about you that I wouldn’t know by looking at your resume and the rest of your app so far?
  2. What is the biggest regret you have so far in your career and why?
  3. Think of a time when you motivated your team to complete a difficult project which required lots of cooperation. How did you achieve this?
  4. Why have you chosen to do your MBA at NYU Stern?
  5. What are the risks professionally for you in giving up 2 years of your work-life to do an MBA?
  6. Why do you think this is the ripe time for you to get an MBA? Why not later?
  7.  What values has your work experience in audit taught you?
  8. Several candidates have made the switch from audit/advisory to management consulting after an MBA from Stern. However the path is incredibly difficult and several others have failed. Why do you believe you can make this switch?

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!).

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