The Mirror Method and the MBA Interview | TopMBA.com

The Mirror Method and the MBA Interview

By QS Contributor

Updated June 16, 2020 Updated June 16, 2020

Use Vince's ‘mirror method’ to practice your interview answers at home.

The MBA interview is physical. Do not prepare for an MBA interview by writing outlines or scripts, or, worst of all, creating PowerPoint slides. Instead, talk to yourself. 

Although I majored in history at Stanford, I took more acting classes than history classes. Patricia Ryan Madson was my acting professor (check out her bestselling book). She taught me how to use the mirror to prepare for challenging roles. I have modified her method to my own mirror method to help you pass your MBA admissions or job interviews.

Supplies needed

  • note cards
  • a mirror
  • a timer set for 30 minutes (typical interview length)
  • a voice recorder (smart phone, computer, IC recorder: anything that will record your voice for playback and review)

Use these nine mirror method steps to cover 10 core MBA interview questions plus a few questions you want to ask your interviewer (final Q&A).

A. Write these 10 core MBA interview questions (plus final Q&A) on note cards

  1. Tell me about yourself/walk me through your résumé.
  2. What are your three greatest strengths and three greatest weaknesses?
  3. Provide me with an example showing your leadership.
  4. What role do you usually play in teams?
  5. Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team that did not get along. 
  6. Tell me about a time when you failed. What did you learn from the experience?
  7. What are your goals? Why do you want an MBA now?
  8. Why do you want to attend this school?
  9. How will you contribute to our school community? (in classes, outside classes, as part of the alumni network)/
  10. What else? Surprise me. 
  11. Do you have any questions for me?

B. Write keywords or bullet points on the back of each card

Here are some mirror method hints and tips you can use to help you refine your interview answers.

1. Self-introduction

  • Walk me through your résumé.
  • Tell me about yourself.

2. Strengths and weaknesses

  • What are your three greatest strengths and three greatest weaknesses?
  • How does each strength / weakness affect your work?
  • How might each strength / weakness impact your performance at our school / program / organization?

3. Leadership style and example (behavioral question)

  • Provide me with an example showing your leadership.

4. Teamwork role

  • What role do you usually play in teams?

5.  Difficult team (behavioral question)

  • Tell me about a time that you had to work on a team that did not get along. What happened? What role did you take? What was the result? Based on that example, what would you do if your MBA study team members were not getting along with each other?

6. Failure (behavioral question)

  • Tell me about a time when you failed. What did you learn from the experience?

7. Goals/why MBA/why now

  • What are your goals? Why do you want an MBA now?

8. Why this school?

  • Why do you want to attend this school?

9. Potential contributions

  • How will you contribute to our school community? (in classes, outside classes, and as an alumnus)
  • How can you contribute to our MBA community?
  • How will you add value to the school community?
  • How to contact club presidents to confirm your contributions

10. Anything else?

  • Surprise me.
  • Tell me something else you want me to know that is not covered in your application and not asked today.

11. Q & A

Do you have any questions for me? (Be sure to customize questions depending on MBA admissions interviewer's status, i.e. current student, recent graduate, senior alumni member, staff member who attended the program, staff member hired from outside the school community).

C. Assemble the MBA interview questions cards in random order (different every time)

D. Start the timer as you begin speaking

E. Ask and answer each question.

F. Maintain eye contact (with yourself) as you talk (try not to look at your cards).

G. Ask why and how whenever appropriate to simulate an interviewer's follow-up questions.

H. Make each answer as direct and concise as possible (no more than two minutes per answer, hopefully less).

I. Listen to your answers to the MBA interview questions in between self-study practice sessions to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Repeat the mirror method steps every morning and every night until your actual MBA admissions interview.

Bonus tip

Shuffle your question cards every time you practice. Keep opening questions ("tell me about yourself" or "walk me through your résumé") at the top of your stack and closing questions ("what else?" and Q&A) at the bottom. For all other questions, make sure to change the order every time. 

This will help you to be prepared – you can never know in what order your MBA admissions interviewer will decide to ask her questions (interviewing is more art than science).

If you expect questions to follow a particular logical order, you might be surprised and unprepared if the interviewer follows her logic and asks the questions in a different order than you expected.

It will also help you to master your material – we build long-term memory through repetition in random order.

This article was originally published in January 2016 . It was last updated in June 2020

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