Possibly the world’s most beautiful campus, excellent career opportunities in global finance and consulting, and special ranks – these are only a few things that make the HKUST MBA so prestigious. HKUST offers two types of MBA in terms of time duration. You can complete your program in 12 months or 16 months: the shorter version is for experienced people who have traveled abroad, while the 16-month one is designed for those who want to switch careers and develop a global perspective. With an average GMAT score of 710 and a minimum of 6+ years of work experience, the MBA offered by HKUSt is a challenging process.
Admission Process & Interview
The admission process consists of submitting the applicant’s form, verifying the documents, scheduling an interview, etc. Once shortlisted, you will be invited for a video interview or an in-person interview, depending on your geographical location. Generally, these interviews take place on Skype or Zoom. Now, this ‘Interview’ is a significant part of your application journey – it determines your whole hard work and assesses your personality in person before you get your acceptance letter.
Students go through two interviews; the first is done by a current MBA student or school alumni, and the school’s admission committee members take the second. The interview consists of traditional MBA interview questions and situation-based assessments. Use this opportunity to express your interest and keenness towards the school and the program – the admission committee likes to gauge your interest in the university. When you show it from your end, it will help pull up your score.
The interviewer(s) focuses on your communication style and reasons to be a part of HKUST; they will also challenge your leadership skills and result-oriented approach. Let’s discuss the type of questions asked in Interview part 1 and part 2:
- Tell us the most exciting aspects of your work profile and how it motivates you to pursue an MBA?
- Why HKUST, and what will you gain from the program?
- How do your past experiences align with post MBA goals and aims?
- Which specific companies or industries do you want to work with? Tell us an interesting incident from your time abroad working in a company.
These are the type of questions typically asked by a current MBA student or alumni. Be straightforward and ask if you have any doubts about the program or university. Since there is not more than one person present to interview you and have a conversation, it is cordial and aimed at making you feel comfortable & welcome. But the primary objective of part 1 is to assess your abilities to communicate effectively and show confidence in your approach.
- Discuss your professional journey so far. How does HKUST’s MBA further help you in enhancing your career?
- What will you take away from the MBA program and university?
- To an eight-year-old, how would you describe a consulting profile or a management position, etc., to an eight-year-old?
- Discuss the present economic conditions in your country and how your profile comes into the picture of helping that?
The objective of this interview was to check and witness the qualities they have thought you possess after going through your application essays and part 1 of the interview process. For part 2, consider that such questions assess the applicant’s intellect, subject matter knowledge, problem-solving skills, and time management. Be thorough with your past experiences and know your field of work in and out.
Some advice on preparing for the HKUST MBA interview
HKUST MBA interviews are by invitation only. This means that your application has already been screened, and you have been selected for an interview. The interview is the next step in the admissions process and an excellent opportunity to address any admissions committee’s concerns and build a personal connection with them. Here are some insights that can help you be fully prepared for this critical step in your journey to HKUST:
- Be thorough with your career goals. Be ready to discuss how an MBA will help you achieve those goals. The Admissions Committee is interested in knowing more about your post-MBA career plans, primarily if they are not addressed in detail on your resume or essays.
- Understand why you want an MBA and why you chose HKUST. This is also known as “fit.” If you are asked why HKUST, make sure your answer is specific and not generic. For example, don’t say something like “HKUST has a great location in Asia” because almost all the schools in Asia have great locations! Be specific: “I love Chinese culture, and I am interested in doing business in China, so I wish to build up my network here. Moreover, Hong Kong is a great place to live with many cultural and outdoor activities.” Something specific like this demonstrates that you have done your research on the school, which would impress the interviewer
- Prepare to answer questions like – Why do you want this specific degree? Why now? What do you hope to achieve? Don’t provide generic answers that could apply to any business school or program. Be clear about why this particular program is a good fit for you and how it will help you achieve your goals.
- Practice, practice, practice! Some candidates like to answer common questions on their own; others choose to take mock interviews with experts who can provide feedback on how they come across during the interview. The latter option is a great way to simulate what it feels like to be interviewed by an Admissions professional and also have an opportunity to improve before the actual interview day arrives.
- Prepare questions for the interviewer! The admissions committee wants you as much as you want them! Use this opportunity wisely and ask insightful questions about HKUST, its curriculum, or student life.
An actual HKUST MBA Interview Experience
A senior professor conducted my interview. I was asked some very relevant questions about my career goals, why HKUST, and my experiences outside work.
I felt the interview went well, as it was largely conversational. The interviewer had done his research on me and knew quite a bit about my previous work experience. He also looked through my CV before the interview and was able to ask relevant questions.
HKUST is looking for accomplished professionals, but they also want well-rounded individuals. They have done away with the GMAT requirement as they realize that many people who do well on it are often not good at interviews. My interviewer said he would love to admit someone with a decent GMAT score, but if that person does not do well in an interview, there is no point in accepting them.
On the other hand, if someone doesn’t do too well on the GMAT (I scored 690) but has a great story and does well in an interview, they stand a better chance of getting admitted. This is because one needs to show “potential” during an interview to get accepted into the HKUST MBA.