The questions (at least ones I was asked) are straightforward. They mostly care about things such as how badly you want to do your Ph.D., what sorts of things you're interested in researching, and why.
I am new to this forum and was wondering what types of questions are asked at interviews for PhD programs in business schools. A friend of mine had an interview at a medical school and was asked all sorts of weird questions (e.g. how he would respond to an ethical dilemma). Or is the interview process like an interview for Wall Street (e.g. brainteasers)?
Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
I met with a lot of profs who have similar interests. Depth of knowledge is not expected. After all, that is one of the main goals leading up to qualifiers. When I was grilled, it was over the material in my SoP, which was more based on my experience rather than research. They didn't "do deep" in the literature, but they were good at asking insightful questions that I could expect to answer not knowing much about the given research field. Now, if you talk about research in your SoP, then they might probe you more on it and have some expectations of knowledge (tempered by the fact that you're an applicant and not a 3rd year PhD who has devoted countless hours to deeply understanding the literature).
Thanks for your response! That is pretty interesting. So I can safely guess that preparing for interviews is just like preparing for interviews in finance - know the material to have a discussion on it and know your submitted resume to talk about it (this case, the SoP with research). How long do the interviews last timewise? And if you don't mind, can I ask you where you've had interviews so far?
Here are some questions I know you will be asked:
1) Why do you want to get a PhD in Finance?
2) Do you know what all is involved with getting a PhD in Finance?
3) What areas are you interested in Researching? (Broad areas, and they ask this knowing that you will probably change this answer in your first 1-2 years of the program)
4) What do you want to do after you graduate?
These are the basic questions. The rest of the visit will more than likely be spent answering your questions, telling you how their program operates, and getting a feel about how well you work with people. Remember, these professors will spend 4 to 5 years working with you, so they want to find out if you will be easy to work with or not.
As far as in depth questions about Finance knowledge, I highly doubt it. There are many people who start PhD Programs with no Finance or Business background at all. They don't expect you to know all this.
As far as the first few questions, here is what they most programs want to hear for answers:
1) I want to conduct research in Finance. Teaching is fun, but it is not why I am hear. The main reason is Research. It is all about Research. Research, research, research, with a little more research for good researchable measure.
2) You know it will be hard, and if you are married you should let them know that your wife is fully supportive of the idea of you getting your PhD.
3) Just tell them the broad areas you are researching. If you get to focused, they may start asking you direct questions, and it may freak you out if you don't know what they are talking about. Keep it very broad, and you may want to tell them a few different broad areas, while maintaining a little bit of focus to one area.
4) You want to get a tenure-track Professorship at a Research-University. You don't want to work in the private industry. Most programs want their applicants to go into Academia because these are the people who will give a name to their PhD program.
In my case, I had written about my privious research experience in my SOP, so most of the interview were very specific questions about it. After that, they asked me what I want to do after graduating; what kind of research I want to do, and a little bit about my background and the courses I had taken.
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