Wharton’s Team-Based Discussion Interviews: What to Expect

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania plans to send out interview invitations on February 11. Unlike most MBA programs, Wharton uses a team-based discussion format to evaluate MBA candidates. Understandably, Wharton applicants get anxious about this atypical interview, because the approach creates a very different dynamic from what one usually encounters in a one-on-one meeting—and with other applicants also in the room, one cannot help but feel less in control of the content and direction of the conversation. Yet despite the uncertainty, here are a few things that interviewees can expect:

  1. You will need to arrive at the interview with an idea—a response to a challenge that will be presented in your interview invitation.
  2. Having the best idea is much less important than how you interact with others in the group and communicate your thoughts. So while you should prepare an idea ahead of time, that is only part of what you will be evaluated on.
  3. Your peers will have prepared their ideas as well. Chances are that ideas will be raised that you know little or nothing about. Do not worry! The admissions committee members are not measuring your topical expertise. Instead, they want to see how you add to the collective output of the team.
  4. After the team-based discussion, you will have a short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team. More than likely, you will be asked to reflect on how the team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.

We at mbaMission are getting ready for Round 2 interviews and created our Team-Based Discussion Simulation to give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other candidates in an online conversation, which is moderated by two of our experienced Senior Consultants familiar with Wharton’s format and approach. All participants then receive feedback on their performance, with special focus on their interpersonal skills and communication abilities. The simulation builds confidence by highlighting your role in a team, examining how you communicate your ideas to—and within—a group of (equally talented) peers, and discovering how you react when you are thrown “in the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you will be ready for the real thing.

To learn more or sign up, visit our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation page.

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