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Wharton Team-Based Discussion: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Wharton Team-Based DiscussionThe Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania will release Round 2 interview invitations on Friday, February 16, and once again, the school is using its virtual team-based discussion format rather than a traditional admissions interview to evaluate its candidates.

Below, we address some of the most common questions from Wharton Team-Based Discussion applicants regarding what to expect and how to prepare for the one-of-a-kind interview.

What is the Wharton Team-Based Discussion?

Unlike the traditional business school interview, The Wharton School groups 4-6 applicants together for a 35-minute exercise within a dynamic team setting. Upon being invited to interview, each candidate will receive the interview prompt from the current admissions year and will be instructed to participate and interact with their fellow group members. As Wharton notes on their website, all groups are assigned randomly, so interview candidates will not know who they are meeting with—and what other discussion points will be addressed—prior to the interview session.  Following the group interview, each candidate will meet one-on-one with a Wharton admissions committee member to discuss their personal interest in attending the business school.

What’s the best way to prepare for my Wharton Team-Based Discussion?

Wharton Interview Guide

mbaMission’s Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania Interview Guide

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 virtual meeting 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. During your short one-on-one session with someone representing Wharton’s admissions team, you will likely be asked to reflect on how the team-based discussion went for you; this will require self-awareness on your part.
  5. Download mbaMission’s free Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania Interview Guide for an in-depth look into the interview process.The complimentary guide provides:
    • Insight into what the school is evaluating and hoping to gain from the interview
    • An explanation of the school’s approach to interviewing (self-scheduled or invite only, blind versus comprehensive, etc.)
    • Past applicants’ firsthand accounts of their interview experiences and multiple sample interview question sequences
    • Tips on preparing for and responding to questions which most typically vex applicants
    • Help in formulating compelling questions of your own

Can I book a practice Wharton Team-Based Discussion session?

Yes!

To give candidates the opportunity to undergo a realistic test run before experiencing the actual event, we created our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation. Via this simulation, applicants participate anonymously with three to five other MBA 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 “into the deep end” and have to swim. Our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation allows you to test the experience so you are ready for the real thing.

The 2023-2024 Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation Round 2 schedule is as follows:

  • Group A: Tuesday Feb 20: 6pm ET
  • Group B: Wednesday Feb 21: 12pm ET
  • Group C: Thursday Feb 22: 8:30pm ET
  • Group D: Friday Feb 23: 12pm ET
  • Group E: Friday Feb 23: 3:30pm ET
  • Group F: Saturday Feb 24: 11:30am ET
  • Group G: Saturday Feb 24: 2pm ET
  • Group H: Sunday Feb 25: 9am ET
  • Group I: Sunday Feb 25: 2pm ET
  • Group J: Monday Feb 26: 12pm ET
  • Group K: Monday Feb 26: 8:30pm ET
  • Group L: Tuesday Feb 27: 6pm ET
  • Group M: Wednesday Feb 28: 12pm ET

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

Once you have been invited to interview, we highly encourage you to reserve your spot by purchasing a Simulation session as soon as possible. Space is extremely limited for these mock interviews, and availability is on a first-come-first-served basis. 

If you have any questions regarding availability for your Wharton interview prep session, please contact us anytime. 




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