Process: Wharton MBA Admission Interviews are by invitation only. Unlike interviews in other schools, the admission team facilitates a team-based discussion (TBD) with the goal of figuring out how you approach problems, opportunities, and leverage teamwork for achieving learning goals.
• 35 minutes for TBD
• 10 minutes one on one conversation with the Admission team
Style of Interview: Team Discussion with groups of 4-5 applicants, followed by a small 10 minutes one on one interview with the admission team (second-year student or the admission officer)
Selection Criteria: Adaptability, Awareness, Decision Making, Leadership, and Communication style. Persuasive communication has a clear advantage in the selection process.
1) Before the discussion, a prompt will be given with an end goal, mostly to reach a consensus or a solution.
2) The Admission team prefers that local applicants attend the interviews on-campus. For International applicants, there are off-campus locations where the TBD will be scheduled.
3) The Admission team also recommends that you visit and attend a sample class to experience the MBA program first-hand.
1) One Minute Pitch
The Admission team provides the prompt, and you have to present the case within 1 minute. Often applicants tend to feel that this is the only opportunity to be heard and exceed the allotted time. Stick to the 1-minute timeline. When you are presenting your position, bring your industry insight and unique experience with team management, into the pitch.
Think from the audience’s point of view.
• What is interesting?
• What is informative?
• What will leave a lasting first impression?
The opening statement is crucial as it was in your essays. So make sure that you write, rewrite, and prepare to say at least 10 to 20 times. The tempo of the pitch, the impression that your pitch would have on the evaluators and the dynamics that you develop with the team will depend on the statement. But don’t try to script the follow-up talking points, but instead, write down the main points. How you frame and bring the points to the discussion depends on the relevancy of the topic in the timeline.
2) Visit the Campus
If you get the opportunity to visit the campus and attend a Wharton MBA class, use that experience strategically in the discussion. As we had discussed in our Interview Guide about familiarizing yourself with the environment, campus visits will expose you to the hallways and the support staff at Wharton. During the interviews, you won’t be overwhelmed by the architectural beauty of the glass-steel interplay that is on full display at Vance Hall, where the TBD would most likely be held.
3) Network before the Discussion
No matter how much you prepare, a certain amount of anxiety is good for the discussion, but an overwhelming awareness about performance can hinder your admission chances.
First, pat yourself on the back for clearing the Essay round. Not many in the ‘world’ could do it. If you feel that you are competing with some of the best in the world, take solace in the fact that you are also among the best. They are feeling nervous and worried about you dominating the discussion.
To ease your nerves, start talking with other applicants. The cliché is that most of them would be outgoing and fake the conversation out of their need to overcome the nerves. Go beyond the pleasantries and engage in a real conversation, and your mind will get away from the big moment, and into a potential classmate or a future friend. Don’t discuss about the discussion, but if that is the only thought on your mind, start with TBD, and then diverge into the personal story of the applicant.
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