Congratulations! You have been invited to interview at Wharton! Making it this far in the business school application process is a huge win, but preparing for the unique Team-Based Discussion (TBD) presents new challenges.
Here are six tips to follow so you can feel ready (and maybe a little more excited!) for your Wharton Team-Based Discussion.
Rehearse your one-minute proposal out loud, and time yourself to ensure you stick to the time frame. I am serious: Talk to your dog, a friend, or even the mirror. This is your chance to give a first impression, and it shows you can succinctly convey an idea. The observer will not cut you off if you exceed one minute but will likely make note of it. The interview goes quickly, and everyone needs to be heard. If your solution shares themes with another candidate, simply recognize it, acknowledge the other candidate’s ideas, and discuss the unique points of your idea during your pitch.
2. Think ahead.
Prepare a few follow-up points for discussion in the event that your idea is selected. Additionally, consider your natural strengths and which TBD roles might suit you (e.g., facilitator, note taker, encourager, knowledge specialist). Think about successful meetings you have taken part in and what made them efficient. All roles can be impactful, including the timekeeper, so there is no losing role; select a role that fits you. It is best to work within the range of your natural disposition.
3. Test your tech.
For the 2020–2021 admissions season, Wharton will be hosting TBD sessions virtually instead of in person. As you would for any important meeting, be sure to test out your technology and connections ahead of time—and leave yourself some extra time on the day of the session to correct any potential issues. Even though you will be using a webcam, common interview etiquette still applies; be sure to dress for the part (professional attire), and do wear pants!
4. Be flexible.
Keep in mind that the group interview is less about giving the right answer and more about how you work with others. Although hosting a coffee chat with entrepreneurs like Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa may be your shining idea to engage young alumni, try not to get frustrated with your teammates if things are not going the way you prefer. Showing grace, leadership, level-headedness, executive presence, and strategic thought leadership can be more important than using what you think is the best idea or illustrating that you are smart or qualified. Demonstrate you are a team player and try not to be too controlling.
5. Support and contribute.
Do a little GMAT math and you will see: Odds are, your idea will not be selected. That is fine, but stay engaged by showing support for others and helping to develop the overarching solution. In 35 minutes, your group will not generate a perfect idea, but you can ensure other people are heard, concepts are blended, and ideas are reasonable. If you tend not to speak up, practice providing valuable input before the session. If you do not speak at all, it will be hard for observers to evaluate you.
6. Listen and observe.
Silently consider how the team’s interactions may be helpful in the one-on-one interview. Consider the group dynamic and try to step outside the situation. You may be asked to give feedback about the session during your one-on-one, so practice giving both positive and constructive thoughts about both the team and yourself.
All that being said, nothing compares to experience. By participating in a Wharton Mock Team-Based Discussion Session, you can calm your nerves, better understand what to expect, and have fun with the interview.