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 Wharton Team Based Discussion Interview presents new challenges.
As you likely know by now, Wharton’s interview process is unlike any other MBA program. Wharton’s Team Based Discussion interview is done in a team environment, with only ten minutes at the end for a 1:1 interview. There’s a good reason for this—Wharton’s culture is highly focused on collaborative teamwork, and this is a live opportunity for them to see how you behave in a brand-new team and environment. Much of what you have practiced for interviewing at other schools won’t translate here, so take a look at the following six tips so you can feel ready for (and maybe a little more excited about!) your Wharton TBD.
Rehearse your one-minute proposal out loud, and time yourself to ensure you stick to the limit. I am serious! Talk to your dog, a friend, or even the mirror. This is your chance to give a first impression, and your pitch shows you can succinctly convey an idea. The observer will not cut you off if you exceed one minute, but they will likely make note of it. The TBD goes by quickly, and everyone needs to be heard. If your solution shares themes with another candidate’s, simply recognize this, 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 case your idea is selected. Additionally, consider your natural strengths and which TBD roles might suit you (e.g., facilitator, notetaker, encourager, knowledge specialist). Think about successful meetings in which you have participated 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.
During the 2022–2023 admissions season, Wharton will be hosting all TBD sessions virtually. As you would for any important meeting, be sure to test 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 (i.e., professional attire), and do wear pants!
4. Be flexible.
Keep in mind that the TBD 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 do not go your way. 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 that you are a team player and let go of controlling the outcome.
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 or appreciate that you have good insight to offer. And if you notice someone else has been particularly quiet, try to gently bring them back into the conversation.
6. Listen and observe.
Silently consider how the team’s interactions may be helpful in your one-on-one interview. Consider the group dynamic, and try to step outside the situation. You may be asked to provide feedback about the TBD during your one-on-one session, so practice giving both positive and constructive thoughts about both the team and yourself. Remember to show humility when discussing the positives about your contributions, and be aware of how your constructive criticism of others could be perceived. It’s best to err on the side of caution so you will be viewed as a team player.
All that being said, nothing compares to experience. By participating in a mock Wharton Team Based Discussion Interview Session, you can calm your nerves, better understand what to expect, and have fun with the interview!