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 presents new challenges.
*This content has been updated for the 2018-19 admissions season.
Rehearse your one minute solution out loud and time yourself to ensure you stick to the time frame. The observer will not cut you off if you exceed one minute, but will likely make note of it. Time management is key as listening to all solutions is time consuming. 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.
Prepare a few follow-up points for discussion in the event that your idea is selected. Additionally, consider your natural strengths and which roles might fit during the TBD (e.g. facilitator, note-taker, timekeeper, encourager, knowledge specialist, etc.). All roles can be strategic/impactful, including the timekeeper, so there’s no losing role; select a role that fits you. Chances are your idea will not be selected and that’s fine; just support others and blend ideas.
Consider arriving for the interview 30 minutes early. When you arrive, introduce yourself to about ten of the other applicants to break the ice. There will only be about 30 applicants in any one group of interview slots and eventually everyone will be split into groups of typically six prospective students. If you are interviewing in a hub city, there may be only one group with six applicants meeting at a time. Either way, by using this approach, you will likely have already met someone on your team. This simple gesture goes a long way in building trust with strangers, especially when you have 35 minutes to select and flesh out one winning solution.
Keep in mind that the group interview is less about a right answer and more about how you work with others. 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 illustrating that you are smart or well-qualified. Demonstrate you are a team player and try not to be too controlling.
If your idea isn’t chosen, help expand and support other ideas. In 35 minutes, you will not get a perfect idea or group, but you can ensure other people are heard, concepts are blended, and ideas are reasonable.
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. If you tend not to speak up, practice as much as you can before the session. If you don’t speak, it will be hard for observers to evaluate you.