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Tips for the Wharton Team-Based Discussion Interview

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.

Stratus Prep offers the following tips for the Wharton Team-Based Discussion Interview:

Rehearse. 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. You can also prepare two ideas in case another candidate uses your idea.

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 roles might fit during the TBD (e.g. facilitator, note-taker, timekeeper, encourager, specialist who chimes in less frequently but makes high impact points, 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.

Meet people. 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 one or two groups with 6 to 12 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.

Be flexible. 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.

Support others. 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.

Need Expert Assistance with the Wharton Team-based Discussion?

Stratus offers interview prep specific to the Wharton Team-based Discussion (TBD) including a group Skype with other candidates who are preparing for the interview.

Sign up for a Mock Team-based Discussion here.

About Stratus

Stratus Admissions Counseling is a full service admissions counseling firm distinguished by its team based, multi-step process ensuring each application is crafted for optimum impact. Our MBA counseling team has a representative from virtually every top 20 MBA program, enabling us to provide school-specific guidance.


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