I got there early and waited in the waiting room with the other interviewees for my time slot. There were 18 of us, and one student came out at a time to lead six of us back to the interview room for the team-based discussion.
I’m a military person, and in my group we had an aerospace engineer, a business development person for a construction company, two real estate investors, one consultant, and an accountant. The second-year students gave us 30 seconds to introduce ourselves, and then they read off the team-based discussion question (which we’d already been emailed, but just to make sure the playing field was level), said we should each take a minute to give our opening pitch, and then time started.
We each gave our one minute pitch, and then the discussion flowed naturally from there. A few of us tried to suggest that we find the “common themes” from all of our suggestions, which we did, and then went from there. Each person had about the same amount of speaking time, everyone was very supportive and friendly, almost too much so – you could have said anything, it felt like, and everyone would have said, “Yes, Great idea! I like that! Also, how about XYZ.” No tension, no dissension, just overwhelming positivity and support – which meant that the discussion went wherever the last person took it. So we ended with a pitch idea that we started to give before time ran out, but it was really an idea that was come up with by committee – very vanilla, very bland, very predictable, with none of the originality of anyone’s original answer, but it answered the question and we all contributed, so I guess that’s what you get.
Afterwards, we each had about 10 minutes one on one with a second year student who had been observing our group and that was more traditional interview format – how’d you find the team-based discussion and how would you change it, tell me about yourself, tell me about a time you faced a leadership challenge, what’s your elevator pitch, what clubs would you participate in here at Wharton, do you have any questions for me?
Overall, a friendly experience though very hard to tell how they differentiated between any of the applicants based on our TBD performance – I felt we all performed about equally.