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Wharton MBA Admissions Interview Questions: Round 1 / TBD / On-campus

tbdThe following is a set of Wharton MBA admissions interview questions and feedback from a recent applicant: 

When I was invited to interview, Wharton emailed us the team-based discussion (TBD) prompt. It asked us to come up with a Global Modular Course (GMC) idea. After reading up on actual GMCs at Wharton, I came up with a topic about healthcare in India, because I was very familiar with the subject. I spent several hours researching the topic, but later learned that there is no value to that (will explain below). 

I scheduled my team-based discussion interview for 9 AM on a Friday. There were about 25 candidates in the lobby when I arrived. We spent a good 25 minutes chatting with each other about backgrounds and discussion ideas. Eventually we were all called into individual group sessions with 6 candidates and 2 Acdom/2nd year students as observers. 

We each spent 1 minute highlighting our idea. Then 5 minutes discussing which idea to move forward with, 20 minutes expanding on the idea and building out content/logistics, and the last 5 minutes presenting it to the observers. Note that there is little value in really spending hours of research on your topic, because there really is no time to get that deep. Have an idea of partners to meet with, timelines, course content, and overall value that the course would provide. There is no way to really prepare 100% for the TBD because so much of it is just interactive. 

Once the TBD was complete, I was called into the one-on-one. The first question was about my thoughts on the TBD, and what I liked/disliked about it. They did not ask any tricky questions like, “Who would you not like on your team?”, mainly because everyone did interact well. Then the interviewer asked me ‘Why Wharton”. And then we finished up with questions for him. The interview lasted about 15 minutes and was very friendly. 

After the interviews were done, I heard from other groups that they approached their topic completely differently. Some created Frankenstein courses by borrowing material from multiple proposals, while others took longer to come to a consensus. Tips for next time:

1) Come up with general themes around logistics, organizing content, professors, and value. Spending hours on nitty gritty details about your topic is not necessary. 
2) Propose ideas that force everyone to interact. For example, allow everyone to have some portion of the closing presentation.
3) If your idea is chosen, and you are somewhat knowledgeable, then you will have a slight advantage. The person whose idea was chosen became the natural leader because we leaned on him initially to provide us with content specific to his course. We chose his idea because it was the most interesting and sexy (wine production in Australia)
4) Sit with your back to the Adcom observers. That way you will be forced to make eye contact with the discussion team only. 

Submitted: 10/1, Notification of Interview: 10/31, Interviewed: 11/14

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