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UPenn / Wharton Interview Report: Round 1 / Second-year student / On-campus

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The following UPenn / Wharton interview report was submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 Health Care Management applicant who was admitted. Congratulations to them!

I was a Health Care Management (HCM) applicant and had two interviews: one with a second-year student, and one with the HCM director, June Kinney.

My student interview included the standard Wharton group interview and a brief one-on-one with the second-year after. The group interview was with ~six other applicants, with two second-year moderators/observers. We were emailed a prompt with our interview invitation (prompt: acting as a student at Wharton, plan a conference covering the topic of your choice); at the interview, we were tasked with picking one person’s idea, forming the details around the conference, and presenting our proposal to our student observers.

Everyone was cordial and clearly on their best behavior, although I think there are a few strategies that tend to be most successful here (I have several friends at Wharton and have compared my experience to theirs):

1) the mostly silent observer – this saves you from being overly domineering or annoying, which you absolutely do not want – just occasionally offer supportive feedback to your teammates and come off as an all-around good guy; or

2) the leader – this is trickier, as you do NOT want to be too bossy, but there does tend to be one or two people per group that keep an eye on the time and make sure you end up with a deliverable to present by the deadline.

I chose the second route, because I didn’t see my group finishing on time otherwise… you’ll need to judge how your group is progressing and make a game-time decision. My advice is that first and foremost, this is a character test: do not be cocky, do not dominate the conversation, do not promote only your own ideas, etc. Common sense will save the day here. And, for what it’s worth, I did very little prep on the prompt – all you need is a ~1 minute pitch, and if it sounds too rehearsed you will be labeled as the annoying candidate in your group (mine definitely had one). You’ll also need a ~20 second intro (undergrad school, current job, city, etc). Go early and make friends in the waiting room; always good to have allies of course. My one-on-one with the second-year was very laid back. He asked me what I felt my role was in the group and to evaluate the group’s performance. Then he mostly left it to me to ask a couple of questions, some small talk, and I was on my way. Very cool and very classically Wharton, in my view.

My HCM interview with June Kinney was very conversational – we spoke primarily about my career goals and experience at work thus far. I think June just wants to ensure that you’ve put some thought into why you’re getting an MBA, why Wharton, and why HCM – career placement is very, very big here and you should have an idea of where you want to go and how to get there. Also a lot of small talk here – remember Penn is a social place and your EQ matters as well! Don’t be thrown off by questions about what you do for fun, what your family is like, etc. June is wonderful and I genuinely enjoyed the conversation.

I was initially worried I may have been somewhat bossy during the group interview…but all in all, felt pretty good about the day. I was accepted with a scholarship.

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