A UPenn / Wharton MBA interview questions and report were submitted to Clear Admit by a Round 1 applicant. Good luck to them!
Received an invite 5-6 weeks after applying/R1 deadline and provided 1-2 weeks to schedule a day/time slot for the TBD. Scheduled on campus as it was the only east coast location available. Optional programming/no registration required for: lunch with students, campus tour, class visit, MBA pub. Bustling admissions room in Philly. I arrived and did the campus tour, visited a professor I knew, and met with a 2nd year MBA for coffee at Pret at Huntsman Hall. Icebreaking with applicants in the admissions room where pens/mints were available. Agenda was handed out in a folder as well and resume drop was mandatory upon arrival. TBDs ran 3-4 sessions per day in Philly and 3-4 rooms per session.
Wharton’s Team Based Discussion
My TBD group included 5 other applicants who were called by the same 2nd year MBA and ushered into a small room with a window, timer, whiteboard. Our name tags were visible and the table had water bottles, pens, paper, and name panels. We were encouraged to take notes then the TBD prompt was read by a 2nd year MBA (two were in the room) observing. We confirmed we understood the prompt and proceeded to introduce ourselves (not our idea) by name, origin/location, job, and intended major. We then were instructed to present our ideas within sixty seconds. All of us did this in 45-75 seconds and nodded heads agreeing with everyone else’s idea. The timer began and we decided to outline how to spend our time best (e.g., objective for 5min, programming for 5min, travel/logistics for 5min) and left 5min to present. The prompt required us to design a retreat. Surprisingly, four out of six students had wacky ideas. Mine was selected and I tried to mesh it with other students’ ideas. I didn’t talk much in the beginning and tried to contribute selectively. Maybe I should’ve been more strong handed in speaking out since my idea was selected. Some students said wacky things and it was tough to formulate a response, so sometimes silence ensues. I would practice responses to ideas that you disagree with and transition phrases.
We gathered our ideas, mission, metrics for success and ultimately presented with just enough time left (4-5min). I spoke for 30 seconds tops. One student in particular was overbearing and seemed out of touch with reality.
We then were escorted from the room and I gathered us into a circle to congratulate everybody. Everyone was nervous and uptight and unreasonably optimistic about our performance it appeared. One by one we were called by either one of the MBAs observing for our 1 on 1 interview.
The interview was timed 10 min but I heard others weren’t timed. I was asked why Wharton / why mba and had some points I wanted to convey without sounding rehearsed. I had half the time to ask the 2nd year MBA questions. I let it flow naturally. I was not asked self awareness questions re TBD.
Once the interview ended, I could’ve left (or continued to class visit, lunch with other students, campus tour, MBA pub, etc depending on time slot), but stayed to support my other teammates. I waited as they came/went and tried to calm their nerves by insisting it was just smooth and simple conversation. I urged our group to keep in touch during the intense admissions process.
Overall, no surprises and no curve balls. The admissions folks seemed very busy and almost understaffed at times but they were extremely competent, polite, and eager to help. There is plenty of time during the day to meet with students or professors you may already know at the school. I’d encourage that for sure.
Preparing for your UPenn Wharton MBA Admissions Interview? Check out Clear Admit’s other resources:
- Clear Admit The Wharton School Interview Guide: Strategic tips for approaching Wharton’s interview questions, and more.
- Interview Archive: More firsthand accounts from Wharton MBA applicants themselves
- Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview: Team-based discussion
- Podcast Episode 23: 5 Most Common MBA Interview Questions You Need to Ace