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Wharton MBA Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Second-year student / On-Campus

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The Wharton Team-Based Discussion

The dreaded TBD! For those coming in blind, Wharton uses a team-based discussion (TBD) to evaluate you. They give you a prompt with your interview invite (something pretty generic that anyone could do, with no right answer) then you go into interview day with 5 other people, present your idea, then the 6 of you discuss and have to come up with a proposal/presentation. You have 5 minutes to present. You have a total of 35 minutes for the TBD. Two (in my case) 2nd yr students will be watching the entire time. After, you have a 10 minute one-on-one interview debrief with one of the students.

I was pretty deep into the interview-hole by this point (I had three MBA interviews in the pocket already and am expecting this to be my last one), and of course, this one is the “weirdest” one.

The first thing I notice is that Wharton really packed a lot of people to interviews on the day that I went. I think my day was the last or one-of-the-last for Round 2.

Everyone says to get there early so you can create a rapport with your potential group members, but on my day there were so many people there that how would you even know who could possibly be in your group? I still recommend getting there early so you’re not stressing out about being late and I always think it’s good to meet your potential classmates.

About 15 minutes before your TBD, you gather in the AdCom office and they call out your groups. The two students assigned to you will read the prompt, explain the rules, and then observe.

The TBD itself was… dare I say… pretty fun actually! Our prompt this year (believe it was the same prompt as last year) was to come up with a proposal for a three-day retreat to be taken with your cohort during pre-term. I won’t give away anything wild, but the 6 of us actually had a lot of ideas that overlapped. People did things differently in my group as well – I came in with a sheet of paper, one of my teammates had a notebook where he had written down his ideas, others had seemingly memorized their pitches.

I think our group was fairly unique in that we actually took a little bit of each person’s ideas to create a new pitch. I’ve heard of other groups where one person’s idea is picked and he/she has to present it. I don’t think it “matters” as in it would be a deal-breaker, but (and I’m a bit biased!) I liked the way we did ours 🙂

Hints for the TBD

It can definitely be easy to run out of time – time management is super important here. You have 35 minutes total, 1 minute per person to pitch, and 5 minutes at the end to present. This leaves you 24 minutes to discuss. However, people will go over their minute presentation and your team will need at least a minute or two to get its ducks-in-order, etc. The two observers will not be saying anything at all, so it’s really up to you to make sure you’re ok on time, etc. I was pretty lucky in that our team seemed to really work well together and no one was taking over the conversation/shrinking away/etc, but make sure you’re not one of those people! The big thing: do not be a jerk. Don’t interrupt people, don’t talk over people, don’t insult anyone else’s ideas. Work with your team how you would like your team to work with you. Also relax and have a good time!

The 10 minute one-on-one after was more challenging, IMO, after coming off of the TBD. It was pretty similar to a normal interview, but my interviewer (who was one of the observers of my group) was pretty stone-faced. Luck of the draw or directed by the school? Who knows. I did find some topics on which to connect with, so I felt good about that.


  1. Why MBA and why Wharton specifically?
  2. What are you looking to do post MBA?
  3. Any questions for me?


This interview left a lot of time for questions for the interviewer – I would note that you should have at least 3, preferably 5. I had 4 and felt like I could have used one more. C’est la vie!

Make sure you prepare for the Why Wharton question! I think so many interviewees prepare for the TBD that they kind of skim the one-on-one. This, I’m sure, is very important as well!

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I went during midterms so there were no class visits, though I went to class visits the last time I visited. We had a lecture + lunch as well as a tour of the campus.

All in all, I enjoyed my day at Wharton and got a good feel for the school. My favorite part of the experience was getting to know my potential future classmates.

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