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Wharton Interview Questions & Report: Round 2 / Second-Year Student / On-Campus

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Everyone knows Wharton uses the “Team-Based Discussion” (TBD) format for their interviews, so if you are invited to interview you will be given a prompt with some deliverables that you *should* prepare some thoughts/answers to before arriving. No need to do extensive research, but be able to justify your ideas. At least this year they permit you to bring in notes, which again takes some pressure off. They are less concerned about what you say versus how you say it while interacting with the other members of your interview group. I scheduled my interview first thing in the morning (1.5 hour time slot) and signed up for the faculty lecture over lunch followed by a campus tour.

They will have you wait in the lobby of their MBA admissions office and congregate with the others signed up for the same time slot (I think they have a least 3 groups of 6 candidates interviewing during each time slot). The first 45 minutes of the 1.5 hour time slot is for the TBD, which includes 10 minutes for the two second-year students facilitating/observing to literally read off the prompt and provide instruction. As you’ve read, you are given 35 minutes to discuss the prompt with your team members, which includes an intro about yourself, highlighting your proposal, debating, reconciling, and presenting the idea to the second-year students. Just don’t talk over anyone, get unnecessarily passionate about the fictitious scenario, and you’ll be fine.

My guess is that it’s a classic case of not being able to really stand out, but certainly able to shoot yourself in the foot. Don’t give them any reason to ding you and you’re golden. Just be cognizant of the time, follow the instructions of the second-year observers, and make sure you provide a proposal that addresses all of the deliverables. After the time is up, you will all go back to the lobby where each second-year student will take half of the group (one person at a time) for a quick 10-15 minute 1:1 interview.

Again reading from a script, they ask you two questions:

  • Why an MBA?
  • Why Wharton?
  • Any questions for me?

Wharton interviews are later in the application cycle so you should have polished answers to these questions by now. All in all, the interview was pretty painless, and although I didn’t get the vibe that the second-year students at Wharton were quite as invested in the process as the Booth students who interview, they were still interested in what you had to say to help shape the class and the future Wharton brand.

Faculty Lunch Lecture:
We were not able to sit in on a class due to “midterms.” That was extremely disappointing because I don’t think we’re going to get a chance to see a class now that coronavirus has the country in its grip, and that would also require another flight out to Philly. Nevertheless, having a faculty member talk to us about his real estate course was at least interesting to listen to over lunch. I wouldn’t say it swayed me one way or another about the quality of faculty or education.

Campus Tour:
I appreciate the students who took us all on tours after breaking us up into more manageable groups, but it was pretty loose and unorganized. Our guide kept asking us if we’d seen X or Y yet. Some had, some hadn’t, and there weren’t really coordinated places to take us. The one thing that did disappoint me was the integration of the MBA program with the rest of the undergrads. Hundreds of students 10 years younger than me in the same building wasn’t so appealing, not to mention the proximity to the rest of UPenn’s campus wasn’t a plus in my eyes (getting bugged by people every 20 feet to sign up for their club or sign a petition, etc.). Oh, well. It’s a highly ranked school and I’d probably be willing to put up with it if it was the best school I got into.

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