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

With the COVID-19 impacting interviews across schools, I wasn’t sure if Wharton was going to cancel the on-campus interviews, especially after hearing that the Tokyo sessions were cancelled, but I was able to get to campus and participate in the other events as well.

Scheduling
I scheduled for the 3:30 pm time slot so I could participate in the events (a mock lecture with lunch and a campus tour) beforehand and have some time before the TBD to do last-minute prep.

Pre-Interview Events
I enjoyed the mock lecture and the campus tour, but there were many people, so I couldn’t really hear the tour guide. That didn’t really matter though, because I was more focused on meeting other people.

There was about an hour after the tour and before my TBD. I think there was a lounge people could go to, but I was in the restroom when the announcement was made, so I didn’t know and just sat on one of the benches in the hallway outside the admissions office.

TBD
I was in a group of six people in a pretty small room. One of the female candidates I talked to quite a bit was in my group, which made me feel a little bit better. We introduced ourselves quickly and the two second-year student observers/facilitators read the instructions. Then it was our turn. The timer on the table was tiny and I couldn’t see it at all, so I didn’t/couldn’t keep track of time. Overall, the discussion went well, even though I’m not sure I really liked the program we came up with.

Everyone was very cordial and nice during the discussion, so it was pretty easy to talk. I will say that though everyone complimented every idea discussed (“that’s a great idea!”), which was a little funny to me, I think I was the only one who shared some concerns about some of the ideas. I didn’t fight back much though, and went with the flow.

We spent some time dividing up the presentation, which meant we didn’t have time to rehearse. In my mind, the presentation was not that great, but I’m not sure if it can be flawless. I was also the last one to talk and did not know how much time we had left. The timer was not facing me and I freaked out a little bit. Because I thought we were out of time, I wrapped up pretty quickly, but it turned out we had a minute left. I hope that wasn’t too big of a minus.

One-on-One
I was the first one to be called for the one-on-one. The interviewer started a timer on her phone and asked me why MBA and why Wharton at the same time. So I first explained my career goal a little bit and then answered the questions. When I was done, the interviewer said we have 3 minutes left and if I had any questions for her. I asked a few questions I prepared and the 10 minutes was over. The interviewer looked at me with a blank face the whole time I was talking, but I was somewhat ready for that based on the other reviews I read. I tried to smile, but I’m not sure if I did or not. I saw other interviewers walking back to the admissions office with the candidates and they were very friendly, so I don’t think everyone was as cold as my interviewer.

Interview Prep
I spent a lot of time researching and preparing my one-minute speech. One of my friends at Wharton told me that she used a TBD prep service and thought it was helpful. I looked into it and found several admissions consulting firms offering mock TBD sessions, ranging from less than $200 to $600. By the time I was ready to have a mock TBD, most of the slots were filled. I was also not sure if I wanted to pay $600 for this. I wanted to see if I could find other candidates who wanted to do a mock, but wasn’t successful. I ended up signing up for the cheapest one and I’m glad I did it. I was more nervous than I thought I would be and was impacted by some of the other candidates’ facial expressions. I don’t think you need to pay for this though, if you can find other candidates to practice with. Because I spent too much time preparing for my speech and one-on-one, I started looking for mock TBDs pretty late and I think that’s why I couldn’t really find anyone who wanted to do a mock. My interview date was also one of the last ones, so that did not help either.

Conclusion
It’s hard to tell if I did well or not, because I’m not sure exactly how they evaluate the TBD. I’m just happy that I didn’t stutter with my one-minute speech and that I didn’t panic too much. I don’t have my decision yet, so I’m not sure if I can offer any advice, but I think all you can do is be nice and hope for the best. Good luck!

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Posted in: Interview Questions & Reports

Schools: UPenn / Wharton

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