I logged into Zoom about 10 minutes before the interview and had some free time to chat with the five other students in my TBD group. I wore a suit and tie. One guy wore a button up with blazer. The women wore business formal. One guy was in his Navy working uniform. We got to know each other a bit, and then two second-year students introduced themselves and had us introduce ourselves in a designated order. They then read the prompt for the TBD, and we got busy. Each person gave his or her one-minute pitch, and then it was off to the races. We noticed two common trends across the six of us, so we spent our half hour combining the best of our ideas into a coherent presentation.
My idea got “picked” as the focal point for our answer, but I was intentional about pulling in ideas from my peers and collaborating rather than dominating. Fortunately, no one in the group dominated, and we worked well together to come up with our presentation. At the end, each of us presented a component of our idea, and we were done. The interviewers then designated who would interview whom for the 10-minute one-on-one interviews via a separate Zoom link. I connected no problem, and was asked “Why Wharton?” . . . which was basically my first essay in the application itself. She gave me time to ask questions, which I took advantage of to ask about a couple clubs and the student experience. I’d say the single question was more application-based and the TBD was inherently behavioral.
I though the interview was surprisingly fun and engaging. I enjoyed working with my fellow applicants and fought my nerves decently well. You do have to be intentional about seizing your moment to speak, but balance against being overbearing. I was surprised that the other students were so good at using one another’s first names, some of which I struggled to pronounce, so I’d recommend connecting early and taking some notes on your peers while they speak so you can keep their ideas straight.
Overall, it’s clear that Wharton attracts strong talent. My peer group in the TBD was impressive. I was surprised that my one-on-one only included one formal question and the rest of the time was free for asking questions. I was not surprised that the TBD was a bit nerve wracking and contrived. People were clearly striving to be collaborative. I’d conclude that the TBD is a good exercise, despite being a bit contrived, and I’m thankful that my group worked well together.