The prompt for the Wharton School’s Team-Based Discussion (TBD) for the 2021-2022 MBA admissions season is below. The exercise focuses on Wharton Interactive, a new initiative in online, game-based learning. The prompt is:
“A few weeks ago Wharton announced the official launch of Wharton Interactive, a venture dedicated to transforming teaching through interactive games and simulations. Wharton Interactive has a unique team of interactive fiction writers, pedagogy experts, game designers, and programmers. This venture is the first major effort by any university to create a scalable and fully automated platform built on simulations, interactivity, and games with a foundation in the latest pedagogical research.
The current offerings through Wharton Interactive are called Alternate Reality Courses (ARCs). ARCs combine aspects of simulations and games with class-based instruction, and create engaging learning experiences based on interactive stories while providing personalized guidance as learners progress. In an ARC, learners make decisions just as they would in real life, through simulated emails, Zoom calls, data analysis, presentations, and more. The ARC reacts to their choices, allowing learners to practice and build skills in a place where failure isn’t critical — so that they can transfer successes from the course to the real world.
For the purpose of this discussion, you and a few of your classmates have been invited by Wharton Interactive to be part of a team tasked with creating the next ARC course to be introduced into the MBA curriculum. As a team, decide on the following:
- The name of your course and the Wharton department in which it belongs
- An overview of the business problem and/or scenario of the ARC game
- Two learning objectives (knowledge you will gain in the ARC)
- Two practice objectives (specific experiences you will encounter in the ARC, so that when you see them in the real world, you will know what to do)”
The TBDs are once again virtual this year, but an online team discussion shouldn’t be uncharted territory for most applicants given the ongoing pandemic. As usual, the TBD requires applicants to do their homework and show up at their session with some tangible thoughts on how to proceed. One way to approach this year’s prompt would be to think of it in several steps:
Step 1: Reflect
Consider the key skills MBA candidates want to learn through the program, so as to help establish the two educational goals of your ARC. It will likely help to reflect on your own background, particularly challenges that you have encountered in your own career. Certain experiences have perhaps exposed knowledge gaps that you and other students would likely have.
Step 2: Research
Learn all you can about Wharton Interactive and ARCs. Research Wharton’s curricular offerings to derive inspiration for a business problem or learning objective, or to see where your ideas could fit. It may also be beneficial to review the latest educational gaming tech and how the ARC format itself informs learning.
Step 3: Design
Based on the information gathered in the first two steps, do some brainstorming to come up with at least two features for your ARC. Develop some ideas for real world experiences to portray in the game. Wharton does ask for two learning objectives and two practice objectives, so ensure you have enough and that they are connected.
Of course, beyond the specifics of this year’s TBD prompt, it is important to understand the basic mechanics of the TBD and to know how you might handle the different sorts of team members you may encounter (from the talkers to the timid). Applicants can tune into our podcast episode on the Team-Based Discussion because we break down the format and advise on how to perform well.
Stay tuned for another podcast episode dedicated specifically to the 2021-2022 Wharton TBD prompt. And, as always, remember that the Clear Admit Interview Archive also offers a repository of applicant-submitted details about the interview process.