I opted to do my Team-Based Discussion (TBD) and interview in London with a member of the Admissions office.
It was a benefit to have been through the same process last year so I knew what to expect. And, my group being European instead of American meant that I felt more comfortable in my skin. The TBD on campus was definitely more intense and aggressive …or maybe I was just a lot more nervous last time.
My team consisted of four other applicants (five of us in total, two male, three female). It was a diverse group which I tried to inspire with enthusiasm and drive – the chemistry was OK but not amazing.
I was first to give my introduction and suggestion for a project. I spent 1-2 hours preparing this, but mainly so I had a lot of data to back it up in case everyone liked my idea.
Everyone had clearly spent more than an hour researching their introduction and it took a while to flesh out a workable idea. We chose to pursue another person’s idea which meant the discussion quickly moved away from my chosen topic, so it was good not to be too attached to it.
The conversation moved naturally and politely from person to person. I was conscious that I should not be too silent or too vocal, but it never felt strained to jump in with an idea, some data point relevant to the discussion or even just to say “that’s a great idea, X”.
As more than one person was keeping time and also reminding the team of the main deliverables, I chose to step up once or twice to give a recap of the situation and prioritise our next steps. Consequently, we ended up with a detailed conclusion which I presented on the whiteboard (there was a lot of flexibility on how to present our idea).
The Admissions Director was a lot more strict with time than when I interviewed on campus. Furthermore, my previous experience didn’t involve a formal presentation of our conclusion, whereas it was required this time around.
My main tips are to be prepared for your introduction, and have a lot of data about the prompt so you can throw in facts and figures to support you case. Most importantly, you need to be calm, relaxed and able to change direction quickly.
My one-on-one interview was also more polished and I ended up having a great conversation (again, strictly keep within 10 minutes).
The main questions asked:
- [Country where I’m currently based] must be an interesting place. Was this always part of your plan?
- What is your main motivation for the MBA/Wharton?
- What would you like me to remember from this interview?
- Any questions for me? [I asked about Dean Garrett’s influence and any action points since he was instilled, as well as about specific entrepreneurship and social impact tracks/courses]
- Any final comments?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t asked how I thought the TBD went (this was definitely the first question last time). I made a comment about it being quite lively but not as much as in Philly (my interviewer observed they are always different and depend a lot on the location).
I definitely came out feeling a lot more confident than last time. Keeping my fingers crossed for good news on 16 December!