The Virtual Wharton TBD

by Personal MBA Coach, Nov 10, 2020

PMCWhartonVirtual

Wharton TBD interview invitations were released today. If you were lucky enough to receive an invitation, congratulations!

Now comes the harder part – planning for this unique experience. The group interview causes anxiety for many MBA applicants. Candidate apprehension is unfortunately compounded this year by the added complication of a virtual interview.

To help candidates prepare for this unique experience, Personal MBA Coach will be offering à la carte group interview sessions for Wharton (see below for details), providing candidates a unique opportunity to practice this difficult interview. We have former Wharton TBD interviewers to conduct these sessions! You can practice with an interviewer who has evaluated more than 70 applicants at Wharton and knows exactly how to help you ace the TBD. 84% of our interviewees were accepted last year!

While group interviews take additional preparation, with the proper practice and planning they actually can be easier than an individual interview. Personal MBA Coach is here to answer a few of your most pressing questions!

What exactly is the Wharton TBD?

The Wharton TBD (Team Based Discussion) is required for all candidates invited to interview and includes the following three components:

1. Each candidate gives a one-minute introduction to the group, providing an opportunity to get to know one another (this is the first 5 minutes).

2. Introductions are followed by a 35-minute team discussion, during which you should present the results of your discussion to the interviewers. Part of this is delivering your “pitch” and part is the broader team chat.

3. After the group exercise, you will have a brief, individual 1:1 interview to discuss a couple of aspects of your profile and your interest in Wharton.

How should I approach a group interview?

Tip 1. Do not be the loudest one on the screen.

Many candidates attempt to stand out by dominating the conversation. We do not advise this approach. The group interview is a great way for Wharton to assess how a candidate is likely to act in classroom discussions and during group meetings. Admissions committee members are looking for leaders who are able to actively contribute, but they are not interested in someone who will talk over their peers and force their opinions on others.

Tip 2. Do not be a wallflower.

While you do not want to dominate, you also should not be the quietest one on the screen. It is important to ensure that your opinions and voice are heard. This means that you need to strike a delicate (but difficult) balance. This is even more complicated on screen where it is harder to read subtle cues from other participants.

Tip 3. Look for ways to add to an idea as opposed to contradicting it.

You do not have to be the one with the most unique idea or divergent position to stand out. Top leaders collaborate with their teams, and this skill is equally important in the business school classroom. Looking for ways to build off another idea or suggestion can be extremely beneficial and will show the evaluator that you know how to work with a team or a group. Think about where you can add the “and” instead of the “but” or the “or” here.

Tip 4. Respect your peers.

Particularly in the current climate, this should go without saying. Remain open to diverse points of view. Bringing in observations does not mean debunking what others have to say. If you disagree with someone in the group, be respectful and politely add another perspective without being critical or rude.

Tip 5. Do your research and plan ahead.

As with any other interview, adequate preparation is key. Wharton will release the topic in advance, giving candidates the opportunity to prepare for the TBD. Heed this advice and arrive with specific and well-researched talking points. However, also be prepared to pivot as needed.

What advice do you have for virtual interviewing?

To help you prepare for some of the unique challenges of a virtual interview, Personal MBA Coach reached out to a few of the former MBA Admissions Interviewers (including a former Wharton Admissions Director) on our team for their top tips!

1) Look into the camera or webcam, which is often placed higher than the normal vision. In addition, practice your set up with a friend or family member in advance of the interview to make sure the equipment is staged properly and functioning. Finally, be careful when using virtual backgrounds. Depending upon the video capabilities of your system, virtual backgrounds can place a strain on the system and make either the person’s head or the background fade in and out. – MJ, Former Wharton Admissions Director

2) Treat a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview – dress as you would if you were going in person, have a quiet and clean space with good lighting in which to conduct your interview, and of course, be on time! – Julie, Dartmouth Tuck, Former Admissions Interviewer

3) It is crucial to emote a bit more on virtual interviews since you do not have the nonverbal cues you would have in person. Be sure to modulate how quickly you are speaking, pause at the right time, smile and express excitement. While using hand motions can be great, avoid too much movement, which can be even more distracting on virtual interviews. – Karys, Yale SOM, Former Admissions Interviewer

As a Wharton alum, I conduct a limited number of unique TBD practice sessions with my team of former M7 interviewers to help candidates. These sessions, which will begin in early November, will mirror the actual Wharton interview, providing candidates an opportunity to work together with other applicants during a group session. They then will be followed by one-on-one interviews with former M7 MBA interviewers. Each participant will receive our proprietary interview preparation guide and a personal feedback session.

Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been helping candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email [email protected] for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!

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