With the emerging trend of group interviews at schools like Wharton, applicants need to understand that team interviews require a different set of skills than individual interviews. I liken individual interviews to blind dating. With individual interviews and blind dating, both parties are trying to figure out if they want to spend more time together. Personality, passion and concise, yet interesting stories will pique the interest of the admissions committee. Group interviews and activities reflect the skills you will learn in an MBA case class (example of HBS case classroom). You will be asked to take a stand and support your position.
Prior to a team/case-based interview I recommend:
- Review the materials the school offered you prior to the interview.
- Read Marc Consentino’s Case in Point and use the material in the book to help you build frameworks that support your theory.
- Use friends, family and colleagues as well as our consultants at Accepted.com to role-play with you.
During the interview I recommend that you:
- Support your point.
- Build on other applicants’ ideas if they support your theory.
- Use evidence to refute (without being confrontational) other applicants’ points if they don’t support your point.
- Don’t take over the conversation, but engage others and persuade them toward your opinion.
- Base your comments on your expertise. (“When I was working at XYZ company, we had a similar situation…)
Both types of interviews measure skills that are equally necessary to achieve success at school. Team interviews require critical thinking, listening, persuasion, and leadership. Personal interviews require one-on-one presentation and interpersonal skills as well as self-awareness.
By Natalie Grinblatt Epstein, an accomplished Accepted.com consultant/editor (since 2008) and entrepreneur. Natalie is a former MBA Admissions Dean and Director at Ross, Johnson, and Carey.