Wharton’s interview invitations are out and some of you are lucky enough to be facing Wharton’s innovative Team-Based Discussion, also known as the TBD. Personally, I consider this evaluation method an excellent idea, as much of business school life consists of team-based discussion; it was certainly a big part of my life at Sloan.
Because group evaluation is fairly unusual in the admissions process, interviewees are no doubt nervous about it.
So, how should you handle yourself during this discussion in a way that appeals to Wharton? Here’s some advice.
1. Don’t be confrontational. This is not a presidential candidate debate. In a business school classroom or project group, participants in discussions tend to build on one another’s comments, not cut each other down. These are very smart people, so a show of respect is warranted and disagreements should be handled gracefully.
2. Don’t hog the conversation. Like other teaching assistants at Sloan who regularly scored students on their participation in class, I graded based on the quality of their comments and what they added to the discussion, not on the quantity of their comments. Chatter is not appreciated in business school conversations; thoughtful points and succinct comments are, and no doubt the same will be true of these Wharton sessions.
3. Keep it real. This year’s Wharton prompt is a fairly practical one about planning a one-day conference. Prepare to discuss existing clubs and conferences, and be ready to plan something new that will contribute to the Wharton community. Also, be ready to support your comments with examples from your own background – either what you’ve experienced firsthand, or what you’ve observed up close.
By R. Todd King an MIT MBA, who has worked with MBA applicants since 2001. Todd can help you make the most of your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.