How to Ace Your Team Based Interview [4 Tips for the Big Day]

Learn more about Team Based Interviews!

The key to a good TBD is balancing what to say, how much to say and when to say it.

Last week we shared our tips for preparing for Team Based Interviews. Today we’re going to move forward and offer 4 tips for acing the interview itself:

1. Don’t be confrontational. This is not a debate in which you’re trying to score points. It’s not Crossfire. It’s not a verbal battle. It’s a simulation of what you may encounter in a b-school classroom or group project, and so it’s that vibe and model that you’ll want to emulate. Interviewees should build on one another’s points, contributing to the conversation; they shouldn’t cut each other down with rude or judgmental remarks. Of course you’re allowed to disagree, and you should be persuasive and enthusiastic about your positions, but do so with respect and grace.

2. Think quality, not quantity. Participants are judged on the quality – and not the quantity – of their comments. You should add to the conversation, but certainly not dominate it. Refrain from speaking for the sake of being heard. Thoughtful and succinct comments are appreciated; chatter is not.

Don’t let this tip backfire on you! Qualitative comments are a must, so don’t hold back from speaking because you’re worried that your contributions won’t hit the mark. You need to find a balance – don’t blab on incessantly, but don’t be too shy to open your mouth either. You’re there to contribute; make sure you do!

3. Keep it real. While many of the topics or prompts given may lead you to a world of theoretical thought, you need to work to push through the theory to arrive at concrete points that are supported with evidence from your own firsthand experiences. Business schools are interested in students who have paid attention to their life stories and who are able to draw deep understanding and practical results from them.

4. Keep notes to a minimum. Just as a treatise of pre-interview notes will distract you from the interview action (as we mentioned in last week’s article), so will scribbling notes furiously during the interview. You definitely want to have a pen and clipboard or a tablet available if you need to quickly jot something down, but remember – this is a group discussion and you want to keep the flow of the conversation natural. Taking notes and then reading your monologue will certainly disrupt that flow.

Good luck!

Have a TBD Coming Up? Practice with the pros before your big day! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR A MOCK WHARTON TBD!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

• Get Ready, Get Set, and ACE that Team Interview Challenge!
• Four Tips for the Wharton Interview
Wharton B-Scool Zone

4 Tips for Team Interviews

Click here for more TBD tips

Win an Academy Award for your interview performance

Since so much of b-school life and learning includes team discussions, the adcom needed a tool for assessing how applicants will fit in the team-based discussion culture of their programs. Thus, the Team-Based Discussion (TBD) was born.

In team-based interviews, applicants need to use a different set of skills than they use during traditional, individual interviews. Personal interviews require one-on-one presentation, interpersonal skills, and self-awareness, while team interviews require critical thinking, listening, persuasion, and leadership.

Here are four to-do’s to help you win an Academy Award for your performance in an interview:

1. Review school material. This includes the specific materials that the school provides prior to the interview, as well as all other material about the program. As with an individual interview, you need to know the school well – its mission, curriculum, teaching style, etc. Review the school’s website and speak with current students and recent grads so you get a clear picture of what it’s like to be a student at B-School X.

2. Read Case in Point. This is an excellent book by Marc Consentino that will teach you how to state your position during team-based interviews, and then clearly and succinctly support your position.

3. Role-play. Use family, friends, colleagues, and consultants at Accepted.com to role-play with you. The more in-the-know your mock interviewer and peers are, the better idea you’ll get of how the interview will run on the big day.

4. Take notes. You are allowed to bring notes to the interview, and while you don’t want to read off a piece of paper or even refer to it frequently, it may help you feel more confident knowing that some of your key points are written down in case you need them. You never know how performance anxiety may set in, and if your brain freezes and you completely forget your plan, you’ll be glad you jotted some ideas down beforehand.

TIP: Don’t bring a 400-page stack of papers! You don’t want to spend the whole time shuffling through your notes, making noise and ignoring your co-interviewees while they speak. Paperless notes on a tablet may reduce the shuffle, but they won’t reduce the distraction – keep paperless notes to a minimum as well.

Coming up next: 4 Tips for the Interview Itself  

Have a TBD Coming Up? Practice with the pros before your big day! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR A MOCK WHARTON TBD!
Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy
Related Resources:

How to Ace Your MBA Interviews
7 Tips for MBA Interview Prep
The 10 Commandments of MBA Interviews

Michigan Ross Receives $20M Gift to Launch Leadership Center

Visit our Michigan Ross zone page for all things Michigan Ross!Last week, Michigan Ross received a $20 million gift from former General Mills CEO Stephen W. Sanger and his wife, Karen Sanger. The money will go towards the construction of the Sanger Leadership Center. According to the Ross press release, “The Sanger Leadership Center will incorporate and expand on the current activities of the Ross Leadership Initiative – including the annual Impact Challenge and Crisis Challenge, Legacy Lab, Story Lab, skills-based workshops, and a variety of learning communities — as well as the Leaders Academy, where students create, launch and lead actual businesses.”

Stephen W. Sanger received his MBA from Michigan in 1970, joined General Mills in 1974, and then later became CEO of the giant food company. During his tenure, GM sales more than doubled; earnings and market capitalization tripled.

Ross associate dean and faculty director of the Sanger Leadership Center, Scott DeRue, says of the gift: “It will help us create even more high-impact, high-touch leadership development experiences that students can’t get anywhere else but Ross. I envision a future where 50,000 Michigan Ross students – past, present, and future – lead positive change in themselves and around the world. The creation of the Sanger Leadership Center and the generous gift from the Sangers mark a major leap forward in achieving this important vision. It’s an incredible addition to our leadership initiatives, and I am proud to be a part of this school and university at such an exciting time.”

Click here to download our free report on how to select the right MBA program.

 

Accepted.com: The Premier Admissions Consultancy

Related Resources:

Leadership in Admissions
Michigan Ross MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines
An Interview with Anne Perigo of University of Michigan’s Master of Entrepreneurship Program

QS Global TopMBA Rankings 2014

TopMBA’s new 2014/2015 global report ranks business programs according to geographic location based on surveys completed by 5,669 actively-hiring MBA employers and 7,187 academics in the field of business and management. (See more about the methodology here.)

Top 20 B-Schools in North America

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Some highlights:

•  The top 10 remained virtually the same this year as last, with two rather large exceptions: Ross and Stern entered the top 10 scene from 12th place to 8th place for Ross and 12th place to 10th place for Stern. Losing top 10 stature this year were Duke Fuqua which fell from 10th to 13th place and Toronto Rotman which fell from 8th to 14th.

•  There were three newcomers to the top 10 this year – NYU Stern (see above), Texas McCombs (29th last year to 19th this year), and BU School of Management (24th to 20th). HEC Montreal fell from the top 20 (16th place last year to 22nd this year), as did York Schulich (13th to 28th) and Queen’s School of Business (18th to 31st).

•  Big jumpers further down in the rankings include USC Marshall (42nd to 23rd), UC Irvine Merage (51st to 33rd), UC Davis (54th to 36th), Michigan State Broad (71st to 38th), UC San Diego Rady (61st to 40th), Ohio State Fisher (60th to 42nd), UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management (83rd to 45th), Washington Olin (83rd to 47th), and Minnesota Carlson (87th to 49th).

•  Big droppers include UVA Darden (28th to 37th), University of Miami School of Business Administration (32nd to 77th), Rutgers Business School (67th to 82nd), and Vanderbilt Owen (37th to 86th).

Top 20 B-Schools in Europe

Learn how to make the rankings work for you and not against you!Some highlights:

•  HEC Paris jumped from 10th place last year to 4th place this year and Cambridge Judge jumped from 13th to 10th place; otherwise, the top 10 in Europe remain pretty much the same. Copenhagen fell from the top 10, from 9th place last year to 12th place this year.

•  New to the top 20 this year are ESSEC (29th place to 16th place), Manchester Bossiness School (27th to 14th place), and European Business School (21st to 19th). Trinity MBA in Dublin fell from the top 20, from 12th place to 21st

•  UK programs dominate the 65 schools on the European list with 26 programs represented. This is followed by France (9), Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Germany (4), the Netherlands (4), Italy (3), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Greece (2), Finland (1), Portugal (1), Turkey (1), and Belgium (1).

You can download the full report here.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?

Team-Based Discussion Interviews

Check out our Wharton Zone for info, tips, stats and more.

Make your goal the team’s success, not its adoption of your idea.

Wharton and Ross initiated a new MBA interview format, the team-based discussion (TBD). This type of interview brings a group of applicants together in person to work through a problem together as an organizational team does. This team activity is followed by a short one-to-one talk with an adcom representative (either a second-year student or an adcom member). It is now part of Wharton’s regular mode for interviews. At Ross, it’s not required, and they use traditional methods for their evaluative interviews.

Why adcoms use this method:

• Some adcoms have found traditional interview modes increasingly ineffective as they feel that candidates over-prepare and over-strategize for interviews, thus undercutting authenticity.

• The adcoms want to see the candidates in team action, since students’ success in the program (and in their future career) will rest in part on their teamwork and interpersonal skills.

• This approach gives the adcom insight into the applicants that no other application component provides – how they actually respond to people and situations in real time.

• The post-activity discussion shows your ability to self-reflect and analyze your own role and performance – qualities the adcom values.

Process:

Wharton – When you receive an invitation to interview, you’ll go online and select a time and date to attend a 5- or 6-member, approximately 45-minute TBD. Wharton will send you a prompt, which is the topic for the team activity; Wharton advises spending about an hour preparing with this prompt. In the TBD, each person will have a minute to articulate his own idea on the topic, and then the team will work together toward a group decision. After the TBD, you will meet individually with one of the two evaluators for 10-15 minutes to discuss your thoughts on how it went. You and the evaluator may discuss other topics as well.

Ross – Ross sends no prompt. Rather, it’s more like a team-building activity. You’ll receive the invitation to participate when you receive your regular interview invite, and can accept or decline. If you accept, you’ll meet in a group of 4-6. The team is given 2 words, and they first prepare individual presentations connecting these words (10 minutes for this portion). Then the group receives additional random words, and they have 20 minutes to prepare a team presentation that uses the words to address a problem and articulate a solution. The individuals in the team, not the team as a whole, are evaluated either by second-year students or adcom members, who also interview them separately afterward.

Benefits and pitfalls for applicants:

• Benefit: You can showcase your interpersonal, team, and leadership skills more vividly than any essay or individual interview could portray.

• Benefit: You can get a real flavor of the programs’ teamwork dynamic.

• Benefit: You can enjoy meeting peers and potential classmates.

• Drawback: You have less control, as you have to assess and respond to the group dynamics instantly; there is no margin for error.

• Drawback: Logistically it’s complex – always harder to get a group together.

• Drawback: While the adcoms think it gives them a lens on you as a team player, in “real life” you usually have some time to adapt to a new team, and your true teamwork abilities will come out over time as you respond, whereas here there’s no time to grow and adapt with the team, so it’s a somewhat artificial setup.

How to make this type of interview work for you (this is in addition to all the common sense advice for good MBA interviews):

• Review Accepted.com’s tips for this interview format.

• For Wharton, prepare and practice your one-minute presentation.

• For Ross, do the word activity with yourself or a friend, to get used to it.

• Think about your inclinations, behaviors, feelings, and approaches when working in a team or group setting, and also ask a colleague or two for some objective feedback. You shouldn’t change your natural approach, but you can certainly play to your strengths and minimize negative tendencies.

• Read online about other applicants’ experiences with the group interview.

•Make your goal the team’s success and ability to complete the assigned task, not its adoption of your idea.

[NOTE: This post is part of a series about MBA interview formats, click here to check out the rest of the posts]

Have a TBD Coming Up? Practice with the pros before your big day! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR A MOCK WHARTON TBD!

Cindy Tokumitsu By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

MBA Interview Formats Series
• Seven Tips for MBA Interview Prep
• How to Prep for Your MBA Interviews