Wharton To Add New Novel Admit Test

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by John A. Byrne on

Wharton's Anthony Penna says it is "98% confirmed" that Wharton will add a team-based discussion to this year's application

In the wake of major changes in the way Harvard Business School evaluates applicants to its MBA program, Wharton now plans to add a significant and innovative change to its application process.

Anthony Penna, Wharton’s associate director of admissions and financial aid, told a group of about 150 people at the Harvard Club in San Francisco that it is “98% confirmed” that Wharton will make a team-based discussion among applicants a new part of its admissions process. The change occurs just as Wharton rolls out a newly revamped MBA curriculum this fall that offers students greater customization of their MBA education based on their earlier education and work experience.

“Not only are we innovating in the classroom, but we are innovating in the way we select candidates,” he said, according to a transcript of the meeting obtained by Poets&Quants. “We are rolling out team-based discussions as part of our application process…Because Wharton is so team-focused we want to see how you interact with people…We’re 98% confirmed, but since we are all friends here…”

Columbia Business School's Christina Shelby at the San Francisco event

Penna made the remarks in San Francisco at an admissions event on June 12. Held at the University Club, the event featured a panel discussion by admissions officials from Wharton, Stanford, Harvard, Tuck, Columbia and UC-Berkeley.


Though Wharton has already posted its new essay questions and deadlines for the 2012-2013 application season, it has yet to officially confirm the new change. The additional test apparently would only be given to applicants who get past the initial admissions review and have been invited to an interview.

As reported earlier, Wharton was actively considering the change after a pilot test of the new process for a few third round MBA candidates earlier this year.

The test involved inviting groups of six third round candidates to campus for a recreation of an interactive discussion in an MBA classroom. In all, some 30 third round applicants were involved in the labor-intensive evaluation process. The test informed some of Wharton’s third round decisions, which were released in early May.

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Air Time - Comments
  • Monsieur nuclear option

    Christina Shelby, yum!

  • JohnAByrne

    Wharton is a great business school, one of the best in the world.

  • smrithi

    Dear John,

    I found this article in one of your earlier posts related to Wharton!
    When I clicked the link, “each hired three or more Wharton MBA grads”, a pdf opens with the employer list. But read the logo in the pdf, it says empoyers instead of employers. Is wharton that bad given its poor quality of teaching? I still have the feeling Wharton is a great school. What is your opinion John?



  • miltonfriedman

    I’m curious how this will work for applicants that are in remote locations…if they will be expected to come to campus to participate.

  • andrew

    Something’s happened to the website, poetsandquants.com  The font looks too small and the web page look very weird. Is there a problem?

  • Smi_josepha

    It’s not that novel.  Indian  bschools have been doing it for decades.

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