Wharton Reveals 2 Interview Questions

by John A. Byrne on

“What one talent or strength should a leader rely on most in daily life?”

“If you could teach one thing about innovation to a group of new employees, what would it be?”

The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School is informing this year’s MBA applicants that those are two questions they should be ready to answer if they are invited to interview with the school.

The letter, obtained by Poets&Quants, also provides applicants with more detail on Wharton’s new team-based discussion evaluation method. Applicants who are invited to an admissions interview will automatically be put into the discussion with five or six other applicants.

“The team-based discussion will allow you the opportunity to interact with your fellow applicants through discourse, which will highlight how you approach and analyze specific situations,” according to the letter. “Our hope is that this will give applicants a glimpse into Wharton’s group learning dynamic – which is central to our program. We believe that this type of assessment also serves as a tool to take prospective students ‘off the page’ and allows us to see firsthand the ways in which they can contribute to our community of diverse learners and leaders.”

For Wharton’s Class of 2013, about 2,580 of 6,442 applicants were interviewed. So if the size of the school’s applicant pool is similar, Wharton will have to hold as many as 500 of the new team-based discussions to accommodate the new and novel admissions test.

Wharton says that applicants should plan to spend no more than one hour to prepare for both the interview and the class-like discussion. The off-campus interviews, Wharton reported, will be held in Dubai, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, New Delhi, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

‘A REALLY BAD VERSION OF THE APPRENTICE’

At least one prominent MBA admissions consultant was critical of the Wharton letter. “Sounds like something sent from the Ministry of Fear in terms of its impersonality, global reach,  phony friendliness, and demands,” says Sanford Kreisberg of HBSGuru.com. “In practice, this will come off like a really bad version of  The Apprentice where all the contestants are talking about innovation instead of doing anything.”

The letter follows:

As many of you know, the Admissions office has partnered with the Wharton Innovation group to launch a new evaluation method, the team-based discussion, for the 2012-2013 application cycle. In anticipation of the interview portion of the process, we have prepared the following to provide further insight into this new format. Please Note: you must be invited to interview in order to take part in the next phase of the process.

STRUCTURE

If you are invited to interview, you will participate in a team-based discussion with 5-6 other applicants during your scheduled session. The team-based discussion will allow you the opportunity to interact with your fellow applicants through discourse, which will highlight how you approach and analyze specific situations.

Our hope is that this will give applicants a glimpse into Wharton’s group learning dynamic – which is central to our program. We believe that this type of assessment also serves as a tool to take prospective students ‘off the page’ and allows us to see firsthand the ways in which they can contribute to our community of diverse learners and leaders.

PROCESS

Interviews will be conducted both on campus and in select international locations. On campus interviews are conducted by Admissions Fellows, a select group of trained second-year students, while off-campus are facilitated by Admissions staff members. The off-campus interviews will be held in Dubai, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, New Delhi, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.

You will be able to schedule your interview through your Wharton account once you are invited to do so via email. All applicants will have the option of interviewing on Wharton’s campus or in one of our select major cities around the world. While there are two options and no one way is preferred over another, we do encourage invited candidates to interview on campus to get a sense of our community and culture. While on campus, candidates will have the opportunity to take part in our campus visit program by attending a class, having lunch with students and experiencing the MBA community in action. We will not be able to accomodate all requests for a specific location, so we encourage all invited candidates to register for a slot as soon as possible.

Once you have successfully registered for your interview, you will then receive a series of follow-up emails, detailing logistics and next steps regarding the session.

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  • Dreamer

    I did not mean that State schools are bad or you wont have any opportunities there. What I meant is that your opportunities are more limited and that you have to work a lot harder to prove yourself. Though I disagree with this view as admission into schools is highly subjective, The truth is that at Princeton there were more recruitment opportunities than at UCLA and a 3.4 GPA could get you a job at M/B/B while I don’t think that is the same for the UCLA student. My point is that while the school would never make you, having a brand name those help make things easier. Easier because more recruitment opportunities and people assuming (erroneously) that you are a more competitive candidate.

    I agree that if getting into HBS or Stanford is the most impressive thing you have done you probably wont get in. My point is not from the admissions perspective but from the applicant.

  • Dreamer

    That is an awesome book.

    Merit is tricky because how do you account someone who choose a school based on scholarship vs. a guy who never had to think about that in the first place. Though I do think hard work always pay off in the long run. Yes maybe a guy in an ivy school had it easier but eventually you can get those opportunities, it just means working harder and knocking on more doors. If anything it makes you humble vs the self-entitlement I see in some of my peers.

  • Indianaizer

    INDIANA is better than Booth and harvard. because it is close to my home and my father graduated there.

  • http://www.mbaover30.com/ MBA Over 30

    There are somethings, however, mere hard work is extremely difficult to overcome. Like going to a high school in Seattle that had computing resources that the vast majority of the nation’s best colleges had yet to have (Bill Gates); and because the PTA moms could afford it no less. That circumstance + hard work + passion DNE the average person with average resources + hard work + passion. The former is far greater than the latter–not by a gap, but by multiples.

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