Wharton MBA Interview
A unique characteristic of Upenn Wharton MBA admissions is the team based discussions, where prospective students spend half an hour together working on a problem before presenting their solutions to second years and adcoms. A word from a Wharton adcom member regarding this process, “Essentially, we give our students a really overbroad sketch of a problem that’s facing the world and we task them with finding novel solutions. We put them into learning teams, a group of six individuals from diverse backgrounds who will go through our teamwork and leadership course. This year, we worked with McKinsey to come up with the idea and it was focused on machine learning.”
Almost half the number of applicants to Upenn Wharton are interviewed but only 1 in 10 interviewed are able to get through.
Wharton MBA Frequently Asked Interview Questions
Professional experience-related questions
- Tell me something about yourself, or Walk me through your resume.
- What are your short-term and long-term goals?
- Why MBA? or Why now? or Why an MBA at this stage of your career?
- Why ISB?
- What is your Plan B? in case your primary goal does not happen?
Personal qualities-related questions
- What are your key strengths? Can you give some examples, please?
- What are your key weaknesses? Can you give some examples, please?
- How can you add value to the Class? or Why should we take you?
- Any reasons why we should not select you?
- Interests and Hobbies related questions – why do you do it, what have you achieved/learned?
Frequently Asked Situational & Behavioral Questions
- What is your leadership style? Can you give an example of a project you led?
- What would you describe are your greatest achievement to date?
- Give me an example of a time you failed.
- Give me an example of a time you faced a conflict. How did you handle that?
- Give me an example of a time when you did not meet a client’s expectations. What happened, and how did you attempt to rectify the situation?
The last one – Do you have any questions for us?
- Can you please tell me how international exchange students and schools are assigned?
- How club leadership is selected?
- Any other questions you may have in regards to the program.
Wharton started the team-based discussion (TBD) in 2012, which has since become an integral part of its assessment. It’s reflective of the Learning Teams model at the heart of the Wharton experience, which exults teamwork in the spirit “persuasive rather than positional leadership.” Wharton’s adcom wants to observe how you approach challenges, present yourself, and cohesively work towards solutions in a small group context. As such, it’s an opportunity to showcase what you’d bring to your future study group at Wharton – both in terms of your personal presence and as a member of an effective team.
The TBD takes place in a room with four to five other candidates, where you debate and present a proposal as a group. Your discussion will have a prompt and a purpose, and, together, you will work together to achieve a tangible outcome.
You’re typically given one minute to introduce yourself, and the sequence lasts in total 35 minutes, when the team of candidates comes up with a topic and presentation model that is ultimately shared with the adcom observer. After the TBD, you’ll have a 10-minute debrief, which takes place one-on-one with an admission representative. The time passes by swiftly.
Prepare to present your own ideas with care and precision, as well as situational awareness. It’s less about your own particular answer and presentation (although of course you should thoughtfully prepare this in advance) and more about how well you interact with other candidates. Expect to be assessed on how well you listen to others and facilitate the group’s dialogue.
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