Due to guidelines, I am unable to tell you guys what the exact prompt was for the Wharton interview process but I hope the sharing of my experiences will help you in your prep. Plus, I believe (though I’m not 100% sure) that each round of each year has a different prompt but the general idea is the same.
When Wharton sends out the interview invites, you are given the prompt and your selection of location and time to interview. For me, I was strategic about where and when I wanted my interview to take place.
Time: Every Thursday, Wharton students are invited to a pub event where they gather for happy hour and as a result, candidates who interview on Thursdays are allowed to join and mingle with 1st and 2nd-year students. Having never visited the campus before nor spoken to many current students, it was a great way for me to not only get to know the student body but also to do some networking and get my name out there.
Location: Despite living in San Francisco, I chose to do my interview on campus for three reasons:
- I’ve never visited the campus before and interviewing on campus includes the option of a campus tour, sitting in on a class, and/or attending the student pub event (only for candidates who interview on a Thursday).
- Most of the interviews in remote locations are conducted by alumni and faculty members whereas interviews on campus are conducted by admission fellows (2nd-year students who help out with admissions). Depending on your comfort with interviewing, that can play a factor in how well you connect and establish rapport with your interviewer.
- Working in engineering, in tech, and in Silicon Valley, the likelihood of interviewing with other candidates of a similar background is extremely high. By traveling to Philly to interview, I would be placed in a group with other prospects coming from a wide range of industries and as a result, I can use the fact that I was an engineer to my advantage. More on this in a bit.
Having chosen to interview on a Thursday and on campus, I had more than a month to prep the prompt. For Wharton, the interview process is different from most schools as it is called a **team-based discussion**. How that works is that you will be gathered in a group of 5-6 Wharton prospects and for the first 30 minutes, you will be working together to solve the prompt and for the remaining 10 – 15 minutes, you will be interviewed in a 1:1 setting which typically consists of a general recap of the team-based interview and some general questions.
TBD: Candidates who I felt were strong were ones who were outspoken and not only recapped what other people said but supplemented their own points in addition to others. They were agreeable but weren’t afraid to ask follow-up questions to spark the conversation. As the only engineer in the room, I made sure to use this to my advantage by bringing an analytical perspective to the discussion, whether it be outlining certain success metrics or establishing a methodology to measuring impact.
Follow-up Interview: The majority of your prep should be towards the TBD. Having completed the application and gotten this far, you should be quite familiar with your business school *story* (i.e. Why business school? Why now? Why Wharton? Post MBA goal, etc.). These questions will definitely be asked in addition to your thoughts on how the interview went and your contributions to the team-based discussion. As I had mentioned before, by realizing early on what you can bring to the table, the follow-up interview will not so much be an interview but a conversation. In preparing for this section, just imagine yourself having been in a group situation where there was conflict and how did you go about choosing sides? What could have streamlined the process? What would you have done differently? Just ruminating these thoughts will prove helpful when it comes to the follow-up portion of the interview.