UM Ross to Use Team-Based Interviews in 2014 MBA Admissions

It’s official: University of Michigan Ross School of Business will include some form of team-based interview component in the 2014 MBA admissions cycle. After traveling to China in January to pilot a supplemental group interview session between current students, alumni, and applicants, Ross MBA admissions director Soojin Kwon Koh noted on her blog recently that feedback from the experience was quite positive.

“The reality with one-on-one interviews is that candidates are generally well-prepared for them,” Kwon  acknowledges. “We know that candidates get coaching from consultants or friends, and rehearse many of the expected questions. Because of all this, the people we meet in one-on-one interviews are sometimes quite different from the people who end up sitting in the classroom and working on team projects.”

For this admissions cycle, the supplemental group interview was not a requirement for admission but was highly recommended. According to an article published Tuesday on Bloomberg Businessweek, this year’s group MBA interview took the following format:

The applicants sat at tables in groups of four to six with at least one evaluator. First, they were given two random words and 10 minutes to prepare an individual presentation that connected the words in some way. They could take any direction””from serious to humorous, analytical to opinionated. Next the group was given a set of random words and 20 minutes to prepare a team presentation that used the words to address a problem and solution.

“Different things come out in a group interview,” Kwon tells the news website. “It creates a more complete picture of what the applicant will be like in a classroom and in our community.”

Details are still hazy on how to formally organize and begin group interviews for the upcoming application season, Kwon explains, since the logistics of a global roll-out are difficult.  “We want to implement this more broadly next year,” says Kwon. “How broadly is the question.”

With both the Wharton School and now UM Ross including a group interview component in their MBA application process, Stacy Blackman Consulting has already begun offering team interview practice to give applicants an edge in this area. We’ll keep readers posted on further developments out of UM Ross, and share as more schools inevitably climb aboard the group interview bandwagon.

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