Wharton’s Advice for the Team-Based Discussion

Wharton advice team-based discussionThe University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School plans on sending out Round 2 team-based discussion invites on February 12th, and deputy vice dean of MBA admissions Maryellen Reilly Lamb shared a few tips about the experience in her most recent blog post.

Here’s a quick refresher on the team-based exercise: Five or six invited candidates work together to solve real-world business scenarios as a team. Wharton believes the exercise demonstrates how applicants approach and analyze specific situations and interact with other people—two critical components of Wharton’s team-focused learning style.

Everyone’s TBD experience will be different, says Lamb, adding that your approach to the TBD will be a balance between being prepared and adapting to the situation.

Here are four aspects the director feels candidates should focus on to maximize their experience.

Flexibility: Challenges can change from moment to moment, so stay flexible and leave your preconceived notions at the door.

Your skills and strengths: Tap into tactics you have used successfully in the past while working in a team setting, and lean on your strengths to help propel the group forward.

The overall process: Lamb suggests asking yourself, “How can you provide value to ensure that best possible outcome for your team? Does your team need more brainstorming? Do they need more clarity around the proposed ideas?”

There is no “right” way: It may be easier said than done, but accept that you should just be yourself, get a feel for the dynamics of your particular group, and let the chips fall where they may.

Interviews will begin on campus in Philadelphia in late February, as well as various locations across the globe, including Dubai, London, Mumbai, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo. Applicants should interview in whichever location is most convenient for them.

For more advice, take a look at this post by (now) second-year student Alexandra Gorin. In it, she explains how she prepared for the TBD, what she experienced, and what she took away from the group interview. It’s chock-full of helpful tips!


Success comes from practice and becoming comfortable with the format. With that in mind, Stacy Blackman Consulting now offers live group practice sessions to help applicants with this fun but challenging new interview style.
Our seasoned moderators have admissions experience at the Wharton School, and participants receive preparation tips and a one-hour mock experience, followed by written feedback with actionable advice. Find out more about our interview prep options today.



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