Today is the first day for Wharton interview invites to be issued. Good luck to all of you Wharton applicants awaiting news! You’ll likely wear a hole in your mouse as you refresh your inbox umpteen million times in the next few weeks, waiting to see if it’s come in.
You’re likely well aware of the semi-unique Wharton interview format called the Team-Based Discussion. Ross has something similiar. So does IESE, though we don’t mention them much around these parts. If you’re interviewing at Ross or Wharton or IESE, congrats! And, you have many reasons to be nervous.
Well no you don’t, ‘cuz you’re reading the EssaySnark blahg, and we’re here to help you through all phases of your apps, including this nerve-wracking group interview.
It is nerve-wracking. You’ll be walking into that room alone, and you’ll be meeting a bunch of people with whom you must cooperate and collaborate and team-dialog and all… but with whom you also know you’re COMPETING.
Actually, no, it won’t be as bad as all that. We’ve heard from BSers who went through this in years past that while they can tell that people are nervous and uncomfortable, the group exercises actually tend to go OK. Nobody is monopolizing the stage; nobody is butting in and being rude to try and get more than their fair share of air time. Last year, Wharton’s then-Admissions Director Ankur Kumar said that some groups went out for drinks together after their interviews were over.
Even though technically, you’re sort of competing with the people in your group exercise, you could think about it differently: Maybe everyone in your group will make it in.
If you go into it with the attitude that “Hey! Wouldn’t it be cool if all of us got into Wharton?” then you’re likely to have the perfect attitude that’s needed for openness and collaboration in a group exercise.
Which will make all of you look good.
Which might even result in all of you making it in.
Obviously the facts of life dictate that not everyone in every Wharton group exercise will actually be admitted. They interview a helluva lot more candidates than they have room for at the school.
And call us naive, to believe that positive thinking and holding an attitude of all-of-us-might-be-admitted in the mind can have an impact on team dynamics. But we do sort of tend to think that way.
Certainly if you go into it with that level of open-mindedness and optimism, it’s going to help the thoughts flow and it might let you come up with better ideas. If you’re stressed out and nervous, you’ll be in a constricted state mentally, which can’t be a happy place to operate from.
Yes, the group interviews are about meeting your competition – but not really. We’ve seen it many times, when someone helps someone else look good, they’re the ones who end up looking the best.
Don’t overthink this stuff. You made it to the group interview. That says a lot. You got something going on, in a big way! You’re showing evidence of being a go-getter dude or chick. Resist the temptation to overresearch your group topics or overrehearse your ideas. For Ross and IESE, you can’t even do that; they don’t offer you anything to prepare for. Just show up, in your spiffy suit, and be prepared to be yourself. That’s what will let the adcoms learn the most about you.
No toe-stepping. Boost each other up. Show the adcoms that you’re helpful and collaborative and all those happy adjectives that they want to see in a candidate. Put your money where your mouth is after all that hype you spewed in the essays about “teamwork” and “culture” – this is where the rubber hits the road, Brave Supplicant. Good luck as you go in there to wow them with your collaborative awesomeness!