Wharton Team-based Discussion: 5 Key Attributes for Success

Every b-school uses the application, resume, recommendations, essays and interviews in their admissions process. However, The Wharton School provides applicants with a unique opportunity to distinguish themselves — the team-based discussion. Those invited to participate in these group sessions have a chance to demonstrate 5 attributes that a future MBA should have. By understanding these attributes, a serious applicant can make the most of this discussion, thus increasing the likelihood of being admitted to Wharton:

1. Leadership: Will you be the first one to speak up? Will you listen to others and synthesize their comments? The timing and tone of your participation will show the adcom how effective you would be as a CEO.

2. Teamwork: Will you challenge the statements of others while advancing the discussion? Will you reach out to encourage those who are reluctant to speak? How you treat and engage with your peers in the room will reveal what it would be like to have you as a Wharton classmate.

3. Problem solving: Will you bring clarity to the process by framing key variables? Will you be bold in presenting a hypothesis that others may instantly doubt or question? The way you confront problems in real time will demonstrate how effective you would be in classroom discussions and group projects.

4. Ethics: Will your observations and suggestions reveal and reflect your core values? Will you be the group’s champion for "doing good and doing well?" The team-based discussion offers a test for how participants consider integrity, honesty, trust, etc. in real-world scenarios.

5. Cultural awareness: Will you recognize and leverage the diverse backgrounds of your teammates? Will you advocate decisions and actions that help bridge gaps and find common ground? The adcom will be watching to gauge your effectiveness in today’s global business arena.

With these 5 attributes in mind, how will you plan and prepare to demonstrate them to the Wharton adcom in your team-based discussion? One valuable way is by participating in a simulated practice session with other applicants. As the first admissions consulting firm to introduce such sessions, The MBA Exchange helps applicants to get over their jitters and gain the confidence to succeed in the actual discussion. Led by experienced admissions consultants, our groups participate via video using "nicknames" for anonymity. Following the session, you’ll receive a personalized "scorecard" that rates your performance and makes suggestions for improvement. And we provide a confidential video recording so you can review and critique the session at your convenience.

So, congratulations if you’re a Wharton applicant who has been invited to participate in a Team-based Discussion. What you do in advance to prepare could make the difference in the outcome of your admissions campaign. Go for it!