Since we introduced the concept of real-time, group preparation and video simulation in November 2012, The MBA Exchange has helped hundreds of Wharton and Ross applicants achieve success in this all-important, often stressful element of the admissions process. Based on our experience, here are 6 takeaways to consider as you await a coveted invitation from one of these schools:
1. Use style, tone and body language to your advantage.
Act as if the adcom is watching and listening to you – nonstop – from the moment you enter the discussion room. Look, sound and feel attentive, approachable and confident so that you’ll make the most positive impression possible.
2. Be a “student and a professor”
Pose thoughtful, stimulating questions during the session rather than just stating your own opinions. Provide meaningful insights on topics with which you’re experienced and knowledgeable. Engaging other participants in conversation conveys that you’re a true team player eager to learn from and contribute to others, which is precisely what the adcom values.
3. Keep the ball in play.
Anticipate pauses in the discussion so you can smoothly and promptly step in to fill the void and re-start the dialogue. You’ll earn support from others at the table AND impress the adcom observers with a talent they want to see demonstrated in the MBA classroom – the ability to engage those around you.
4. Don’t be a rubber stamp.
Nodding, smiling and agreeing with everything that others say is boring and risky if that’s all you do during this session. If you observe another participant make a statement that you feel is unclear, off base or incorrect, step up to express your viewpoint, but always in a tactful, respectful manner.
5. Be a closer.
These group conversations can easily lose focus and velocity as the clock winds down. Feeling the pressure, participants who have been relatively quiet tend to force comments, while those who have dominated the session may not know when to stop. So, when there are about 5-10 minutes left, be the catalyst for clarity by framing where the group stands and what the consensus is. Offer to become the “presenter.”
6. Plan, prepare and practice for success.
In the weeks prior to your actual Team-based Discussion, immersing yourself in a simulation will bolster your confidence and performance on “game day.” The more authentic the practice session, the more valuable it will be. So be sure to choose one from a source such as The MBA Exchange. Through our Team-based Discussion session, you will not only gain experience engaging directly with other applicants, but you’ll also get insightful, actionable feedback from one of our admissions experts and the opportunity to view your group and individual performance through a password-protected, video recording of the entire session.
The Team-based Discussion is your best chance to distinguish yourself and score big points with the Wharton and/or Ross admissions committees. Investing time and effort to prepare will greatly increase your chances for success.