Congratulations! You’re among a fortunate fraction of Wharton MBA applicants invited to participate in a unique, challenging and very important group exercise known as the Team-Based Discussion (TBD). You’ve earned this opportunity by optimizing your candidacy, producing a stellar application and having the support of your recommenders. However, before you assume that receiving an invitation means you’re sure to be admitted, roll up your sleeves and get ready to shine in your upcoming TBD.
Start by reviewing these 5 keys to success:
- Understand what Wharton expects.
The admissions team uses the TBD to get a first-hand preview of how you’d actually communicate, cooperate and collaborate with classmates if admitted. Your impact, intellect and interpersonal skills on the group will be observed, scrutinized and evaluated from start to finish.
- Consider who’ll be sitting at the table with you.
Think about the other TBD participants in the room in two ways. On one hand, they represent future classmates who you’ll be expected to influence, trust and respect. On the other hand, they are your competitors, determined to earn the same Wharton seat you’re eyeing. The prospect of engaging with teammates who are also rivals makes the TBD difficult and stressful as you formulate your point of view.
- Research the prompt Wharton provides.
Fortunately, you have a head start since Wharton’s invitation includes a prompt on which the TBD will focus. For example, here’s a past prompt from 2018: “For many students, the global perspective fostered by Wharton’s international community is brought into focus through immersive learning opportunities like Global Modular Courses (GMCs). GMCs are full-credit courses in an intensive workshop format that take place in a location relevant to the topic. For the purpose of this discussion, consider yourself part of a group of students invited to design a new GMC. As a team, agree upon a topic to explore then plan a four-day course in a location or locations relevant to that topic. Provide opportunities for academic and cultural immersion experiences while keeping in mind logistical constraints and clearly articulating your course’s desired outcomes.”
Read the prompt carefully, ponder the meaning, and do some research to fully understand the relevance of Wharton’s offerings as well as related innovations in the greater academic and business arenas. Your goal is to show TBD observers that you really “know” Wharton and will bring fresh, actionable insights to the program if admitted.
- Plan your opening pitch.
You’ll want to enter the TBD room with a solid, compelling hypothesis for your group to consider. Even if they ultimately choose a different approach, the immediate visual and verbal reactions by your fellow TBDers upon hearing your position will influence how the official observers evaluate your participation. So, be informed, authentic and passionate – yet ready to pivot in case the team opts to follow a different path.
- Choose the very best prep resource.
There’s no shortage of choices when it comes to picking an admissions consulting firm to help you practice and polish your TBD performance. However, there are key differences among firms you should consider before committing. Here’s a checklist to help you select your best resource:
- Has the firm been providing TBD prep services for candidates every year since Wharton introduced this exercise in 2012?
- Do you have several options for scheduling your TBD session on a date and at a time that’s convenient for you?
- Is the expert who will lead the TBD session and evaluate participants a former Wharton MBA grad and TBD facilitator?
- Will you be doing the simulated session with actual, current Wharton applicants?
- Will your privacy be protected by using a pseudonym of your choosing?
- Does the feedback you receive cover the group’s interaction as well as your individual performance?
- Will you receive actionable, written evaluation within 24-48 hours so you can continue to refine your approach?
- Will you have access to a confidential, password-protected video recording so you can critique yourself and others?
- Does the price reflect the quality of content, credentials of the leader, and proven value of the service provided?
At The MBA Exchange, the answer to each of these important questions is an enthusiastic “Yes!” Our experience, expertise, flexibility, integrity, timeliness, thoroughness and fairness are second to none. We were in the first firm to introduce this service and have updated it every year based on the feedback and results of our clients. Consider the TBD-facilitator credentials of our Wharton graduate gurus, Inna and Alina. Then, check out what past participants say about our service.
If you’ve been invited to participate in a Wharton Team-Based Discussion, let us know. Client success in this final component of the Wharton admissions process is our expertise and our priority.