How should you prepare for the Wharton Team-Based Discussion?

7 questions to help you choose the very best prep resource for your candidacy

Immediately after the application deadline, Wharton MBA applicants eagerly await a coveted invitation to participate in the Team-Based Discussion (TBD). This is a unique and vital component of the overall admissions process at Wharton.

Along with 4-5 other applicants, each candidate will address a real-world business scenario, demonstrating for adcom observers how he or she analyzes, collaborates on, and resolves a challenging issue in real time. The Wharton TBD combines the most challenging aspects of traditional essays and interviews with an added element of active teamwork.

Given the importance of this group discussion, thorough planning and preparation are essential. With dozens of admissions consulting firms offering their own versions of TBD prep, it can feel overwhelming when trying to choose the best option for your candidacy. However, there are significant points of difference that serious applicants should consider when selecting a prep resource. Asking and answering these 7 questions can help you make a more confident decision:

  1. How much experience does the firm have with the Wharton TBD?
    In 2012, The MBA Exchange led the entire admissions consulting industry by introducing the first interactive TBD Prep Service. We have updated and refined our service every year since then, based on candid feedback from participants and valuable insights from recent Wharton grads on our consulting team.
  2. Who leads the TBD group simulation?
    Our prep sessions are typically led and administered by skilled admissions consultants who recently served as actual TBD Facilitators and Interviewers at Wharton. This first-hand experience ensures maximum accuracy and authenticity in how we structure and execute the simulation.
  3. How is confidentiality ensured for participants?
    Since the most effective TBD prep groups include actual Wharton applicants, it can feel uncomfortable identifying yourself by name. To enable our participants to communicate freely, they each use a self-selected pseudonym for confidentiality.
  4. What kind of feedback do participants receive?
    Evaluation of performance is beneficial only if it’s timely, clear, objective and actionable. Our facilitator carefully observes every aspect of the session and – within 48 hours or less – provides each participant with 1-on-1 feedback via a confidential scorecard. In addition, The MBA Exchange sends a confidential link to a password-protected, HD video recording of the session so participants can thoroughly and privately study their own performance. We’re the first firm to offer this benefit.
  5. What additional support can participants request?
    Immediately after the actual TBD session, Wharton does a 1-on-1 interview with each candidate. Some applicants make the fatal mistake of thinking this conversation is simply a “courtesy” that doesn’t influence the admissions decision. Not true! To help applicants fully prepare for this evaluative component, The MBA Exchange offers an optional 30-minute interview prep, mock interview and feedback session with a former Wharton interviewer. As with the TBD, we video record the 1-on-1 session so our client can assess and refine his or her performance before the big day. Interested? Ask us about “TBD Plus.”
  6. How flexible is the scheduling process for TBD simulations?
    MBA applicants are very busy people with demanding jobs, family obligations, and a full social calendar. That’s why The MBA Exchange offers a choice of dates and times for our clients. That said, our services are in high demand, so groups can fill quickly. The sooner we hear from you, the more scheduling options you’ll have. (And here’s an exclusive bonus for our clients. If there’s ever an empty seat, we invite recent participants to join the group for a second session – at no additional charge!)
  7. What do past participants say about this service?
    Past Wharton applicants who have engaged The MBA Exchange for TBD preparation consistently express high praise for our model, feedback and facilitators. Here are comments received from three typical clients:

“I feel much more comfortable going into my “real” interview at Wharton. Congratulations on such an excellent team at MBA Exchange.”
–A., California

“I now feel more confident about the actual discussion because of the recent practice session.“
–A., China

“Thank you for this group discussion session, it was very instructive and helpful to improve from your detailed feedback.”
–K., Hong Kong

Even if you haven’t yet received a TBD invitation from Wharton, the sooner you determine the best resource the better. That way, you can reserve your seat and begin preparing immediately. So, if the answers above align with your expectations and priorities, please let us know so we can put our expertise to work for your success at Wharton!