Wharton has introduced a new element to its admissions process – the team-based discussion. Other schools, like INSEAD, are also experimenting with this new evaluation method. These discussions, according to the Wharton invitation letter, allow applicants “the opportunity to interact with…fellow applicants through discourse, which will highlight how [applicants] approach and analyse specific situations.”
Through discussion prompts (like what are important talents or strengths for leaders or what one thing would you teach new employees about innovation), the group members will converse with one another on the selected topic while being evaluated by admissions officers.
Because these team-based discussions are new to admissions requirements, there is very little advice and feedback out there. So listen up as we offer a few important tips:
- Don’t dominate the discussion. Yes, I’m sure you have loads of valuable things to say, but no one likes a conversation hog. Speaking up is important – you certainly don’t want to keep too quiet – but quality is definitely more important than quantity. Express your points as succinctly as possible. Babbling is never appreciated. Share the center stage with others!
- Converse, don’t confront. This is a discussion, not a debate. Your goal is to build the conversation with the other participants, not to beat them or cut them down by adamantly debating your points. Show respect and handle disagreements gracefully.
- Have a reality check. Theory is important, but for this discussion, you’re going to need to translate theory into reality. Provide evidence for your claims from real-life experiences, knowledge, or observations. You know how important stories are in the application process – make sure you use them! But keep it short.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and author of MBA Admission for Smarties, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company that has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994. Visit Acccepted.com for all your MBA admissions consulting needs today!
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