What Do You Need To Know When It Comes To Group MBA Interviews?

group MBA interviews

The goalposts for group MBA interviews are constantly shifting. For years, we at MetroMBA and Clear Admit, as well as other provincial publications, have been dishing out valuable advice for how to prepare for it. And for those familiar, one of the key points to remember is constantly being familiar with the changes.

Recently, U.S. News & World Report revealed its newest set of “Do’s and Dont’s” for those preparing for a group MBA interview. In it, MBA Admissions expert Stacy Blackman highlights how business schools like the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan focused more on the group interview dynamic over the past few years, which we previously highlighted over at Clear Admit.

The five pivotal “Do’s and Dont’s” she suggests are:

  • Preparing In Advance
  • Don’t “Dominate” The Conversation
  • Active Listening
  • Control Your Body Language
  • Prioritize the Group Goal

Applicants looking to join Ross will unfortunately not be given an advance on the team-based exercise (or team-based discussion). However, those at Wharton do and can appropriately prepare. For example, here’s the prompt from last year’s interview:

“The diversity of interests and backgrounds of the Wharton MBA community is reflected in the variety of programs that we support. The African American MBA Association, Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, Wharton Women in Business, Entrepreneurship Club, and the Veteran’s Club are five of the more than one hundred student-run clubs here at Wharton. Each year, many of these clubs run conferences, providing unique and exclusive opportunities for students to engage with business and thought leaders around the world.

For the purpose of this discussion, picture yourself as a core member of a student-run club’s Conference Committee. Feel free to consider yourself part of an existing club or one that has not yet been created. In this role, you and your team must create and deliver a one-day, high-impact conference on the topic of your choice keeping in mind that the event’s aim is to provide a forum for students, faculty, alumni, thought leaders, and executives to explore and challenge ideas related to the topic at hand. Please take a moment to learn more about the current Wharton MBA student-led clubs and conferences.

Please come prepared to share your thoughts with the group in one minute or less before moving into the team discussion. You should plan to spend no more than one hour in preparation for this part of the process.”

So what exactly do applicants need to do to prepare for an team-based exercise like this? Clear Admit resident expert and former Wharton admissions staff member Alex Brown says, “Wharton really values decisions backed up by data, so when you make a point, support it with facts. As you make your way through the given scenario, be sure to take logical steps from one point to the next and communicate your thought process when it’s relevant.”

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