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留学面经:Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview (Part 3 of 4)  

2016-12-01 04:25:51|  分类: 留学面经分享 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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留学面经:Understanding the MBA Admissions Interview (Part 3 of 4)

 

 

In this, our third installment of our interview series, which we first launched last year and are reproducing for this season, we’ll take a closer look at one of the more recent interview permutations—the group interview or team-based discussion. You can view the first two parts of this interview series here: open interviews versus interview invites and blind interviews versus non-blind interviews.

 

What Is the Team-Based Discussion?

A few years ago, the admissions office at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School partnered with the Wharton Innovation group to launch a new evaluation method, the team-based discussion (TBD). As its name suggests, as part of the TBD, applicants are placed into a group with five to six other applicants for an interactive discussion about real-life business scenarios, designed to reveal to the Admissions Committee how each applicant approaches and analyzes specific situations.

“Our hope is that this will give applicants a glimpse into Wharton’s group learning dynamic, which is central to our program,” Karl T. Ulrich, vice dean of innovation at Wharton, said about the TBD when it launched as part of the 2012-13 application season. “We believe that this type of assessment also serves as a tool to take prospective students ‘off the page’ and allows us to see firsthand the ways in which they can contribute to our community of diverse learners and leaders,” he continued.

Deputy Vice Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid and Career Management Maryellen Lamb echoed Ulrich’s sentiments in a post on the school’s MBA Admissions blog. “Our goal was to give our potential students an opportunity to show us who they are—how they think, lead, communicate and interact,” she said. “At the same time, we wanted our applicants to experience who we are—a highly collaborative culture that cultivates persuasive rather than positional leadership.”

The way teams of applicants are assembled is simply a function of who signs up when, the school reports. “There is no ‘crafting’ done on our end,” Lamb says. Each participant will receive a prompt for the TBD in advance, and Wharton recommends spending about an hour in advance preparing for the discussion.

The majority of TBD interviews will be held on Wharton’s Philadelphia campus and conducted by Admissions Fellows, a select group of second-year MBA students. But TBDs will also be held in various cities around the world as part of each round. These sessions will be conducted by admissions officers. “On- and off-campus Team-Based Discussions will be conducted in the same way and considered equally,” Wharton’s website states. “There is no ‘advantage’ in choosing either option.”

Here’s the prompt applicants received in the 2015-16 application season:

“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’s the best way to approach the TBD, you ask? We consulted our resident expert, Alex Brown, who worked in admissions at Wharton for several years. Here’s his take:

 

“Wharton really values decisions backed up by data, so when you make a point, support it with facts,” he says. “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.”

In a group exercise, it can be easy to get sidetracked by details. “Always keep the big picture in mind,” Brown urges. “You can also consider these team-based discussions are a good test of emotional intelligence. Testing your ability to read the group dynamic, allowing you to determine your most effective role within the group. Should you lead, should you listen and contribute only when appropriate, should you facilitate and draw others into the conversation?”

What’s Wharton really after with the TBD? “You want to show the Admissions Committee that you work well in a team environment, can adapt and show a keen sense of understanding not only of the problem at hand, but of the dynamics of the group as the discussion unfolds. Oftentimes the most important skill you will need is the ability to listen, before contribution,” Brown says.

“The other interesting aspect to this type of interview is that it is really hard to prepare for,” he notes. Prepping the specific scenario is obviously important, but this does not help you much in terms of how to contribute as part of a group situation made up of similarly motivated peers who all want the same outcome, he says. “Having a good sense of self awareness and being able to correct your own tendencies will be extremely important,” Brown advises.

Even with the implementation of the TBD—which, incidentally, is required for admission—Wharton still gives applicants an opportunity for a short one-on-one conversation with an admissions team member immediately following the team exercise. Often, the first questions applicants are asked as part of this one-on-one interview pertain to how they think they did during the TBD. But these brief individual interviews also provide an opportunity for applicants to make their case for admission. “This is a great chance to share your story, goals, career plan and passion for the school,” Brown says. “Treat this portion of the interview as you would treat any of your blind interviews.” he offers.

 

Ross Rolls Out Its Own Group Interview

Other schools, of course, were paying attention to Wharton’s debut of the TBD, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has since followed suit, launching its own version of a team-based exercise in 2013.

“The group interview is designed to give us insight into your teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills,” Ross Director of Admissions Soojin Kwon said in a video blog. “We will be observing the group’s discussion and the communications within the group.” That said, group interview is a bit of a misnomer, she adds, since Ross will be evaluating participants as individuals, not as a group, and since no questions will be asked.

The exercise lasts for 30 minutes, with the first 10 devoted to introductions and an icebreaker. Each participant will be given two random words to weave into a 60-second story to share with the group, Kwon says. Applicant reports from past years have indicated that one of the words has been a place and the other a thing (e.g. fire station and cheese or grocery store and tree). During the remaining 20 minutes, the members of the group will work together to connect their word pairs into a business challenge and solution they then present to the group’s observers, second-year Ross MBAs who have been trained for the job.

 

Is Ross looking for you to be aggressive and a leader or a team player as part of the exercise? “Good teams are made up of diverse people with a wide range of skills and backgrounds—we don’t have a singular definition of what it means to be a successful team member,” Kwon offers in response. “We are going to be looking at how people interact with each other on the team and how they interact with people who have different styles from them.”

Unlike at Wharton, Ross stresses that you should NOT spend time preparing for the group interview. Still, there are some strategic ways to approach this exercise, since the Admissions Committee is obviously looking to assess both your teamwork and communication skills. “The key is NOT to independently have the answer, but to work as a group to develop the strongest answer,” Brown says. “Working as a group means making sure your voice is heard, too—don’t be shy about speaking up. You want the facilitator to remember that you contributed to the solution.”

At the same time, make sure you take opportunities to show that you are a team player, such as following up whatever you say by inviting others into the conversation. “The best example of leadership is being an effective facilitator—which can mean encouraging a quiet member of the group to take part, for example,” Brown suggests. Taking notes and helping delegate tasks would be another good way to demonstrate your ability to both lead and work as part of a team.

“Of course, you want to be sure to show respect for the entire group,” he advises. “Do not interrupt or speak over others—this is one of the biggest considerations in evaluation,” he says. If this can be a tendency of yours, then be sure to overcompensate against it, he suggests. Finally, try to make eye contact with everyone at some point and praise others for their good ideas.

At Ross, unlike at Wharton, participation in the group exercise is optional. “Not participating won’t hurt you in the admissions process but you’ll be missing another opportunity to make a positive impression,” Kwon says. “If I wanted to go to Ross, I’d do it,” she adds.

If it’s optional, why do it at all? Kwon thought some applicants might wonder exactly that and offers an answer in her video blog. “We found that the one-on-one interviews didn’t give us enough insight into how a candidate might engage with other people. The group exercise will help us gain that insight.”

Though the innovative format may seem nerve-wracking to many applicants, the schools that have chosen to implement a group exercise have done so in great part to get a better feel for how applicants will take part in an actual business school classroom. The whole reason you’re going through this application process is because you want to end up in one of those classrooms. So just relax and pretend you’re already there.

We hope this has helped you feel more prepared for group interviews if they’re in your future. Look for a final post in our MBA admissions interview series later this week, in which we’ll take a look at schools that have added pre- and post-interview essays, schools that require applicants to interview more than once and more. So stay tuned!

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://www.clearadmit.com/2016/10/understanding-mba-admissions-interview-part-3/

 

 

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