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2009年7月份,我给一个老朋友(Simon FT-MBA,2010春季班)为申请MBA而写的Essay提了几点比较关键的修改建议。后来,她成功拿到Simon的Offer。再后来,她建议我做留学DIY咨询方面的工作,并向我介绍了我的第一个客户。最终,我的第一个客户也成功拿到几个TOP16商学院的面试并顺利拿到Duke Fuqua商学院MBA的录取。 本人毕业于上海复旦大学管理学院国际企业管理系,属于商科科班出身并且做过管理工作、有领导经验的人士。

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商院访谈:Interview with Wharton’s MBA Gatekeeper (PART2)  

2016-12-25 03:11:52|  分类: 学校与选校 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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商院访谈:Interview with Wharton’s MBA Gatekeeper (PART2)


 BY: JEFF SCHMITT ON AUGUST 24, 2016

 

 

A truly unique admissions hurdle at Wharton involves the team-based interviews, where prospective students spend a half hour together working on a problem before presenting their solutions to second years and adcoms. What are you really looking for in the team-based interview?

My advice for people who are coming into team-based discussion and curious about how to prepare for it is to pay attention to your day-to-day interactions. We engage in team-based discussions almost every day of our personal and professional lives. Most of us have had a lot more team-based discussions than one-on-one interviews. So understanding that is a really important part of a successful team-based discussion. So I tell folks to pay attention to the role that you usually play in those discussions and to own that role. I also encourage applicants to remember that the team-based discussion isn’t a second hurdle in the application process. We take a look at the results of team-based discussions in the construct of the entirety of the application. We’re looking to see what kind of teammate you’re going to be or what kind of leader you’re going to be in our community. We think the team-based discussion helps us do that with a high degree of reliability.

What are some of your early impressions of the Class of 2018? What makes them potentially different compared to other classes who have studied at Wharton? 

Our leadership program is during pre-term, which are the weeks before the fall semester begins for our first-year students. The program offers an exercise called “The Big Idea.” Essentially, we give our students a really overbroad sketch of a problem that’s facing the world and we task them with finding novel solutions. We put them into learning teams, a group of six individuals from diverse backgrounds who will go through our teamwork and leadership course. This year, we worked with McKinsey to come up with the idea and it was focused on machine learning. It was a Wednesday afternoon and they got together and the leading learning teams gave a presentation to 850 of their peers in Annenberg Auditorium. We really got a chance to see them in action.

As we admitted these students, I was amazed throughout the process by the breadth and depth of their experience — and to actually see it in action was really inspiring. The real magic happens when they start learning with and from each other. You see one learning team up there with a fighter pilot who’s working with professionals in public policy and tech and they’re developing novel solutions around how air traffic control can benefit from machine learning. We had another group composed of students from Africa, Asia, and the Americas that was focused on dairy farming techniques. The third group had an MD-MBA, a student who was studying for the MD at the same time as her MBA, and she was lending her expertise to a product that was designed to increase the reliability and decrease the wait time of reading radiological tests. To see that remarkable diversity of thought in one place and put toward such diverse and noble goals is really inspiring. I can’t wait to see what these students will do. The breadth of experience in this year’s class is just staggering. It’s great for us to see them already leveraging that.

Talk to us about the Wharton value proposition. What does Wharton bring to the table that not only differentiates it from other schools, but has also enabled it to attract stronger classes?

There are three things that I always talk about on the road. The first is our curriculum. It really allows for flexibility while at the same time giving our students the very fundamentals of what makes business possible. We have a core curriculum that caters to our students’ interests and learning styles. It teaches them those core concepts that are relevant to their aspirations and interests, while at the same time giving them additional flexibility to perhaps push elective classwork earlier in the process by choosing when they’re taking core courses or waiving out of a course where they can prove mastery. I think our students respond really well to that high degree of both rigor and personalization. That’s a big part of it.

The second thing is our career management team is organized a bit different. We’re organized by industry vertical. When you’re engaged in your career search, you’re working with a professional who specializes in the industry that you’re targeting.

For example, if you’re looking to go into tech, which more and more of our students are doing, you’re working with Sam Jones who has several years of experience in the industry — plus years of experience he has spent helping students get jobs in tech. He can really help you dig deep and take advantage of our alumni network and his relationships with hiring managers. He can help you understand the resources that are available to you; connect you with student-led treks; and help you make best use of our San Francisco campus if your journey takes you out west. I think this unique structure is one of the reasons we see more than 98% of our students reporting that they have a job offer within four months of graduation.

Third — and I mentioned this earlier but it’s still worth talking about — our students really have an authentic voice in the program. Just a couple of years ago, we had students in our energy club approach the faculty and work with them to get two new courses added to the curriculum. We have a program here called P3, which is Purpose, Passion, and Principles. It’s offered through our leadership department and there are about 500 students who engage in it every year. They have a discussion about their own definition of success and what success means to them as a program. Students saw a need for it and worked in concert with our leadership office and faculty to bring it to life.

If you look at our team-based discussions, half of them are conducted by students, admissions fellows who we bring into our process . We train and trust them to help select the next generation of Wharton students. What students have is a real stake in their experience and the experience that their future alumni are going to engage in. That really speaks to the kind of culture they want to be a part of.

Every business school comes with stereotypes. Booth, for example, is considered hard core finance and academic. Columbia is allegedly hypercompetitive. Stanford is supposedly a laid back band of geniuses. Tell me about what you hear as the worst stereotypes about Wharton and tell us how you would dispel such impressions? Similarly, what are some things about the Wharton curriculum or community that you wished applicants knew more about?

I don’t want to endorse any stereotypes first of all. I’ll say that one of the big perceptions that students have is that Wharton is a finance school. We’re unapologetically proud of that strength. We’re strong in so many other areas too. Our marketing and real estate departments are widely recognized as some of best in the world. Our entrepreneurship program offers remarkable opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom. Our management and operations faculty are leaders in the study of people analytics and we have faculty like Kevin Werbach and Ethan Mollick who are doing really remarkable work around gamification that is literally changing the way that we learn and teach. The breadth of this place is staggering. So when I hear people ask if Wharton is still a finance school, my answer is usually “Yes AND” — and then I go on to talk about other things.

The other thing we sometimes hear a lot is around competition. I think some people perceive the Wharton MBA as being very competitive in a negative sense. I have to say: I don’t see that. I see a really collaborative experience with people within teams throughout the program. Where the competition does exist is internal: It is us striving to be the best versions of ourselves.

When I talk about this, I usually talk about the week right before the focus recruiting period. That’s when a lot of employers come to campus to conduct interviews. In that week before, we see our first year students huddle together to prep each other. They’re doing case prep for jobs that, in a lot of cases, they’re in direct competition for, but they’re willing to help each other because, like I said before, we want to be the best versions of ourselves. That’s the Wharton that I know, so I would encourage people to come and experience that and talk to our students and alumni and determine whether or not that is the case.

I also think, every now and then, we’ll have folks who mention the size. We have a class of 850-860 students that we’re bringing in every year. But that’s not the way that we operate. I mean, you’re with those 850 students for three or four times in your entire experience. Our average class size here is much closer to 50 students. That’s more of the size we’re comfortable with in the classroom. We’ve put a lot of thought into how we actually structure those 850 folks. We have academic advisors who are working hand-in-hand with these smaller groups. We have student life advisors who can help them navigate through the experience. Our size is a strength certainly, but we put a lot of thought into how the process leverages those interpersonal interactions.

 

Let’s talk about your Philadelphia location, which probably doesn’t necessarily carry the razzle dazzle of the Bay Area, New York City or Boston. Tell us about the benefits of your Philadelphia locale. What makes the City of Brotherly Love a great place to live for two years?

I am an unapologetic supporter of Philadelphia. I’m one of the biggest cheerleaders you’re going to find. The things that we hear most often from the students are number one about the community. I think the fact that very few students have built-in network who work in Philadelphia plays to our advantage. It forces our students to get to know one another. They all live in the same neighborhood. They’re eating at the same restaurants. That’s carrying over to campus. The bonds that they develop and the networks they wind up building is stronger as a result of there not being those distractions of maybe having friends or a network in the community at large.

The second thing we hear very often from the students is that they love the cost of living in this city. The vast majority of our students are living in and around Rittenhouse Square. It’s one of the nicest areas of Philadelphia, but its rent are about half of what you’re going to find in New York, Boston, or the Bay Area. At the same time, Philly has one of the best restaurants scenes in the country and it’s remarkably affordable. That cost of living really does play a big benefit.

Then there is the city itself. I’m totally biased, but it’s an easy city to fall in love with. It’s got everything you want in a world class city: arts, culture, food, entertainment. It’s got everything, but maybe with just a little less hassle of the crowd that you’re going to find in some other cities. It also helps that we’re an hour-and-a-half train ride from New York or DC, depending on which direction you’re heading, so we can leverage that strengths and many of our students certainly do.

What are the worst mistakes an applicant can make in applying to Wharton?

What I would say is the biggest mistake someone might make is not applying in the first place. The application process requires an incredible amount of trust and a bit of vulnerability. I think some people get it in their heads early in the process that they may not have a shot when they really do. So I really encourage them to do so. In a class as large as ours, we have a wide range of experience.

Your average GMAT for the 2018 Class was 731 this year, up from 718 for the Class of 2014.  Do you think Wharton is at the right level and further increases are unlikely or do you see GMAT averages rising further?

It’s more of a reflection on the applicant pool. What I would say is the GMAT isn’t, in and of itself, a measure of strength. A strong GMAT alone does not equal a strong candidate and vice versa. It’s just one signal among many that really helps us develop an understanding of how successful that candidate may be in a classroom. Equally important in that process is their undergraduate performance, professional licensures, and work experience. We’re looking at all of that to develop an understanding of an individual’s candidacy. The GMAT, again, is one signal and it’s not as though we have an aspiration for any specific average score. It’s whatever makes up the construct of the class that we’re trying to put together and that’s what it winds up being.

What are the top three reasons applicants give for applying to Wharton?

I think there is a wide range there. We certainly have the individuals who are coming from industries where they’re comfortable and they want to advance and they look to their mentors and at individuals who’ve found success in their industries — and they have their MBA and many are from Wharton. For some individuals, it is a matter of strengthening their skill sets so they can continue to advance in a field that they’re passionate about. For others, they’ve spent a few years in an industry and they want to make a change. For them, the MBA is an excellent way to develop an entirely new skill set, strengthen some new muscles, and pivot to something entirely different. There’s a natural progression that goes along with that and we can help students there.

For a growing number of students, it’s about the entrepreneurial experience. They recognize that they want to start something immediately or at some point in their career and the breadth of knowledge and the network that you build in an MBA program like Wharton really helps them to do that. Those are the motivating factors for our students here at Wharton.

This year, you’ve added a new essay question: “Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community?” What was your thought process behind this addition?

For the last two years, we’ve been asking, essentially, “What do you hope to gain personally and professionally out of the MBA program?” What we heard from students after the applications were submitted and they got here and we were having conversations with them on campus was they felt a little tension there. How much should be personal? How much should be professional? What should they focus on and for how long? We were seeing that in the applications as well. They had a lot more to tell us. Well over half of our students last year were submitting the optional essay, which led us to believe there was a lot more to their story and they had a lot more to tell us. So we listened to our audience and split that question in half and gave them the room that they told us they needed to better tell their story and room, in most cases, they were using already. I think that’s going to help us get to know them better. That’s our hope.

What are the best things an applicant can do when applying or in an admissions interview?

I would go back to always paying attention to your daily interactions. In terms of the application process, one piece of advice that I usually give to students is that we recognize that many students are applying to more than one school. We understand that. When you’re applying to a business school, you’re applying to join a community that’s just going to be with you for two years but is going to be with you for life. So you want to have an understanding of the community you’re joining and the school of which you’re going to be a part. So I really encourage students, don’t just write one or two essays and switch around the formal identifiers. Spend the time that’s necessary to really dig deep and do your research. Learn more about the places where you’re applying and write essays for the institutions to which you’re applying. It’s the same advice I would give to someone writing a cover letter for a job. Do your homework and spend the time and you’re going to have a better product on the backend.

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://poetsandquants.com/2016/08/24/mba-gatekeeper-wharton-frank-devecchis/

 

 

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