A 25-minute slideshow coaching Wharton alum on this year’s new interview questions was leaked. According to John Byrne of Poets & Quants, these slides were also accessed by top admissions consultants whose clients then had an advantage in their interview preparation. According to Byrne, applicants who were informed of the new “behavioral” questions in advance were able to prepare thoughtful answers and thus score better than were their peers who had not been privy to the information in advance.
The slideshow contains all six interview questions (of which three are chosen), as well as suggestions and instructions on how to evaluable applicant responses.
Bryne suggests that about half of applicants to top b-schools like Harvard, Stanford, and Wharton use consultants.
But, as Linda Abraham, Accepted.com’s founder and CEO, points out, “The questions typically asked at MBA interviews are not exactly state secrets. The actual questions are posted on applicant blogs and forums and shared in our database and in Clear Admit’s wiki. We definitely use publicly available information in coaching our clients.” (Abraham knew nothing of the slide presentation before Byrne contacted her.)
Byrne then continues to list the six questions—one from each of the following categories is chosen at the interview: team building, facilitative leadership, and persuasive communication. He writes:
The questions on “team building” are:
“Describe a time when you have been working toward the completion of an important task, when it has been necessary to consider the opinions and feelings of others.”
“Describe a time when you have worked as part of a team working towards an important goal, when you have addressed conflict between two or more team members.”
The questions on “facilitative leadership” are:
“Describe a time when you have worked with others to complete an important task, when there was no formally appointed group leader.”
“Describe a time when you have ensured an important task has been completed, when you felt others were less focused than you on completing the important task.”
The questions on “persuasive communication” are:
“Describe a time when you have had to persuade others to your way of thinking, when at first they did not buy into your idea.”
“Describe a time when your ideas have been challenged by others, requiring you to defend your opinions.”
Bryne also lists a number of the follow-up questions for each category and an expose on how applicants are graded on their answers.
At least now everyone’s on the same page.
Accepted.com ~ Helping You Write Your Best
Further thoughts from Linda Abraham:
WhartonLeak is a far cry from WikiLeaks for the following reasons.
- As I noted in the article, these question are widely publicized. Although the criteria were never so public or explicit, they also aren’t top secret.
- Wharton has openly said its interview questions are behavioral.
- While Wharton and many other schools are asking more pointed and direct questions than they did in the past, the essays and interviews have almost always been “behavioral.” Your actions speak far louder than words about your values and character. It would be mistake to think that the nature of a good response has changed. It hasn’t. The questions are simply more narrowly defined and clearer, and that’s to your advantage. You have less rope to hang yourselves.