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Wharton Shakes up the Interview Process. What Does This Mean For You?

January 12, 2012 :: Admissionado Team

Unless you’re living in a cave (or, more likely, the MBA application-writing black hole), you heard about Wharton’s big move away from using alum to conduct admissions interviews. And it was some big news. The kind of news that shook the MBA world to its core. The entire internet blew up:

Why would they do that?
What does the interview process look like now?
What does this mean for applicants?

Frankly, we at Admissionado HQ aren’t that surprised. With the rise of both international applicants and cheating in the MBA application process (those two are NOT connected, by the way), it was only a matter of time until schools made some changes to keep everything kosher. And now that Wharton’s on board, many more b-schools are sure to follow.

So what exactly is going on here?

Lemme break it all down for ya.

Hard to believe, I’m sure, but there are some unscrupulous people out there who will do just about anything to get into a top MBA program, from paying someone to write their MBA applications for them, to paying someone to actually interview for them. Crazy, eh?

Also, while not as severe, many international applicants, when interviewed by alumni in their home country, end up interviewing in their native language, instead of English. Doesn’t seem to be a problem – if they’re answering the questions, who cares what language it’s in? – but for admissions committees, it is. If the applicant is going to be studying in the US, they need to be able to communicate effectively in English. And the interview is a chance to test that.

And that, my friends, is why Wharton has shifted gears a bit. They wanna reel things in a bit and keep the interview process internal to ensure they’re A) speaking to the right person, B) “testing” the right things in the interview and C) keeping the interview process and the subsequent grading process more consistent and fair across the board.

That’s it.

See? Not so bad, right?

If you’re applying to/interviewing at Wharton, not much is going to change. In all reality, many of you may not notice anything at all.  You’ll prepare for this interview just like you would for any other: get comfortable with your stories; anticipate questions and have answers prepared that you know will work; and, for our International friends, practice that English.

The only real differences will be the person who interviews you and the mode in which that interview is conducted. So, you’ll be sitting down with a member of the adcom instead of some random guy who got his MBA at Wharton back in the ‘90s. And perhaps you’ll do so via Skype, instead of in some hotel meeting room in a random city 200 miles away from you. But as I said before, the rest of the rules don’t change. So really, the only thing you should be worrying about is what you should have been worrying about all along: impressing your interviewer enough to grant you admission to Wharton next year.