Posted by: Louis Lavelle on November 22, 2010
The new web site Poets & Quants is reporting that the questions asked during the Wharton admissions interviews have been leaked to consultants, who use them to give clients an advantage over other applicants. The story lays out Wharton’s new—and until now—highly secretive admission process—questions, follow-up questions, scoring, everything—in minute detail.
The story, written by the site’s founder John Byrne, would be more explosive than it is if it had identified the leakers or the consultants who benefited from the leak, but it doesn’t. Even without that information, though, it’s a story every Wharton (Wharton Full-Time MBA Profile) applicant should read.
If your idea of a leak involves something out of “All the President’s Men,” think again. This one, according to the story, came in the form of a 25-minute video presentation by Ankur Kumar, deputy director of MBA admissions at Wharton, that Poets & Quants was able to access online. (It wasn’t password protected.) Wharton alumni with connections to admission consultants shared the link with the consultants, the story said. A Wharton spokesman was quoted as saying the admissions team was “quite confident” in the admissions process, while two B-school admission consultants (Graham Richmond of Clear Admit and Linda Abraham of Accepted.com) told the web site they knew nothing about the presentation.
Poets & Quants does not provide the link, but describes the presentation in detail. Interviewers were given six questions in three categories—team building, facilitative leadership, and persuasive communication—and instructed to choose three. (One of the facilitative leadership questions: “Describe a time when you have worked with others to complete an important task, when there was no formally appointed group leader.”) Kumar then suggested specific follow up questions (“How did it work out?” “What was the outcome?”). Grading is on a four-point scale. “Doesn’t actively guide or shape the group or team” gets you one point on facilitative leadership. “Facilitates the team to build an
‘added value’ output” gets you four.
With information like that, John Byrne (a former Bloomberg Businessweek executive editor) points out, a consultant can help a client prepare answers for each of the six questions that have a better chance of scoring a four than someone walking into the interview room unprepared. “The upshot: applicants willing to pay for help are gaining inside information that makes it far more likely they will do well on the crucial interview session that is the last hurdle to an acceptance,” he writes. Hard to argue with that.