Last July University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School announced that it was going to add a new team-based discussion as part of its MBA admissions process. This move was aimed to get “an unscripted environment,” as a side effect, Wharton gave admissions outside counselors a new avenue of coaching.
“People have developed a really good sense of what the admissions process looks like, down to what kinds of questions are asked and how they manage the interview,” Wharton Vice Dean Karl Ulrich explained, “it had become kind of a game in which everyone knew the rules. We wanted to get the applicants in an unscripted environment, with a more dynamic kind of interaction.”
Consulting companies have developed new group interviews with individualized video and broken down review of body language, facial expressions, gestures and group dynamics to help determine what they do right, and what needs more polish. As a further hurdle to clear, Wharton’s new admissions test requires that the interviewee be physically present and for international and long distance applicants that means a costly plane ticket which is enough to put some applicants off the whole process.
So will Wharton get it’s unscripted interview? Admissions consultants still believe they will.”I really like to think that what we designed is actually honoring their intention,” says Guido of mbaMission, “we are not trying to get people to change their behavior. If we coach them over and over again on what to say, I can see them taking issue with it. But you can’t train someone out of who they are.”
It’s great lesson to see how the college prep companies responded to this challenge by creating a product that meets a new need. What challenges are your customers facing that you could create a new product to address?
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Photo Credit to: uPenn Wharton