Wharton MBA

Wharton MBA Essay Questions have also been released with The Wharton School removing one question from their application and changing the goals question from the question used last year.  Wharton has also released its MBA Application Deadlines 2014-2015.  Wharton will be using a common recommendation form as have a number of other schools, including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of BusinessYale School of Management, University of Virginia Darden School of BusinessThe University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Columbia Business School, Michigan Ross School of Business, and the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. The common recommendation form was announced at the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) Conference last week.

Wharton MBA Essay Questions

1. (Mandatory) What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

2. (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

3. (Reapplicant) All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). You may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

Visit the Wharton MBA admissions website for more information about their MBA admissions requirements.  Here is a list of useful links:

Wharton MBA Application Deadlines have been posted with similar dates as the application deadlines for The Wharton School last year.

Wharton MBA Application Deadlines

Round 1 – October 1, 2014 Submission Deadline; December 16, 2014 Notification Date

Round 2 – January 5, 2014 Submission Deadline; February 24, 2015 Notification Date

Round 3 – March 26, 2015 Submission Deadline; May 5, 2015 Notification Date

Wharton MBA-Lauder and JD/MBA Application Deadlines

Round 1 – October 1, 2014 Submission Deadline; December 16, 2014 Notification Date

Round 2 – January 5, 2014 Submission Deadline; February 24, 2015 Notification Date

When to Apply

Wharton posts general guidelines on when to apply based on a particular applicant’s circumstances.

  • First-time applicants. Wharton strongly encourage you to apply in Round 1 or 2. The first two rounds have no significant difference in the level of rigor; the third round is more competitive, as we will have already selected a good portion of the class. However, there will be sufficient room in Round 3 for the strongest applicants.
  • Submatriculants. Wharton undergraduates only are considered submatriculants and should apply in Round 3 so that a more complete academic record is available.
  • Reapplicants. Wharton strongly encourages you to apply in Round 1 or 2. For more information, visit Reapplication Procedures.
  • International applicants. Wharton advises you to apply in Round 1 or 2 if you need to apply for a student visa to study in the United States. For more information, visit International Applicants.
  • MBA/MA-Lauder Program applicants. Applications are only accepted in Rounds 1 and 2, to meet the early program start date of May 2014. Wharton strongly encourages international Lauder applicants who need to obtain a visa to study in the United States to apply in Round 1. For more information, visit the Lauder Program.
  • JD/MBA Program applicants. Applications are accepted in Rounds 1 and 2 only. For more information, visit the JD/MBA Program.
  • Dual-Degree applicants. Applications are accepted in all rounds. Unless otherwise indicated, students may apply to both programs simultaneously. For more information, visit Joint- and Dual-Degree applicants.

Visit the Wharton MBA admissions website for more information about their MBA admissions requirements.  Here is a list of useful links:

On May 29th,  I had the distinct pleasure of moderating the MBA’s for Entrepreneurs Panel at the 2014 AIGAC (Association of Graduate Admissions Consultants) Conference. Thank you very much to my extraordinary panelists:

MBA Entrepreneurship Panel

MBA Entrepreneurship Panel

We were fortunate to have the perspectives of both admissions officers and an entrepreneurship program director. The MBA admissions consultants in attendance learned much from our panelists. MIT Sloan Director of Admissions, Dawna Levenson, kicked off the event answering the first question “How do your respective MBA admissions committees evaluate entrepreneurial candidates?” by sharing MIT Sloan’s long-standing policy of not using career goals in their evaluation process. Other panelists discussed looking for previous entrepreneurial experience, personality traits like not being afraid to fail and how applicants would handle existing businesses while in MBA school.

The panelists discussed the abundance of resources available from access to venture capitalists, business plan competitions, pitch competitions, mentorship programs, office space, accelerators, combinators, and much, much more including the greater ecosystem of their respective universities and cities. Some schools had “Lean Startup” classes while other schools specialized in certain verticals. The information was very rich as we learned more about MIT Sloan’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Track, the role of NYU Stern’s Berkley Center in getting the students out of the classroom; Babson’s Accelerator for Women in Entrepreneurship; Wharton’s Semester in San Francisco, Haas’ Social Entrepreneurship program; Columbia’s extensive use of adjunct faculty and Executives in Residence program; and McCombs’ Venture Labs that match 40 UT students across the university with 10 Austin area early-stage entrepreneurial companies.

At the end of 45 minutes, it was obvious how the leading entrepreneurial programs provide so much for entrepreneurs to grow existing companies, start new ones, excel as intrapreneurs or acquire skills for becoming entrepreneurs later in life. The panelists agreed that entrepreneurship lasts a lifetime as many entrepreneurs start their businesses significantly after completing business school.

For more information on the respective entrepreneurship centers visit:


What are the different components of an MBA application?  These include general information, academic background (test scores included), employment history (resume included), extracurricular activities/community service, awards, essay questions other questions, the application fee, and recommendations.  Schools might not ask for all of the information covered here or ask for the information as broken down in these sections.

General Information

At the beginning of the online application the school gathers general information about your application, personal and family background.

Applicant Information

Application information could consist of desire to apply for merit fellowships, academic focus, intention to pursue a dual degree, future experience (industry and functional area of summer internship and post-MBA employment), whether you have previously applied to the program, contact with the school (admissions representatives, faculty, alumni, or students) and miscellaneous questions about disciplinary action from prior academic institutions and prior criminal convictions.

When filling out this section you wish to have your academic focus, intention to pursue a dual degree and future experience align with your goals essay questions (and the rest of the application).  If you have applied previously to the school make sure you follow the reapplicant instructions.  Having specific names in the contact with the school section is viewed positively because of the demonstrated effort in learning about the school and the higher perceived likelihood of the applicant attending the program if accepted.  This is one of the reasons I encourage candidates to visit the school, attend information sessions and perform outreach to faculty, alumni and students.

Personal Data

Personal data includes  information about how to contact you (name, address, email, telephone), biographical (gender, ethnicity, date of birth, country of origin and native language), citizenship (primary and dual), legal state residency (if applying to a public state school), social security number (if a domestic applicant), where you grew up, language fluency (languages other than your native language and fluency per language), and international experience (work, study, and travel).

Your gender and ethnicity determine if you are in any underrepresented minority groups.  If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, legal state residency is factored into admissions (schools prefer not to have an overwhelming number of applicants from any one region) and if you are eligible for in-state tuition (if the school is a public state school).  If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, then your country of origin determines your applicant group (and its competitiveness).  Language fluency and international experience are part of your global profile used by MBA Admissions Committees in evaluating your candidacy.

Family background encompasses the name, occupation, degrees obtained, location and deceased status of each parent as well as whether you are married, have children and whether any of your relatives are alumni of the university.

Academic Background

Per the MBA Evaluation Criteria, MBA Admissions Committees gauge your academic capability from your educational background and test scores. 


The Education section asks the applicant to list every undergraduate and graduate institution attended, location (city, state, country), dates attended, level of study (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate), GPA, major, degree and date degree was awarded.

There is also a place to upload academic transcripts for each of these institutions. Schools not only factor your GPA (or % for certain foreign students), but also the difficulty of school, degree, major, and classes as well.

Test Scores

All applicants are required to submit a valid GMAT or GRE score that was taken within the past five years.  Schools ask for the date taken (or will be taken), total score and percentage as well as score and percentage for the quantitative, verbal, AWA sections. If given a choice between the two exams, I advise candidates to test for the GMAT because schools have a track record with the exam.  Candidates with GRE scores fall into one of several buckets: (1) have an advanced degree and took the GRE as part of the application process for that advanced degree, (2) are applying for a dual degree and need the GRE as part of the application process for the other program or (3) are applying from a developing nation where the exam is cheaper.

Almost all schools only look at your highest score so you should not worry about the number of times you take the test even if a school asks; some schools like Tuck look at two scores taking the highest quantitative and verbal score from each test.  Most schools desire an 80% or higher quantitative score to prove you can handle the quantitative rigors of the coursework.

International candidates must take the TOEFL exam unless they have graduated from an undergraduate or graduate program in which English was the only language of instruction.  Schools ask for the date taken (or will be taken), total score as well as your score for each section.  MBA Admissions Committees use the TOEFL along with your essays and interviews, to assess your English proficiency.

Employment History

Schools ask overall employment questions, such as how many months of post-college full-time work experience you will have upon enrolling and to explain any employment history gaps.

Schools also ask for information about each employer:  organization name, location, description, position title(s) (as well as promotions), dates employed, direct/indirect reports, compensation (beginning and ending), bonuses, responsibilities, industry, job function, hours worked per week, supervisor name and reason for change.  Some schools ask additional questions, such as greatest achievement and/or challenge.  One workaround for severe word or character limitations for the responsibilities section is to list multiple positions (or roles) as separate items (unless otherwise instructed in the application).

MBA Resume

Almost all schools provide a place for you to upload your resume or CV, usually allowing up to 2 pages.  A rule of thumb is that executives use two pages and younger full-time applicants use one page, but this rough rule of thumb depends upon the applicant’s depth and breadth of experience and the word or character limitations throughout the online application.

Resumes comprise professional, education, and additional components, but other sections can be added or substituted dependent upon the candidate and whether the resume is one or two pages.  For instance, if a candidate has written articles in multiple publications, then a publications section would highlight the applicant’s thought leadership.  Your resume provides MBA Admissions Committees with a quick way to glean your promotions, accomplishments, leadership, and global impact in professional and community dimensions; your academic background and personal characteristics – all important MBA Evaluation Criteria.

For advice on creating a powerful resume and answers to common questions, read MBA Resumes.

Extracurricular Activities/Community Service

This section is labeled different things but comprises your collegiate extracurricular and post-collegiate community service activities.  Often you are instructed to list these in order of importance.

Schools will ask for the organization name, description, and location; your dates and frequency of participation; and your role, description of role and whether that role was elected or appointed. When filling out this section remember the MBA Evaluation Criteria and seek to demonstrate promotions, impact, leadership, teamwork, a global element and other characteristics valued by MBA Admissions Committees.


List your awards in order of importance if the schools do not otherwise instruct you.  Indicate the date, describe the selection criteria, and the selectivity of the award (if this positions you favorably).  Include publications and certifications as well.  The awards section shows impact – one of the criteria MBA Admissions Committees use to evaluate your candidacy.

If there is not a separate section for awards make sure to list all of your academic, professional and community service awards in the appropriate sections within the online application (Academic Background, Employment History, and Extracurricular Activities/Community Service).

Essay Questions

Schools ask a variety of essay questions pertaining to career goals, school fit (or contribution), personal background, leadership, failure, optional information and more creative types that involve video or PowerPoints.

When addressing these questions remember that your essays complement the rest of your application.  So, do not provide redundant information found elsewhere in the application.  Also, contextualize your essay answers to your overall positioning with respect to the MBA Evaluation Criteria. Finally, given the essay word limits, MBA Admissions Committees are implicitly testing you on your ability to effectively and concisely communicate your ideas

In a future blog post, I will write in a separate blog post about how to best approach the essays, write effective Business English and tackle common question types.

Other Questions

Schools can ask a range of other questions, such as how you will finance your MBA (included in this is whether your company will be sponsoring your MBA studies) or to describe a personal hobby.  You will also often be asked to sign an Honor Code as well.

Application Fee

Schools charge application fees ranging from $75 to $250 that must be paid with a valid credit card.  Applicants can request waivers for a variety of reasons ranging from active duty U.S military or U.S. veteran status to current employment by the Peace Corps or Teach for America.  If you wish an exemption, make sure to check the specific policies for each school.


Schools generally ask for two recommendations from individuals who can speak directly about your managerial ability and professional promise.  MBA Admissions Committees prefer that one recommendation comes from your direct supervisor and usually requests a statement of explanation if you are not able to do so.  The other recommendation should be from another former supervisor, someone senior to you, or at least a person who has a direct stake in the quality of your work, such as a client or board member of a non-profit you run.  The recommender’s title or position is unimportant relative to that person’s ability to remark insightfully about you substantiated by specific examples.  If you are in college or a recent college graduate you may include an academic recommendation, but recommendations from the workplace or community service are usually superior except for in certain circumstances.  Stanford GSB asks for a third recommendation from a peer.  This recommendation can come from someone on a project or team in your community service, professional, extracurricular or other activities.  Just like you did when selecting your other recommenders, choose a person who can remark insightfully about you substantiated by specific examples.

In a future blog post, I will discuss MBA Recommendation Strategy which includes how to optimally select and approach recommenders.

MBA Interview

The MBA interview is an opportunity for you to showcase your communication skills, career focus, school fit, gravitas, likeability and more.  If you are an international applicant, MBA Admissions Committees will assess your English-language capabilities.  For most top schools, the MBA interview is invite only.  However, at some programs like Kellogg, candidates schedule interviews off-campus or on-campus.  Some schools like Wharton combine team-based discussion with several other applicants and a brief one-on-one interview.

In a future blog post, I will discuss how to best prepare for your MBA Interview.

What are the MBA Admissions Criteria used by Admissions Committees in evaluating my candidacy?  Understanding the MBA Admissions Criteria helps you in both preparing optimal MBA applications and selecting schools at which to apply.  You should prepare each component of the MBA application (essays, resume, work history, etc.) to address (show strength) in one or more of the MBA evaluation criteria.  Choosing MBA Schools at which to apply and determining stretch, target, and safety schools is dependent upon the strength of your candidacy based on this evaluation criteria and the degree to which those schools fits your needs. Almost all MBA schools look at the same set of factors when evaluating your candidacy, although some schools will weigh certain elements more than others.  Also, Different MBA Program Types will factor the elements differently (a school’s EMBA program will weigh the Professional Dimension more and your Academic Profile less than the school’s full-time MBA program will). Schools want to admit candidates that have great intellectual capacity, demonstrated impact, leadership capabilities, interpersonal skills, and other qualities shown in differing areas of his or her life.  These dimensions are Professional, Community, and Personal.  However, a school must first ask can you academically compete in their program by assessing your Academic Profile prior to determining whether your level of achievement and potential within the Professional, Community, and Personal dimensions are sufficient to admit you.

MBA Admissions Criteria

From the INSEAD MBA Admissions Criteria page:
MBA Admissions Criteria

Academic Profile

MBA schools evaluate your Academic Dimension by looking at your academic performance (especially in quantitative subjects), test scores, and other factors such as your intellectual curiosity and initiative for learning.


Your academic performance can be gleaned by examining your undergraduate and graduate transcripts along with post-graduate diplomas, certificates and additional coursework.  What was your GPA (or % for certain foreign students) in your coursework and major(s)?  How difficult is each school attended, degree attained and major completed?  For instance, Military Service Academies have low average GPA’s as do engineering degrees when compared to liberal arts degrees.  So, a student graduating with a low GPA in Electrical Engineering from West Point might have a stronger academic profile than another person graduating with a higher GPA in philosophy from a lower ranked school. Did you take rigorous classes and do well?  Did you earn strong grades in univariate calculus and statistics?  How difficult was your academic institution and the degree you chose (it is known that engineering degrees product the lowest GPAs)?

Test Scores

What was your score on the GMAT or GRE?  How well did you perform on the quantitative portion?  Most schools use the 80% as a rough threshold.  If you score less than 80%, you will want to show quantitative aptitude in other areas of your application.  I recommend for MBA applicants to take the GMAT because schools have more of a history with the exam.  Applicants who take the GRE are usually those with another advanced degree (as the GRE is the entrance requirement) or from a developing country (the GRE is less expensive than the GMAT). How have you performed on the TOEFL if you are an international applicant who graduated from a school which was not taught in English?  Schools evaluate your English proficiency by looking at your test score, essays, and interview.  This proficiency is important because class contribution and study groups are a significant part of the MBA experience.

Certifications or Credentials

Have you achieved a designation that shows accomplishment, such as passing all three exams within the CFA (Certified Financial Analyst)?


Have you been published which would demonstrate thought leadership in specific field or way of thinking? Does this align with a school’s research centers and initiatives?

Professional Dimension

The Professional Dimension includes your career trajectory, achievements, demonstrated leadership and teamwork, global mindset, and other characteristics.


Have you progressed in your career with promotions?  For instance, if you are a technology consultant you could have progressed from analyst to lead to project manager to client relationship manager.  Promotions can also occur in matrix organizations (like Microsoft) in which you advance in title and role separately.  Ideally promotions would have occurred with the same company, but could have occurred over multiple companies as you left for higher positions.


What has been your demonstrated impact versus your peer group (applicants with similar roles in similar industries and from similar regions)?  Impact is best shown as affecting other entities and people besides yourself whether organizations, divisions, teams, individuals, etc.


What has been your demonstrated leadership versus your peer group (applicants with similar roles in similar industries and from similar regions)? Leadership can be by authority or influence.  Leaders have different leadership styles (such as participative) and capabilities.  Although impact and leadership are often correlated these are not necessarily the same.  A salesperson would show impact, but not necessarily leadership, by exceeding his or her quota as an individual producer.  The same person could show both impact and leadership by leading a team or establishing a training program to empower many people to exceed their quotas.  Ideally, when choosing answers to essay questions (especially “leadership essay question types”) the applicant is both able to demonstrate impact and leadership.


How do you contribute in a group when you are not the leader or leadership is shared?  How do you manage conflict (this is relevant both when you are a leader and teammate)?  Have you developed specific teamwork skills that skills include facilitation, consensus building, morale building, mentoring, etc.?  Teamwork is tied to interpersonal and group communication skills which MBA admissions committees evaluate in your essays and especially during your interview.  Wharton’s team-based interview format is specifically designed to glean this information.


Have you worked in multiple countries and/or with people from different cultures?  Have you led or managed differently to attain results in these environments?  How has your perspective been broadened given these experiences?


Have you conducted yourself with integrity and/or positively handled ethical dilemmas? Have you demonstrated initiative?  Have you shown resiliency (often addressed in answering “failure essay question types) and emotional intelligence?

Community Dimension

Community encompasses extracurricular activities and community service (activities outside of school).  When discussing the Community dimension you still want to show promotions, impact, leadership, teamwork, a global element and other characteristics but how you discuss each of these and what you highlight might be different.  Community involvement is important because admissions committees want to admit good people who will positively impact the world and be engaged with the school through its clubs, conferences, programs, etc.  Pre-MBA community involvement is a strong indicator of community engagement while at MBA school.


Promotions in community service could be position-based (selected for a board seat of a non-profit) or role-based (advancing from a member of a group to its leader for a fundraising team participating in a marathon)


How do you lead in non-professional settings when involvement is often voluntary?


How do you positively contribute to team dynamics when some members might be paid staff and other members volunteers?


Do any of your community service or extracurricular activities encompass a global scope or involve a global mission?


What is the underlying motivation (such as altruism, education, freedom, opportunity) that drives you to dedicate your non-work time to these non-professional activities?  Where is the passion that defines you as a human being?

Personal Dimension

MBA Admissions Committees also look at your background, perspectives, and pursuits outside of your professional and community involvements to build a diverse class with unique and relevant viewpoints. Do you come from an underrepresented minority group or global region?  Have your risen from especially difficult circumstances (and has this influenced your professional, community and personal goals)?  Certain essay questions might ask about your family background, the different experiences that have shaped you, something that might surprise the Admissions Committee, etc.  If not asked, you might include this information in your optional essay.

Overall Fit  

All MBA Admissions Committees seek candidates with a strong academic profile and an excellent history of promotions, impact, leadership, teamwork, a global mindset and other characteristics in professional, community, and personal dimensions.  Schools, though have different evaluation criteria and guiding principles that influence their selection process which you can learn from thoroughly researching the school.  MIT Sloan publishes “What We Look For” and Haas’ Guiding Principles are “Question the Status Quo”, “Confidence Without Attitude”, “Student Always” and “Beyond Yourself”.  MIT Sloan does not feel that your short and long term goals dictate your future success as a business leader (and hence MIT Sloan does not have a goals question), while Columbia considers the alignment of your goals with their recruiters and academic programs as an important criterion (and hence why Columbia does have a goals question). So, in closing, prepare your applications based upon the generic and specific criteria that MBA Admissions Committees will use to evaluate your candidacy.

So you have decided to apply to MBA school because you feel the value of the degree and the doors that will open for you are worth the expense and effort involved. But what are the types of programs available to you and which program best suits your background and interests?

Different MBA Program Types

The program types are full-time MBA, part-time MBA, executive MBA, Masters of Management, and non-MBA degrees; these vary in program  length, intended audience and other factors.  These program types vary by scope, length, audience, etc. which we discuss later.  Click here for MBA Rankings for these different program types. NYU Stern School of Business offers full-time MBA, part-time MBA and executive MBA with a useful MBA Program Comparison Chart  to quickly ascertain the major underlying differences:

NYU Stern Different MBA Program Types Smaller Graphic

Full-Time MBA

Most people apply to full-time MBA programs in which the MBA curriculum  is completed in two years.  The summer between the two academic years is spent in a summer internship where you can expect to gain skills in your chosen functional area or industry vertical and often times receive mentorship and guidance, such as in Amgen’s MBA Internship Program.

Joint Degree Programs

The MBA degree can be combined with other graduate degrees in which elective coursework from each degree qualifies for completion of the other advanced degree thereby allowing the students to complete both degrees on time or in some cases in an accelerated fashion.  Examples of combined MBA degrees include MBA/JD (combined with Law), MBA/MD (combined with Medicine), MBA/MEng (combined with Engineering), MBA/DDS (combined with Dental), MBA/MIA (combined with Public Affairs), MBA/MPH (combined with Public Health), MBA/MPS (combined with Real Estate), MBA/MILR (combined with Industrial and Labor Relations), and MBA/MS (combined with Urban Planning, Applied Science, Journalism, Nursing, Social Work or whatever the MS is in). Almost every school has a web page dedicated to different Dual Degree Programs like the Darden Dual Degrees web page.

Accelerated Programs

Certain schools have accelerated programs in which the MBA curriculum  is completed in completed in less than the standard two years.  Accelerated business school programs, like Kellogg’s One Year Program, Columbia’s Accelerated Option and Emory’s One-Year MBA are for those MBA applicants with an undergraduate business degree or at least having completed a certain minimum number of courses in accounting, statistics, finance, economics, marketing and operations.  Other programs like Cornell’s Accelerated Program look for applicants with advanced degrees.  The one year program is also very popular in Europe with INSEAD’S program being the most well-known.

Future Leaders Programs (No Prior Experience) 

Certain business schools offer specialized programs for applicants directly applying out of college.  The schools are looking for future leaders who have strong grades, test scores, and undergraduate leadership and impact whether in extracurricular activities, athletics, arts or other fields.  Students within HBS’ 2+2 Program are granted deferred admission; they spend two years working in a company or nonprofit organization prior to attending HBS for two years.  Students in Yale’s Silver Scholars Program graduate in three years, attending class for the first and third years while spending the middle year in a full-time internship.  Stanford GSB offers deferred admission to college seniors of one to three years.

Part Time MBA

The part-time MBA is for those MBA applicants who wish to work while attending school. Students typically take two classes per term and complete the MBA curriculum graduate in three years, but often have the option of taking more classes to graduate early. Classes are taught in the evenings and weekends to accommodate work schedules.

Advantages of part-time programs over full-time programs is that employers are more likely to pay a portion of the tuition, the ability to remain employed, not having to relocate, applying MBA studies to your job and vice versa. Also, these programs are often less selective than their full-time MBA counterparts so certain marginal candidates can gain access to a prestigious MBA school by successfully applying to their part-time program.

The disadvantages are that you are might not have full access to bidding for the most popular on-campus job interviews (e.g. consulting, investment banking, etc.), more limited financial aid/merit scholarships available, and a hard time transferring from the part-time program to the full-time program because MBA Admissions Committees do not want to have a back door.

Executive MBA (or EMBA Program)

Executive MBA’s are also for those MBA applicants who wish to work while attending school.  Applicants are often sponsored by their companies.  This sponsorship entails both financial commitments and time off to take classes as the program structures are usually Friday and Saturday classes every two weeks.  Some schools like Columbia offer a Saturday-only option that meets weekly.

This sponsorship is favorably factored into the MBA Admissions Committees Evaluation Criteria.

EMBA students are usually older than part-time MBA students bringing a minimum of 8 years management experience.  But for those MBA schools without part-time programs, like Wharton, the average is lower than at business schools offering both part-time and executive MBA degrees.

Schools are branching out with their Executive MBA programs offering them in other regions, like Kellogg’s Miami Executive MBA program and other countries like Chicago GSB’s Executive MBA which is offered in London and Hong Kong in addition to Chicago.  Other schools partner up to offer a Global Executive EMBA like Columbia, London Business School and HKU Business School in their EMBA-Global Asia program.

Non-MBA degrees

When evaluating non-MBA degree program it is important to weigh more heavily career placement following your program as part of your MBA School Selection criteria.  These degree programs often do not have the flexibility of the MBA to facilitate career transitions immediately after school or later in your career or might not give you the salary boost if you do not have sufficient experience prior to entering into the program. 

Masters of Management

The Masters of Management degree is geared towards students with typically one or two years worth of experience.  In addition to the MBA curriculum more basic classes are taught on different financial tools, career development, etc.  London Business School’s Programme is considered one of the best.  When evaluating Masters of Management programs assess employability by reading career reports as part of your MBA research.  You will have less experience so you will be even more dependent on the school’s career services.

Financial Engineering Programs (or Quantitative Finance)

Financial Engineering programs use quantitative methods and tools to solve finance-related programs.  Schools will want applicants to have a strong mathematics background, computer programming experience, familiarity with statistics and econometrics tools, etc.  Graduates of these programs work in risk management firms, hedge funds, etc.  One drawback of the degree, though, is the limited flexibility to switch into non-quantitative roles given the MFE is less known than the MBA is.  Haas’ Master of Financial Engineering Program is excellent.  You can find out more about these degrees including a comparison of programs at the IAFE Guide to Financial Engineering Programs.

Executive Education

Executive Education consists of classes on a whole host of business-related topics that often mirror courses taught in the MBA school.  The difference is that students do not receive a degree but sometimes are granted a certificate upon completing a certain number of classes in a specific functional area, industry concentration, etc.  These concentrations also mirror majors and specializations offered by the MBA school but with usually less classes.  Harvard Business School Executive Education is one of the most well-known.

Wharton has released its MBA Essay Questions for the upcoming MBA admissions year.

MBA Essay Questions

1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words)

Wharton has released its MBA Application Deadlines for the upcoming year.

MBA Application Deadlines

Round One Deadline: October 1, 2013
Round Two Deadline: January 7, 2014
Round Three Deadline: March 27, 2014

2013-2014 MBA/MA-Lauder deadlines

Round One Deadline: October 1, 2013
Round Two Deadline: January 7, 2014

Applications are due at 5:00 p.m. EST on the day of the deadline.

From MBA Admissions Blog:

Notes from the Director: Round 2 Decision Release and Round 3 Update

Greetings from Philadelphia,

With the close of March has come spring (finally!), and we hope that the weather stays after a last hurrah for winter and bout of snow earlier this week. In addition to the change in season, March also brought our Round 3 application deadline and the much-anticipated (from our end and yours) Round 2 decision release. Tuesday morning, the Admissions Committee and our Welcome Weekend Committee had the always delighting opportunity to call and congratulate our extremely excited new members of the Class of 2015. For our admitted students on the West Coast, it was the best kind of wake-up call and for those in Asia, a great way to end a long day of waiting to hear the news. For all of us, it is hands down one of the best days of the year – and from your excited reactions (we love you, our screamers and criers!) we know it was for you as well.

Yet, not unlike the weather, I recognize that this is also a season of highs and lows and mixed emotions, as we were unable to offer admission to every outstanding candidate that we met during the process. On behalf of the entire team, we sincerely appreciate your engagement throughout our process and truly enjoyed getting to know you. We wish you all the best in your future professional endeavors and have no doubt of your incredible accomplishments to come wherever your journey takes you next.

For our Round 3 applicants, we know you are eagerly awaiting interview decisions as your next step. All interview decisions will go out next Friday, April 5. Round 3 Team Based Discussions and 1:1 interviews will take place in April on campus. Should you have any questions around the application or interview process, please contact our office directly by phone at +1.215-898-6183 or via email at mba-admiss@wharton.upenn.edu.

Looking ahead, for those of you considering applying to Wharton next year (or for admits who have not been able to visit yet) please note that this academic year’s fullCampus Visit Program will conclude for the year on Friday, April 19. We will offer limited information sessions at 3:00 p.m. Monday, Thursday, and Friday during the week of April 22 as well. Please consult the website for details or call us with any questions. Our full campus visit program will start up again in late September. Keep an eye on the website for exact dates to come later this summer, and we will certainly keep you posted on the blog as well.

In the interim, we are excited to bring Wharton and life in Philadelphia to you! Beginning in June, the Admissions Committee will be back on the road and hosting information sessions around the globe. The schedule and registration for these events will start to be posted on our website in late April. Please stay tuned for more details to come. As always, don’t hesitate to be with our office by email or phone for any other questions.

We look forward to seeing many of you on campus or around the world soon!


Ankur Kumar

Wharton invites began going out on January 29th and will continue up until February 22nd.

From MBA Admissions Blog:

Greetings All,

Winter weather officially arrived in Philadelphia, surprising us with the first few inches of snow in the new year just last week. For the Admissions Team, this weather could not have come at a better time as we are hunkered down inside reading the Round 2 applications.  We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know each and every one of you through your personal written story.

In the upcoming weeks, we look forward to the opportunity to meet many of you for interviews. Interview invitations will begin to go out on Tuesday, January 29 and continue through Friday, February 22. As a reminder, interview invitations are not released in any particular order as we do not read applications in a particular order. The timing of your invitation to interview does not indicate anything about your candidacy. I know waiting to hear from us is always nerve wracking and appreciate your patience with the process.

After the remarkably positive feedback that we received during Round 1, we cannot wait to see what Round 2 has in store. The interview process is not only a wonderful way for the Admissions team to get to know our candidates “off the page,” this new format has also proven to be a wonderful way for our candidates to get to know each other as well. Should you be invited to interview, we look forward to meeting you in one of the following locations: on campus in Philadelphia, Dubai, London, Mexico City, New Delhi, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, and Singapore. All Round 2 applicants received an email with more details on the interview process last week; we’ll be in touch with further details as well. You can also read more about the interview process in a blog posting from the summer here.

Thank you all for your patience during this time. We look forward to being in touch over the next few weeks regarding interview invitations and next steps.

Hope the new year has been off to a great start!


Ankur Kumar

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