Wharton MBA Essay Questions
Mandatory Essay 1:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500-word limit)
Mandatory Essay 2:
Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400-word limit)
Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400-word limit)
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this 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). All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250-word limit)
Wharton MBA Admissions Criteria
If Wharton School of Business seems like the right place for you, Wharton encourages you to apply. While your application is reviewed multiple times in detail, there is no simple formula for success in the admissions process. A successful application combines substance, presentation, and good timing. It should tell your own story and make each element of your application as strong as possible. The MBA application includes four main sections, which together give Wharton School of Business a picture of you as a person, student, and professional.
In any given year, approximately three-quarters of candidates are admissible based on academic factors alone. However, given that the matriculating class represents only around 10% of the total applicant pool, your academic profile, though important, is not the only factor Wharton School of Business considers. While there is no set profile for admitted students, Wharton values diversity in both professional and personal experiences. These factors, in addition to your personal qualities, are what make your application stand out.
Wharton School of Business evaluates academic profiles looking for the ability to handle the Wharton MBA curriculum. Because the curriculum is quite rigorous, Wharton School of Business must ensure that every admitted candidate can manage the workload successfully, with time left over to explore opportunities offered outside the classroom.
Measures of academic ability include undergraduate/baccalaureate preparation, advanced degrees, post-graduate diplomas, certificates or other coursework, as well as standardized test scores and other credentials (e.g., CPA, CFA).
There are no specific majors or courses required for the MBA. However, a strong grounding in quantitative areas is important. Calculus and statistics are excellent foundation courses for an MBA.
Your performance and preparation are considered based on the factors that led you to choose your school, the competitive level of your school, the curriculum you chose, and academic trends on your transcript.
Your intellectual curiosity may be demonstrated by the electives taken outside your major. Your grade point average (GPA), class division and/or class rank is weighed against other demands on your time, such as working while in school and/or heavy involvement in extracurricular activities. Note: Not all universities award GPAs, class division, or class rank. Applicants should not calculate any of these items if they are not reported by their universities. Additional Academic Work
All additional academic work is relevant, including continuing education credits, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees in related and unrelated fields. If you didn’t perform at a high level in some of your undergraduate classes, additional coursework may show stronger academic motivation and ability. If you don’t have an analytic or mathematical undergraduate background, taking calculus, statistics, or other business-related quantitative classes may bolster your preparation.
The General Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are additional parts of the academic profile.
The total GMAT and/or GRE score, as well as each section of the test, is evaluated. Applicants need to complete all sections of the GMAT and/or GRE.Wharton School of Business has no minimum cut-off scores. If you’re disappointed with your test score and believe that with additional preparation you could improve your score, then Wharton School of Business encourages you to retake the test.
A complete command of the English language, including proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking is essential for success in Wharton’s MBA program. All international applicants for the MBA Program whose native language (language first learned and spoken at home) is not English, or who did not complete a degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction, are required to take the TOEFL in addition to the GMAT.
Professional certifications such as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), or PE (Professional Engineer) are considered as parts of your academic profile.
When responding to essay questions, focus your energy on painting a concise, complete, and well-thought-out picture of who you truly are rather than what you think the MBA Admissions Committee is looking for. Use essays to elaborate your candidacy while answering the specific questions at hand within the suggested guidelines. It is important to answer all questions that Wharton School of Business presents, using good judgment with respect to length. Wharton School of Business provides guidelines for word count that reflect their strong sense of how long an essay should be. Wharton School of Business does not count words or expect you to list a word count, but if your essays are twice as long as the guidelines suggest, there may be a more concise way to address the question.
Candidates who have worked in non-traditional careers (or for companies that may not be as familiar to the Admissions Committee) will need to explain issues in a little more detail. If that’s your situation, please feel free to write more, but use your good judgment. For more information about non-traditional backgrounds and careers at Wharton, please visit Non-traditional Students.
The optional essay is truly optional and may be presented in one paragraph of 250 words or less. Use this to highlight any inconsistencies your application may need to address, or explain your choice of recommenders if you believe they are not a traditional choice. Wharton School of Business recommends that you don’t skip over any issue that may present a concern to an evaluator.
If there is a potential issue (e.g., one poor semester/term at a university within an otherwise impressive academic experience, a year out of your career to explore), explain its context, what you learned from the experience, and how it may affect your time at Wharton. If you do not explain the context, the MBA Admissions Committee may make uninformed assumptions.
Beyond your personal essays, the Wharton School of Business MBA Admissions Committee would like to learn about you from two independent people who know you well. Wharton School of Business prefers MBA recommendations from people who can speak directly about your aptitude for, or accomplishments in, leadership and management. Thus, work-related recommendations are more valuable than academic ones.
Select the two people who really know you and your work, and whom you believe can best address the questions asked, not the two most important people you know. If a Wharton graduate happens to be one of those two people, he or she may be able to use his or her understanding of Wharton to describe how you will fit into the Wharton culture. Please don’t seek out alumni who aren’t truly qualified to write about you.
Please make sure your recommenders understand that an effective MBA recommendation provides more than checking the right boxes and writing a few sentences. If the recommender believes that you are a good team player, he or she should present an example or two that illustrates that point. Useful MBA recommendation letters are usually two to three pages long. You may want to brief your recommenders beforehand so that they understand the competitive nature of the admissions process in which you are engaging.
Applicants who work in family businesses, entrepreneurial environments, or other non-traditional environments will need to be more creative when choosing recommenders (and perhaps use the optional essay to allow us to understand how you made your choices). You may consider clients, mentors, or those that you have worked with in the community.
Please upload a one-page resume in Word. Wharton School of Business is interested in your functional job skills, breadth and depth of experience, demonstrated leadership and management skills, as well as your potential for growth. Wharton School of Business is more concerned about what you have learned than about your length of time in the workplace.
Refer to the MBAPrepAdvantage post MBA Admissions Criteria for a more in-depth analysis on how business school admissions committees evaluate your candidacy.
Visit the Wharton MBA Application Deadlines and Wharton MBA Admissions and Wharton MBA Admissions Process pages to learn more information about the Wharton MBA Essay Questions and applying to the MBA program of the business school.
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