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Calling all Wharton 2008 applicants

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 [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2007, 11:25
Okay, I am officially starting working on the Wharton application now. The clear-admit essay analysis:

Wharton Essay Topic Analysis 2007-2008


Wharton’s made a change to their standard format this year; the school now poses three required questions and asks applicants to choose one more from two options, as opposed to the previous two-required, two-applicant’s-choice model of the past few years. It’s often interesting to pay attention to these shifts, as they’re often an indicator of what sort of information the school is seeking to extract from applicants.

Essay 1: Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect a Wharton MBA to help you achieve these goals, and why is now the best time for you to join our program? (1,000 words)
The school’s career goal essay has remained fairly constant from year to year, and the thousand word limit provides applicants with a good deal of room to work with in describing their professional progress and aspirations, and their motivation for pursuing an MBA. One thing to note is the strong emphasis on the “why now” element of the prompt, which indicates that the timing of the application with respect to one’s current job and future plans will be a very important idea to address.

Essay 2: Describe a failure or setback that you have experienced. What role did you play and what did you learn about yourself? (500 words)
While Wharton has been asking a failure-themed question for several years running, this particular inquiry is identical to last year’s essays. The adcom clearly acknowledges that no one is perfect, and seeks a perspective on each prospective student beyond his or her success, wondering about an applicant’s maturity (as evidenced by ability to learn from mistakes and handle disappointment) in addition to his or her achievements. The range of potential topics is rather broad here (previous versions of the failure essay limited responses to teamwork examples), with the wording leaving applicants open to discussing a topic from the professional, academic or extracurricular realm.

As is always the case, it’s important to focus on the positive elements of this scenario. A sound approach to any essay that explicitly asks applicants to recount a time when things went less than well is to summarize the failure itself briefly, spending the bulk of the essay relating his or her response and lessons learned. Also along these lines, rather than commenting that he or she learned about a weakness as a result of the failure, it would be ideal for an applicant to select a situation in which something positive was discovered due to the response. This is not to say that your essay should fall into the trap of merely being a ‘veiled success’ (a failure that isn’t really a failure at all); however, it is important to demonstrate positive growth and the learning experience that can come from missing the mark.

Essay 3: Tell us about a situation in which you were an outsider. What did you learn from the experience? (500 words)
This is a new question for Wharton, and an unusual b-school essay in general. Rather than asking about the applicant’s interactions with others as part of a cohesive team or in a recognized leadership role, a popular focus of MBA application essays, Wharton is here concerned with how a candidate has handled the experience of being on the outside of a group. As for the motivation, the school might be looking to learn about the applicant’s ability to adapt and proactively integrate into a group, or simply to navigate a less than supportive environment. While teamwork is a key element of an MBA education, survival and leadership in the business world may also require the ability to stand alone.

This essay is somewhat similar to INSEAD’s question about culture shock, and an experience traveling or working abroad could make a great topic, but the scope of potential subjects is much broader. While one could certainly be an outsider with respect to population and setting, one could also stand outside of a group with respect to role, purpose, values or opinion. Centering the essay on a story or event rather than just the circumstance might be a way to engage the reader and lend direction to the narrative, illustrating your actions in addition to your lessons.

Essay 4: Please Complete One Of The Following Two Questions:
4.1. Where in your background would we find evidence of your leadership capacity and/or potential? (500 words)
4.2. Is there anything about your background or experience that you feel you have not had the opportunity to share with the Admissions Committee in your application? If yes, please explain. (500 words)

Which of these two essays will be best to answer will depend on the subjects of the three required responses. The leadership potential essay seems to call for a several-item inventory of leadership successes, whereas the more general second option might lend itself a bit better to an anecdote about a certain topic. If opting to answer the first question, remember that it’s better to show rather than tell - it would be beneficial to relate a handful of illustrative anecdotes rather than glossing over a number of roles and achievements. There’s room for a longer leadership story in the second option, as well as for a more open-ended discussion of a significant extracurricular involvement, or an element of your background that has shaped who you are. A good approach might be to complete the required essays, and then reflect carefully on your candidacy to determine what’s missing from the picture, keeping in mind the importance of leadership examples. This exercise will likely draw out which format and what subject matter will complete your application
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 [#permalink] New post 29 Aug 2007, 11:31
Thanks for that, I also just started on my Wharton app.

Pretty sure I know what I'm going to write about for all except the "outsider" one, that is gonna take some brainstorming.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 00:53
Just started working on the Wharton app...finished draft #1 of the first essay...to me essay 4.1 seems to be identify a central leadership theme/trend and highlight it using examples. Dunno if that would meet the requirements or if something else would be more appropriate.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 04:42
shmegs wrote:
Just started working on the Wharton app...finished draft #1 of the first essay...to me essay 4.1 seems to be identify a central leadership theme/trend and highlight it using examples. Dunno if that would meet the requirements or if something else would be more appropriate.


Seems to me that's exactly what they're looking for. Me, I'm doing 4.2 since I have one long term activity that exhibits a lot of different skills, including leadership, so I'm picking that one.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 06:24
I had to rethink my response to Essay 2. I had a nice story laid out about a failure and how I coped with the situation, the problem is everything worked out in the end...guess it's backing to the drawing board for me.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 06:37
Luckily I have a very good failure story from my 2nd year of college that I learned a lot from and has a good "comeback" ending.

I'm glad it's a main essay so it gives me twice as many words to put the situation in more context.
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 09:22
is it me or do I not see a place to upload the resume for Wharton? Can some point me to where it is?

All these apps are starting to looks confusing!
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 09:25
aceman626 wrote:
is it me or do I not see a place to upload the resume for Wharton? Can some point me to where it is?

All these apps are starting to looks confusing!

i didnt see one either...maybe there isnt one? the employment history part is pretty comprehensive
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 [#permalink] New post 30 Aug 2007, 09:25
aceman626 wrote:
is it me or do I not see a place to upload the resume for Wharton? Can some point me to where it is?

All these apps are starting to looks confusing!


On my screen under each question there is an "Upload Attachment" option
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 [#permalink] New post 31 Aug 2007, 19:44
Just a side note - for people working on both HBS and Wharton, you can see that the questions are almost similar in nature. (if you plan on writing about culture shock in your outsider essay)
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 [#permalink] New post 01 Sep 2007, 11:33
grad_mba wrote:
Just a side note - for people working on both HBS and Wharton, you can see that the questions are almost similar in nature. (if you plan on writing about culture shock in your outsider essay)


It does make it easier, also, I've been pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of internationally themed essays. Globalization? In all seriousness, these essays have been very helpful because I've been able to write about cross-cultural experiences that tie into my central theme/goals.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 20:41
Sigh, when will I get to change my avatar to this:

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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 20:42
mNeo wrote:
Sigh, when will I get to change my avatar to this:

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By christmas. Patience buddy.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 22:08
forcefeed wrote:
I am interpreting this question to be similar to the HBS culture shock essay. I'm going to write about my first trip to China and how I initially struggled to connect to people there but adapted quickly to be successful in my project.


Dude, you stole my idea !!
What are the rest of you writing in this "Outsider" essay? A cultural difference experience is something obvious that we can fit here. But to be honest, I've never felt like a true "outsider" in any country that I went to. Well except for China .. where I was getting a lot of stares because of my non-chinese looks and my height. But I can't think of anything that I learned from that experience :? (Except that "I don't look Chinese")

I was hoping to write about some experience where my ideologies and thoughts were outsiders. But I can't think of any :( So what are the rest of you writing about? Gimme some ideas guys!
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 22:20
I'm writing about moving to India, and how I still felt like an outsider even though I was Indian (born raised in the US).
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 22:29
You may not like it, but "America born Indian going to India" and "India born Indian moving to America" are going to be very common themes. Not that you shouldn't write about something just cos it's a common theme. Who knows, maybe you'll shine in that essay.
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 [#permalink] New post 03 Sep 2007, 23:28
Thanks for the input mNeo, it's a bit more than that...I've grown up in the US, Europe, Africa but the thing that hit me most when I went back to India was people asking what caste I am etc...Something I always thought of as antiquated and only read about in the history books. Plus some of things I've heard from coworkers friends on my caste have been shocking.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 04:54
i may be the only person NOT writing about going to another country for my outsider essay. havent left the country in 20 years :oops:
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 05:01
I'm not sure what I'm going to do for that essay yet. I've never left the US....actually I've only left the Northeast twice. So I'm going to have to think of another take on being an "outsider". I did feel like sort of an outsider during college since I didn't drink, listened to music no one heard of, etc... and found it difficult to connect to people, but I feel that may be too cheesy.
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 [#permalink] New post 04 Sep 2007, 05:03
jjanders wrote:
I'm not sure what I'm going to do for that essay yet. I've never left the US....actually I've only left the Northeast twice. So I'm going to have to think of another take on being an "outsider". I did feel like sort of an outsider during college since I didn't drink, listened to music no one heard of, etc... and found it difficult to connect to people, but I feel that may be too cheesy.


i think thats a pretty good idea...i think the outsider in another country idea is a bit played out
  [#permalink] 04 Sep 2007, 05:03
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