The Wharton 2013 MBA application essays are out. My tips are in blue below.
First-time applicants and reapplicants are required to complete the same set of essay questions.
How will the Wharton MBA help you achieve your professional objectives? (400 words)
Thoughtful professional objectives will include a function and an industry. Sometimes geographic location is important and then it should be included.
First research the curricular options at Wharton, which has increasingly flexible requirements. Wharton has always had an incredibly rich and varied curriculum. What aspects of Wharton's broad program do you intend to take advantage of to prepare yourself for your chosen career path? What extra-curricular activities do you want to participate in and contribute to, but keep your focus on those clubs and events that will help you achieve your career goals.
You can start this essay with a vision of achieving your goals and then back up to how you will do so. Or, you can start with that special moment when you realized what you wanted to do, define that goal, and then quickly move into the aspects of Wharton's program that will help you attain it.
Respond to 2 of the Following 3 Questions:
Which two questions should you choose? Easy. Choose the ones, that when added to the other elements of your application and each other, add insight into you. Minimize overlap.
1. Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. (500 words)
You don't want this essay to merely repeat #1 so only select it if you can write it in a way that complements essay #1. Maybe you have a community service or extra-curricular interest that you have not written about in #1. What Wharton club or event relates to it? Illustrate your interest by drawing on past commitments and achievements and then connect to Wharton's course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement.
2. Imagine your work obligations for the afternoon were cancelled and you found yourself "work free" for three hours, what would you do? (500 words)
Oh! You could have so much fun in those three hours! You could accomplish so much for a favorite cause! What would you love to do with those three hours? This is an essay that call for your non-professional side. Use it to show another dimension in the individual that is you.
Paint a written picture for the readers of how you would spend that time. Tell a story.
3. "Knowledge for Action draws upon the great qualities that have always been evident at Wharton: rigorous research, dynamic thinking, and thoughtful leadership." - Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School
Tell us about a time when you put knowledge into action. (500 words)
First watch this Wharton video. To respond to this question, tell a story about a time you acted on a something you had learned. It could be something learned in a class or research project, but it doesn't have to be. It could be something that reflects an innovative process. What was the lesson you were acting on? What was the problem you were solving? If you can be in a leadership role, all the better. What was the impact of your actions on you and on others?
Reapplicant Question: All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Please use this space to explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and to 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)
The key part of this question is the update part. Don’t ignore reflection on your previous decision, but focus on the new and improved you. For more suggestions for your reapplication, please see MBA Reapplication 101.
Optional Section for All Applicants: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application). (250 words)
Why isn’t your current boss writing your recommendation? Why is there a eight-month gap between your first and second job? Why did your grades dip during the last semester of your junior year? What are your responsibilities while working for a family business after having left a prestigious consulting firm, and why did you decide to go into the family business? Your optional essay can respond to any of those questions (but not all).
If you would like help with Wharton’s essays, please consider Accepted.com’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our Wharton School Packages which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Wharton's application.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.
This article originally appeared on the Accepted Admissions Consulting Blog, the official blog of Accepted.com.