Wharton MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines [2019 – 2020]
The big change in Wharton’s admissions last year occurred at the top. Frank DeVechhis left his position as Director of Admissions. Blair Mannix, Director of Operations and Evaluations since 2015, initially assumed the role of Interim Director of Admissions. She became the Director of Admissions for Wharton MBA in October 2018.
In terms of the application, Wharton introduced a new question for its second essay last year. It reduced its length limit for the second question by 100 words for this cycle.
The tips for approaching the questions are in italics below.
Two years ago Wharton introduced a new format for its recommendations and is continuing to use it. Wharton asks recommenders to choose from two lists of positive adjectives the three that best describe the applicant. In addition, the Wharton MBA application asks recommenders for two examples – one demonstrating fit with Wharton and one showing the candidate’s career potential. The intention of this approach is to see if the recommendations can be more predictive both of success in the Wharton program and in one’s career.
In discussion at an AIGAC conference a few years ago, then admissions director Frank DeVecchis acknowledged that on some level the words “recommendation” or “evaluation” are misnomers for what Wharton is looking for from the people asked to provide “a recommendation.” They are looking for insight into your character. Not a recommendation or an evaluation.
Wharton MBA Application Essay Questions
Wharton MBA Essay #1:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This question is future-focused and exclusively professional. What do you want to do professionally that you can’t do now and that a Wharton MBA will help you do? What “soft” and “hard” skills do you hope to acquire at Wharton? How will a Wharton MBA – the education, the credential, and the experience – help you achieve your dreams?
As with most MBA goals questions, Wharton wants to see how you plan to connect your Wharton education to your future. Keep in mind that Wharton has an incredibly rich curriculum. How will you take advantage of its premier offerings to prepare yourself to realize your vision?
To answer this question well, you need to have professional direction and you need to know which of Wharton’s myriad resources make it perfect as the next stop on your professional journey.
Wharton MBA Essay #2:
Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)
Start with the end in mind: How do you intend to contribute to the Wharton community?
To answer that question, research the co-curricular opportunities and pedagogical approach at Wharton. How will you contribute? Based on past experience and accomplishments, what difference do you intend to make? How will you participate, and yes, contribute?
Now decide on your achievement that prepared you to have your intended impact. Make sure it is one where you made a difference.
And now you’re ready to write.
I would start this essay with the impactful experience from your past and then analyze the lesson you learned from that accomplishment. Then bring it forward and apply it to your intended role at Wharton.
You could, however, start with your intended impact at Wharton and then go back to your past experience.
Please note: To answer this question well, you need to know a lot about Wharton’s program and opportunities.
Wharton MBA Additional Essay Question:
(Required for all reapplicants)
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). (250 words)*
The name of the MBA reapplicant game is Growth and Improvement. Wharton is asking for reflection, and you need to provide it, but also show how that reflection led to action and improvement. Show Wharton that you are a better candidate this time than last.
*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
“Addressing extenuating circumstances” means that you should describe those circumstances in a straight-forward way. Give the admissions committee context. Avoid excuses and whining. If possible provide evidence that those circumstance either no longer exist and no longer effect your performance.
For expert guidance with your Wharton MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Wharton’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
Round 1: Application deadline
Round 2: Application deadline
Round 3: Application deadline
*To be considered for a round, you must submit a complete application by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the day of the deadline.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted. Linda earned her bachelors and MBA at UCLA, and has been advising applicants since 1994 when she founded Accepted. Linda is the co-founder and first president of AIGAC. She has written or co-authored 13 e-books on the admissions process, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News, Poets & Quants, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS News, and others. Linda is the host of Admissions Straight Talk, a podcast for graduate school applicants. Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• Meet Dr. Akshat Kumar, Wharton MBA ‘19, a podcast episode
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