Wharton Business School 2020-2021 MBA Essay Tips and Application Deadlines

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Are you ready to take the next step toward attending business school?


As tumultuous as the world might be these days, there are still a lot of constants. And one of those is that getting an MBA can be an incredible investment in your future – as long as you choose the right school and make a compelling case for admission.


If the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business seems like a good fit for your goals, here’s what you need to know about applying:




  • Round one: September 15, 2020
  • Round two: January 5, 2021
  • Round three: March 31, 2021


There are many elements required for an MBA application, from test scores to resumes. But one of the most important things in any b-school application is the essay section. Wharton asks applicants to complete two.


The first essay prompt reads:


“What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)


In social and economic times where the world seems to be taking a bit of a pause, it’s common for applications to graduate schools to soar. Elite MBA programs are well aware of this. And while there’s no disputing that this may be exactly the right time in your life for business school, it’s vital that you demonstrate to the admissions committee that it’s the right time for you to attend Wharton, in particular.


So, how do you do that?


The first, and most important, step is to ask yourself why you want to apply to Wharton Business School. Are you just scrolling through lists of top MBA programs? (That is not a great approach).


Do you know Wharton alumni who loved their time at the school, and who have strong post-MBA careers because of what they learned in their time at the school? (That can be a very solid reason).


Have you looked into the details of the school’s core curriculum, their Global Impact consulting projects, the professors who call Wharton home, and determined that a Wharton MBA is the best path toward an amazing career?


If the last is true, then you’ve done the research to truly be able to show the admissions committee what you’ll gain professionally from a Wharton MBA.


The more specific you can get, the more you can delve into exactly what your goals are and how certain classes, professors, and programs at Wharton can help you succeed, the more effective your application essay will be.


Writing the Second 2018-2019 Wharton MBA Application Essay


For their second essay, the Wharton School’s admissions committee couldn’t be more clear about what they’re looking for. If the first essay prompt was the classic “Why us?” question, the second is a classic “Why you?”. The prompt reads:


“Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)


The key words here are specific and meaningful.


We always advise applicants to do their research about business schools where they plan to apply. Of course, much of that is to ensure that the school is a good fit for you – does it offer a solid program for the career field you want to pursue? Is the location one that will suit your desired lifestyle and networking goals? Is the alumni network robust and effective?


But “doing your research” when it comes to business school is also about ensuring that you can contribute to the school. After all, that robust alumni network doesn’t appear out of thin air – it comes from people who know that their classmates have done the work, that they have brought strong and successful ideas to the table, that they have a clear understanding of the value a global network brings to the workplace.


To write a successful essay for Wharton, it’s important that you clearly show you understand not just what clubs and classes Wharton offers, but what you are most excited to participate in. Where do you see yourself taking the lead? What knowledge can you offer the community as a whole?


A business school cohort is a living, breathing ecosystem. And while leadership is an important skill to develop during your time in an MBA program, leadership without teamwork is just ineffectual bullying. If you want to do well on Wharton’s “Why me?” application essay, you have to show how you’ll be a valuable member of the team.


Changes for COVID-19


In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Wharton has adapted many of their admissions events to an online Admissions webinar format.


As of early July 2020, the school is still engaged in formulating their fall semester plans, but is tentatively planning to re-open the campus on a limited basis beginning September 1. Wharton School faculty, of course, remain deeply involved in thought leadership around how the novel coronavirus will affect the business world moving forward.


Are You Ready to Apply to Business School?


If business school is your next step, EXPARTUS can help. We’ve been guiding early-career applicants, international students, and executives to create their ideal MBA application for more than a decade.


If you’d like to learn more about what we can do for you, please visit our Services page or reach out to us at +1 844-259-4506, or by email at info@expartus.com.


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