Wharton 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out our Wharton b-school zone! Wharton is still marching in the MBA application shrink parade. It now has one required question and has dumped the question about contribution to Wharton’s learning community.  However, it has made the optional a broader question than it was last year and has increased the optional essay word limit. Overall the Wharton essay word limit count has declined from 1250 to 950 including the optional.

My tips for completing the Wharton application essays are in blue below.

The Admissions Committee wants to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid, and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself.

Essays:

1. What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

What do you want to achieve personally and professionally that you can’t do now and that a Wharton MBA will help you achieve? Note the questions is not just asking what you want to do after you graduate, and it’s not asking for exclusively professional aspirations. It is giving you the option to dream a bit.

As with most MBA goals questions, Wharton still wants to see how you 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 achieve your vision for the future?

Reapplicant Essay. All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional 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). 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 Esssay. Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

You can use the optional essay to explain or provide context for decision you have made or events in your life. For example:

  • Why isn’t your current boss writing your recommendation?
  • Why is there an 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).

Or you can use your optional essay to highlight something in your experiences, background, personal or professional life that didn’t fit into the required essay and that you want the admissions committee to know about. You can discuss a diversity element, a unique area of interest or an accomplishment that you don’t feel is adequately described elsewhere. 

Don’t use it as a grand summary of you application or reasons for wanting Wharton. Make sure it adds value.

If you would like professional guidance with your Wharton MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Wharton MBA application.

Wharton 2015 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline . Decisions Released
Round 1 Oct 1, 2014 Dec 16, 2014
Round 2 Jan 5, 2015 Mar 24, 2015
Round 3 Mar 26, 2015 May 5, 2015

*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.

Get Accepted to the Wharton School!

Linda Abraham By , 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.

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    If any readers would like a profile evaluation for Wharton, please provide the following info:

    1) Brief description of your full-time work experience.
    2) Your GMAT or GRE. Percentiles preferred.
    3) College info: The name of the college, your GPA or grade average, your major, year of graduation. For any graduate degrees, please provide the same info. If you grades are low, please indicate if there were extenuating circumstances.
    4) Significant college and post-college extra-curricular activities or community service, especially leadership experience.
    5) Important certifications like CFA, CPA, FSA, or CA.
    6) Your post-MBA goal.

    Or if you just have a question about MBA admissions, I’ll do my best to answer it.

    • Rajiv Chatterjee

      Hi, please find below a brief summary of my profile. It will be really great if you would please evaluate my profile for Wharton

      1) I work as as management consultant with Accenture Management Consulting. I have a cumulative work experience of around 6 years. I provide strategy and operations consulting for Oil & Gas, Metals, Mining, Chemicals and Utilities companies.
      2) My GMAT score is 720
      3)
      Grad School: HEC Paris, France
      Major: Strategic Management
      GPA: 3.43
      Year: 2012-2013

      Undergrad School: West Bengal University of Technology, India
      Major: Computer Science and Engineering
      GPA: 3.37
      Year: 2004-2008

      5) High altitude trekking and mountain climbing

      4) Certifications:
      Project Management Professional (PMP) from PMI, USA
      Diploma in Supply Chain Management from NMIMS, India

      6) Post MBA goal – I would like to continue working in the consulting industry

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Rajiv,

        Did you get an MBA from HEC? Did you leave the program before completing the degree? If so, why?

        Linda

        • Rajiv Chatterjee

          I did a one year MSc Program in Strategic Management from HEC Paris. I have completed the entire program and didn’t leave it mid way

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Wharton is a stretch. While your work experience is competitive your grades are a little low for Wharton. In addition, you would have a fairly difficult time explaining why you need an MBA given your MSc in Strategic Management.

        Best,
        Linda

    • DMo

      Linda,

      I would like your thoughts on the initial strenghts
      1) work for EY audit in Bay area working on public (Facebook, including IPO) and private (Instagram/WhatsApp) tech companies.
      2) 710 GMAT. 70% quant 90% verbal. 93% overall
      3) Bachelor and Master of Accounting at BYU. 3.9/4 gpa
      4) lead the office community engagement team (over 10,000 annual community service hours)
      5)CPA
      6) Strategy consulting / Venture Capital

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        DMo,

        I am a tad concerned about your quant score, but with all your quant work and your high GPA in business related classes, I think it’s OK. Overall you have a competitive profile for Wharton and are applying appropriately.

        Linda

    • Narcissa

      Hi Linda,

      Thank you for giving us your advice and feedback!

      I am currently in the process of applying, and would be glad to get your feedback on my chances:

      1) By the time I will start the MBA program at Wharton:
      – 1 year and 10 months at EY (Ernst & Young) as an Audit Staff/Advanced Staff (currently employed) and
      – 2 months at Kempinski Hotel’s accounting department as a Junior Accountant (prior to EY)

      2) GMAT 730 (Quantitative: 74th percentile, Verbal: 96th percentile)
      GRE (Quantitative: 80th percentile, Verbal: 78th percentile)
      3) Schiller International University, GPA : 3.74 (out of 4.00), Major: B.Sc. in International Business, Graduation: June, 2013.
      4) College extra-curricular activities: Student Government (as a Treasurer), Art Club, Year Book Club.
      5) N/A
      6) To work in a top Investment Bank

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Narcissa,

        I’m not optimistic about your chances this year. However with an additional year or two of work experience, that assessment could change dramatically.

        In the meantime, do your best to prove me wrong.

        Best,

        • Narcissa

          Linda,

          Thank you for your assessment! In any case I really hope that the admissions office will not concentrate on my work experience too much. In any case, if the results are positive I will share.

          Kind regards,
          Nargiz

  • Quan Tran

    Linda,

    I would appreciate if you can evaluate my profile for Wharton. I’m applying this year for class of 2017

    1/ If admitted, I would have 32 months of work experience upon matriculation: 8 months in sales (Savills- a real estate company) and 2 years in audit (KPMG)
    2/ 750 GMAT, 98th percentile
    3/ Graduated from Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, class of 2012. GPA 3.4. Major in Financial Economics.
    4/ Leadership extracurricular experience: New student orientation leader in college, Activation team member for a MBA forum in Vietnam- in this role I led small teams of 2 to 10 volunteers to organize networking events between Vietnamese candidates and successful MBA applicants from top programs
    5/ Passed CFA level 1. Level 2 candidate
    6/ Management consulting. McKinsey Vietnam and Bain Singapore are my targets.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      If you can show a high level of achievement in your work, you have a chance, but I believe your chances would be better in a year. No harm in trying now (other than the cost and time). However, if you prefer an improved chance of acceptance, wait a year, progress at work, continue your efforts on behalf of the MBA Forum in Vietnam and apply next fall to join the Class of 2018.

      Best,
      Linda

  • DMO

    Linda,

    I would like your thoughts on the initial strenghts
    1) work for EY audit in Bay area working on public (Facebook, including IPO) and private (Instagram/WhatsApp) tech companies.
    2) 710 GMAT. 70% quant 90% verbal. 93% overall
    3) Bachelor and Master of Accounting at BYU. 3.9/4 gpa
    4) lead the office community engagement team (over 10,000 annual community service hours)
    5)CPA
    6) Strategy consulting / Venture Capital

  • Brian Gracia

    Hi Linda! Thanks for this.

    1) 1 year in hospitality management, managed 20-25 staff, promoted in that time frame (graduating in 2009, I had a hard time pursuing my management consulting goal in the recession with my academic background). Moved to private wealth management at a top tier firm after that. Promoted after 2 years, then four months later to a growing office, then again a title promotion 7 months later when I began managing private wealth portfolios (a very fast progression in the industry).

    Lots of involvement in that time frame, including directing a training program, leadership position on a diversity council, and involvement with my regional president on special projects. Leads client engagements and represents the firm in various associations, performs one on one financial planning in addition to managing investment portfolios. Before last promotion was investment support, now considered an independent professional in the office and utilized as a resource for these engagements. Mentored by east coast president. Strong referrals come from my regional president and another senior person I work closely with, who is also the president of our local CFA chapter. 6 years experience at matriculation.

    2) 770 GMAT (99% overall, 88% Q, 99%V, 92% IR, 92% AWA). 2 attempts, first was a 690.

    3) College info: Left Northeastern due to extenuating family circumstances with a GPA of 1.8. Story to be highlighted in optional essay. Reenrolled at UMASS Boston one year later, Magna Cum Laude (3.647), one of ten students nominated by professors to represent the school at a regional business case competition. Lead one of our two teams that competed. Worked full time during academic turnaround (full time course load). Graduated in 2009.

    4) 2 years mentoring young adults with a professional organization. Chosen as subject matter expert by CFP board for 2013, developed questions for future examinations. Joined a newly formed advisory board for UMASS Boston early this year, have proposed a curriculum addition and am attempting to organize local networking events.

    5) CFP and ChFC (typically 15-24 months of coursework plus a case study and 10 hour board exam, finished in 9, A’s and B’s in coursework). Level III candidate for the CFA, enrolled for 2015.

    6) MBB consulting, seeking engagement manager position in the medium term. Desires to make an impact on business and industries and carry my success over to the community.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Brian,

      yes, let’s do this as an all in one.

      Your GMAT, later grades, and career progress, and certifications should give the schools confidence you can do the work and that your first year at NE was an anomaly caused by unfortunate circumstances.

      You have a competitive program for these schools. Also consider Kellogg, Tuck, and Wharton.

      One comment. Your short-term goal is clear, but the long-term one is very general. More general is OK, this sounds like a platitude to me. How do you intend to carry over you success? What of impact? In what industries? Again, ti is oK to be more general in your long-term goal, but you seem to lack direction entirely once you get beyond that first post-MBA job.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Brian Gracia

        Thank you Linda. I will work to refine my long term goals as you suggest. Your comments give me a much needed confidence booster during this process.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Brian,

          Thanks. Glad to be of help.

          Linda

  • Doc

    1) Marketing manager in an international phamaceutical company. WE is around 6 years.

    2) Gmat is 720

    3) GPA : 4.0 Major in economics. Graduated with honors.

    4) Political activist. 1 year in mandatory military service.

    5) ACCA F1, F3 certificates.

    6) Want to work in a pharmaceutical division of big 4 consulting companies.

    • Doc

      Hi Linda. Could you share your opinion on my profile?

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Hi Doc,
        Sure. Sorry it took me a couple of days.
        Everything you posted above is competitive. Assuming that you also had good progression and notable achievements at work, you have a competitive profile for Wharton. Are you planning to apply to the Healthcare Management Program
        Linda

        • Doc

          Thanks for your answer. I am not planning to apply to the Healthcare Management Program. Can it create me any trouble? Can it cause additional questions why I do not apply to healthcare Management Program? I am not sure about my after mba goals. I can change my mind and go to marketing too. Thanks for your input.

          • Doc

            And what about other schools? Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Chigaco, Kellog and Tuck. Do I have good chances with them too?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Harvard and Stanford are stretch, because they are Harvard and Stanford and you didn’t provide much info about achievements. But the information you provided is also competitive for these programs.

            Best,
            Linda

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            You are not obligated to apply to the healthcare management program and should do so only if you have goals in healthcare management.

          • Doc

            Thanks Linda.

  • William

    Hi Linda, could you please go over my brief profile? I think my status is a bit different. Thank you so much!

    1) Worked in my family’s recycling company starting from 2010, however I took MS in Biology 2012-2013. While matriculated, I only worked part time in marketing. I continued working again since 2014.

    2) GMAT 730. 96th percentile.

    3) College info: Undergrad: UCLA Biology 3.0 GPA, graduated 2010. Grad: NYU Biology 3.4 GPA, graduated 2013. Family problems during undergraduate. Initially I was gearing towards the healthcare field, thus my major. Should I include in the essay regarding my major choice?

    4) Leadership experience: 1 year of student government in college. Post college experience include managing several employees.

    5) Post-MBA goal is to further expand and perhaps globalize my family’s company! My family has no formal business education, therefore I think my education from Wharton will be able to significantly contribute to the growth of our business.

    Thank you so much Linda! Your insight is greatly appreciated!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Hi William,

      You’re welcome!

      Wharton is a stretch, primarily because of your undergrad GPA, which is low for Wharton and average for the MS. It is possible that if you can show an truly unusual level achievement work, given your GMAT and the circumstances you were dealing with in college, that you could get in, but I am not optimistic. So give it a try, but apply elsewhere too.

      Consider Duke, Yale, UCLA, Cornell Johnson, CMU Tepper, and Ross.

      Best,
      Linda

      • William

        Hi Linda,

        Thanks so much for your prompt reply! Just curious, would having more work experience help with my chances in Wharton?

        Here’s some of my achievements!
        • Increased customer base by utilizing multiple marketing platforms and building a company website.
        • Improved efficiency in the facility’s washing line by utilizing steam blasters to replace manual cleaning.
        • Improved the communication systems among managers by utilizing latest technology. (Phone Apps)

        Would you say that by knowing these information, my chances would improve?

        Best regards,

        William

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Yes it is possible that another year of work experience would help. And it’s also possible that the details will help. I’m just not convinced that they will help enough to make the difference. However, realize that I don’t know how Wharton’s application volume and quality is for this application cycle. If both are on the low side, Wharton may be more likely to say yes.

          Again, give it a try, but don’t count on Wharton. Apply elsewhere too.

          Best,
          Linda

          • William

            Hi Linda,

            Thanks so much for your guidance!

            Best regards,
            William

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            William,

            You’re most welcome.

  • Addo Wityasmoro

    Hi Linda,
    I’d like to have your evaluation for my MBA candidacy, please share your opinion and thoughts..
    1.) I work as a Business Analyst for an Indonesian based Energy Company. It is a blue chip company with an average annual revenue of USD 10 Billion. I develop new business ventures for the company for any opportunity that may come. Though, I am actually an engineer according to my major of study. It has been 3 years and counting since my company hired me to be the analyst and business developer.
    2.) GRE 162 Quantitative, 155 Verbal

    3.) Graduated from the University of Tulsa, May 2011; major in Petroleum Engineering; GPA: 3.7/4.0 (cum laude), top 10 graduates; granted scholarship from my school and a multinational company during my college years; invited to be a member of Tau Beta Pi (engineering honorary-fraternity throughout the Nation); I took summer classes for Pre-MBA at Harvard University (Emerging Market in Global Economics & Systems Thinking)
    4.) – Elected by the Ministry to be Indonesian Young Ambassador and representative for Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of State Owned Enterprises – assisted the Minister through his work, focused on Energy & Youth Development (2012)
    – Member of “President’s Transition House” : helped Indonesian elected President before he took the office in strategic planning, restructuring, and development for Indonesia’s energy sector (2014)
    – Develop my personal investment company: invest/finance farmers who do not have enough working capital; create and manage waste management system on Silica Sand Mine & Crude Palm Oil (expected annual revenue: USD 250,000) (2010-present)
    5.) none
    6.) My post-MBA goal is to work for government’s institution which focus on National development in economy and energy; create massive & positive impacts both in community & social services through my personal company that I developed myself.
    Wharton, HBS & Sloan are my top priorities; please advice whether if I am qualified to be a candidate to those schools or other than those..
    Thank you Linda :)

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Addo,

      I’m not optimistic. Your GRE is low, but you have distinctive work experience and excellent grades. If you do apply to Wharton and HBS, also apply to programs that support your goals and are more likely to admit you. Consider UT Austin, Rice, SMU Cox, and Tulane.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Addo Wityasmoro

        Thank you very much for the insight Linda :)

      • Shawn

        Hi Linda,
        I have 9 years military experience in special operations and a Operation Enduring Freedom /Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. Currently, preparing to take the GMAT on December 17th. I graduated from Regis University with a Bachelor of Science in Finance and a minor in Business Administration in 2011. My GPA was 3.5/4.0. I work in finance and accounting for a pharmaceutical firm for 5 years. I want to transition to a career in private equity or investment banking. My third career leveraged finance. Post college extra-curricular activities include coaching girls basketball ages (9-12), a member of the National Association of Black Veterans, and the secretary of the National Black MBA Association Denver Chapter.

        Thank you in advance for your recommendations.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Shawn,

          You’re welcome. do you have a GMAT score?

          Linda

          • Shawn

            My practice GMAT score is 520. I am striving for a 720.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Assuming you can show progress on the job, If you get your target GMAT score you would have a chance at Wharton.

            You might be wise to say that post-MBA, you want to go into investment banking with the long-term goal of going into private equity.

            Also consider Duke, Darden, Cornell Johnson, NYU Stern, Yale, and Chicago Booth.

            Best,
            Linda

          • Shawn

            Thank you Linda.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            You’re welcome.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Linda!

    1) Bain & Company, extern at Gates Foundation
    2) 730 GMAT, 68% quant, 98% verbal, 96% overall
    3) Stanford, GPA 3.94, Phi Beta Kappa, with distinction
    4) Research assistant, various places on campus; tour guide, etc.
    5) None
    6) Health care & global health policy (better coordination between agendas in public health and private health care)

    • Anonymous

      3) forgot to write in International Relations / Economics

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Anonymous,

        I’m going to make a few assumptions here:
        1) That you did take a few quant courses and that you earned A’s in them (given that your overall average is a 3.94)
        2) I’m also going to assume that in your work for Bain/Gates, you do at least some quantitative analysis.
        3) that your recommenders can comment positively on your quant analytical ability.

        If my assumptions are correct, then your community service and your quant score are a bit week, but otherwise you have a competitive profile for Wharton. You may also want to consider Duke, Yale, Columbia, and Haas.

        You may want to listen to the podcast we had with the directo of the Healthcare Management Program at Wharton.

        Best,
        Linda

  • anonymous

    Hi Linda, Will you please give me an honest evaluation of my profile. I am applying to HBS,Wharton,Booth, and Columbia.

    1. I have played 5 years in the NFL and started my own real estate investment company in 2013.
    2. GMAT 690 Q:74% V:81%

    3. Top 15 University, 2.9 GPA Economics. 2009. I was solely focused on football during my undergraduate career and my grades slid because of it.
    4. College: Leadership Council on Varsity football program, Mentor and tutor for 30+ children in non-profit company that focused on math and reading proficiency. Over 300 hours volunteered at Children’s hospital. Professional: Led Charity event with NFL club providing Meals and Christmas presents each year. NFL play 60 advocate. Treasurer for charitable donations among teammates each year.
    5. None
    6. Work for a large real estate firm focusing on emerging and international markets. eventually start my own global real estate firm.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You are touch to predict! They will love the NFL experience and your start up. They will be less excited by the grades and GMAT. We actually worked successfully with someone in the last few years with some similarities to your story.

      You have a chance, but also consider UCLA, USC, Yale, and UNC. They support your goals and are more likely to accept you.

      Or apply this year to your top tier programs, If you aren’t accepted, take some business-related classes and earn A’s in them. Maybe consider a GMAT retake. Then reapply more widely next year — Your top choices round 1 and the ones I suggested round 2 if necessary.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for the advice. I am currently enrolled in a calc class offered by Berkeley extension and will finish sometime in January. I also plan to take either corp finance or acct once I finish my current course. Will A’s in these courses be enough to put me over the edge? I was also dealing with a family illness during college and almost left to tend to that situation. Thank you again for your expertise.

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          A’s in these classes will really help. Obviously I can’t say for sure if it will be “enough.” And you should let the admissions readers know about the extenuating circumstances. For you, dealing with what you were dealing, it’s possible that a 2.9 evinces tremendous discipline and dedication, not to mention smarts.

          Please see MBA Admissions A-Z: U is for Undergrad Grades.

          If you’d like help with your application, please let me know.

  • NikeLup

    Hi Linda,

    Would really appreciate your thoughts on my candidacy for Wharton, Columbia, and HBS.

    1) Currently Supply Network Operations manager at Procter & Gamble at their cosmetics Distribution Center. I am helping lead the site’s adoption of the company’s manufacturing principles which has resulted in a 6% overall productivity increase YTD. I also spent 3.5 years as a sales engineer for Trane (a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand) where I created a national accounts division at my specific sales office, led a cross functional group to change to office’s culture and achieve the Philadelphia Best Places to Work accolade, and ranked 1st the corporate 5 month international training program. Total of 4.5 years work experience.
    2) 690 gmat (68th quant / 85th verbal)
    3) 3.7/4 (cum laude) Villanova university; mechanical engineering major; tau beta Pi honor society (treasurer)
    4) founded a toastmasters international charter at Villanova during my senior year and provided guidance / mentored club after graduation; led my site’s (@ P&G) United Way campaign with increases is impacted volunteering agencies and employee participation
    5) passed fundamentals of engineering exam, certified energy manager exam, and LEED green associate exam
    6) post mba goal would be to enter a Publicly traded Fortune 500 company’s MBA leadership program, preferably in pharma/health care industry with ultimate goal of senior leadership (Vice president level or higher)

    Thank you very much for your feedback and insight.

    NL

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      NL,

      I think your target programs are stretch programs for you. Your quant score is not strong enough. Admittedly you do have a mechanical engineering undergrad so you should have good quant skills, and I don’t want to put anyone or any school down, but it’s not considered a top tier program.

      Your work experience and extra-curriculars are solid. If you want to apply to these dream schools, go ahead, but also consider applying to programs like UNC, Duke, Yale, and Indiana Kelley.

      Best,
      Linda

  • RarelyCognoscereCausas

    Hi Linda,

    Just saw you’re still doing these. Would appreciate your thoughts:

    WorkEx: 4 years at Top-10 global Investment Bank (Top European – think Credit Suisse/Barclays/Deutsche Bank) in an investment banking role focused on financial institution clients. 2 years at a startup in Asia in a leading (core team) role building the business.

    GMAT: 730 (96%), V44 (98%), Q47 (68%), AWA 6 (92%), IR 7 (81%)

    College: London School of Economics, non-quantitative undergrad (PolSci). Upper 2.1 degree (hard to equate… score is approximately an A- average based on available conversion tools). An unfortunately poor grade in a first year econ course.

    Extra curriculars: Various fundraising activities during and after college incl. marathon running. Helped develop a reasonably unsuccessful ratings model for charities. Working with a microfinance not for profit.

    Certifications: Series 7, CFA Level 1 pass (top grades in various quantitative modules)

    Post MBA: Corporate Development at a Financial institution, with an emphasis on FinTech (acquisition of FinTech companies and development of related corporate strategy).

    thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for all 3 programs. CBS and Wharton are more likely acceptances than HBS and Stanford, but that’s not news. Also consider booth and NYU Stern.

      Best,
      Linda

      • RarelyCognoscereCausas

        Thanks a lot Linda, appreciate the input!

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          you’re welcome!

  • Dan

    Hi Linda! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I’m sure we all greatly appreciate it. I’m currently looking to apply to Wharton, Booth, Duke, Columbia, and UT Austin.

    1. Post-grad, I worked at UPenn as a research assistant in a translational research lab. While there, the majority of my work revolved around conducting experiments, data analysis, and data presentation. I was promoted lab manager after 1 year. I left the position after 2 1/2 years for a position at MD Anderson to work in a lab that conducts pre-clinical trials for experimental chemotherapies. Similar work to my work in translational research, but now much more structured as our work is based on time lines and contract agreements between the lab and the pharma companies. The job itself required meticulous, error-free data analysis and presentation day in and day out, as our results would determine whether a drug would be moved to Phase I trials or not. I was promoted to Senior Research Assistant after 1 year, and have since trained and manage 2 other research assistants and a lab manager for the group. Approx. 4 years of total work experience.
    2. 700: Q:47 (68%) V: 40 (91%) 89% Overall
    3. Franklin and Marshall College. Graduated in 2009 Major in Biology GPA: 3.0 Also I took a good amount of business courses during undergrad including marketing, statistics, finance, and calculus, of which I have a GPA of 4.0. I’m hoping this while ease admissions about my low quant score. I took a post-bac course at UPenn for pre-med, which included graduate level bio courses, and finished with a GPA of 3.5.
    4. Volunteered at several hospitals during my time at UPenn. Accumulated around 200 hours of service while there. I am also a competitive weightlifter. I train 6 days a week for this.
    5. No certifications.
    6. Ideally I think i would like to work in consulting with a focus on healthcare and pharmaceuticals, but an important aspect in choosing a school is if they offer a program that allows students to try/experience a variety of fields in order to find the one best suited for them. I obviously dont have as much experience as other applicants with regards to careers in fiance and banking, but I excelled in these courses during undergrad, and dont want to rule them out simply because my major initially took me in a different direction.

    Thats it! Thanks again for all your help!

    • Dan

      I should also mention that while working in research, I have been involved in several projects and a co-author on several papers that are published in high-impact journals.

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Dan,

        You’re welcome!

        Wharton, CBS, and Booth are stretches, and I’m not optimistic. You are more competitive at Duke and UT Austin.

        Try to clarify your goals before you get to bschool. there isn’t a lot of time for self-discovery. Direction will really help you in the admissions process and when you start bschool.

        Best,
        Linda

        • Dan

          Thanks for the reply! I will work on better defining my short/long term goals. Wharton is a stretch, and I really want to try and better my profile for applying. Would a stronger GMAT help?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Yes. That quant score could be a concern. And given your undergrad GPA, you need a stronger GMAT.

            Best,
            Linda

  • adhi

    Hi Linda

    Thanks in advance for your evaluation. I would also appreciate if you could evaluate my profile for Harvard and Stanford:

    1. Commodities Trader (Physical and Financial) with the biggest US listed mining company (1 year) in Singapore. Prior to that I traded same product with 1 of the largest US multi-commodity conglomerate, and received 2 promotions since when I started as graduate trainee (total of 3 years). In terms international experience work with >50 customers in 8 countries and 3 continents.

    2. 750 -98% (Q 97% V89% IR 92% AWA81%)

    3. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Bachelor of Engineering 2010.
    GPA 4.5 out of 5.0 (top 10%)

    4. a) Rose $90k fund and organised field trips for an NGO that aims to provide reliable and cost effective energy for poor villagers while promoting women entrepreneurship. I initiated synergy and collaboration of the NGO with the CSR department of my 1st organisation. However i was neither a founding member nor managing the NGO on the day to day basis.
    b) Trained 25 Indonesian domestic helpers in Singapore with entrepreneurial skills so that they could start-up a business when they return home.

    5) Pass CFA level 1

    6) Short term: Investment Banking
    Long term: Private Equity

    Thanks so much for taking time to do this.

    Kind regards
    Adhi

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Adhi,

      You have a competitive profile for H/S/W and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider Booth and CBS.

      Best,
      Linda

  • MBA candidate

    Hi Linda,
    I would really appreciate your evaluation of my profile below. I am applying to HBS, Wharton, Standford, and Columbia for Round 2.
    1. Content Specialist at a leading financial data provider. Acquiring content and managing relationships with major financial institutions and regulatory authorities in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

    2. 710 (49, 39) – 92%
    3. Top American university in the Middle East. BBA in Finance. 3.10 GPA. Graduate in June 2011.

    4. Was a member of Toastmasters international, Business Student Society, and Gymnastics club during college. Currently volunteer for Tree Planting & environmental causes.
    5. no significant certifications
    6. for profit social enterprise – related to financial services

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a chance at the schools on your list, but they are stretch programs. Yes your work experience is distinctive and you are probably earning some diversity points there, but your academic stats are a little low for these programs and competition is intense.

      My suggestion: Apply to Wharton and Columbia, which have slightly higher acceptance rates than HBS and Stanford, and then select 2 from the following: Duke, UNC, Yale, UCLA, and Cornell and apply to them.

      Best,
      Linda

      • MBA candidate

        Thanks Linda!

  • Chelsea

    Linda, Could you help me to take a look at my profile for the chance to Wharton HCM, Stanford, Columbia and UCLA?

    1) Four years health care industry experience. Currently two years senior supply chain analyst in biggest diagnostics service provider, responsible for managing all the corporate warehouse and freight spending; Two year corporate buyer experience in medical compound manufacturing company.
    Half year intern as operation engineer in a medical device start up.
    2) GMAT 760(99%). Quant 50(88%),Verbal 42(96%),AW 5.5(81%), IR 7(81%)
    3) Undergraduate: 2008, NANKAI UNIVERSITY (CHINA), Biology, GPA 3.6/4.0, Dean’s list, granted two patents; One semester exchange program to TAIWAN; Graduate: 2010, PSU, One year Ph.D. Candidate with fellowship, One year master of manufacturing management, GPA 3.7/4.0.
    4) Supply chain lead for Corporate Product Donation Program.
    Founder and captain of corporate softball team.
    5) Certified Six Sigma Green Belt. Certified Professional of Supply Chain Management.
    6) Health care consultant like Mckinsey, BCG, Bain.

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Chelsea,

      You have a competitive profile for Wharton HCM, Stanford, Columbia and UCLA. You may also want to consider Kellogg and Haas.

      Best,
      Lidna

  • rachel

    Hi Linda, thanks so much for the article and the help. I’m looking at Wharton, Sloan, HBS, Yale, and Stern for Round 2, with a preference for Wharton or Yale.

    1) spent last 4.5 years with NYC Mayor’s Office — first in operational policy and most recently working on Hurricane Sandy housing recovery program. Project management and operations experience is strong. Recent promotion to chief of staff of construction/design group within housing program.
    2) GMAT: 730 (96%), V 44 (98%), Q 47 (68%), AWA 6 (92%)
    3) Upenn ’10, 3.76, Urban Studies degree with distinction
    4) college – literary magazine editor in chief; publicity chair of “V-Day” campaign; co-ed fraternity member and new member educator. post-college – founded NYC Urban Studies alumni club; serve as mentor for NYC Urban fellows program (which I participated in first year out of school).
    5) n/a
    6) head to one of the top management consulting firms to work with mix of public and private clients, ultimately returning to government to apply private sector skills to public realm.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!
    Rachel

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Rachel,

      You have a competitive profile for your target programs, including Wharton and Yale, and are applying appropriately. You may also want to consider Stanford.

      Best,
      Linda

      • rachel

        thank you, Linda!

  • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

    You have a competitive profile for the Yale Silver Scholars program. Booth and NYU Stern are stretches. If you apply to Stern, look into the Berkley Scholars Program.

    Also consider CMU Tepper.

    Best,
    Linda

    • Aditi05

      Thanks alot for the reply. Really appreciate your help. I am not really into Stern. They require prof. work exp. Though I am considering Tepper and Simon Business Schools. Any other schools that I should be looking into? What do you think about Wharton and Duke ?

      • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

        Simon is another good options.

        You are correct that in general Stern wants experience. However, the Berkley Scholars Program provides a full scholarship + $28K stipend for living and educational expenses to people interested in entrepreneurship who want to go straight from college for an MBA. Please see http://www.stern.nyu.edu/programs-admissions/full-time-mba/financial-aid/william-berkley-scholarship-program .

        Best,
        Linda

        • Aditi05

          Wow. That is one amazing program. Thanks a lot for letting me know about this. I had somehow missed it completely. Any other school with special programs for freshers?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Aditi,

            You’re welcome. Nothing else like this that I know of. If anyone else knows of a similar program, please post.

            I assumed you missed it, but this program is an exception (in a lot of ways!), and it seemed like it is right up your alley. I learned about it when I visited NYU Stern during a professional conference last summer.

            Best,
            Linda

          • Aditi05

            My current shortlist includes CMU Tepper, Simon, Booth, Boston Uni, Yale, Notre Dame and NYU Stern.
            I am dicey about UNC and Pittsburg Katz. Suggest me accordingly. Thanks in advance.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Aditi, You have a competitive profile for CMU Tepper, Simon, BU, and Notre Dame.

            UNC seems to strongly prefer 2 years of full-time work experience and Katz requires it.

            Best,
            Linda

          • Aditi05

            Should I also consider the MiM courses in Europe?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Good option. You can also consider the MMS at Duke or Ross. Kellogg is also starting a program.

            Best,
            Linda

  • Aram

    Linda,

    Below is a description of my profile. Thanks for your help.

    1) Municipal Finance Tax Law Attorney (4+ years).
    2) 750. 98th Precentil.
    3) SUNY at Stony Brook. B.S. Computer Science 3.78 (magna cum laude)
    SUNY at Stony Brook. M.S. Applied Mathematics & Statistics 3.8
    University of Pennsylvania Law School J.D. 3.54 (cum laude)
    New York University Law School LLM in Taxation 3.5
    4) Started a charity this year.
    5) New York State Bar

    6) International Infrastructure Finance/Project Finance at an Investment Bank.

    I was dinged last year, but did not have professional recommendations (both came from peers since I was scared to let people at work know I am leaving). This time around recommendations will come from two supervisors (partners at the firm).

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Aram,

      You have a competitive profile. The recs will help too. Finally, make sure you have a clear reason why you need the MBA given the JD, LLM, and MS. You don’t want to come across as a degree-collector.

      Best,
      Linda Abraham

      • Aram

        Excellent advice. Thanks so much. I will go for a two for one if you do not mind. I am currently 32 and this was be a reapplication for me (My essays were too broad and my recommendations came from peers and not supervisors last year – I didn’t want people at the law firm knowing I was thinking of leaving – big mistake). I need to make a decision of scrambling now to get my application in by January 5th (I finally told people at work and I have two partners who are willing to write recommendations for me) or apply first round next year at which point I will be 33. Age is but a number to me, but I know it is more than that for some B schools. What do you think?

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          :-)

          I think you should try. Your key challenge isnn’t going to be your age — I had assume you were older than the average given all the degrees — it will be making clear that you need the degree and are not just drifting from one academic program to another because you like school better than working.

          Linda

  • ks1986

    Hello Linda,

    I will be applying to Wharton, Kellogg, Duke, Rotman and York. Please do let me know your thoughts.

    1) I live in Delhi, India and am currently working as an Analyst – Project Management (IT) at Sun Life Financial for the past 1.5 yrs. Prior to this worked at Hewitt Associates for 4 years – Sr System Analyst (3 months), System Analyst(1yr), Sr Calc Analyst(1yr), Calc Analyst(1.8yrs).

    I work on portfolio level reports and have also started working in the capacity of an Assistant Project Manager in the last 8-10 months. We don’t have a Project Portfolio Management tool, so a lot of activities – Earned Value tracking, budget consolidation at portfolio level and resource planning activities are done manually. I have worked towards the standardization of these reports which would enable the senior management to effectively utilize and plan for resources and track cost effectively (total budget of 2014 was $23M). Also I have worked on maintaining CMMI 3 for our projects, as a result our division is within 8% of second estimate and our division has a project satisfaction score of 4.4/5 ( SLF target is 4/5 and in 2012 we were at 3.7/5).

    The Project Management Analyst team is fairly new team – 3 yrs old. When this team started, the primary purpose was to assist the project managers in project reporting. When I joined in last year, we were performing very well, but I felt that we still needed the vision and that punch that x factor. I worked extensively with our Practice managers to define our roles and based on the current phase of our carrier we decided that the understanding of CMMI and PM practices at a holistic level is needed and I have taken on this initiative in the beginning of 2013 and I believe that by mid 2015 the team will be ready for their next roles – Assistant Project Managers.

    Note : All projects have been US/Canada based and I have extensively worked with US and Canadian counterparts. Recommendation will be written by Toronto based Project Manager and Project Management Practice Manager.

    2) GMAT 680 (Q49,V34), Re test on Jan 2nd. Expected score 700-720.
    3) HCTM College, Kurukshetra Univeristy, India , B.Tech 61%, Electronics & Communication Year 2008.
    4) Coordinator – Student Placement Cell and Convener – College Annual Fest ( led a team of 110 students).
    5) Certifications : PMI PMP – Project Management Professional.
    6) Post MBA Goal : Work in Strategy, General Management for an IT/Electronics firm.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      ks1986

      Wharton and Kellogg are stretch programs certainly with your current score and even with the anticipated one. You have a competitive profile for Rotman and York. Duke currently is a stretch program. If you earn your anticipated score, you would have a competitive profile for Duke.

      You may also want to consider UT, UCLA, and CMU Tepper, especially if you raise your score.

      Good luck on 1/2!

      Best,
      Linda

  • Jim Ipasa

    Hi Linda,

    Here are my details:

    1) 8+ years of experience as a software developer in a healthcare industry, recently working as a scrum master.
    2) GMAT 720 [94%] Q:49[80%] V:39[88%]
    3) College info: Minnesota State University, 3.98 GPA, Bachelors in Computer Engineering, 2006,
    University of St. Thomas, 3.97 GPA, Masters in Software Systems
    4) VP of Math club and ACM student chapter in college, Employee development lead in a career development resource group at work.
    5) No Certification
    6) Post-MBA goal: Establish a start-up company focusing on providing low-cost healthcare services to hospitals and clinics in US

    Please let me know if Wharton MBA in Healthcare is a good option for my profile.

    Thanks
    Jim

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Jim,

      This is weird.

      I got an email with details that you wanted me to comment on, but I don’t see it here. Did you edit it and erase the info intentionally? If so, no worries.

      if you want me to comment, please post again.

      Linda

      • Dhiraj

        Hi Linda,
        I am from Delhi, India and will be applying to Wharton, Booth, Berkeley, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia and Insead. Please let me know your thoughts on my profile.

        1. I work in IT division for a premier US Investment bank for past 6 years – been promoted multiple times in my career.
        2. Certifications – CFA 1, FRM 1.
        3. GRE – 321( 167 Q, 154 V), TOEFL – 108
        4. Graduated from top engineering college – aggregate 7.7/10
        5. Have excellent recommendations from vice presidents from my firm.
        6. Have been recognized for organizing many events in college and current firm.

        I want to start my own firm after completing MBA.

        Thanks!

  • Dhiraj

    Hi Linda,
    I am from Delhi, India and will be applying to Wharton, Booth, Berkeley, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia and Insead. Please let me know your thoughts on my profile.

    1. I work in IT division for a premier US Investment bank for past 6 years – been promoted multiple times in my career.
    2. Certifications – CFA 1, FRM 1.
    3. GRE – 321( 167 Q, 154 V), TOEFL – 108
    4. Graduated from top engineering college – aggregate 7.7/10
    5. Have excellent recommendations from vice presidents from my firm.
    6. Have been recognized for organizing many events in college and current firm.

    I want to start my own firm after completing MBA.

    Thanks!

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Hi Dhiraj,

      Your grades are good and your work experience also seems good, but that GRE score is low for your target programs. And you come from an over-represented group that tends to do well in standardized tests. That makes Wharton and the other schools a reach for you. You can certainly try and see what happens, but I think you are aiming too high. Also consider UCLA, UT, and UNC.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Katarina

    I see that there are two spaces for Optional Essays in the Wharton application for entry in Fall 2015. One optional essay allows for 400 words, and is fairly open ended. The other optional essay allows for 250 words, to specifically discuss a weak point in the application, such as GPA/ GMAT. What is the general consensus on making use of both spaces. Is there any advice against using the 400 word essay to describe an additional dimension of yourself, while also writing a 250 word essay on GPA circumstances?

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      If you have something to explain do so in the 250 word spot. If you have something that you would like the admissions committee to know, by all means use that 400 word space to give them another reason to admit you.

      • Katarina

        Sounds good, thanks for the advice!

  • Eva

    Hi Linda, I am from China. Could you kindly share your thoughts on my candidacy for Wharton and Booth? 1, 2-year work experience at big 4 accounting firm(EY) as an auditor in Shanghai and shenzhen, half-year at a leading real estate consulting firm(CBRE) as a financial analyst in Hong Kong, 2 and a half years at a global leading asset management firm(Fidelity) as a research specialist mainly covering Asia Pacific property & REIT stocks.
    2, Gmat: 700 (Q: 97%, V: 68%)
    3, Undergrad: Tongji University, over GPA: 4.1/5, major GPA: 4.34/5, Major:accounting, Year: 2005-2009, research assistant of a professor’s national class research project; Post-grad: The University of Hong Kong, Average Grade, A-, awarded with distinction, Major: real estate investment and finance, Year: 2011-2012
    4, During colleage: Director of Publicity – University Student Union, Director of Artistic and Publicity – Star Sky Art Troupe, Post-college: being a volunteer in women and children protection society
    5, CPA, pass all three levels of CFA program
    6, return to Fidelity or join of the leading asset management firms as an investment analyst
    Thanks a lot!
    Eva

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      Eva,

      Your work experience is impressive, as are your extra-curricular activities. Your undergrad GPA seems a bit low for these elite programs but your grad GPA (and CPA/CFA) shows you know how to study. I am concerned about your verbal score and consequently your overall GMAT score. At these elite programs that could really hurt you, especially since you come from a demographic that tends to test well.

      You certainly have a chance and should apply to these two programs but don’t count on them. Apply also to programs that support your goals and have slightly lower stats too. Consider UCLA, Cornell Johnson, Duke, Yale, LBS, and USC.

      Best,
      Linda

  • Renewable Enthusiast

    Hi linda,
    Could you please give me your feedback on my current chances?
    GMAT 730 (49 Quant / 30 Verbal)
    GPA 7.7/10 (IIT Mechanical One of the top institutes in India)
    Work experience
    3 years at a Tier 2 consulting firm – Think KPMG, Delloite etc. For the first year I worked across sectors and then chose to focus on renewable energy. I helped set up the consulting practice over the next two years
    1.5 years (at the time of application) in a renewable energy project company. I have been involved in the entire process of setting up solar and wind projects on the ground including engineering, supply chain management, raising financing acquiring land etc. The company is a large well known firm which has grown massively in India over the last year and a half
    Post MBA goal – get back into a large renewable firm as a regional manager and help grow the business

    • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

      You have a competitive profile for Wharton. I assume you are also applying elsewhere, however, which you should do.

      Best,
      Linda

      • Renewable enthusiast

        Thanks
        I am applying to Stan. Harvard , booth and kellogg – do you think these are too much of a stretch – do colleges look deeply at post MBA goals and your potential employability? In my field with my experience with an MBA I will have no shortage of positions I can take up throughout the world
        Also my GPA has been stable around the number I mentioned – do I need to justify it?
        I forgot to write about community development – I do not have any external focus as I chose my job because of the benefit it brings but have piloted a program (no results yet) to provide local jobs for 25 years at each project we do – Is this worth mentioning? I apologize if I am asking for too much feedback

        • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

          Renewable,

          Are you stretching too much? Only if you do not want to have to reapply. You are applying to the elite programs and they reject lots of qualified people. If you want to try just these programs this year and see how you do, that’s a reasonable approach provided you won’t be devastated if you aren’t accepted.

          Some schools (Tuck or Booth for example) look closely at your goals. Others (MIT, HBS) don’t care as much about them.

          Your GPA is solid, what’s to justify?

          Best,
          Linda

          • Renewable

            Thanks I have kept MIT and Columbia for next year. Are re-applicants frowned upon at the schools I am targetting?

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            No.

            Linda

          • Renewable

            Hi Linda,
            i wanted your advice on something – I submitted my application in time but one of my activities that I have mentioned – I messed up the dates. Can I call the wharton staff and inform them ? Will this lead to an automatic disqualification? I wrote about an activity as a student representative but the year of work was one year later than I have shown.

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Renewable,

            I would email them first and lay out what happened. I don’t think it automatically disqualifies you, but it doesn’t help anything.

            Linda

          • Renewable

            Thanks for all your time Linda. I wanted to just give you an update. I have been dinged without interview at both HBS and Booth. HBS I can sort of understand but I was very surprised to not get an interview call from Booth too

          • http://www.accepted.com Linda Abraham

            Renewable,

            Application are up this year. It’s turning into a touch application cycle for applicants.