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

  • 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.