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.
First-time applicants and reapplicants are required to complete the same set of essay questions.
1. What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
What do you want to do personally and professionally that you can’t do now and that a Wharton MBA will help you do? What do you hope to learn? Note the question 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 and tell Wharton those dreams.
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?
2. Optional Essay: 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.
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this 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). (250 words)
All applicants, including reapplicants can 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.
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.
*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.
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.