Wharton MBA Admissions Q&A Tomorrow!


Do you have questions about U Penn Wharton‘s flexible yet rigorous curriculum? Do you want to hear more about the school’s emphasis on “leadership in action,” its collaborative environment, or its strong alumni network? Ask all your pressing MBA admissions questions to Wharton’s Ankur Kumar, Deputy Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, and Anthony Penna, Associate Director of Admissions, in an interactive admissions Q&A, on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM GMT. If you are applying to Wharton – one of the top three business schools – then this is an outstanding opportunity to ask all your questions and learn more about what life is like at the top.

Register now to reserve your spot for our View from the Top: Wharton MBA Admissions Q&A.

What time is that for me? Click on the link to find out the exact time for your location.

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MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business announced that David A. Thomas will become Georgetown McDonough’s new Dean and William R. Berkley Chair starting October 1, 2011. One can learn more about Dean Thomas by watching a video that has been posted on McDonough’s website.
  • Fortune.com’s interview with Ankur Kumar, Wharton’s deputy director of admissions, reveals the full story behind the rise in female enrollment at Wharton School of Business. Kumar explains how the school worked hard to get to the point where 45% of the incoming class is women. Kumar spearheaded many new initiatives in the past two years to attract more women to visit campus and convince them to apply.
  • The Financial Times describes how the Anderson School of Management at UCLA has restructured its curriculum to help students stay career focused and become experts in their fields of interest. The incoming class in September will have the flexibility to acquire skills early in the program that will allow them to contribute in their specialty even during their internships.
  • Businessweek announced that Blair Sheppard will be stepping down as the dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business on August 1st. Sheppard will remain at the school and work in the fundraising and business development department for Duke’s new campus in Kunshan, China.  Duke Kunshan University is expected to open in 2012.
  • Fortune.com looks at how China Europe International Business School’s new dean, John Quelch, wants to transform the Shanghai business school into one of the top 10-ranked, research-focused business schools. Quelch plans on changing CEIBS by focusing on what he calls the “Four F’s”: Faculty, fame, fortune and fun. Although he struggles with recruiting faculty, Quelch feels fortunate that the Chinese government has given CEIBS “tremendous scope and freedom when it comes to curriculum design and delivery.”

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The Spiced Up MBA


When one applies to business school they typically worry about whether they have enough work experience under their belt, or whether they can compete with Ivy League graduates and 4.0 GPAs.  But statistics show that since the financial crisis MBA programs are no longer looking for cookie cutter students. “Diversity” is the name of the game.

The Spiced Up MBAAn article in the Financial Times (“Variety is the Spice of Life”) looks at how recruiters are now focusing on finding all different kinds of students to enroll in their MBA programs.  Schools like Harvard, Wharton and Stanford are enrolling fewer investment bankers and more women, entrepreneurs, military personnel, environmentalists and not-for-profit managers in future classes. In fact, only 12%-14% of the admitted students at Harvard and Wharton in 2011 had investment banking backgrounds.

Even the average age of incoming MBA students is changing! The typical incoming Harvard Business School student is now 27, up from 26 a year ago.

Wharton is also working to diversify its student body. Ankur Kumar, deputy director of admissions at Wharton, explains, “This has been a focal point for the past few years. We wanted to dispel some of the stereotypes and misconceptions [about MBA programs].” Wharton has gone so far as to reach out to high school students and teach them about the importance of a business education.

Stanford has even developed its own approach to incorporating diversity into its program. The school has ensured that one in six accepted MBA students is studying for another degree alongside their MBA.
Although American schools still need to incorporate more international students into their student body (Wharton is only 36% international and Harvard is only 34%), the MBA programs have made enormous strides towards accepting more women, applicants in a wider age range, and out-of-the-professional-box MBA candidates. This openness to diversity, if not commitment to wider definition of diversity, allows future applicants to think more creatively about how to market themselves to business schools.  Getting into MBA programs no longer requires fitting into the investment banking mold, but is more about breaking the mold altogether.

I have seen several articles about the increasing diversity of accepted MBA applicants and we have seen less emphasis on the classic professions with our clients as well. I recently spoke, however, to one admissions director who told me that this openness is driven as much by a change in the applicant pool as by the increased openness touted in this article.

Since the financial crisis and the subsequent layoffs of a few years ago, there are fewer investment bankers, and there are fewer investment bankers applying to MBA programs. There were also fewer college grads hired into investment banking in 2008 and 2009. But over the next few years members of those college classes will apply in increasing numbers. It will be very interesting to see if the trend discussed in this article represents a real increased commitment to professional diversity in MBA admissions, or simply a response to necessity combined with spin.

If the latter, investment bankers will once again have the inside track, and we’ll read that an MBA is a typical stop on the investment banking career track; if the former, professional diversity will continue to reign.


Linda AbrahamBy , President and Founder of Accepted.com

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Another US News Top Ten!

US News is at it again!  The magazine’s newest top ten list is the top 10 Business Schools That Receive the Most Full-Time Applications. Not surprisingly, almost all the top 10 programs listed in US News’s rankings of the best business schools were also on the list of the top 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admissions in the 2010-2011 academic year (Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business was the only exception).

A total of 261 business schools provided US News with application data. On average, programs received 525 applications for admission.  But Harvard Business School surpassed them all with 9,524 applications, 32% more than the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which received the second highest number of applications.

However, the US News data does not reveal the number of students accepted into the class, making application numbers misleading. For example, Stanford has a class of fewer than 400, whereas Harvard’s class size is approximately 930. These statistics are also just a close approximation of the upcoming US News’ top 10.

Other schools that made the list of “the 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admission in 2010” were: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)Columbia University, Northwestern University (Kellogg), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), New York University (Stern), University of Chicago (Booth), University of California—Berkeley (Haas), and Duke University (Fuqua).


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Forbes Announces Top Ten Business Schools


Forbes has just released its list of the top business schools in America. The Forbesranking methodology is based on the return on investment achieved by the class of 2006. They surveyed 16,000 alumni at over 100 schools and received feedback from 30% of those grads. They then compared the earnings of the respondents from 2006-2011 to the cost of business school.

While Forbes lists 74 top schools, the top ten are:

  1. Harvard
  2. Stanford
  3. Chicago (Booth)
  4. Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  5. Columbia
  6. Dartmouth (Tuck)
  7. Northwestern (Kellogg)
  8. Cornell (Johnson)
  9. Virginia (Darden)
  10. MIT (Sloan)

Poets and Quants analyzes the Forbes’ data in terms of winners and losers, those who went up in the Forbes’ rankings and those who went down; it provides a useful table comparing the salary data by school to previous years’ salary data.

Of greater interest to me is the overall profitable MBA picture presented by the Forbes data: every single program in the top 74 has positive ROI, admittedly less in more expensive locales and a few in single digits, but the overwhelming majority showed a greater than 20% gain after five years. And that’s despite the recession.

So for those of you who have professional goals that require an MBA, it looks like a solid investment.   

Linda AbrahamBy , President and Founder of Accepted.com



MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • An article in Fortune Magazine looks at how MBA job recruiters are courting military veterans because of their management experience and ability to work under pressure. Although veterans sometimes struggle with the lingo of the business and consulting world, with the help of their affinity groups and military networks they are rising to the occasion.
  • The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced that it is relocating its San Francisco campus to the Hills Plaza building on the San Francisco Embarcadero.  The new campus will provide more space for alumni events and include up-to-date hi-tech equipment.  There are also rumors that Wharton may use this campus to extend its full-time MBA program’s presence on the West Coast.
  • Future MBA applicants should look into the DMAC, the Diversity MBA Admissions Conference held annually at UCLA. The DMAC provides the opportunity for underprivileged or underserved applicants to meet admissions directors from top-tier business schools looking for unique candidates.
  • GMAC explains how it maintains the integrity of the GMAT. Lawrence M. Rudner, vice president of research and development at GMAC, highlights the ways in which the organization ensures that the test is accessible to all, that there is no cheating, and that all the questions are culturally appropriate.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek has posted the top-10 full-time MBA programs with podcasts on iTunes U. MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Columbia University, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, and Wharton  are just some of the schools offering online resources.
  • The Economist describes the hardships faced by a business management program launching in Africa while the country falls into civil war. In January the IESE, a Barcelona-based business school, partnered with Management et Développement d’Entreprise (MDE) in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d’Ivoire, to launch the country’s first advanced management program.


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Wharton 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips.

The 2013 Wharton MBA tips are now available.  Click here to check them out!  

This Wharton 2012 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. Check out the entire 2012 MBA Application Tips series for more valuable MBA essay advice.


Wharton 2012 MBA Essay Questions

The Admissions Committee is interested in getting 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.

Required Question:
What are your professional objectives?

This is a direct question that requires little explanation. What are your professional post-MBA goals? 300 words should allow you enough space to discuss short- and long-term goals. Please define your goals in terms of the function you want to perform and the industry you would like to work in. If geographic location is important, you can include that to, but recognize that your professional objective is NOT what you want to study. 

You could take a day-in-the-life approach to this question, but you don’t have to do so.

Respond to 2 of the Following 3 Questions:

Which two questions should you choose? Easy. Choose the ones, that when added to the other elements of your application and each other, add valuable insight into you. Minimize overlap.

Essay 1: Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today?

This question asks about the past. It asks about “a time when…” No fuzzy plans or hypothetical “what-if’s” will do. The “time” must have really happened.

I think this question is seeking to know your attitude towards opportunity and risk, because the two are almost always connected. First choose a time when you said “no” to an opportunity. Consider opening with the offer, proceed to weighing the pros and cons, the moment when you actually turned it down, or perhaps the feeling of relief when you finally had made your decision.  Discuss why you declined the opportunity and how you feel about the decision today. With 20-20 hindsight, would you make the same choice? Again, why?

2. Discuss a time when you faced a challenging interpersonal experience. How did you navigate the situation and what did you learn from it?

This question asks about a challenging experience in which other people are involved. Wharton doesn’t want to know about a challenge you faced solving a technical problem or doing bench research. It wants to hear about your ability to navigate interpersonal relations. That ability is critical in Wharton’s learning teams, and it is a critical to your ability to advance as a leader in the business world.

You can start your essay with the moment of tension or the moment of relief, when you knew you had successfully handled the situation. Then give the background. How did you overcome the hurdle? What did you learn?

3. “Innovation is central to our culture at Wharton. It is a mentality that must encompass every aspect of the School – whether faculty research, teaching or alumni outreach.” – Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School

Keeping this component of our culture in mind, discuss a time when you have been innovative in your personal or professional life.

New question. The dean last year announced an increased focus on innovation at Wharton, and this question reflects that increased focus. Like options 1 & 2, this is a behavioral question. It asks when have you innovated. It does not want your theory of innovation. It doesn’t ask for someone else’s example. It ask for one time when you created something, solved a problem in a new way, or initiated a distinctive program, project or event. There are many ways to innovate. Show one time when you have done so, preferably while also revealing leadership and impact.

Reapplicant Question: All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay.  Please use this space to explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and to 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 Section for All Applicants: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application).

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

Wharton 2012 MBA Deadlines

Round Due Date Notification
Round 1 Oct 3, 2011 Dec. 20, 2011
Round 2 Jan 4, 2012 Mar. 30, 2012
Round 3
Mar 5, 2012 May 8, 2012

If you would like help with Wharton’s essays, please consider Accepted.com’s  MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our Wharton School Packages.

Linda Abraham By , President and Founder of Accepted.com.

MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • The Daily Pennsylvanian celebrates the fact that 45% of Wharton’s incoming MBA class of 2013 will be women.  This number represents quite an achievement—a 5% increase from the classes in the past two years and the highest percentage in Wharton’s history. Harvard has also reached a new record this year with women representing 39% of its incoming class.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about the fervor worked up around plagiarism at the GMAC annual conference coming up. Due to excessive amounts of plagiarism discovered in last year’s batch of Penn State applications, many business schools are expected to be more aggressive this year.  Penn State has begun using a software application called Turnitin, and many other universities are expected to follow suit.
  • An article in the Financial Times announced that Trium, the three-center Executive MBA program taught by New York University’s Stern school, HEC Paris, and the London School of Economics (LSE), will be adding a second cohort in 2012. While students already split their time between New York, London and Paris, the new cohort will enable more time to be spent in emerging markets, such as India and China.
  • A $37,000 tweet? It sounds like a misunderstanding, but Bloomberg Businessweek explains that it is in fact a full-tuition award package for whoever can tweet the most creative response to The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business’  “application tweet” question:  “What makes you an exceptional Tippie Full-time MBA candidate and future MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!” While social networking savvy is increasingly important to business schools, Tippie has definitely taken it to the next level!

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MBA Admissions News Round Up


  • While MBA applicants frequently pore over U.S. News’ college rankings, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business gave U.S. News  inaccurate job-placement data in order to boost its rankings. An internal investigation discovered that many of the graduates listed as employed had questionable employment opportunities, and many who were listed as not looking for work were in fact beating the pavement.
  • Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business announced that 70% of its alumni contributed to its annual giving campaign (TAG) in 2011, the highest percentage of participants in the history of the school.  To put this number in perspective, the average percentage of alumni that give to the top 20 business schools is around 20%. You can see why Tuck is very proud of that achievement!
  • An article in The Financial Times reported that 76% of Business schools have seen a rise in on-campus recruiting activity in the past year, according to the MBA Career Services Council. This exciting news fits with the positive report already published by GMAC about the growing number of recruiters on campus.  Things are definitely looking up for future MBA graduates.
  • Inside Higher Ed looks at the third annual Entrepreneurship in Education Summit that recently took place at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.  The competition received 200 submissions and both first prizes of $25,000 went to Alexandre Scialom.  He received the first-prize for theCourseBook, a site that works like Yelp to assist lifelong learners find and select courses after they’ve left college. And the second-place prize was for Intellidemia, a syllabus-management platform Scialom created.
  • UC Berkeley Haas School of Business reports that 87% of its full-time class of 2011 has received job offers.  The median base salary for these jobs is $115,000, with a signing bonus of around $22,500. These jobs have come from 135 organizations in 19 countries. Top hiring firms include Google, Apple, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte Consulting, Microsoft, Samsung, PG&E, and The Boston Consulting Group.

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MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • If you are on a waiting list in Round 3 of the application process then the Chicago Booth School of Business has an update for you.  They are now finishing up the interview process and reexamining their applicants.  On May 18th you will be told whether or not you have been admitted, waitlisted, or denied. If you have already been waitlisted then you will also find out if you have been admitted from the waitlist on the 18th.  Booth will continue to look at the waitlist over the summer, but there is not a high chance positions will open up; however, it is possible.
  • The Wharton School’s Wharton Entrepreneurial programs (WEP) has given out its 2011 Wharton Venture Awards to Support Entrepreneurial Students.  These awards provide $10,000 to Wharton undergraduate juniors and first-year MBA students to work on their business ventures during the summer break.  Four awards have been handed out to the following business ideas:
    • Osus, Inc.: Weight-lifting you can wear. Created by Steven Dong and Corey Lerch.
    • Coursekit: Coursekit lets students follow classes—assignments, lectures, and exams—in one place while keeping in touch with classmates. Created by Dan Getelman.
    • Gamma Basics: GrayCAD is a software application that helps hospitals assess their radiation safety compliance during capital equipment upgrades. Created by Mike Kijewski.
    • Mooblue: Mooblue is a real-time bidding mobile ad exchange. Created by Nimit Maru.
  • Johns Hopkins Carey Business School recently announced that its dean, Yash Gupta, will be leaving to become chief executive officer of a Canadian telecom company.  Gupta was the founding dean of Carey Business School, which is so young that the school has yet to graduate its first MBA class.  However, due to Gupta’s hard work, he is leaving the school with a strong foundation—the charter class of the Global MBA program is made up of 88 students.  The school will soon begin a national search for a new dean.  Executive Vice Dean, Phillip Phan, will serve as interim dean.
  • Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business recently announced that they have a new dean.  David A. Thomas, a professor and former associate dean at Harvard Business School, will be taking over for George Daly, who is retiring after six years of working at McDonough.  Thomas has been at Harvard since 1990 working as a professor and director of faculty recruitment.  Georgetown President John DeGioia feels that as “a recognized thought leader in the area of strategic human resource management, David brings important academic and organizational leadership to his new role at Georgetown.”

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