Discover what opportunities the Wharton Lauder MBA program offers [Show Summary]
Kara Keenan Sweeney, Director of Admissions Marketing and Financial Aid at the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Penn Law School shares how the program continues to offer global opportunities during a COVID influenced world.
Welcome to the 465th episode of Admissions Straight Talk. Thanks for joining me today and whenever you’re able to tune in. The featured resource for today’s show is Fitting in and Standing Out: The Paradox at the Heart of Admissions. Your application needs to show that you’re going to do both, and that’s the difficult paradox at the heart of admissions. Master that paradox, and you are well on your way to acceptance. Download the free guide.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce Kara Keenan Sweeney, Director of Admissions Marketing and Financial Aid at the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Penn Law School. Kara has an extensive background in graduate admissions, starting with her master’s in higher administration at Columbia, and then moving onto admissions positions at INSEAD, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, and now the Lauder Institute.
Can you give us an overview of the Wharton Lauder program for those listeners who aren’t that familiar with it? [1:45]
The Lauder program was founded in the mid-1980s by the Lauder family to work with Wharton to help educate and generate a new, globally-minded group of business leaders. When students come to the Lauder Institute, they’re earning a Master of Arts in International Studies at the same time, they’re getting their MBA from Wharton. Basically, it’s an MA/MBA joint degree fully integrated into the MBA program.
When students come to Lauder, they focus on one of our six programs of concentration. Five of those programs are regionally focused. We have a program on Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Europe, Latin America, and then what we call the SAMENA region or South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. That’s our fifth regional program. We also have a global program for our students who have already had fairly significant global experience.
In our regional program students are almost in every case also focused on a language. We have 10 languages of instruction at Lauder. When they come to Lauder they’re already speaking a language at an advanced level, and then they’ll continue to work on that language until they get to the superior or the fluent level over the two years as part of their studies at Lauder. It’s a fully integrated joint degree. We have a small program with about 70 to 80 students a year. It’s a really international community and just an amazing group to be a part of.
Are you also a joint program with the law school? [3:22]
That’s right. Thanks for highlighting that. We do have a joint agreement with the law school as well. Each year we have a handful of students that do it. It’s not really by design; it’s a little bit by default. The law school has just less than 200 students a year over at Penn Law. Wharton is up to about 900. There are just a lot more MBA students.
The Wharton program was founded to really work and fit in specifically with the Wharton school way back when it was founded. Our law school partnership is a little bit more recent, but in the class that’s starting this summer, we actually have three incoming JD students. We’re really happy to have them in the program. We love to have them, but we just tend to have fewer of them.
Does the Lauder Institute only work with applicants interested in dual degrees? [4:13]
Exactly. Lauder only offers a joint degree. Students take about two classes a semester at Lauder. They take their normal Wharton course load or their normal course load over at Penn Law. At Lauder, we borrow the credits from the other degree so that they can graduate with both because some of the Lauder courses count towards the Wharton degree and vice versa. But no, we don’t offer standalone degrees, only a joint degree program for students in one of the other graduate programs at Penn.
Does the dual degree program take the same amount of time as just an MBA or JD degree? [4:46]
Exactly. For Lauder, if you’re doing law school, you complete your first year of law school at Penn Law independent of Lauder. Then your second and third years would be as part of the Lauder program.
At Wharton, you actually start Lauder first. We have a summer term that preempts the Wharton program and then you start the Wharton program in August each year and then you graduate on time with the rest of your Wharton class two years later.
Has anybody ever tried to do an MBA/JD with the Lauder program? [5:20]
I think it’s a little bit hard considering the coursework, the requirements, and also the cap on the number of classes you can take. You can do a joint degree, but I think triple is hard. We actually have an alum who did the MBA and Lauder simultaneously and then later on went to law school and did three years of a JD program. I think it’s almost impossible to do all three at once.
We definitely have some students who are interested in both. The other partnership that you can do with Wharton is the healthcare management program. We actually get the question a lot from applicants, “Can I do Lauder and the healthcare program?” You can’t do both at the same time, however, you can do Wharton Lauder and then take a lot of the healthcare courses. For anyone who’s interested in international healthcare, whatever the case may be, you can do Wharton and Lauder and still take a lot of the healthcare coursework and program.
How has Wharton Lauder, a program that reveled in travel, adapted and adjusted its plans during the pandemic? [6:32]
Just like the rest of the world, we were particularly affected a lot in terms of graduate programming, because as you mentioned so much of our programming is focused on the immersions for our students. Historically, all of our students have done a summer immersion as well as other immersions over the two years of the program. In March 2020, we put a halt to all travel, not just at Lauder, but throughout the university. We were really thankful that our two largest classes came through over those two years of COVID. We have 80 students in each of our current classes.
Last summer, we were able to actually have the students come to Philadelphia and do a Philadelphia immersion, which was great considering most of our students are not from Philadelphia. A lot of our students are from outside of the U.S. actually so it was great for them to be able to come to campus.
The classes were virtual, but we did have a lot of Philly cultural experiences for our students. They were able to take tours. They explored some of the different ethnic neighborhoods in Philly. There was a lot that they could do in Philadelphia. Last year all of our students were taking classes virtually, but there were opportunities for students to meet outdoors. We moved most of our programming online pretty seamlessly. I think our students were still able to build culture and build community. Of course, in the language classes, a lot of those things still took place. The great news is that as of last August, our students were actually able to start traveling again. We had about a year-long pause on travel, which of course was not just us, but everyone really and then last August we had our first intercultural venture start up again.
The students went to Alaska to study indigenous communities, which was great. A little later on, in the fall of October, we had a group of students go to Iceland to study gender equity and women entrepreneurship. We were one of the first groups at Penn and certainly at Wharton and Lauder to start traveling again. Our students have been doing smaller immersions and actually right now over spring break, all of our students are traveling. We have about four locations around the world. Senegal, Israel, Poland-Hungary, and India.
We’re fully ramped up. We’ve also had students traveling and doing research as part of their master thesis project with the Global Knowledge Lab and we’re planning on summer immersions taking place this coming summer of 2022. I would say things are fairly robustly returning to normal for Lauder. Maybe not fully the way they looked pre-COVID but quite similar to the way they were in the past.
How is the war in Ukraine affecting travel and the Lauder immersion program to Poland and Hungary? [9:43]
All of us were cautious about the students traveling to Poland and Hungary during this time. They are in safe locations. Initially, with the world and how volatile it is right now, we were concerned about COVID protocols. Of course, the students had to test and do everything they would do as part of the country’s requirements. That was our focus pretty much leading up to the trip, then of course the terrible situation with Ukraine happened. Our students still did go. In fact, they’re blogging about their experience, which will be part of some of the social media posts that we have over the next couple of weeks about their experience going to these countries during this time.
Right now we’re trying to maintain as much normalcy as we can for our students. There have been different ways for our students to seek out support if they feel like they need to do that as part of what’s going on. Of course, we have students coming from that part of the world or have family origins in that part of the world, and really everyone’s affected at this point, whether it’s directly or indirectly.
We’re making sure we’re there for our students in sort of an emotional support way and also making sure we educate our students. In the last couple of weeks, I can’t tell you the number of talks, sessions, and lunchtime talks that there have been at Lauder and throughout the university on the situation so our students can understand it better. We have alumni hosting events as well. There’s a strong focus on that region, but also a strong desire to have things be as normal as possible for our students now and of course, going into the summer as well.
How do you go through an application? [11:53]
The great thing with Lauder is you can actually apply simultaneously with your application to Wharton. You complete the Wharton application online, your Wharton essays, letters of recommendation, standardized tests, and then within the Wharton application, you indicate that you’re also interested in applying to Lauder. It’s a supplemental application built into the Wharton application online.
For Lauder, we ask for a couple of specific things. We ask for the results of your language score. All of our students who apply to Lauder have to take something called the Oral Proficiency Interview or OPI. It’s administered by a third company called The Language Testing Institute.
For anyone who’s listening, you can find all of that information on our website. It’s actually quite a good resource. There are audio clips of language tests that have taken place in the past and also more helpful information on preparing for the OPI. Our students take the OPI, it’s a 30-minute phone conversation in a different language. In order to be admitted to Lauder, students have to test at least at the advanced low level or above in one of the 10 languages that we teach.
If they’re interested in applying to our global or our Africa general track, they have to test a superior level in any language other than English. Essentially that means being fully bilingual. It can be in their native language provided it’s not English. That’s for anybody who’s a non-native English speaker who also, of course, is fluent in English. The global program is designed for students who have had fairly significant international experience already and are looking for more of a macro level experience studying global studies from that wider lens, looking at issues across regions, that sort of thing.
Our Africa general track is also for students who are fluent in any language other than English, and are interested in focusing on the entire continent of Africa. Historically, we had called it the Anglophone Africa track, but that was kind of a misnomer because our students were really studying the entire continent, not just English-speaking Africa. We also have an Africa Francophone track which is for students who can test at the advanced level in French. The language component is important as part of the application as well as over the duration of the two years in the program.
Does every Lauder participant know at least two languages? [14:38]
Yes, I would say every Lauder applicant has advanced knowledge of a language in addition to English. English is the language of instruction at Wharton and a lot of classes at Lauder. You also have to be either fluent or advanced in any language other than English, or one of the 10 languages that we teach at Lauder.
What are the 10 languages that you teach at Lauder? [15:02]
I’ll break it down by program of concentration. For Africa, we have a French track. For our Europe program, we offer Spanish, Russian, French, and German. For Latin America, we offer Spanish and Portuguese. In Eastern and Southeast Asia, we have Mandarin, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Our last program of concentration is the SAMENA track and we offer Arabic and Hindi. Those are the 10 languages. When you’re applying to the program, you’re taking an OPI in one of those 10 languages if you plan to pursue regional studies with language. Or you’re taking the OPI in any language other than English for our Africa general or global program.
What about students who speak a different language outside of the 10 offered languages? [15:52]
We only have 10 languages right now. We are always adding more. A few years ago we added Korean. We have seen interest in a Vietnamese track. We’re getting a lot more interest with students in that language profile. It’s not to say that we won’t add languages, but right now those are our 10 languages. There are opportunities through the school of arts and sciences to take advanced language in some of the classes that Lauder doesn’t teach, but we have a formula for Lauder. It’s those regional programs with one of the 10 languages global Africa track.
The other components of the application are two essays for Lauder. Our first essay asks you to talk a little bit about why you’re interested in Lauder and why you’re applying to your chosen program of concentration. Our second essay is actually new this year. We ask applicants to talk about what they might like to research as part of the master thesis project at Lauder.
For those who are unfamiliar with that, it’s called the Global Knowledge Lab. It’s definitely another opportunity to go to our website and read about the GKL, as we call it, to learn a little bit more about the project. Basically, it’s a master thesis project. Students can write about virtually anything that they’re interested in doing, as long as it relates to their program of concentration. We’ve had students write about things coming from the arts and entertainment perspective and the sports world. We’ve had students write about blockchain, finance, history. Some of our students have actually leveraged the GKL to transition to a job after Lauder. We had a student a few years back who wrote about the NBA in China and was able, through contacts that he made, to take a job with the National Hockey League in New York. He was really able to leverage that research. We’ve had other students work on just passion projects. A few years ago, we had a student who was really interested in the history of North Africa so he wrote about that even though that’s not his personal background. It’s just an opportunity for our students to do master’s research as part of the MA degree. It’s definitely different from what you would do at the MBA program and they’ll actually do on the ground research as well to build research.
The second component of the GKL project is a group project. When students are approaching the application, they don’t need to know fully what they would like to research. They’re not committed to it, but we want them to understand that the master’s thesis project is a big part of Lauder. You’ll have a ton of support as you do this project over two years, but we want you to be thinking about what you might like to research. Show us that you’ve gone to the website and have read a little bit about what the GKL is so you’re coming fully educated on what the project is.
Do you plan to keep the same application questions for next year? [19:07]
That’s a great question. We’re not totally done with this admission cycle. I think we might revert to having one question that encompasses two parts. There are two required essays for Wharton and two for Lauder. We realize that’s four essays to apply to the program. Presumably, we’re not the only program you’re applying to, so we want to be mindful of the applicants and how much time they’re devoting to it. I think that knowing why you’re applying to Lauder, your chosen program of concentration, and knowing what you might like to research as part of the GKL will still be part of the essay questions in some form whether they’re duplicative of what we have this year, perhaps not but I think you can think about that as part of your applications.
So the OPI and essays are two really big things. We’ll ask you to tell us a little bit about any international experience that you’ve had. We look at that as three months or more outside of your home country.
When you submit your application, it is a joint application to both programs. I emphasize that because your application is not reviewed independently by two admissions committees. It’s reviewed jointly. The Lauder admissions committee actually takes the lead with the review of your application. Myself, my colleague, our second-year students, who are trained to read applications, will read your Wharton and Lauder application from start to finish and we’re actually trained to evaluate your Wharton application as well. We’ll read your Wharton essays, all of that in tandem with your Lauder application.
The good thing about that is you’re only evaluated in the pool for the Wharton Lauder pool. So with Wharton and Lauder, it’s a highly self-selected group of applicants who have applied to the program. They know the language requirement. They’ve had some international experience. They want to do two degrees. Often, people will be concerned that they disadvantage themselves by applying to Lauder, but really it’s kind of the inverse. You’re actually only applying amongst a much smaller pool of really highly qualified applicants versus the 5,000-7,000 applications that Wharton gets.
We do make a joint decision with Wharton. We’ll meet as part of a joint admissions committee so that you’re jointly offered admission to both programs, but Lauder does take the lead with that application review. The last component for the Lauder application is actually after you’ve submitted it. For Lauder, there is a dedicated interview in addition to the Wharton team-based discussion. You’ll do the normal Wharton application interview process and then at Lauder, you’ll have about a 30-minute interview with a current student or an alum or a staff member specifically focused on your interest at the Lauder program.
What gets you excited about an application to Lauder? [22:42]
Most of our applicants are coming with, not necessarily tons of international experience, but we do see that most of our students have had some international exposure. It’s sort of a given that they’ll have that. What excites me about an application is when they can tie that into the program, to their interests at Lauder, and to their long-term goals. Seeing how it’s relevant not just to something really interesting on their resume or interesting on their CV, but something that really is telling about what they’ll bring to the classroom. Maybe you spent two years working in Egypt after you graduated from college, that’s great. Maybe you were working, let’s say you were doing consulting, but what did you learn that are the intangibles that you can bring to the classroom, to the class discussion?
Really, what we’re looking for at Lauder is evidence of that cultural or global mindset that you don’t necessarily have as perhaps somebody who spends time outside of your own country. You can seek that out or you could kind of live in that bubble that some people tend to do when they travel or work abroad. It’s important for our applicants to show evidence to the admissions committee that they’re really culturally curious about the world, they see the value of culture and language. Travel is an amazing experience, but I think learning from that and what you can bring back to the classroom and then take to your profession gives you those intangible skills. I think that’s really important. Bring that to your essays, bring that to your interview discussion. I think it’s really important to show us that you have the soft skills as well in addition to that, maybe on-the-ground experience outside of your own country.
What is the wrong way to approach these questions? [24:38]
It’s something so simple but we do see it every year, it’s folks who have not done their research. It’s such a simple thing to do and spend some time reviewing the website, listening to a podcast, reviewing a webinar or video, really learning about the program so when you’re approaching the essays, you’re telling us specifically why you’re interested in the program, specific classes for faculty members or the opportunity, what you really would like to research, showing that you’ve done your research on what the GKL project is.
We have students or applicants who will write essays about how much they love to travel and how they’ve traveled to so many countries. That’s great, I love to travel too, but you really want to make it a substantive argument about why a master of arts dual degree program makes sense for you as part of your MBA studies. Show us how you see that adding value to your student experience as a business school student, how you see it adding value to your career goals, and show us that you really understand what Lauder is. I think some people just see the master of arts and international studies and think they get to travel, but really it’s about showing us you understand the different components of the program.
What about the applicant who is multilingual, has international experience and global career goals but their undergraduate GPA is not something they’re terribly proud of? [25:50]
The great thing about Wharton when we’re taught how to review is really to look at the application from a read-to-admit perspective. I think that’s an amazing way to approach the application review from the standpoint of an admissions reader and also from the standpoint of an applicant. We’re definitely looking at what is amazing about this applicant. We are not looking for reasons to ding an applicant. We’re looking for reasons to admit them.
I’ve gotten this question a ton throughout my career from applicants. Nothing ever boils down to a GMAT or GRE score or a GPA. You need to think about your application and show evidence to the committee. Really what we’re looking for when we talk about GPA or, or standardized test scores, is if you can handle the rigor of the program and on the Wharton side. Obviously, the first term is very heavily quantitative. Can you handle the quantitative rigor? Have you taken calculus? Do you have some of the preparatory work that’s going to help you handle that? On the Lauder side, we’re looking to see that you’ve written a research paper or have taken some arts and sciences classes.
Sure, we’re going to look for those things. Having said that, we absolutely have students in the programs who are below the average in terms of their standardized test scores or with the GPA that maybe they’re not crazy about. Something applicants can do is utilize the optional essay as part of the application. Don’t just tell us, you have a 2.5 GPA and a 550 GMA without any context. Let us know, you were working full time while you were going to college.
Maybe you were an undergraduate with a major in history, but you’ve taken post-bacc coursework and stats or some other quantitative courses that would help you prepare for an MBA. That’s a great thing to do by the way if you don’t have a strong math background or you didn’t take math classes as an undergraduate. Go online and take a couple of classes. Focus on quantitative work so you can brush up on that skill set.
Did you only take the GMAT and GRE once? If you only took it once and you didn’t do great, it kind of makes sense to do it again so you can improve your score. Give us some color there if you’re at all concerned about it. Most of our applicants have some quantitative aspect to their job so highlight that. Maybe you’re not a great test taker, but maybe you’re running numbers all day at work and you’re doing really well, then have your recommenders highlight that in their recommendations.
Think about other ways in your application in which you can bring in those strengths that you think might look a little negative in one part of your application and see how you can offset that in other parts of your application. You can do this through your essays, recommendations, the optional essay, and then of course, perhaps taking some preparatory work pre-MBA coursework to show that you can do this work and that you can handle it. They’re definitely not doomed, but really think through strategically about approaching the application so you can be successful.
Is it possible to refer an applicant from the Lauder pool to the regular MBA admissions if you see they’ll be a better fit there? [31:08]
I’m glad you asked that because we do get that question a lot as well. On the application, applicants can check a box that indicates if they’re not admitted to Lauder, they would still like to be considered for the Wharton-only program. Be sure to check that box if you’re still interested in Wharton. In reviewing the application, we actually have the ability to do exactly what you’re saying, “This person for X, Y, and Z reason isn’t maybe a fit for Lauder, but would be great for Wharton.”
In the actual admissions committee, when we’re going through every applicant, we’ll maybe talk about, “Hey, this person really doesn’t have international exposure.” We do sometimes have people who apply before they have their language score, they get their language score, and no matter how hard they work on it, they’re not able to get to our minimum score of advanced low. In that case, we really can’t admit them for Lauder, but they can certainly be admitted for Wharton. Each year there are a handful of students who are admitted to Wharton only. I would say if you’re a good fit for Lauder and you’ve got a great Wharton application, there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t be admitted unless it’s something really glaring like the language score or something like that. But yes, you absolutely will still be considered for Wharton only if for some reason Lauder isn’t fit.
What is the Lauder interview like? [32:28]
It’s probably a little bit more to what our applicants might be thinking about in a typical MBA interview, but a 30-minute conversation. We’ve been doing them over Zoom for the last couple of years but historically we have done them on campus or really all over the world for a lot based on where our applicants are living. So if you’re in Tokyo, or London, or São Paulo, we have alums in all of these places who can conduct interviews. Right now we’re doing them on Zoom, we’ll see if that continues. For Lauder, it’s really a couple of things. The most important thing for us is why not just Wharton on its own? Why Lauder? What’s key about the Lauder program that you won’t get through Wharton on its own? Of course at Wharton, you can travel. There mini immersions that you can do but what are you really looking to gain through Luader? Why does our program make sense for you?
We’ll ask about short and long-term goals. We’ll ask about your language skills. Why do you want to study a language if that’s a part of the program for you? What would you like to research? We’ll ask for evidence of that cross-cultural mindset. We’ll ask you to give some examples of times when you were dealing with a cultural barrier that you had to navigate. They’re our typical straightforward questions. I don’t think anything that’ll be too shocking, but definitely good for our applicants to prepare for that, similar to how you would for a job interview. I always tell people you want to come prepared, bring your resume, be prepared to talk about your strengths, about your gaps, about your goals.
Where do a lot of grads get you jobs? [33:58]
We have the usual suspects to some extent in terms of post MBA outcomes for Lauder students with a caveat that a lot of our students are doing that work may be for Amazon, or McKinsey, or in finance internationally. We have quite a lot of international students at Lauder who are looking to stay in the U.S. for a couple of years and gain some U.S. experience. They’re going to New York or to the West Coast or to Chicago, wherever the case may be. We also have students whether they’re from the U.S. or not looking to work in region. I would say students come to Lauder for a couple of reasons. Some of them are really going to work the two years because they want to do private equity in China or private equity in Nigeria and that is the focus for them. So they focus, they work on their language, they work on all of these things to have that as a job.
For some of our students, it’s private equity anywhere. It doesn’t matter. So maybe the industry or the role is the primary driver and location is second or third. But our typical outcomes are technology. Amazon is the number one hire for Wharton and Lauder for the past couple of years. Not by a huge number, but definitely number one and after that it’s consulting and financial services but we are seeing an increasing number of students go into social impact, into NGOs, into some development work.
Of course, each year we see more and more students both at Wharton and Lauder interested in entrepreneurship. So I would say those are the five areas that jump out which are fairly similar to the MBA. We see about one out of every three Lauder students working outside of their home country after graduation with a lot of the international students wanting to stay in the U.S. for a few years.
Here are some questions from an international listener. “Why are most compulsory admission essay prompts so personal? On a personal note, I cried trying to unearth memories I had buried so deeply, so I could write truthfully. It was a worthwhile experience and a reconciliation with the past that made me feel very vulnerable.” Is vulnerability in an essay whether perceived, real, or imagined a good element? [35:41]
I don’t know about vulnerability in particular, but I would say when you’re writing your essays, you want to draw from your personal experiences. Business schools are looking to bring students who have had interesting professional experiences and have a strong aptitude for whatever they’re looking to do afterward, but they’re also looking to bring in good community members. I know that’s a big focus for Wharton in particular. You don’t have to tell us a sob story about your upbringing. The funny thing is, I do feel like now we’re seeing more and more personal stories come to light whether applicants think that’s what we want to read or not. I feel some of our applicants now generationally are maybe more attuned to talking about themselves on a personal level. I feel that years back, you would have seen people keeping it very professional.
I think it’s good to have a combination. It’s not a therapy session. I don’t think you need to go to the heart of something that you would find upsetting. I think you want to write about something that’s really personal and important to you, but also something that has practical applications to the community of Wharton, perhaps in some ways your professional experience, your backgrounds, your goals. Think of it in a practical or strategic way.
I don’t think you need to get so personal with us that it leaves you feeling uncomfortable. You want to feel like you wrote a good essay that shows part of your character and how you can bring that strong character to the graduate program. For Lauder, our essays are a bit more directive in terms of academic experiences, but of course, we’re bringing individuals to our programs and we want to make sure they’re good community members. Some of those essays are looking to find that you’re going to be a good contributor.
The second question from our listener is, “How do you consider international students who apply to universities and cannot pay at least 5% to 10% of the fees? Do you get irritated and wonder if they consider the university a charity home?” [38:20]
No, definitely not. We have a ton of international students at Lauder. We have students coming from all over the world, of course, where there are huge disparate salaries but we do expect that students have done their research and frankly, I don’t know of a ton of students receiving 100% full funding to both programs. At Lauder, we’re very lucky to be very generously funded by the Lauder family. For Lauder, most of our students are receiving the average award for fellowships of $40,000 and the cost of the program is around $45,000 to $50,000 each year, depending on some of the travel components.
Most of the Lauder students are actually receiving full or near to full funding for the Lauder program. On the Wharton side, you have to approach it as if you’re applying to an elite business school. It’s a huge investment. Studies on MBA programs show that within five years, the return on investment is really worthwhile. You have to think about the financials. Do you want to take out a loan? The average student isn’t getting full funding.
When we’re reading your application, we’re not thinking about that at all. We’re looking at the quality of your application. In terms of finance and funding, that comes after you’ve been admitted to the program. For Lauder, every student who comes to Lauder is admitted to the program and receives at least a merit-based award and then you have the opportunity at Lauder to apply for need-based funding on top of that. At Wharton, they have generous funding, but again, not everybody is getting a full scholarship. You have to come into it knowing that realistically, you’re probably going to have to fund part of the program through your loans or through your financing.
What would you have liked me to ask you? [40:30]
That’s a good question. You asked me a little bit about what makes me excited about reading an application. I think maybe one question is like, “What’s our ideal student?” It’s sort of unfair to say there is such a thing as an ideal student. I think something that maybe is probably more practical is, “What makes a successful student in the program? What do we see from the application stage which then makes them successful?”
In talking about the community aspect or being a good community member, I think that’s more and more important as years go by, especially with what COVID taught us. You’re going to have unprecedented challenges. COVID of course, is this huge world crisis that kind of threw us all for a loop and hopefully, we don’t experience something else like that in our lifetime, but for our students, when they’re in the program and long term, they’re always going to have challenges that are thrown their way whether they’re big or small. Know that coming to a rigorous place like Wharton and Lauder, you’re going to be very busy, you’re going to have a ton of demands, but still make an effort to be a good community member, to be collegial, to be kind, to have these intangibles.
Of course, with COVID in the U.S., we had a big societal upheaval with Black Lives Matter and other sorts of social crises, political change in the country. I think everyone is feeling in general worn out from the last couple of years. Knowing that experience has been really difficult for everyone, whether you’re a student, a staff member at a university, a professor and coming to the program and filming with the mindset of being a good community member, somebody who’s going to make a good contribution, be positive, patient, be kind I think those are the things that I personally am looking for to see in applicants, in addition to having a strong academic and professional background.
Where can listeners and potential applicants learn more about the Wharton Institute’s joint MA/MBA and MA/JD programs? [43:03]
You can learn more about Lauder by going to our site, which is lauder.wharton.upenn.edu.
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