This Wharton 2011 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. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering Wharton’s essay questions are in red below.
If you think that Wharton is the right place for you, we encourage you to apply. A successful application combines substance, presentation, and good timing. It should tell your own story and make each element of your application as strong as possible. Use our online application system to apply and to check your status. The system walks you through the required steps, including electronically submitted transcripts, recommendations, and essays.
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.
Wharton has changed its application questions significantly. Only #3 is a holdover from last year.
What are your professional objectives? (300 words)
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. You could take a day-in-the-life approach to this question, but you don’t have to do so.
Respond to 3 of the Following 4 Questions:
Which three 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: Student and alumni engagement has at times led to the creation of innovative classes. For example, through extraordinary efforts, a small group of current students partnered with faculty to create a timely course entitled, “Disaster Response: Haiti and Beyond,” empowering students to leverage the talented Wharton community to improve the lives of the Haiti earthquake victims. Similarly, Wharton students and alumni helped to create “Innovation and the Indian Healthcare Industry” which took students to India where they studied the full range of healthcare issues in India. If you were able to create a Wharton course on any topic, what would it be? (700 words)
This is a great place to show your knowledge of Wharton and possibly also reveal why you are interested in attending Wharton. (but you don’t have to say “I want to attend Wharton because…”) Although the question doesn’t ask why you want to create the class, I recommend you include your motivation. Why are you interested in this subject? How will it help you achieve your educational goals? Obviously, don’t say you want to create a class that already exists.
2. 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? (600 words)
Unlike the two previous questions, this question asks about the past. It asks about “a time when…” No hypothetical situations or fuzzy plans will do. It must have really happened.
I think this question is seeking to know your attitude towards risk and opportunity, because the two are almost always related. First choose a time when you turned down an opportunity. Consider opening with the offer, the process of weighing the pros and cons, the moment when you actually turned it down, or perhaps the feeling of relief when you finally made up your mind. Discuss your reasons for declining the opportunity and how you feel about the decision today. With 20-20 hindsight, would you make the same decision? Why?
3. Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself? How did this experience help to create your definition of failure? (600 words)
Like most failure questions, this is not an easy one to answer. It requires honesty and candor…and a little damage control. So choose a real failure, preferably one from a few years ago so that you can show how you handled a different situation with aplomb since the initial bomb. Also, try to use this question, and all questions, to bring out a different side of you.
4. Discuss a time when you navigated a challenging experience in either a personal or professional relationship. (600 words)
This question asks about a challenging experience in which other people are involved. Wharton doesn’t want to know about a challenge you faced in a lab or in solving a technical problem. It wants to hear about your ability to handle interpersonal difficulties. That ability is critical in Wharton’s learning teams and it is a critical to your ability to get along after you leave Wharton.
You can start your essay with the moment of tension or the moment you knew you had successfully navigated the situation. Then give the background. How did you overcome the hurdle? What did you learn?
|Round 1||Oct 4, 2010||Dec. 17, 2010|
|Round 2||Jan 4, 2011||Mar. 24, 2011|
||Mar 3, 2011||May. 12, 2011|
- Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Choosing the One for You.
- Navigating the MBA Maze, an ecourse
- Five Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your MBA Application Essays, an ecourse.