The Wharton MBA adcom itself offers you some help in shaping your Wharton application – by clearly and succinctly defining the four core components of “the Wharton difference.” Understanding these components is a key to conveying your fit with the program.
These four components are encompassed in Wharton’s emphasis on “putting knowledge into action.” This value should guide your application approach: action is always specific, anecdotal. Therefore, make your resume, essays, and application answers specific, anecdotal, and action focused.
In this post I discuss two of the four components that are tightly correlated, then I’ll do one post each for the remaining two (Innovative Leadership Learning and Global Opportunities). In all, I’ll keep on the radar screen the overarching value of “putting knowledge into action.”
Largest Global Network and Culture of Engagement are the two interconnected components. They go hand-in-hand:
• The vast global alumni network is an immense resource, and culture involves using, synthesizing and creating new resources.
• A network and a culture are both built by and serve people.
• On the Wharton website, the Global Network component uses the phrases “call on” and “tap into” while the Culture of Engagement component uses the words “join” and “collaborative” – all reflecting dynamism, connection, proactivity.
There is another fascinating, but perhaps less intuitive, point of alignment between these two components: impact.
• “Increase your impact through the resources of this diverse, connected community” (from Global Network).
• “…Turning knowledge into impact” (from Culture of Engagement).
What does all this add up to? PEOPLE TAKING ACTION CREATE IMPACT. That’s basic. What you want to demonstrate, and what Wharton seeks, is you being part of PEOPLE TAKING ACTION TOGETHER TO CREATE CONSTRUCTIVE, DESIRED IMPACTS.
Here’s how you can demonstrate fit with Wharton by incorporating these values into your application:
• Refer specifically in your application and your interview to how you will use the global alumni network to advance your goals and/or how you will engage with it (specific actions as opposed to the ubiquitous but bland “contribute to”).
• Give examples and anecdotes in essays that illustrate your resourcefulness and collaboration leading to concrete outcomes.
• In discussing how you will achieve your goals, include these elements, which also align with the action orientation.
• Ensure that your resume reflects these values, and start bullet points with verbs to underscore action.
•If your recommenders are open to your input, ask them to use examples and present strengths that reflect these attributes (and not just “ability to” but also achieving impacts).
• In your interview, frame your answers and points to reflect these elements and even refer specifically to them, if you can do so naturally.
By Cindy Tokumitsu, author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.