The Wharton EMBA adcom, through its three required questions, expresses its values and its interest in students who share those values. Its questions ask you to show both vision and responsiveness to uncertainty. Essentially you will need to show both focus and flexibility.
- Essay question 1 focuses on your goals and Wharton’s important role in helping you achieve them.
- Essay question 2 invites you to share your recent experiences regarding the pandemic.
- Essay question 3 seeks confirmation that you understand in practical terms what a commitment to attending the program involves.
Wharton Executive MBA application essays
Wharton Executive MBA essay #1
What are your career objectives and how will the Wharton MBA Program for Executives contribute to your attainment of this objective? (750 word limit)
An effective (and natural) way to start is to briefly sketch your current career situation to set the context. You can then progress to detailing your future goals – in doing so, clarify how each step leads to the next or builds on the previous one, creating an organic flow. In describing your goals at any given point, indicate why you are taking that step or pursuing that role; this “why” is what truly animates your goals, elevating them from explanation to a story. Put more detail into the roles you plan immediately post-MBA and the several years following; longer-term goals need less detail, but they still should show a clear direction.
In discussing how the program will benefit you, describe what skills and knowledge you need at specific future roles/positions and how the program meets those needs. Also refer to the structure and special features of the program, detailing how they will support you and your goals.
Structurally, there are three approaches to this part: (a) weave in the “Why Wharton?” details after each goals phase, (b) have a separate “Why Wharton?” paragraph containing this entire discussion holistically, or (c) a mix of (a) and (b), adding some specific “Why Wharton?” points into the goals section and then an additional paragraph with more encompassing “Why Wharton?” points. All three work; use the one you find most natural.
Wharton Executive MBA essay #2
During the spring of 2020, Wharton Professor Mauro Guillen created and taught the course “The Impact of Coronavirus.” As part of this course, Prof. Guillen interviewed Prof. Sigal Barsade on the concept of emotional contagion and its impact on leadership. Please review this interview and then respond to the question below: Profs. Mauro Guillen & Sigal Barsade discuss Emotional Contagion What have you learned about yourself during the Coronavirus pandemic? Please share special examples about how these times have impacted you personally and professionally. (750 word limit)
Interestingly, the question asks you to listen to the interview, but does not ask you to write about or respond to it. Even so, I suggest that for at least some of your examples, address the issues (directly or indirectly) discussed in the interview. Why? By referencing the interview, the adcom is asking you to clarify fit with the program through your examples.
Here are some pointers:
- Rather than simply listing numerous examples of how you’ve been impacted by the coronavirus, present 2-3 examples of special significance (covering both personal and professional) and write with some detail about each.
- For each point, conclude with a bit of reflection and insight about the experience – after all, it’s not just the facts that count but what you have to say about them, what you’ve gleaned from them, that you’ll bring to the MBA table.
- As for structure, if you organically come up with an overarching theme, great – use it, but, if not, don’t worry and don’t strain for it; rather, focus on getting quality substance out of each example/story.
- Given the question, you will be zooming in on quite recent experiences, but within each anecdote there may be opportunity to “refer back” to important or impressive elements of your experience, perhaps contrasting before/after or growth from point A to point B. E.g., one client was leading an in-house largely expat team comprising many different countries and cultures; once COVID hit, her team members were quite isolated from loved ones far away in sometimes dire circumstances, causing the team members ongoing anxiety and stress. She realized that part of her role became helping them deal with that isolation and anxiety and providing personal support. She wrote about her earlier strong leadership of a diverse team, how she’s adapting now to the new more emotional demands, and how the experience influenced her perspective and values.
- Make sure you not only reflect how you have been affected by COVID, but include how you have responded, adapted, and helped others cope through a difficult period.
There’s another slant to this question to bear in mind: adaptability. It requires you to discuss how you have adapted in real-time to a global crisis. While you’ll naturally address this, you needn’t have all the answers or have every issue perfectly worked out. It’s been a struggle, and many if not most people are still in somewhat of a trail-and-error mode. But do convey awareness of the need and willingness to adapt and lead within immense uncertainty, even if you’re figuring it out as you go (and who isn’t?).
Wharton Executive MBA essay #3
Given your already demanding job and the desire to remain committed to important family and personal obligations, how do you plan to handle this additional demand on your time once you enroll? (500 word limit)
This straightforward question deserves a straightforward answer. Discuss the accommodations you will make at work, such as delegating more, adjusting travel schedules, etc. Don’t mention every single thing you can think of – focus on the most significant two or three adjustments.
Also address your personal responsibilities and how you will meet them with this additional significant demand on your time and energy; even acknowledging that you’ll have less time at the playground with your toddler or mentioning the support of your significant other will show that you’re facing this issue squarely. If you’ve already successfully balanced school and working full time, definitely mention it.
Wharton Executive MBA essay #4 (Optional)
If necessary, you may use this optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware. (300 word limit)
Only use this essay if you need to address extenuating circumstances. That includes issues such as a gap in the resume, a bad grade, not having a supervisor provide a recommendation.
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Wharton EMBA application deadlines for 2021-2022
|Round 1||December 8, 2021 (11:59 p.m. PST)|
|Round 2||February 9, 2022 (11:59 p.m. PST)|
Source: Wharton website
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Want Cindy to help you get Accepted? Click here to get in touch!