The big change in Wharton’s admissions this year occurred at the top. Frank DeVechhis recently left his position as Director of Admissions. Blair Mannix, Director of Operations and Evaluations since 2015, has assumed the role of Interim Director of Admissions at Wharton.
In terms of the application, Wharton introduced a new question for its second essay this year. The tips for approaching both the new and old questions are below.
Last year Wharton introduced a new format for its recommendations and is continuing with its recommendation experiment. It asks recommenders to choose from two lists of positive adjectives the three that best describe the applicant. In addition, the Wharton MBA application asks recommenders for two examples – one demonstrating fit with Wharton and one showing the candidate’s career potential. The intention of this experiment is to see if the recommendations can be more predictive both of success in the Wharton program and in the one’s career.
In discussion at last year’s AIGAC conference, then admissions director Frank DeVecchis acknowledged that on some level the words “recommendation” or “evaluation” are misnomers for what Wharton is looking for from the people asked to provide “a recommendation.” They are looking for insight into your character. Not a recommendation or an evaluation.
Wharton MBA Essay #1:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
This question is exclusively “professional.” What do you want to do professionally that you can’t do now and that a Wharton MBA will help you do? What “soft” and “hard” skills do you hope to acquire at Wharton? How will a Wharton MBA – the education, the credential, and the experience – help you achieve your dreams?
As with most MBA goals questions, Wharton wants to see how you plan to connect your Wharton education to your future. Keep in mind that Wharton has an incredibly rich curriculum. How will you take advantage of its premier offerings to prepare yourself to achieve your vision for the future?
To answer this question well, you need to have professional direction and you need to know which of Wharton’s myriad resources make it perfect as the next stop on your professional journey.
Wharton MBA Essay #2:
Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words maximum)
Start with the end in mind: How do you intend to contribute to the Wharton community?
To answer that question, research the co-curricular opportunities and pedagogical approach at Wharton. How will you contribute? Based on past experience and accomplishments, what difference do you intend to make? How will you participate, and yes, contribute?
Now decide on your achievement that prepared you to have your intended impact. Make sure it is one where you made a difference.
And now you’re ready to write.
I would start this essay with the impactful experience from your past and then analyze the lesson you learned from that accomplishment. Then bring it forward and apply it to your intended role at Wharton.
You could, however, start with your intended impact at Wharton and then go back to your past experience.
Please note: To answer this question well, you need to know a lot about Wharton’s program and opportunities.
Wharton MBA Additional Essay Question:
(Required for all reapplicants)
Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)*
The name of the MBA reapplicant game is Growth and Improvement. Wharton is asking for reflection and you need to provide it, but also show how that reflection led to action and improvement. You need to be a better candidate this time than last.
*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
“Addressing extenuating circumstances” means that you should describe those circumstances in a straight-forward way. Give the admissions committee context. Avoid excuses and whining.
For expert guidance with your Wharton MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Wharton’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
|Application Deadline||Decision Notification|
|Round 1||September 18, 2018||December 13, 2018|
|Round 2||January 3, 2019||March 21, 2019|
|Round 3||April 2, 2019||May 9, 2019|
*To be considered for a round, you must submit a complete application by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on the day of the deadline.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.