Category Archives: UPenn Wharton Advice

B-school Buzz: Interviews, Acceptance, Book Recs and More

This week, our B-school Buzz bloggers share some exciting news on their b-school applications and internship interview tips, among other updates.


This week, our B-school Buzz bloggers share some exciting news on their b-school applications and internship interview tips, among other updates.

Accepted! – If you’ve ever had the gratifying experience of learning that your b-school application has been accepted, then Ellipsing My Way… To Business School’s post about hearing from the Cornell Johnson School of Management will take you right back to that magical (and overwhelming) moment. He writes, “I didn’t know what to do or say. To be honest I barely remember what was said…  ‘Congratulations this…  deposit that…’  All I could do is keep saying ‘Thank you… Thank you…. Thank you….’  I do remember saying ‘I’m sorry I don’t even know what to say other than thank you…’” Way to go, Ellipsing!

Interview invites – Mako at Random Wok had good news to share this week as well: He’s been invited to another interview, this time with the Wharton School. This was especially great to read, given that Mako was dealing with a rejection from Harvard Business School last week. Once again, he writes with emotional candor about his application process so far, and ends the post on a positive note: “I’ve been invited to interview at more than half the schools I applied to, and reaching this milestone is a good feeling.”

Internship interviews – Meanwhile, Praz at Columbia MBA Class of 2012 reminded us that the interviews don’t end once you’re accepted to a program. He shared his preparation strategies for on-campus internship interviews, explaining how he readied himself for both the technical and behavioral/fit parts of his interviews. The result? “For the summer I’ll be here in NYC at American Express as a finance manager intern,” he writes. Nicely done!

A couple of other posts worth checking out this weekMilitary to Business shares some research he conducted to find out how many military personnel have made their way to Harvard Business School, and the GMAT Prep blog highly recommends the book The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma, commenting, “I like the way Robin Sharma makes success look so easy and achievable…. Consistent simple steps followed daily lead you to success.” Sounds like a book worth checking out.

Posted in BSchool Buzz, Cornell Advice, Harvard Advice, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , ,

B-Schools Affected by Budget Deficits, Too

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

Though the labor protests in Wisconsin have focused our nation’s attention on state budget woes, many other organizations have been adversely affected by budget shortcomings, including top business schools.

In the article “Business Schools Get Lean,” BusinessWeek‘s Francesca Di Meglio reported that many b-schools have been forced to reduce spending, due to decreased endowments and state cuts to higher education in the wake of the recent recession. Avoiding layoffs has been a priority for most schools, but could not always be avoided. Here are a few of the cutting-back strategies employed by the b-schools featured in the article:

Tuck School of Business – Reorganized existing tasks, such as centralizing the school’s recycling system, which saved labor hours. Also reduced travel in favor of technologies such as videoconferencing.

Chicago Booth School of Business – While Booth didn’t lay off existing faculty, the school held off on filling openings and has reduced its temporary and contract workers. Like Tuck, Booth has also cut its travel budget and implemented a policy requiring approval from the dean’s office for travel.

Wharton School of Business – One round of layoffs in executive education department. Renegotiated contracts with vendors and cut down on travel and entertainment expenses.

Harvard Business School – Turned off heating and cooling systems during non-business hours. According to Meghan Duggan, assistant director of sustainability and energy management at HBS, this simple action resulted in six-figure savings.

Program cuts aren’t the only concern for potential b-school students. As businesses also struggle with their budgets, many of them are cutting back on tuition assistance programs, another BusinessWeek article reports. In “Tuition Benefits Drying Up,” Erin Zlomek writes, “In 2010, 56 percent of employers offered graduate school assistance, down from 69 percent in 2003, according to annual benefits data collected by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).”

Posted in Chicago Booth Advice, Dartmouth Tuck Advice, General, Harvard Advice, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , ,

MBA Advice From Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School and Tuck School of Business

Whether you’re diving into the application process full-throttle, or just starting to test the waters, good advice is always welcome. Today’s tips come courtesy of the Career Insider blog at Bucknell University, which posted a …

Whether you’re diving into the application process full-throttle, or just starting to test the waters, good advice is always welcome. Today’s tips come courtesy of the Career Insider blog at Bucknell University, which posted a comprehensive entry yesterday with pointers on the MBA application process supplied by panelists representing Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School and Tuck School of Business.

Here are some edited excerpts of the advice culled by Bucknell’s Jamie Leacock ’11; click on the link above for the original entry, which also covers selecting recommenders, taking the GMAT, the admissions process and what a typical schedule looks like during an MBA program.

What are MBA graduate programs looking for?

One myth surrounding the MBA admissions process is that applicants are accepted based on their credentials (e.g., what undergraduate school they attended, an internship they completed). However, schools are not looking for what you have done; they are looking for why you have done it and how well you did it!

The panelists urge prospective students to be able to explain the choices they made and why they excelled. Talking about the quality of your experience and why it was right for you is a surefire way to exude individuality. The best job is not what you think schools are looking for; it is what you are passionate about.

What qualities do admissions officers look for in an applicant?

When reviewing applications, the panel asserts that admissions officers are thinking about the long-term ”“ what kind of alumni are you going to be?

One panelist who has worked at Bucknell, Tuck Business School, and Wharton says he seeks the following when making decisions: applicant’s integrity, their risk-taking ability, their leadership as expressed in the context of their own life, and (his highest weighted criteria) their initiative.

One way to demonstrate these characteristics during an interview is by using the mirror technique. When asked to tell about a leadership experience, after answering, re-frame the question and ask the interviewer about opportunities for leadership at that school. Utilizing these tips can certainly be beneficial to your application process.

Should I re-apply if I don’t get in the first time?

One panelist said 10% of Wharton Business School applicants were re-applying. He advises re-applicants to be very careful not to look like the main goal is to get into that particular school. At schools where the application can be re-activated, he was very impressed when applicants started over, treating the re-application process as a blank state instead of reusing old essays. It can be a good idea to paint a new self-portrait of yourself based on the new experiences you gained during the past year.

* * * * *

SBC_Harvard_Essay_Guide-150x150

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Dartmouth Tuck School of Business.
Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Harvard Business School.
Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Upenn Wharton Business School
To see a list of our MBA Essay Guides, click here.
Posted in Dartmouth Tuck Advice, General, Harvard Advice, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , , ,

Tuesday Tips – Wharton Business School Essay Tips

Wharton has substantially changed its essay questions for this year’s application. This week we provide tips to help you tackle this set of questions and create a strong application.

Wharton Business School consistently seeks well rounded and community minded applicants that can demonstrate innovative thinking, a record of accomplishment, and very solid career goals. The essays this year are consistent with the admissions goals, though very different from the previous years’ essays. The required essay asks for career objectives, and telling a cohesive story is key to success with this set of Wharton Business School questions.

When contemplating the optional essays, it will be important to choose topics that will allow you to demonstrate both achievements at work and your extracurricular or personal activities. In addition, refer back to your application strategy and strengths and weaknesses to determine which personal qualities you can highlight in these essays.

Required Question:
What are your professional objectives? (300 words)

The career goals essay is a standard MBA prompt. While in past years Wharton Business School provided plenty of space to explain your background and goals, this year’s essay asks you to keep your career aspirations brief and focused. With only 300 words, you will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree, using your background information where it is most relevant to your goals.

Because you have limited space, you will likely want to briefly cover why Wharton Business School in this essay, and use one of the optional essays to delve deeper into your interest in the Wharton Business School and fit with the community.

Respond to 3 of the following 4 questions:
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 Business School community to improve the lives of the Haiti earthquake victims. Similarly, Wharton Business School students and alumni helped to create the “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 Business School course on any topic, what would it be? (700 words)

This essay is a great way to demonstrate your capacity for creativity and innovative thought. In addition, this essay can be an opportunity for you to highlight experiences in your professional life that may not have been covered in the previous essay due to limited space. Think about the areas where you are an expert, and how you could share your knowledge with the Wharton Business School community. If your professional experience doesn’t demonstrate the innovation you would like to highlight in this essay, perhaps your extracurricular or academic pursuits offer ideas.

Along with describing the course you would create, this question can provide the opportunity to delve into why Wharton Business School is the right place for you to pursue your MBA. You can discuss faculty you would like to collaborate with, clubs and activities that demonstrate an interest within the community that you also share, or existing classes that are an example of the type of class you would design.

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)

This Wharton Business School essay asks about the path not taken. The opportunity could have been professional, either a job or a project you decided not to pursue, or perhaps personal. Think about the areas you have already covered in other essays and decide what situation would be best for this question. Whatever situation you describe, make sure you spend equal time on the second and third part of the question.

Be clear about exactly how you decided to turn down the opportunity and the factors you considered. Are you the kind of person who weighs pros and cons or goes with your intuition? What criteria did you consider? Why did you ultimately decide not to take the opportunity presented?

The final question is whether you would make the same decision today. Think about the outcome of turning down the opportunity ”“ did it ultimately lead to a better job or project? Did you ultimately reach your goals, or do you think the opportunity may have led you down an interesting path? Either way, clearly articulate how you consider the decision today, and 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)

While this essay question has appeared in prior Wharton Business School applications, the final question takes a new twist on the question. When thinking about a situation you would like to discuss in this essay, you might want to consider situations that were pivotal in your development and that led to your point of view on what success and failure mean to you.

Many Wharton Business School candidates dislike the “mistake” or failure essay because of the misconception that adcomm is seeking to find your deep personal flaws through such an inquiry. Far from looking for your weaknesses, the mistake or failure essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your own confidence and ability to learn from challenging situations.

The failure can be a situation at work, your personal life or an extracurricular project. Far more important than the failure will be your response to the situation. What did you do and say? Be specific about the events and your contribution to the failure. The last prompt in the question is perhaps the most important. Explain what you learned from the situation, and especially why this lesson has been important to you. Perhaps it has helped you to avoid similar situations in the future, or taught you something important about yourself and your working style that has helped your impact in future situations.

4. Discuss a time when you navigated a challenging experience in either a personal or professional relationship. (600 words)

Behavioral questions like this one are meant to illustrate how you have acted in situations in the past, as a predictor of future behavior. Your answer should be concise but detailed, and clearly lay out both the situation and what you did and thought as you navigated the outcome.

Often a tough experience is an excellent learning opportunity and contributes to your growth and development. Think about the type of person who will be successful in an MBA program, and as a manager and a leader. What skills do you share with a strong leader, and were any formed during a challenging interpersonal situation like this?

The challenge could range from a difficult boss or coworker, to a relationship with a friend or family member. The key to a successful essay is to demonstrate how, specifically, you navigated the experience. A lesson learned or beneficial outcome to the experience would end the Wharton Business School essay well and allow you to illustrate your leadership, teamwork or social skills.

* * * * *

SBC_Harvard_Essay_Guide-150x150

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Upenn Wharton Business School.
To see our Upenn Wharton School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.
Posted in Application Tips, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , ,

Tuesday Tips – Wharton Business School Essay Tips

Tuesday Tips addresses the Wharton class of 2010 essay questions with practical advice to approach the new questions.

The Wharton Business School class of 2012 essay questions have been revamped since last year. While there is still a keystone career goals essay, it takes a slightly different slant from the traditional “Why MBA, Why Wharton Business School, Why now” question. The other questions seek to understand who you are and how you handle failure, complex problems and improving yourself.

As in years past, Wharton Business School is interested in candidates who demonstrate maturity, self-awareness and the desire to engage with the Wharton Business School community. With a slightly more introspective keystone essay, Wharton is seeking to see the person behind the application materials.

The Wharton Business School admissions committee and current students are extremely open about the process and the program, so even if you are halfway around the world you can experience a bit of the “Wharton Business School way” on the blogs or Student 2 Student chat room.

2009-2010 Questions ”” First-Time Applicants
Wharton Business School Essay 1 ”“ (750-1000 words)
As a leader in global business, Wharton is committed to sustaining “a truly global presence through its engagement in the world”. What goals are you committed to and why? How do you envision the Wharton Business School contributing to the attainment of those goals?

This revamped career goals essay has a twinge of the introspection required for essays like the Stanford MBA“What matters most.” In setting the tone with Wharton Business School’s own commitment to global presence, the adcomm is asking you to think about what you are most committed to, why, and how your MBA fits into the plan.

In answering the why behind your commitment, make sure you can provide specific examples from your life. Wharton Business School certainly is a global business school, with joint programs spanning Europe and Asia. However, you are asked to discover your own goals and motivations. Whether you are committed to changing the world, creating innovative new products or executing marketing strategies, your goals should be yours and fit in with a track record of commitment throughout your life.

Why Wharton Business School is still an important part of the question. Rather than listing classes or clubs, take the time to explain why they are relevant. If you are interested in a club, think about specific ways you will contribute, as a leader or a member. Classes you mention should be relevant to the interests you have expressed. Any personal contact with the Wharton Business School community will help you determine if Wharton is the right fit for you, and provide useful context to describe why Wharton Business School is the place to pursue your next step.

Wharton Business School Essay 2 ”“ (750-1000 words)
Tell us about a time when you had to adapt by accepting/understanding the perspective of people different from yourself.

This question can be approached from the perspective of diversity in the traditional sense (race, nationality, gender) or you can broaden your brainstorming to include situations where you thought differently or had a different working style from someone you needed to work with. The best essay will demonstrate something about your personal qualities (how do you think? Work with others who are different from yourself?) and show that you are able to learn from situations that may be challenging or difficult.

If you have worked internationally or in a cross cultural company, this would be an ideal opportunity to demonstrate what you learned.

Wharton Business School Essay 3 ”“ (500 words)
Describe a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself?

Many candidates dislike the “mistake” or failure essay because of the misconception that adcomm is seeking to find your deep personal flaws through such an inquiry. Far from looking for your weaknesses, the mistake or failure essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your own confidence and ability to learn from challenging situations.

The failure can be a situation at work, your personal life or an extracurricular project. Far more important than the failure will be your response to the situation. What did you do and say? Be specific about the events and your contribution to the failure. The last prompt in the question is perhaps the most important. Explain what you learned from the situation, and especially why this lesson has been important to you. Perhaps it has helped you to avoid similar situations in the future, or taught you something important about yourself and your working style that has helped your impact in future situations.

Wharton Business School Essay 4 ”“ (500 words) Choose one of the following:

In choosing which of these questions to answer, you might consider both the aspects of your personal qualities you would like to highlight and the areas of your life you would like to discuss. If you have presented a failure from your work life, you might consider demonstrating how you solved a complex problem in an extracurricular or community oriented project. Or if you focused on work with a team in the prior question, you may want to discuss an improvements you have made as an individual.

a. Give us a specific example of a time when you solved a complex problem.

This question seeks to reveal your approach and thinking style. Perhaps you are a quantitative thinker who builds complex models to solve complex problems, or a strategic big picture thinker who tends towards sudden insight. Either way, explain the problem you solved clearly and reveal the thinking and analysis that led to the outcome. If you worked with a team, make sure you describe the team’s contribution and how you interacted with that team.

b. Tell us about something significant that you have done to improve yourself, in either your professional and/or personal endeavors.

Your area of improvement may have been suggested by a work supervisor, or something that you had a personal desire to improve. The improvement doesn’t have to be from poor to competent, it could just as easily be an improvement you made from good to great.
Once you have decided upon a topic, outline the specific steps you took to create this improvement, and what the outcome was. Whatever improvement you describe, make sure you explain why it has significance for you and any benefits beyond the achievement that you have realized.

Wharton Business School Essay 5 (Optional) ”“ (250 words)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application).

This Wharton Business School essay is specifically meant to address gaps or weaknesses in your application. If you do not have any extenuating circumstances, you should not answer this question. If you are using this essay to explain a weakness in your application profile, focus on the positive and avoid the tendency to provide excuses. For example, rather than providing a story to excuse your low GPA, take responsibility for the mistakes you made and focus on the evidence in your life since college that demonstrates your academic potential.

*

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Upenn Wharton Business School.
To see our Upenn Wharton School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.
Posted in General, UPenn Wharton Advice |

Tuesday Tips – Wharton Business School Essay Tips

Wharton Business School adcom values self awareness, leadership, teamwork and solid career goals. When choosing topics for this set of essays, be sure to consider examples that highlight your ability to learn and grow. Fit with …

Wharton Business School adcom values self awareness, leadership, teamwork and solid career goals. When choosing topics for this set of essays, be sure to consider examples that highlight your ability to learn and grow. Fit with the Wharton Business School community is important, and researching the program thoroughly to answer “Why Wharton Business School” will be crucial.

The Wharton Business School admissions committee and current students are extremely open about the process and the program, so even if you are halfway around the world you can experience a bit of the “Wharton Business School way” on the blogs or Student 2 Student chat room.

First-Time Applicant Questions

1. Describe your career progress to date and your future short-term and long-term career goals. How do you expect an MBA from Wharton Business School to help you achieve these goals, and why is now the best time for you to join our program? (1,000 words)

Wharton Business School’s career goals essay is the focal point of the application and the essay that provides you the most words to work with. The essay question is fairly typical of an MBA career goals essay, yet Wharton Business School uniquely focuses on “why now.” Why now is a crucial part of the essay and needs to be addressed when you answer the question about Why MBA and Why Wharton Business School.

Budget your words carefully on this essay and be sure to answer each sub question thoroughly. When discussing your career progress, focus on building a path from your past to your future short- and long-term goals. The adcom will be looking for evidence that you can achieve your career goals and your goals are a logical extension of your background and interests. Do your homework on Wharton Business School and provide very specific reasons why you want to pursue your MBA at the Wharton Business School.

2. Describe a setback or a failure that you have experienced. What role did you play, and what did you learn about yourself? (500 words)

This essay illuminates adcom’s interest in understanding how self aware you are. You will want to choose a setback or failure that has an ultimately positive result, and use most of the words to describe your actions and learning. Be candid and demonstrate that you are mature enough to see failure as an opportunity for growth. A specific and easy to describe failure will be best, allowing you to concentrate on the real communication of the essay.

3. Where in your background would we find evidence of your leadership capacity and/or potential? (500 words)

This Wharton Business School essay question allows flexibility to choose either a professional or extracurricular example. The open ended nature of the question may tempt you to provide a laundry list of accomplishments. Focus instead on one or two examples and thoroughly describe your actions and thoughts, demonstrating what kind of leader you are. You can generalize on your leadership capacity and potential once you have provided the solid evidence through a specific example.

4. Please respond to one (1) of the following questions:

a. Describe an experience you have had innovating or initiating, your lessons learned, the results and impact of your efforts. (500 words)

Innovation is a popular catchphrase at Wharton Business School and is integral to Wharton Business School’s brand. This essay allows you to demonstrate your fit with the Wharton community by describing your own experiences innovating or initiating. Again, there is a strong focus on self reflection and understanding the lessons learned. Describe the situation very succinctly and focus most of the essay on the learning, results and impact.

b. Is there anything about your background or experience that you feel you have not had the opportunity to share with the Admissions Committee in your application?  If yes, please explain. (500 words)

This is an extremely open ended question that allows you to fill in any gaps in your application strategy. Avoid the temptation to recycle essays from another school (the attempt is transparent!) and focus on a topic that adds value to your communication, while remembering the Wharton Business School approach and culture.

OPTIONAL: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, TOEFL waiver request, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application). (250 words, maximum)

This Wharton Business School essay needs to address one of the items on the list. If you do not have any extenuating circumstances, you should not answer this question. If you are using this essay to explain a weakness in your application profile, focus on the positive and avoid the tendency to provide excuses. For example, rather than providing a story to excuse your low GPA, take responsibility for the mistakes you made and focus on the evidence in your life since college that demonstrates your academic potential.

*

Click for more posts containing Application Advice for the Upenn Wharton Business School.
To see our Upenn Wharton School of Business Essay Guide for MBA Applications, click here.
Posted in Application Tips, UPenn Wharton Advice | Tagged , , , , , , ,