Alumni Gift Creates Advance Access Program for the Wharton MBA

wharton deferred enrollment

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has announced that alumni Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis have made a $10 million gift to establish the Ken Moelis and Julie Taffet Moelis Advance Access Program, a deferred admission opportunity that will provide a pathway to a Wharton MBA for highly-qualified Penn undergraduates whose academic and career interests expand traditional notions of business education.

The program adds to the school’s existing Submatriculation Program with a deferred-enrollment plan for the most competitive candidates, enabling them to apply and gain guaranteed admission as undergraduates, work for several years, and return to Wharton for their MBA.

The program is similar to Harvard Business School’s (2+2) program, though the Moelis’s gift may attract graduates from the humanities who have never considered an elite MBA program because of financial constraints.

It opens access to all Penn undergraduate students who aspire to set the stage early for their advanced education and highly successful careers. Ultimately, the program will expand to allow applications from the best undergraduate institutions across the U.S. and around the world.

The Moelis Advance Access Program helps Penn retain exceptional students from across the University – the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Nursing, the Wharton School, and coordinated dual-degree programs – to continue their graduate degree at Penn through the MBA program.

The idea is to broaden the mix of students beyond typical MBA-seekers, who tend to apply after working in finance or consulting roles, Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett told the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t want students to have to choose between following their intellectual passion or social values and getting a good job,” he added.

“Increasing access to a Penn education is a pillar of the Penn Compact 2020, and I am so grateful to Ken and Julie for creating innovative ways to expand educational opportunity through their amazing commitment,” said President Amy Gutmann. “Ken and Julie are encouraging students to think early about their graduate degree, venture into diverse fields after graduation, and bring these robust, interdisciplinary experiences to their Wharton MBA journey.”

In the Moelis Advance Access Program, undergraduates may apply to the MBA Program during their senior year and, for those admitted, enter the workforce for two to four years before returning to Wharton for graduate school.

During this time, students will be empowered to pursue job opportunities in a range of fields, including those that capture their greatest interest and extend beyond the conventional definitions of business. They will also engage in the program and their fellow future classmates through professional development, mentoring opportunities, and social events.

Mr. and Mrs. Moelis’ gift will also provide financial assistance for selected students in this premiere program. Students in the program will be considered for a $10,000 fellowship each year during the two-year full-time MBA program in additional to other financial aid awards.

The results lie in the future generations of Moelis Fellows, the proud graduates who promise to shape a range of important and emerging industries – from analytics, to health care, and beyond. Students who participate in the new deferred-enrollment plan as well as those who complete their BS/MBA in five years as part of the existing Submatriculation Program will share the title, support, and distinction of being Moelis Fellows.

“In my personal experience as a submatric student, and now as CEO of a firm that recruits top MBAs from across the country, it is clear that ambitious students with unique aspirations do not always benefit from the one-size-fits-all track for MBAs,” said Mr. Moelis. “Julie and I are excited to unlock the potential of these students – to help them consider an expanded view of the fields that need their leadership and gain valuable, practical experience after completing their undergraduate degree and before starting their MBA.”


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