Tuesday Tips: Wharton MBA Essay Tips 2023-2024
The Wharton School seeks to understand who you are and what motivates you in this set of essays. The SBC consultant team includes former Admissions Officers from the Wharton School, who shared that the program looks for solid applicants across all dimensions with an emphasis on strong performance in GMAT and professional experience.
SBC consultant Anthony, a former Wharton MBA Admissions Officer, notes that Wharton is looking for an “exceptional career trajectory and demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.” Above all, Wharton seeks a class that will work well with each other and wants to admit passionate learners. SBC’s Wharton MBA essay tips will help you prepare your best possible application package.
You can get to know the Wharton community through networking and reading. Wharton has a specific culture, and learning more about it will pay off in your application. Resources on the Wharton website, such as Wharton Stories, are a great place to start. Likewise, Sample Wharton essays from successful SBC admits are also highly instructive to applicants.
Curious about your chances of getting into Wharton? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.
Wharton MBA Essay Tips
Essay 1: How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)
This essay prompt reflects that Wharton has always been very career-goal oriented. “They are acutely interested in what your short-term and long-term career plans are,” says a recent SBC client who was admitted to Wharton. This career goals question focuses on why Wharton is the right fit for you. However, it’s also a question about your personality and potential success in the program. Meghan, a former Wharton Admissions Officer who works on our SBC team, reveals that “Wharton will turn down interesting/unique candidates who lack clarity of goals or the ability to succeed in recruiting.”
Wharton MBA graduate Jordan Mock wrote a blog post with three excellent tips for this essay, saying, “Wharton is unique and your essay should reflect that.”
Focus on the question of how a Wharton MBA will help you “connect the three career dots” that Jordan discusses. Also, consider your past experiences. Think about the critical moments of your professional life that led to your goals. Focus on telling the story of those decision points. Remember, anything unique in your background is always worth describing.
Check out SBC’s What the AdCom Wants Strategy Guide for the Wharton School
Finally, one of our best Wharton MBA essay tips is to include exactly how you fit with the program and describe what Wharton will do for you. That will also help you navigate interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay.
For example, mention the faculty you want to study with or the unique classes offered at Wharton. Consider what it might be like to live in Philadelphia. Think about the many clubs and student activities. Also, research the unique leadership development opportunities, such as traveling to Antarctica with your classmates.
Essay 2: Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)
Wharton is an intense academic environment. But, it also has a strong community focused on teamwork and learning from each other. SBC consultant Meghan notes that “Wharton looks for applicants who will be active and engaged on campus and who will take on a leadership role within a club and activity that they are passionate about. Wharton generally wants to see past extra-curricular involvement.”
As you select a topic for this essay, think about your particular background. What have you done in the past that can show how you will contribute?
Your contribution to the Wharton community could be in the classroom, in clubs, or within small group projects. You might bring your experiences launching a new product to your marketing case studies. Maybe you will lend creative ideas to your learning team as you prepare a research project because you have demonstrated creativity in your past accomplishments.
Perhaps you have shown a tendency to teach and mentor others, and you plan to help your learning teammates with skills that they may not have learned in their past work.
For example, you might contribute to the Media and Entertainment Club by leading a career trek or bringing a new speaker to campus because you have connections from prior career experience. Brainstorm anything learned in your career or undergrad that could help your classmates at Wharton.
Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)
All re-applicants are required to provide information that supports their renewed candidacy. The most successful version of the re-applicant essay will provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year.
Improvements such as GMAT scores or new quantitative classes are particularly relevant and convincing. But a promotion, an increase in responsibility at work, a job change, or even a change of goals and mission can serve as reasonable updates.
A rejection or waitlist last year is a form of feedback and may have led to soul searching for you. When you describe your changes, make sure to reflect on your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your strengths and weaknesses. It is also helpful to describe your efforts to improve.
Optional Essay: Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee.
You may use this space to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider.
The optional essay is a great place to cover any areas of concern in your application. Wharton looks for solid academics and quant skills. So, your essay could address a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, or grades under a C in any quantitative course. Another relevant issue could be disciplinary action in undergrad.
Start by explaining the issue clearly and succinctly. Then, use evidence to show how you have improved and addressed any concerns. Finally, discuss how you plan to maintain positive momentum.
Listen to B-Schooled Podcast Episode #80: Spotlight on Wharton
Here is a recent client admit announcement:
Dreaming of just one admission to an M7 school. I applied to 6 of them and received acceptances to 4! I am so grateful to SBC and excited to say that I will be matriculating at The Wharton School this fall!
And another one:
With the SBC team’s support, I was accepted to two M7 schools, Wharton and Sloan with significant scholarship offerings from both schools. I would strongly recommend the SBC team for anyone with the goal of being admitted to a top business school!
Now that you’ve seen our Wharton MBA essay tips, contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help with your Wharton application. Here’s a snapshot of the level of Wharton expertise on our SBC team.