This year’s Wharton MBA Essay tips will help you prepare your best Wharton application. The Wharton School seeks to understand who you are and what motivates you in this set of essays.
Admissions Director Blair Mannix comments that “the Admissions Committee is looking for candidates who will contribute to all aspects of Wharton life.” Beyond your credentials and experience, fit is important.
Above all, Wharton values diversity and teamwork. Wharton seeks a class that will work well with each other and wants to admit passionate learners.
Review our Wharton MBA essay tips, and 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.
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This is a standard career goals question. However, it’s also a question about your personality and potential success in the program. Jordan Mock, WG’16 wrote a blog post with three excellent tips for this essay, saying, “Wharton is unique and your essay should reflect that.”
Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay. Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments. Therefore, you should write about the future and what you will use your MBA to achieve. How will a Wharton MBA help you “connect the three career dots” that Jordan writes about?
You have room to add color by using your background information where it’s relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that led to your goals. Focus on telling the story of those decision points. This will be more effective than reciting your resume. Anything unique in your background is always worth describing.
Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you. This 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 Wharton faculty you want to study with, or the unique classes at Wharton.
When you address your goals, make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like. 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. 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, 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 own past work.
Or 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 a prior career experience. Think about what you have learned in your career and in prior academics that may help those around you 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 your 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 like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible and convincing. But a promotion, 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 your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses. It is also useful 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.
This space can also be used 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.
This optional essay is a great place to address any areas of concern in your application. For example, low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, or grades under a C in any quantitative course. Wharton is looking for strong academics and quant skills. Other issues could be disciplinary action in undergrad.
First, explain the issue clearly and succinctly. Then, use evidence to show you have improved and addressed any concerns. Finally, discuss how you plan to maintain positive momentum.
Now that you’ve seen our Wharton MBA essay tips, contact Stacy Blackman Consulting to learn how we can help with your Wharton application.