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Wharton MBA Essay Samples
Wharton looks for exceptional career trajectory, quantitative chops, and demonstrated leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills. In recent years, they have worked to deemphasize the GMAT so it’s not quite as rigid as it once was as in order to diversify class. With less emphasis on stats, the Wharton essays are essential to showcasing character and experiences.
SBC has four former Wharton Admissions Officers and multiple Wharton MBA graduates who deeply know the nuances of applying to Wharton successfully. If you’d like to speak with one of our Principals about your candidacy, please request a free analysis here.
In the meantime, see examples of Wharton MBA essays from our successful admits below.
When I was in my freshman year of high school, I signed up for the girl’s [sport] team. However, as the tryouts neared, I got cold feet; I had only played [sport] for one year prior to ninth grade. The high school coach was also my gym teacher, and she knew I was supposed to go out for the team. I could not imagine telling her that I had gone back on my word, so I dragged myself to the first practice.
That turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made. My coach gave us individualized cards before every game with that day’s goals—evidence of how deeply she cared for her players. I was a starting player by my sophomore year, and she would make me yell out directions to organize my teammates. This included telling the seniors who to cover, which was intimidating. Her confidence in me translated into confidence in myself, and I went on to play for her in the state championship game my junior year. We were not the most-skilled team in the state, but preparation, dedication and hard work helped us achieve a better record than we would have otherwise.
I continued to play in college, where my experience was completely different. At [College], we barely had enough players to field a team my senior year, so we had to recruit from the women’s [sport] and [sport] teams and other athletic friends. Learning to compete with an eclectic group of women with drastically different skill levels was a challenge. But remembering how to motivate individuals and focus on strengths helped me to succeed as captain.
My experience playing [sport] has shaped my career thus far by helping me to find ways to win in the competitive world of sales and trading and equity research. I know it will affect my contributions to the Wharton community as well. By trying out for the team my freshman year, I learned that I need to put myself out there—even if it’s uncomfortable—to gain new experiences and grow individually. I will be very active in on-campus groups, like Women in Business and Wharton’s Fintech club. Given all of the opportunities to get involved in business school, I understand the dedication it takes to get things like the Women’s Summit across the finish line. [Sport] also taught me how to empower individuals and work with a diverse group of people. By recognizing each person’s strengths, I will not only bring my Learning Team together, but also contribute to a greater sense of togetherness across the teams I am a part of at Wharton.
Finally, I would also like to contribute to the greater Wharton community by helping to coach [sport] locally in Philadelphia. I believe extending my network beyond Wharton’s walls will strengthen my leadership development, and I hope to inspire confidence in other young girls who are just beginning to think about their careers.
I am an avid runner, and am empowered by the physical feats my body is capable of. I share this outlet by volunteering with [Nonprofit], a [Description of Nonprofit]. Most recently, I [Description of achievement]. Reaching this milestone together required teamwork, leadership and commitment to action, all of which I will bring to the Wharton community.
As a team of mentors, we were charged with leading participants through a 10-week training program prior to our big event. Each week, we integrated our different professional backgrounds to appeal to the members’ diverse personalities. May, an outdoor adventure leader, was accustomed to exerting control in chaotic environments and expertly channeled energy into physical activity. June, a special event planner who is used to calming her clients in high-stress environments, easily dug into people’s underlying emotions to understand their excitement or concerns for race day. On my Wharton Learning Team, I will leverage this same collaborative approach to tackling challenges — actively contributing my own perspective and encouraging my teammates to do the same, all while pushing the group to integrate our ideas into the strongest possible response.
As we prepped the girls for the event, I gained a deeper appreciation for how passion develops leadership. I am passionate about our work, but I feel even more strongly about using it to empower the younger community. This heightened sense of purpose motivated me to work through challenges and help our members reach their goals. As a member of Wharton’s PE/VC Club and Wharton Women in Business, I will use my passion for improving businesses through investment and promoting women’s leadership to enhance the clubs’ respective communities and execute events. I am particularly eager to serve as Co-President of Wharton Women in Business and work with my team of Co-Presidents to host the Wharton Women’s Summit.
Finally, inspired by a member of my [Nonprofit] team, I will promote a commitment to action while at Wharton. AAA had struggled to gain her parents’ support during the season, but nonetheless continued to compete with a quiet determination. The day before our big event, she confided in me that she had been apprehensive about being able to do it, knowing that her parents would not be among the supporters. However, she also revealed her excitement to compete and to share in the success of her friends. Their collective hard work superseded her fears. Wharton’s campus celebrates the same type of commitment to action on behalf of others that AAA so maturely displayed that day. I will channel this practice by serving on the Deans’ MBA Advisory Council, deepening my understanding of the diverse initiatives of my peers, and then promoting their interests across the broader community. I aim to augment Wharton’s culture of sharing in each other’s successes, just as AAA did for our team.
In my Research role at [Company], I cover industrial companies that have been around for decades. I’ve noticed that in these organizations, the most exciting work is being done in the newer, software-led divisions. That’s why after graduation, I would like to expand my knowledge of new technologies in a digital transformation consulting role at a firm like Bain or BCG. Ultimately, I would like to be COO at a financial services or fintech company like PNC, Paypal, or Betterment.
To reach these goals, I hope to gain a better understanding of operations to complement my finance background. Classes in Wharton’s Operations, Information and Decisions department, such as “Information and Business Transformation” and “Enabling Technologies,” would provide a strong foundation and help me be in on the conversation about how businesses of the future will be run. Joining the Fintech club will increase my exposure to smaller growth companies and developing technologies, while allowing me to network with likeminded students.
Wharton can also help me develop the skills necessary to succeed in an upper-management position. I would take “Managing the Emerging Enterprise” to learn how to not only retain and attract talent, but also improve organizational processes. Further, I know I would benefit from taking classes with Adam Grant and Stew Friedman in particular. “Negotiations” would help me build a critical skill, and “Executive Leadership” would give me the tools to become a better leader inside and outside of work. I am also eager to learn how to encourage employees to bring their “whole self” to work.
I plan to network with [Alum] co-founder and CEO of [Company], and ask him about his experience running a fintech company and the impact his platform has had on smaller business.
[Alum], [Company] founder, is another alum I would like to connect with. I want to know how he grew his company and how customer demands have changed over the last few years as data analysis has become more mainstream. I am also interested in learning about investor’s openness to using this information to make investment decisions.
Finally, I intend to join Wharton Women in Business to network with classmates and industry leaders. I also hope to assist in organizing the Wharton Women’s Summit and bring inspiring female trailblazers to Philadelphia to share their experiences and accomplishments. I believe broadening my perspective through leadership expeditions and my classmates’ experiences will make me a more effective leader. Wharton’s diverse alumni network, leadership programs and faculty will help fill the gaps in my background and put me in the best possible position for a job in a digital consulting and ultimately for a COO role at a fintech or financial services company.
I love traveling to interview potential investment targets’ management teams; I have talked with executives at organic food producers, auto manufacturers, concrete block fabricators, and 30 other unique businesses. However, I have yet to encounter more than one woman serving in a senior-level position. I need a Wharton MBA to change this statistic.
In the short term, I will use my MBA to transition to a private equity investment role at a multinational investment firm like Carlyle, Blackstone or KKR. By capitalizing on Wharton’s advanced elective finance classes, I hope to sharpen my analytical proficiency and deepen my investment strategy knowledge.
I will complement the core’s rigor with electives such as The Finance of Acquisitions and Buyouts, which will expose me to real-world investment scenarios and improve my understanding of nuanced transaction-related details. Further, Wharton’s Learning Team model will enhance my perspective as I work with my team to incorporate our diverse backgrounds into problem solving. As [Alum] has proved, Wharton is unmatched in developing well-rounded investors and teammates.
Ultimately, I hope to leverage the leadership skills I develop at Wharton to land an executive position in the private equity division of a global investment firm. I intend to use my platform to campaign for the promotion of women to leadership positions across the industry. Through courses such as William Lauder’s Decision-Making in the Leadership Chair, I will have direct exposure to C-suite professionals and learn how to both position myself for a similar role and overcome challenges once in the position.
At the Diverse Perspectives on the Wharton MBA event in NYC, [Alum] recommended Stew Friedman’s Total Leadership to learn how to think about personal and professional fulfillment. I developed a greater appreciation for the role fulfillment can play in women’s career decisions while serving on a women’s initiative task force at [Company]. This course will be instrumental in achieving my future goal of campaigning for more female industry leaders.
I also intend to put classroom lessons into practice by serving as a Venture Fellow. I am intrigued by [Alum]’s role as a Fellow for the Andes Leadership Venture, which she detailed during conversation at an Admissions event in NYC. Just as she applied learnings from this experience to her role at the [Organization], I will do the same as an executive within a global investment firm.
Wharton’s clubs will further contribute to my development. Wharton Women in Business will serve as an excellent platform to refine my knowledge of women’s professional challenges across industries, and the Wharton Private Equity & Venture Capital Club will expose me to the diverse investment backgrounds of my peers. I also intend to serve as a Co-Chair for the PE/VC Conference, and I will use the opportunity to expand my network within the investment industry.
Wharton will help me develop the nuanced thinking and bold leadership necessary to incite change for women across the financial services industry.
My long-term goal is to combine my experience in finance and my passion for technology by starting and leading a technology company in China as a CFO. I developed an appreciation for technology companies during my time with Firm Q. I always believed they help to boost innovative ideas and make great products affordable to people from all walks of life. When I later moved to Bank, I got to know these companies more in-depth through working in the leading technology research team. I came to understand that business and innovation often go hand in hand. I want to lead a technology start-up of real social impact and propel innovation with the power of finance.
To achieve this goal, I intend to first earn an MBA and then work in Investment Banking M&A covering the technology sector in a major bank such as Goldman or Morgan Stanley after graduation. Working in the primary market would allow me to look at the technology industry from a different angle and help me be more prepared for my ultimate goal of building one of these companies.
Wharton gives me access to the tools I will need to succeed. Distinguished alumni such as Person 1 and Person 2 have spoken at length about their Wharton experiences. At Wharton, I will not only gain the knowledge needed for a leadership role in a tech start-up, but also attain deeper understanding of finance and how it functions inside and outside start-ups. Courses such as Venture Capital and Finance of Innovation, International Corporate Finance, Entrepreneurship through Acquisitions, and Enabling Technologies will provide me with insights into how finance connects with technology start-up companies in a global setting.
The role I envision for myself is that of a CFO. However, startups don’t often have the luxury of a full executive suite so I will need to sharpen my leadership and knowledge application capabilities. Speaking with ’17 student Tracy and attending info sessions, I got excited about Wharton’s broad array of courses and extra-curricular activities that emphasize leadership. Courses such as Managing the Emerging Enterprise and the Executive Coaching and Feedback Program will be central to developing my leadership skills. Besides, the Mack Institute for Innovation Management is an excellent platform for me to apply knowledge learned in management courses and develop practical approaches. In addition, I am extremely interested in the Global Immersion Program, which could offer me valuable insights through practical experience of direct interaction with local business leaders, managers, and government officials.
Outside the classroom, I will take leadership roles in the Technology club and Entrepreneurship club, where I will connect with students of similar belief and passion. Moreover, the strong Wharton alumni network in China also sets a solid foundation for my long-term career development.
Wharton is the school that not only helps me achieve my short-term goal, but also prepares me for my long-term goal by providing knowledge across subjects, leadership and immersive application training, extra-curricular activities, and community.
When I was twelve, I traveled alone to California to visit my mom’s former colleagues. While enjoying my first cup of Starbucks, I introduced Chinese traditions such as green tea and Beijing opera into these foreigners’ lives. As a Chinese girl who inherited traditional cultural values yet has also obtained a global viewpoint from living in Hong Kong and many visits to the U.S., I will contribute to Wharton by blending the western and eastern cultures and enhancing communication between both sides.
In the classroom I will contribute my deep accounting and finance knowledge and insights into the technology industry such as Apple’s supply chain competitive landscape. My international background and global perspective will allow me to provide the class with fresh angles to approach problems. In learning groups I will contribute to discussion and teamwork by playing various roles including teammate, motivator, and leader. My previous experience working with international teammates at Firm A and Bank Z strengthened my teamwork and communication skills.
In student clubs, I will contribute through taking a leadership role in the Technology Club and leveraging my contacts with technology companies and experts. For example, I could invite the CEO of StartUp Q, a leading Chinese artificial intelligence player, to talk about AI development trend. I will also join the Asia club as an officer and help with organizing the annual Asian Business Conference. I successfully organized the ABC Conference under the competition started by Wharton and the World Bank. I also attended the Harvard JKL Conference as a delegate. These experiences make me prepared to lead and contribute to the club. As an experienced student club leader, I will use my skills to identify merits in each teammate, utilize their strengths, and motivate the team.
Lastly, I want to contribute through community service. Specifically, I will apply to the Wharton Nonprofit Board Leadership Program. My commitment to community service started during college when I founded a social enterprise aimed at helping underprivileged families in Hong Kong bringing their handcrafted products to market. I worked at a Non Profit, 123 Health, on the project planning team at Uni. I am ready to contribute, and also excited to learn more Board skills at Wharton.
My perspective has been shaped by experiences spanning three different countries, and I am committed to sharing my unique experiences with the diverse Wharton community.
My long-term plan is to launch a company focused on providing solutions that allow teachers to tailor academic content to students based on their individualized needs. I have been involved in the education sector for many years, as a tutor throughout high school and college, and currently as a board member for Los Angeles Teach for America. I have long been interested in educational technology given its potential to dramatically alter the engagement level and overall learning process for students and enhance the education system. To achieve this goal I first need an MBA and an initial strategic planning role in an early stage education technology company, such as ABC Learning or Real Knowledge, where I will gain more experience in the industry, develop better cross-functional skills, and learn how to build a young business. Wharton is the first step on my journey.
While my undergraduate education and professional experiences have provided significant practice in the fields of finance and accounting, I will expand that exposure at Wharton across the full spectrum of other business functions such as strategy, sales and marketing, and operations. Courses such as Professor Siggelkow’s Strategy and Competitive Advantage will teach me to build competitive advantage for an enterprise through strategic decision-making, a key topic to meet my near-term career objectives. Entrepreneurial-focused learning like the Formation and Implementation of Entrepreneurial Ventures class will help as well, as I’ll learn to build and implement an effective start-up business model. Outside of the classroom, Wharton’s Entrepreneurship Club will offer exposure to different ideas and business plans developed by classmates, provide the opportunity to connect with alumni and learn from their entrepreneurial experiences, and serve as a network for potential funding sources down the road. Across both classroom and extracurricular activities I am excited to learn from the varied and diverse experiences of my peers in the Wharton community and benefit from their unique perspectives.
Personally, a Wharton MBA will further enhance my softer management and leadership skills. I am excited to take Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership which will allow hands-on development and application of these skills from the very beginning in Pre-Term. I also plan to serve as a Board Fellow in the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program, which will combine an interactive leadership learning opportunity with the ability to give back to local non-profit organizations – a continuation of the non-profit board work I have enjoyed over the last several years. Taking on a leadership role in the Entrepreneurship Club will give me additional experience leading a group of my peers and increase my engagement in the entrepreneurial community at Wharton. Lastly, I look forward to developing strong relationships with classmates during the program and with other Wharton alumni more broadly. The unique talents of classmates and global reach of Wharton’s deep alumni network will provide an invaluable source of ideas, resources and guidance throughout my career and entrepreneurial endeavors. Ultimately, Wharton serves as the ideal platform for me to continue my professional and personal development to achieve my career goals.
To me, academic engagement encompasses the whole Wharton learning community. I see myself contributing through the classroom, clubs and volunteer organizations.
In the classroom, I will help my learning group going through the fixed core because of my academic background and my professional experience in finance and consulting. My college coursework includes honors econometrics along with undergraduate and graduate level courses in regression analysis. This background will allow me to help my group as we go through Regression Analysis for Managers. Additionally, my professional experience will be valuable in Marketing Management which covers customer segmentation and pricing strategy, among other topics. As a consultant, I worked on several growth strategy projects based on customer segmentations. At ABC Private Equity, I helped develop pricing strategies for various businesses including a dental lab, a chain of ambulatory surgery centers and a software company. My professional experience will help me contribute to classroom discussion in elective courses outside the fixed core. For example, I plan to take Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. At ABC Private Equity, I negotiated reimbursement rate increases with health insurance companies and a multi?company deal for document printing services with a print vendor.
I also plan to contribute through leadership roles in student clubs such as the Healthcare Club. I believe that I could leverage some of my contacts in the healthcare industry to help organize a speaker series for this group. I could reach out to Mike Jones , a former president of XYZ Healthcare, to speak about the implications of healthcare reform legislation. I am working closely with Mike to develop a reimbursement management strategy for our clinical lab business.
I would also seek an officer position with the Technology Club. My experience creating web applications including a procurement management app and a pricing calculator for a dental business will make me a valuable addition to that club; I can help students from non?technical backgrounds become conversant in programming concepts.
Finally, I would like to contribute through volunteer activities. I will apply to the Wharton Nonprofit Board Leadership Program, and hope for a board position at a nonprofit focused on child/teen education. I firmly believe in the value of education and this has led me to help educate others. This started in college, where I worked as a calculus teaching assistant and continues today. I currently volunteer, through DEF Scholars, as a mentor helping underprivileged high school seniors apply to college. I also volunteer with XYZ Tutoring, a nonprofit providing free ACT prep to Chicago Public School students. At XYZ, I lead a team of three programmers building a web portal for students to take practice tests.
Wharton brings together students from diverse backgrounds to create a pool of complementary knowledge, talent and connections that all can draw from to accomplish their goals. Everyone must be willing to give into the pool. I value this dynamic and am committed to contributing.
Professionally, I want to further develop skills needed to achieve my career goals. My short term goal is to join a corporate strategy team at a large healthcare company. Subsequently, I would transition into a management role at one of that company’s business units. I would then pursue a CEO position at a mid?size healthcare IT business such as Vitera Solutions. I grew up close to someone with a chronic illness. This situation created turmoil in my family and eventually led to my parents divorce. The condition eluded effective treatment until one doctor found a combination of six drugs that brought the symptoms under control. This experience motivated me to pursue a career in healthcare and particularly healthcare IT, where data mining can be used to identify novel treatment combinations. To reach my career goals, I need to refine my leadership and analytical skills.
Ive demonstrated leadership potential through projects inside and outside of work but need to further develop as a leader to be highly effective in corporate strategy, as a manager, and as a CEO. I would accomplish this at Wharton through coursework and extracurricular activities. Specifically, I would take courses focused on leadership including Executive Leadership and Advanced Persuasion. Outside the classroom, I would take advantage of the Executive Feedback and Coaching Program. I would also participate in the Tall Ship Sailing leadership venture, first as a participant and then, hopefully, as a venture fellow.
At Wharton, I would improve analytically by learning to better apply academic theory to business problems. I studied economics and mathematics at the University of Chicago. Whereas Wharton’s philosophy is Knowledge for Action, the University of Chicago’s could best be described as Knowledge for Theory. This training gap has prevented me from fully utilizing economics/statistics to solve business problems. I would address this at Wharton through collaboration with other students and faculty on research projects. For example, I would apply for a Mack Institute Research Fellowship to explore novel ways to use patient data to improve healthcare outcomes.
Personally, I want to make close friends who share my interest in business. I met most of my close friends in college. Very few went into business. I could build similarly close relationships with other students at Wharton through my core learning group and student clubs. I have been impressed with the professional aptitude and personal qualities of the Wharton alums that I have met in my career and would be excited to build friendships with others like them. As an example, I worked on a project with John Smith (WG 99), an executive at CDE Medical. John is not only one of the smartest guys I have ever met, he is also one of the nicest.
Wharton is the only program that can help me attain my professional and personal goals: developing skills inside and outside the classroom to be an executive of impact, and forming networks and lasting friendships with like?minded individuals.
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Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.
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