Wharton 2016 Essay Analysis Activities

On By In 1

The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania has kept this set of essays simple. Specific advice on essays from a student reminds applicants that “the Admissions Committee is looking to understand more about you and your unique personality and how that can ultimately contribute to the Wharton community. We are a student-driven campus and need each and every MBA to bring something to the table.”

As you consider how to approach this set of essays, get to know the Wharton community. Some possible ways to connect include campus visits, online research and the many admissions events around the globe. Wharton has a specific culture, and fit with that culture is an important part of the admissions criteria.

Essay 1:
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

This is both a standard career goals question and an inquiry into your personality and potential success in the program. Jordan Mock, WG’16 wrote a blog post with three excellent tips for this essay, in which he says, “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 outright. To answer the question asked, you will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree. How will a Wharton MBA help you “connect the three career dots” that Jordan writes about?

To answer the question there is room to add color by using your background information where it is most relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume. Anything unique in your background is always worth highlighting.

Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you, as well as navigate interviews and other interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay such as Wharton faculty you would like to study with or unique educational opportunities at Wharton.

When you address your personal goals for the MBA make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like, the many clubs and student activities, and leadership development opportunities like traveling to Antarctica with your classmates that may address some of your personal life goals.

Essay 2:
Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Wharton is an intense environment, but also one that takes pride in collaboration and community. This question seeks to understand how you work with others and what your leadership style is. Collaboration and teamwork are important key concepts to illustrate in this essay.

Your contribution to Wharton 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.

Perhaps you will tutor your learning teammate in accounting principles because he has never done accounting at work. Or you might contribute to the Media and Entertainment Club by leading a career trek or bringing a new speaker to campus. Think about what you have learned in your career and in prior academics that may help those around you.

This essay does not explicitly require examples of teamwork or leadership from your past experiences, but it will be a stronger essay if you provide evidence. Think about a time you demonstrated your collaborative approach to team problem solving, and consider how you can prove what you contributed to your community in your workplace or extracurricular activities.

Additional Question (required for all re-applicants):

Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)*

*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (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 reflect your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate and making the appropriate efforts to improve.

If you are not a re-applicant you may use this space to address any areas of concern in your application. If you have a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, grades under a C in any quantitative courses, disciplinary action in undergrad or anything else that you want to explain, this is where you would provide a brief explanation and any supporting evidence to show you have moved past the setback and corrected any concerns.

Contact Stacy Blackman Consulting for customized advice to give you that competitive edge in your Wharton application.

This entry was posted in Application Tips, UPenn Wharton Advice and tagged advice, application advice, application tips, applications, career goals, Essay Questions, Essay Tips, Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips, MBA application, MBA Essays, MBA program, the Wharton School, UPenn Wharton, UPenn Wharton School, Wharton, Wharton School.
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Good luck to those who got a Round 2 app in at Wharton! You probably know that Wharton has a unique process when it comes to interviews, namely the Team Based Discussion — our 2017 Wharton Application Guide explains it for you. Invitations to come in February.

 


Wharton’s Class of 2019 profile remains daunting. No change to average GMAT (730) however they’re now publishing averages on GRE scores, which is a clear sign that a) it’s fine to apply with one, and b) your scores must be decent if you do! Average GRE quant is 163 (85th percentile) and average verbal is 162 (90th). We expect these GRE averages to go UP this year.

 

2017 Wharton MBA Essay Questions – Class of 2020

Same questions as last year – but the recommendations are changing radically!!

Essay Questions:

  1. What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
  2. Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words maximum)

They also have a 250-word Optional Essay which is required for reapplicants to use, to explain how they’ve improved since their original application, and it’s also for new applicants if there’s other critical details that are important for the adcom to know, which you can’t fit into the main essays.

Our Wharton guide has now been updated — with lots more content and strategic advice for crafting great essays, based on the direct experience we had in working with lots of BSers who made it in last year!!

The Wharton Class Profile show the Class of 2018 stats which are largely the same as previously: Average GMAT is 730, 80% range is (gulp) 700 to 770. The worst news out of that is the fact that applications increased by 1.4% yet they REDUCED the class size by ten students, to 851. That could’ve been due only to factors of yield; it’s possible that it wasn’t an intentional class size reduction. Still, doesn’t bode well. Things were sooooo competitive last year and we do not expect it to be any different for the Class of 2019 when that data comes out this summer.





The SnarkStrategies Guide for Wharton has now been fully refreshed for the 2017 version of the Wharton essays and app. It walks you through background info and exercises that are useful for creating a strong strategy. We also cover reapplicant concerns, the Team Based Discussion, the Lauder joint degree program, and of course the new letters of recommendation. This is be your best resource with insights on the Wharton MBA application!

Wharton MBA recommendations

Wharton has totally unique recommender questions in 2017 — they’ve gone in a whole new direction!

Two free-form questions:

Question 1: Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success in the Wharton MBA classroom. (Word count: 300)

Question 2: Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (Word count: 300)

This is definitely a situation where our Recommenders Instructions Sets can be valuable!
 

Wharton 2017-’18 Dates and Deadlines

Wharton MBA Application Deadlines
The deadlines are out for the Class of 2020; these are morphing ever closer to what Harvard uses.

  • Round 1: – a full week earlier than in previous years. You’re encouraged to apply in the first round at such a competitive school. Round 1 interview invites released on 10/31.
  • Round 2: – ouch. This is one of the earlier Round 2 deadlines and you will not be a happy camper after New Year’s because of it. Round 2 at Wharton is still viable, though they get a lot more apps then, which is why Round 1 is really really preferable if you can pull it off. Round 2 interview invites will likely happen in the first half of February.

 

Interviews at Wharton

Wharton’s interview process is quite unique compared to most other American bschools (though Michigan Ross also does things in a similar way). Wharton has what’s called the Team-Based Discussion which is basically a simulation of how you will experience academic life at this school. It’s designed to help the admissions team see candidates in action. You will also have a (short!) one-on-one interview, usually with a second-year student.

Participation in the Team-Based Discussion is by invitation only. Invites start going out about a month after the round deadline; in past years, they issued them on just one day a week, every week for four weeks (or so) – but last year (2014) in Round 1 they did a big-bang approach, where on one single day they announced the invites, and the early rejects for that round. See the Wharton adcom’s blog to understand the process as described for Round 2 two years ago. We also go into great detail on how this works in the essay guide.

 

Wharton Useful Links

8/10/12: If you’re interested in the Lauder program, then check out this interview with their admissions director . Very helpful! The Lauder application is also covered in our essay guide.

9/22/13: We offered advice to someone considering the Wharton Health Care Management track.

 

EssaySnark blahg posts on Wharton and their app

 


The 2017 Wharton Application Guide offers a discussion of the focus and emphasis in the admissions process at this school and how that might affect you as an applicant. It also discusses the Lauder MBA/MA program, and as always, we go into great detail on the Team-Based Interview experience — and everything else you need to know to construct the strongest set of essays possible.

 
Got the essays done? Get them reviewed!


 

For Reference: Wharton’s Past-Season Questions

Included for historical purposes, in case you want to study what they’ve asked in the past.

Click to view last year's questions

2016 Wharton MBA Essay Questions

As announced on the Wharton blog in June , they changed the questions based on feedback from applicants (yes we thought they were bad – so thank you Wharton!). Here’s what you get to deal with now:

  1. What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
  2. Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words maximum)

IMPORTANT: THERE IS NO 400-WORD “ESSAY 3”!! Their website was wrong through most of the summer.

They also have a 250-word Optional Essay — ALSO IMPORTANT: IT’S **NOT** 400 WORDS; THEIR APPLICATION SAYS 250 WORDS ONLY as of app open on 8/1/16.

The Optional Essay is required for reapplicants to use, to explain how they’ve improved since their original application, and it’s also for new applicants if there’s other critical details that are important for the adcom to know, which you can’t fit into the main essays.

(Except for the word count confusion) this is definitely an improvement! Hopefully they are also fixing the confusing bits of their application instructions along the way (haven’t seen it happen yet but we are optimists).

We have covered all of this to the best of our ability in the Wharton Application Guide, which went through a quick refresh on 8/1/16 to capture these $!#&* inconsistencies.

Wharton MBA recommendations

Wharton did NOT have standardized recommender questions in 2016.

For history: In 2014 Wharton went along with the party and had the same questions as Stanford and Harvard had. We’ve since seen more and more schools diverge from that. Having sort of standard questions is actually WORSE than having completely non-standard ones! What are your recommenders supposed to do with THAT!?

Here’s what the 2016 situation was:

  • Two recommendations, one of which should be from your current supervisor if possible
  • Three questions for your recommenders to answer which are slightly different from the “standard” questions that other schools ask – (review them here )

 
Other schools had two questions or four questions but no, Wharton had to have three!!

Lots of resources for choosing your recommenders available here on the blahg; if you want more help, our Letters of Recommendation App Accelerator walks through the specifics and lets you submit your recommenders’ strategy for feedback from EssaySnark. All of this will be updated once we know firm facts on requirements.

[End 2016 question section.]


Click to view 2015 questions

2015 Wharton MBA Essay Questions

 

The Wharton app has some gotchas

We had hoped (especially now that we’re further into the new dean’s tenure) that Wharton admissions would make changes to their not-totally-amazing essay questions. But no! Same single-essay app, with an optional opportunity to submit other stuff. They actually made more changes to the recommender’s questions (see below and our blahg rant on the topic). More and more schools claiming to have “standardized” the recommendations are straying further and further from a “standard.” Oh well.

UPDATE: We did a last-minute essay critique on the Wharton “what do you hope to gain?” main essay.


Really?!?? They kept the same questions? THESE questions?

We explained why we’re not total fans of this in our Wharton app changes post on June 16, 2015.

These are really not the easiest to deal with. A full pitch in just 500 words? Whatever. Wharton isn’t doing you any favors with what they’re asking here.

  • What do you hope to gain personally and professionally through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
  • (optional) Please highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words maximum)

They are also keeping the traditional “optional essay” – which is NOT the second question above – where they allow 250 words to discuss gaps in the profile – but boy their website does not make this easy to understand. It’s included under the so-called “Additional Question for Reapplicants” section. They say you can use the reapp essay for “extenuating circumstances” – anyone can. Not just reapplicants.

Say wha’? Wharton, why can’t you make your instructions clear??? Why use that header on the page saying it’s for “Reapplicants” when ALL APPLICANTS can use that space?

Aaargh!!!

Anyway, having two “optional” questions was definitely confusing last year, particularly when most schools say, “Don’t answer the optional question unless you have a situation that warrants it!” So what are people to do with Wharton Essay 2 (optional) – answer it or not?

They also have offered no instructions whatsoever whether a reapplicant needs to answer the “required” essay – which is exactly the same from last year – or not. Or, what is a reapplicant supposed to do when they need to answer the reapplicant question AND they have “extenuating circumstances” – it’s only 250 words! That’s hardly enough for just one of those topics.

WHARTON!! You confound us. Why not HELP your peeps in applying!??

[End 2015 question section.]


Click to view 2014 questions

2014 Wharton MBA Essay Questions

They switched to just one required essay!

  • What do you hope to gain personally and professionally through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)

The “achieve” -> “gain” verb change is the only difference from the prior year’s question (besides deleting a couple of commas; they also changed the word “aspire” to “hope” sometime after first publishing the essay prompt, which was a little odd to us). We discuss the implications for that main verb change with this year’s question and how you should focus your writing in the Wharton MBA essay guide.

Wharton also has two optional essays – the first question, which maybe should be answered, is:

  • Please highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words maximum)

We recommend being exceedingly strategic in using this essay.

And, they have the traditional “optional essay” where they allow 250 words to discuss gaps in the profile.

Should you submit something there? Hmmm… That’s definitely a case-by-case assessment. Most people should not need to use that space. Our Comprehensive Profile Review can help you out if you need insight into the places where an optional essay (or optional info like this) is warranted, and the Wharton essay guide also covers both of these essays.

See section below for what Wharton asked in 2013 – the changes may seem subtle but they’re significant. You may want to study them.

The recommendation questions have also been streamlined. Here’s a post from the Wharton blog (6/2/14) that provides a bit of context on the changes.

6/3/14 We discussed the changes to the Wharton essays when they were first released.

[End 2014 question section.]



Click to view 2013 questions

2013 Wharton MBA Essay Questions

This is what we said when two-years-ago questions came out… remember this analysis is old.

Here’s the Wharton essay questions – as we predicted, there’s fewer of them, and they’re more straightforward this year (Thanks ! Ankur left; Maryellen is now in charge of admissions at Wharton)

Two essays:

  1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
  2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words maximum)

We did a post about these essays: You lucked out: Wharton’s essays are sooooo easy this year.

[End 2013 question section.]



Click to view 2012 questions


2012 questions – these are REALLY OLD
Three essays:

One required question

  • How will Wharton MBA help you achieve your professional objectives?

Choose two more:

  • Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. (
  • Imagine your work obligations for the afternoon were cancelled and you found yourself “work free” for three hours, what would you do?
  • “Knowledge for Action draws upon the great qualities that have always been evident at Wharton: rigorous research, dynamic thinking, and thoughtful leadership.” – Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School. Tell us about a time when you put knowledge into action.

[End 2012 question section.]


 

[Index of essay questions by bschool]

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