In 1881, Wharton became the first collegiate business school in the world. Joseph Wharton’s legacy lives on (his image can be found on the MBA Pub shirts) through a highly-ranked MBA program, emphasizing collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship. While the core curriculum rests heavily on analytical competence, there is also an incredible emphasis placed on collaboration and the ability to work in teams. From the team-based discussion during the interview, to the focus on group academic projects, Wharton makes teamwork a priority. You are also assigned to a six-person Learning Team that becomes a family after three intense pre-term weeks and a semester of challenging core courses.
Finance-based careers are at Wharton’s core, but an emphasis on business analytics (check out the new major!) and tech-based entrepreneurship have emerged, bolstered by the opportunity to spend a semester in San Francisco with an A+ line-up of faculty and the most coveted classes.
Most students live in Center City Philadelphia, where they can both walk to school and evenings out, while taking advantage of 2401—a satellite Wharton space that hosts academic groups, professional clubs, and summer start-ups.
Class runs Monday through Thursday, culminating with a weekly MBA Pub, held at the local Armory. These are often themed and provide a chance for students to unwind and connect before the weekend. Students also tout the opportunity for “stretch experiences”— a way to try something new and challenging, such as skating for the intramural hockey team, sleeping under the stars on a Leadership Venture in Antarctica, learning the bhangra for Wharton Dance Studio, or sharing one of those experiences in front of a crowd at Storytellers.
Important Insights about Wharton
Wharton has adapted their curriculum to meet the changing requirements of business, while maintaining a high analytical standard. They offer a core curriculum of course options spanning communication, leadership, operations, and finance that are heavily weighted in your first semester. However, over 50% of the program requirements are elective-based, giving you freedom to pursue one (or more!) of eighteen majors, or even take classes across UPenn’s campus to accomplish your MBA goals.
Many students take advantage of developed opportunities: the internationally-focused Lauder MBA/MA program, the JD/MBA program, or the Health Care Management major. With faculty names including Adam Grant, courses diving into big data analytics, and a Venture Initiation Program as part of a larger entrepreneurial ecosystem, Wharton is constantly re-evaluating offerings to reflect new trends and students’ aspirations.
Some of the most popular pastimes at Wharton include cheering on your closest friends as they skate (or stumble!) across the ice during Wharton hockey games, watching your Learning Teammate box a Law student in the classic black-tie Fight Night, or taking part in the Wharton ski trip where almost half of Wharton descends upon a ski community for a weekend of fun.
Wharton students have stepped up to show support and a desire to better understand their community. Wharton’s new Return on Equality group is backed by faculty and seeks to open discussion on inequalities based on gender, race, socioeconomic status, and others. Out4Biz is well-known on campus for taking action and speaking out (and hosting the famous White Party). Wharton Women in Business are backed by the Wharton 22s, a group of men committed to supporting gender equality.
In addition to clubs committed to international inclusion and identity, Wharton boasts robust Social Impact and Veteran’s Clubs. Wharton students have also working to make the school more family-friendly with a Partner’s Club, a Kids Club, and a newly-formed [email protected], dedicated to students with children.
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
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)
Additional Question (required for all Reapplicants):
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)*
Articles from the Experts
Creating That Killer Wharton Essay
To become part of the esteemed Wharton class, you must first tackle the application. The prompts haven’t changed since last year, so here are a few tips to help you write a sensational essay and to bring you one step closer to admissions.