How to Tackle the Wharton MBA Essay
The departure of MBA Admissions Director Frank DeVecchis in May isn’t the only change at Wharton this year. Essay prompts posted in June show a new essay for question two, the first time there’s been a change in several years. The new question asks prospective students to describe an impactful experience or accomplishment. However, the program’s core values remain the same; a focus on collaboration, analytical skills, innovation and a global outlook.
The tips below help you tackle the Wharton essay questions while keeping these values in mind.
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
1. Describe your path: This essay asks you to bridge your past experiences to your future career. It is an opportunity to communicate what you hope to accomplish and how, the career and academic decisions you’ve made up until now and why, as well as why you need an MBA now from Wharton to realise your goals. Look for examples in your past experiences or in your goals that showcase Wharton’s core values. Include interests outside of career and academics as well so the admissions committee gets a complete picture of who you are.
2. Be authentic: Don’t try to imagine what admissions wants to hear. Your passion will show in an authentic essay. Trying to write about someone else’s dream isn’t going to help Wharton know the real you or to find that diverse incoming class. Don’t be afraid to write about something if it defines you or your goals—or admit that you still have decisions to make about your future. The important part is that you have a plan—and Wharton fits into it.
3. Show your research: Wharton is a data-driven and research-focused school, and your essay should reflect this. This doesn’t mean you should rattle off the school’s rankings, mean student age, or average GMAT, but you should do enough research to show you know which resources the school offers and how they will help you reach your goals. Think about classes, extracurricular activities, and even the local community to answer “Why Wharton?” over any other MBA program.
Essay 2: Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (500 words)
This essay is an opportunity to describe a defining moment in your life, either in your career or outside of it that gives insights into who you are. You can use this essay to highlight a leadership experience that you haven’t mentioned elsewhere or an accomplishment that was meaningful to you.
1. Show self-reflection: Describe the experience or accomplishment briefly; spend more time showing what you learned about yourself. The admissions committee wants to get to know who you are and what makes you unique. Self-reflection is also an important aspect of leadership and therefore valued by the admissions committee.
2. Show your research, again: As you research the extra curricular offerings at Wharton, use this essay to talk about how you would get involved and contribute on campus in specific roles that you didn’t mention in the first essay. Wharton values its high student engagement and wants students that are active members shaping the school with their unique views and skills. Think about how you would reflect the Wharton values in this role.
As with all essays, make sure you stay within the word count.
Check out our Essay Blog for best practices on how to get writing.
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