June 16, 2016

Wharton 2016-2017 MBA Essay Questions

Wharton has joined the fray in releasing its essay prompts for the upcoming admissions season. First, the deadlines:

Round 1: Sep. 27, 2016 (dates for interview invitations and decision notification have yet to be released)
Round 2: Jan. 5, 2017
Round 3: Mar. 28, 2017

The R1 and R2 dates also apply to applicants to the Lauder MBA/MA and the JD/MBA.

Turning to its essays, Wharton has seemed to abandon the trend toward fewer essays by actually adding a new prompt:

Questions, Class of 2019:
1. (Required) What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This prompt—a straightforward goals essay—and word limit returns from last year. Logically, stating your long-term goals, at least briefly, will provide focus to the heart of this essay: a demonstration that you have done your homework on the Wharton resources (broadly defined: classes, faculty, out-of-classroom/experiential learning, institutes, student clubs, etc.) that are most relevant to your goals, or that simply excite you. This isn’t a ‘right/wrong’ answer prompt—talk about the Wharton resources that you want to, but I do recommend you drill down deep to show as much mastery of Wharton’s wealth of learning opportunities as you can and don’t limit yourself to Wharton’s website: go to info sessions, visit the campus, talk to students/alums—all these data points can (but don’t have to be) discussed in this essay.

2. (Required) 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)
This prompt is the new one this year, but it resembles a prompt Wharton used in 2013-14: “Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words).” The difference of course is the emphasis on teamwork. Use this essay to present, say, 3-5 differentiators (experiences, skills, qualities, etc.) that taken as a whole make you a unique or distinctive applicant. Ideally, these differentiators will relate to the teamwork theme—illustrate each differentiator with an example that shows you displaying interpersonal effectiveness. Then briefly connect each differentiator to a relevant Wharton resources where that experience, skill, or quality will add the most value.

3. (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

Note that this essay does not require you to limit your discussion to ‘extenuating circumstances’—you’re welcome to discuss “any” information that you seem important for Wharton to know. This broad invitation should not be abused, however. Don’t just drop in an accomplishment essay here. At last add an introduction that explains why you think Wharton needs to know about this accomplishment. Of course, if your application has a weakness that you can place into context or do damage control on, this is the place to discuss it.

Additional Question for Reapplicants:
‌•All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this essay. 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)
‌•All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

As for recommendation letters, Wharton’s prompts are the same as last year’s:

The Admissions Committee requires two letters of recommendation, preferably from supervisors. The recommendation questions for the Class of 2019 are:
‌• How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
‌• Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
‌• (Optional) Is there anything else we should know?