August 22, 2023Read More
The Wharton School has released its MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2023-24 application cycle. Here are the important dates and Admitify’s guidance on the essays.
R1: Sep 6, 2023 / R2: Jan 4, 2024 / R3: Apr 2, 2024 / Deferred Admissions: Apr 24, 2024
First-time MBA applicants and re-applicants are required to complete essays 1 and 2. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself. For additional essay writing resources, see the essay tips article!
Essay 1: How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)
This year’s essay 1, unchanged from last year, is a straight-ahead goals essay, though one that is giving applicants guidance about what Wharton is looking for: don’t just state your goals, but connect specific Wharton resources to them. Show how the latter enables the former. The second sentence in the prompt clarifies further: answering the question ‘How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals?’ can (should) mean (a) briefly (1-2 paragraphs) explaining how your past experience brought you to your goals, (b) breaking your goal statement into short- and long-term goals, and (c) discussing how Wharton’s specific resources will help you achieve these goals.
So, we recommend beginning by stating your post-MBA goals (short- and long-term, Plan A and Plan B) directly in 100-150 words. Start with your big-vision long-term goal as far as you know it, mentioning possible job titles and potential employers and perhaps sharing some market research-type data that would capture the size of the opportunity. Provide a Plan A and Plan B goal. Then in fewer words describe a Plan A and Plan B short-term goal, again mentioning possible job titles and potential employers, and explaining briefly how these practical, placeable short-term goals help ‘set up’ your long-term goals. Briefly state why you have these goals (where they come from, why they are meaningful to you). Then briefly (1-2 sentences) state why you need an MBA to achieve them (what skills or assets do you lack). The rest of the essay (300 words) should detail all the Wharton resources (curricular, experiential, global, extracurricular, etc.) that will provide the skills/assets you lack in order to achieve your goals (dig down here so you are mostly naming resources that are really unique to your goals). Wherever possible connect the Wharton resource you name directly to the professional skill it will make possible.
Essay 2: Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)
This essay enables you to share personal differentiators that you couldn’t share in the first essay. Given the tight space provided here, limit your ‘background’ differentiators to about 3 (possibly 4) things that capture different sides of you – that capture the 3-4 features that taken together really differentiate you from other applicants. This could be your industry or function but lean toward personal differentiators such as your extracurricular or community leadership, any unusual life experiences, any ‘diversity’ elements, any interesting hobbies. Limit yourself to 200 words describing concisely, vividly the differentiators (and briefly why it matters to you). This will give you another 200 words to describe the relevant Wharton community activity where you can share this differentiator. For this second piece of the essay I recommend drilling down and finding out as much as you can about the activity (often a student club) that fits your differentiator. It’s not enough to say ‘I will be an active member of the Hang-gliding Club.’ Google the club/activity, reach out to club officers, look for ways in which you could add value or take the club in a new direction (such as starting a conference, adding a new geography, etc.) Take a hint from Wharton’s Team-Based Discussion prompt where they regularly allow (force) participants to give them ideas that will help them improve Wharton. Do the same here: add value. Note that some applicants won’t have 4 differentiators so they will have more space to describe the two differentiators they do have and more space to drill down and find creative, savvy, substantive ways to improve the relevant Wharton activity. Some applicants will have such an obvious, powerful differentiator (one that needs space to fully appreciate) that it will make sense to devote all 200 words to that single differentiator, with the remaining 200 words focused on the Wharton activity (or activities) most relevant to that differentiator. Also note that making “specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community” doesn’t necessarily mean we have to focus only on student clubs. You could potentially write about: research you might do under a Wharton professor, joining student government, some non-Wharton activity or organization that you might bring to Wharton (e.g., The Communist Party at Wharton Club) or potentially the contribution you would make in the classroom. It’s OK to think outside of the box for this essay as long as you describe specific, meaningful contributions.
Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)
Admitify General Guidance
This reapplicant prompt is unchanged from last year. Keeping in mind that you will move the admissions needle most by reporting a post-ding promotion or new responsibility, a post-ding test score improvement, and/or a post-ding new community or extracurricular leadership impact, do cast a wide net when describing how you have remodeled your candidacy since you first applied.
Optional Essay: Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee. This space can also be used to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (500 words)
Admitify General Guidance
Wharton is allowing applicants to share information that is not necessarily an exculpatory explanation (damage control). Given that Wharton offers only two required essays and that they are short, most applicants who don’t have extenuating circumstances to explain should take advantage of this essay to share something important or something that further ‘rounds out’ their profile. Applicants who do have extenuating circumstances to explain can use any remaining space for this ‘rounding-out’ material, which should be positioned above any extenuating circumstance explanations. This rounding-out content doesn’t need to be an accomplishment (if it is it should not repeat accomplishments already shared in the 2 main essays or in the recommendation letters and should clearly be a high-impact accomplishment. This rounding-out content can also be personal as long as it shares something not found elsewhere in the application that truly shows another significant side of you (i.e., not your stamp collection or last marathon but perhaps volunteer leadership, unusual childhood, or year spent living somewhere challenging/unusual). The essay’s content can be broken into separate paragraphs with a header/title word that tells the admissions reader what’s coming and signals. Applicants who use this essay to ‘share something new’ (not extenuating) should add a sentence at the beginning that directly states why they think this additional information will be helpful to the committee.