How To Get Into University of Pennsylvania’s
The Wharton School
The legendary cylindrical tower edging Locust walk houses Wharton, a business school with a history of shaping the minds and clarifying the values of top business leaders. Wharton prides itself on team work, leadership, and instilling lessons of self-reflection and growth into the Learning Team—a group of six students placed together during pre-term to support one another, share ideas and bond.
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:
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This essay is the bridge from your past experiences to your future career. It is an opportunity to communicate to the admissions committee what you hope to accomplish and how.
1. Share your future: Be able to articulate your story. Tell admissions select tidbits about where you came from, your current life junction, and where you’d like your goals to take you. The context of your story is important—it can highlight defining moments, and help admissions understand why an MBA makes sense.
2. Show your research: Wharton is 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 B-school.
3. Be authentic: Don’t try to imagine what admissions wants to hear. Your passion will show in an authentic essay and 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.
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)
Some of Wharton’s key attributes include leadership, entrepreneurship, student-driven activities, and engagement. This is a chance to show Wharton that you will embrace their culture. Here’s how:
Teamwork. It will come up over and over again at Wharton, and you should allot a few of those sacred 400 words to this topic. The admissions committee doesn’t want to know whether or not you were a member of a team, rather they are interested in understanding the role you played and what it says about your future involvement with your team at Wharton.
Leadership. This is not necessarily about taking charge. As in the Team-Based Discussion, it is all about knowing your strengths and how you are able to create impact. Be specific about your plan to use your talents at Wharton or what your goals may be in terms of improving your leadership skills and how Wharton will help you do this.
Storytime. Your past can be good indicator of how you will react and work in the future. If you have a story that aligns, or even prefaces this, use it! These narratives can set you apart, and you won’t just be writing another essay talking about leadership in a generic and impersonal way.
And with that, I’ll leave you to brainstorm and outline.
Check out our Essay Blog for best practices on how to get writing.
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Topics: MBA Admissions Insights, MBA Application Tips, School Specific Articles, Your Top Schools | Tags: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
My mid-term goal is to become the founder and CEO of an innovative fiber optics firm. I desire to position the company as a profitable, international and leading company in its industry, and aspire to establish a sustainable organization, creating workplaces for thousands of employees and turning an underdeveloped area into a flourishing industrial zone. Passave, an optical communication company, which was lately acquired for $300M, is a model for such a successful company.
After fulfilling this goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. My plan is to become a senior manager in the Prime Minister’s Office.
I chose my first full time position in the Optronics Division at the military because I knew it will introduce me to the diverse optical communication community in my country, equipping me with basic hands-on experience in the field. The first two years I worked as a Physicist and a System Engineer and then I was promoted to the position of Electro-Optical Projects Manager in the division’s headquarters. There I set the goals, supervised and directed 9 Project Mangers in optical projects performed by 7 different companies in the defense industry.
At that point I realized that for developing the managing tools required for a senior manager I’ll need to gain more experience in bigger organizations. Therefore, I persuaded the head of the R&D directorate to be reassigned to a classified Intelligence unit. My first mission as an Optical Engineer was to lead a group of 4 in building a module which was the heart of a $100M system. One year later I was appointed to a Team Leader where I commanded a team of 8. Two years later I was promoted to Project Leader.
I understood I lacked the financial and international experience of technological project management to lead a global optical communication company. I therefore became a Project Leader in a classified unit of the PMO. I supervised a team of 20, and managed all financial aspects of a $2M project (presented to the Minister of Defense), where I also had the marvelous opportunity to negotiate with highly ranked officials of three foreign governments.
While considering studying for a PhD, I worked as a part time an Internal Consultant of 5 Project Leaders. I then became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) in Precede, an entrepreneurship and investment firm, in hope to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Working in Precede, I matured in my understanding. I realized I still lack some Finance, Marketing and General Management foundations, which an MBA will enable me to develop.
In light of my long term goal to become a founder and CEO of a technologically oriented company, I’ll need to gain the strongest possible general management skills. The finance and marketing foundations will compensate for my inexperience in these fields. The structured formal general management education I’ll acquire in Wharton will broaden my view and give me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. I believe an MBA is the most structural way to learn how to build organizational values, culture and design organizational structure and hierarchy.
Moreover, most of my leadership experience was developed in governmental organizations, where a leader is defined in terms of his values, inter-personal skills and professionalism. However, looking into the future, I will need to lead in the private sector where leadership is also characterized by the talent to lead corporate players in global, competitive markets and an understanding of the cultural, economical and financial forces that drive the marketplace. Hence, I believe studying by the researchers of the Center of Leadership and Change Development like Prof. S. Kaplan who composed Framing the Future will help me build and lead a high performance optical communication firm.
My experience is mainly based on large and established organizations. Hence, learning from Prof. Dushnitsky on the various dimensions of new venture creation and growth in Entrepreneurship, will show me his perspective on the trail I wish to follow as a founder. Desiring to build a sustainable company, I am looking forward to taking Strategy and Competitive Advantage, where I hope to learn how to create and maintain such an advantage. Learning how to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and how to exploit them where “Creating Values” was contemplated, will lay a solid basis for achieving these goals by myself.
In a world which is growing ever flatter, I find international exposure and experience important for the global company I wish to found. The Multinational Management major courses, such as Global Strategic Management, and participation in the Global Immersion Program will prove valuable in helping me understand other cultures which will be important when penetrating new markets. This international exposure will improve my ability to establish contacts with other nations, hence supporting my longer term career goal of rejoining the PMO.
Wharton’s mindset and student body imply numerous benefits. The exciting opportunity to participate in school’s management would contribute to the fruitful interaction between students and faculty. I plan to take part in the leadership development activities and the various student clubs to create strong friendships. These connections, combined with the great global alumni community, can be especially relevant as an eco system for the company I plan to start and for recruiting its management backbone.