Loving Locust Walk! Wharton Essay Analysis: 2013 – 2014
The Wharton School of Business is certainly near and dear to the hearts of the founders of Admit Advantage having walked the halls of Huntsman for two (very short) years. Wharton is certainly known for their analytical bent, so make sure you highlight areas of your background and career where you’ve demonstrated analytical rigor. The misconception about Wharton is that it is very competitive (internally), but the school is actually very team oriented (i.e. campus engagement, learning teams, etc.), so make sure you display your ability to work in teams both in the application and during your interview. Wharton has become a bit leaner on their essays this year, so thoroughly think through your responses to make sure you are clearly articulating your brand and differentiating factors. Grab a cheesesteak and a pretzel and let’s head to Philly!
Essay 1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This essays asks for your personal and professional goals and how Wharton will fit into helping you achieve them. Inherent in this question is why you want an MBA, and, to a lesser extent, why now is a good time to pursue your career goals (starting with an MBA). Lay out your personal and professional objectives providing the bridge between jobs and enough background to tell the story of why you are on that career path.
Admit Advantage: This essay does not ask you for a breakdown of your resume (there will be plenty of opportunity to submit a resume). Start with the end in mind and work your way backwards. Think about the kinds of things you want to accomplish in your personal and professional career and the type of impact you want to make. From there, back into how (and why) a Wharton MBA is going to help you achieve these goals.
Admit Advantage: Fit is a key part of this essay. We strongly suggest that you visit Wharton and get to know what it is all about. When you are done writing – ask yourself if you convincingly articulated why Wharton is going to specifically help you achieve these goals. If you can cut and paste this essay into one of your other b-school applications, head back to the drawing board.
Admit Advantage: Don’t forget the personal aspirations. They’re not talking about your personal desire for a mansion in the Hamptons, rather the personal impact that you plan to make in the long-term. Ideally, this personal goal is in line with a demonstrated and authentic interest. For example, perhaps you eventually want to start a non-profit in education and you have spent the last three years volunteering as a mentor with high school students.
2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words)
Community is a key part of the Wharton experience. So much of the campus activities are student run and the learning environment is quite collaborative, so if you aren’t passionate about engagement, this is probably not the place for you. This specific question focuses on academic engagement, so if you’ve done a good job thinking through question 1, you will know which direction to focus this essay.
Admit Advantage: Think about what you want to explore in your career and how Wharton can help you engage in your functional or industry focus. Wharton has 20 research centers where you will have an opportunity to dig deeper into certain disciplines like customer analytics, sports and management, entrepreneurship, global initiatives, and real estate, to name a few. Also, take a deeper dive into the curriculum and experiential learning opportunities to see how you may engage further.
Admit Advantage: There are lots of ways to engage in the learning community including through clubs on campus. Think about how your involvement with a campus organization could contribute to the learning community. If a particular club is not in existing, maybe this is an opportunity for you to take initiative and start a new club on campus!
ADDITIONAL QUESTION FOR REAPPLICANTS:
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Please use this space to explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and to discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). You may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
Hopefully, you have reflected upon your last denial and taken appropriate steps to address your weaknesses. If you are unsure of your weaknesses from the last application, Admit Advantage has a ding analysis that will help you in that regard. Read your previous application before addressing this question (Wharton Adcoms may be).
Admit Advantage: Make sure to address any weaknesses from before and how you’ve mitigated them. In addition, provide general updates since the last application. Keep the tone of the essay positive and keep it short –250 is an absolute maximum.
OPTIONAL SECTION FOR ALL APPLICANTS:
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application). (250 words)
The most common use of this essay is some sort of weakness, but if you have a gaping hole (i.e. GPA, GMAT, long layoff, etc.), couldn’t use your boss as a recommender, or have some sort of other extenuating circumstance, here is your opportunity to address it.
Admit Advantage: Use your best judgment. If you are a 710 GMAT at a 730 mean school and have good credentials otherwise, we don’t recommend writing about a low GMAT score. Don’t feel compelled to write an essay here if you don’t need to; if you decide to write here, make sure not to exceed the word limit.
Admit Advantage: Watch the tone of this essay. Don’t apologize and rant about how life is hard (frankly, MBA admissions committee members have heard it all and don’t care too much). Address the issue, talk about your mitigants and feel free to stop writing.