2023-2024 Wharton MBA Essay Analysis and Tips

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The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1881 through a donation from businessman and philanthropist Joseph Wharton, the school is the world’s oldest collegiate business school. It consistently ranks among the top business schools in the United States. With a global alumni network of over 94,000 graduates, the Wharton School offers its students unparalleled networking and career advancement opportunities. If you are looking for a top-ranked business school that can provide you with an excellent education and great career prospects, the Wharton School is the right choice for you.

wharton mba essay

What stands between you and a place in the Wharton class is the rigorous application process. In this process, essays are the most crucial aspect and in this article, we’ll provide helpful tips to make sure you write the best possible responses to the Wharton MBA essay prompts.

Wharton MBA essay

Your essays have a significant impact on how Wharton’s admissions committee views your MBA candidacy by allowing a deeper look into your values, experiences, and motivations. This information may make the writing process appear extremely intimidating, but don’t worry. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about Wharton MBA essays.

For the 2023 application season, Wharton will once again require applicants to submit the same two essays as last year. The word limit for all essays remains the same. However, while Wharton maintains its previous pattern of two required essays for its full-time MBA application process, applicants must exercise extreme caution when responding to these essays.

Why?

Because, even with strong profiles and 750+ GMAT scores, the school rejects several candidates every year, primarily due to their cookie-cutter approach and attempts to fit in too much in the limited space.

Candidates have 900 words to introduce themselves to the Wharton MBA program. Candidates may also submit an optional essay in order to provide additional information or explain extenuating circumstances. Reapplicants must submit an additional required essay.

Wharton MBA essay for 2024 intake

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)

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)

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)

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)

General tips for the Wharton Essay

Before you worry about word count, write everything out.

“How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals?” is a lofty question. The Admission Committee is asking you to write a 500-word essay bridging the last 4-10 years of your life to the goals of your next 30 years.

You’re probably thinking “How can I possibly convey everything important about myself and my career choices in only 500 words?”. Well, you can’t. However, you can cut it down to show only the highlights.

Connect the “Three Career Dots”

What have you done to date, what unique things do you already know, and what do you have still to learn? How can Wharton help you and how can you help the Wharton community? How does that all connect to your goals post-MBA?

This tip will also help you for 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?”

Remember that you’re writing your essay for Wharton, not just any other MBA program. It is fairly simple to determine if you spend some time researching why the school is the right fit for you, how you can leverage its resources, and how it will transform you as a business leader. Wharton is distinctive, and your essay should reflect this.

MBA application deadlines 2023-2024


Application Deadline
Interview InvitationsDecisions
Round 1September 6, 2023October 24, 2023December 14, 2023
Round 2January 4, 2024February 16, 2024March 26, 2024
Round 3April 2, 2024April 19, 2024May 13, 2024
Deferred Admissions RoundApril 24, 2024May 28, 2024June 27, 2024

Wharton MBA essay analysis

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)

The fundamental requirement of Essay 1 is that you have a clear idea of your career objectives. You should be aware of what you want to achieve and be able to describe in detail how Wharton will assist you in doing so. Listing numerous classes is a horrible strategy because it does not provide the admissions committee with enough information about your familiarity with the institution. Anyone can seek up a list of classes, and many universities offer parallel courses that might just as easily help you achieve your objectives.

Although your work history is not specifically requested in the essay, it is nevertheless important to give a succinct overview of the key professional events that have sparked your desires and helped you to clearly define your aims. Describe the talents you have acquired so far in your career and the professional goals you have for the near and long term. After that, describe your current perspective and why getting an MBA at this point in your career will help you achieve your objectives. Here, you should show that you are aware of yourself and the talents you lack.

To properly answer this question, you must have professional direction and understand which of Wharton’s numerous resources make it the ideal next stop on your professional journey.

You could compose your response in a variety of ways. You may begin by describing a crucial experience that either exemplifies what you hope to achieve or affects your short- and long-term ambitions. Afterward, explain why this event, which was ideally a success, is significant to you and how it relates to the issue. 

Include relevant details from your Wharton research and make sure to connect them to your objectives and core principles. For instance, you ought to discuss how Wharton’s distinctive educational possibilities, culture, extracurricular activities, clubs, and groups, rich and flexible curriculum, and experienced faculty may help you achieve your objectives. Be extremely clear about how a certain class or student organization relates to your desired job. Making your case for Wharton is what matters most.

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)

When this essay prompt was newly introduced, Wharton Director of Admissions, Blair Mannix, said, “Our main goal is to get to know you the best that we can, and the change to our second prompt was largely motivated by that desire. We hope to give applicants room to reflect on their unique backgrounds and think about what their value-add will be to the Wharton community. Applicants should remember that the admissions committee is looking for candidates who will contribute to all aspects of Wharton life.”

The admissions committee seeks candidates who will make an impact both while at Wharton and as alumni. This essay allows applicants to choose experiences from their personal, professional, and academic lives. As a result, this essay is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and the impact you have had in these areas.

You can choose two or three most important instances from the past in which you created a significant impact on your organization or community. After that, describe how these encounters have equipped you to contribute to the Wharton community. Describe the difficulties you encountered and the solutions you came up with to have an impact. Additionally, you must discuss the lessons you took away from the event and then explain how the Wharton community might profit from your knowledge. Please be aware that any contribution should be based on your own professional, academic, and personal experiences. You can participate in a variety of ways, such as in the group project, in the classroom, or in any clubs or student organizations.

In essence, in this essay, you should consider how you can use your expertise and pertinent lessons to get involved in the Wharton community. You can provide a consistent and coherent image of your candidacy, as well as your professional and personal interests, by making a connection between your history and your projected future in the program. You’ll provide the adcom more justification for admitting you if you can be more specific about how you would contribute (by taking on a specific role in planning a specific annual event, for example).

Reapplicant essay

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)

Reapplicants will want to provide a straightforward account of the particular efforts they’ve done to strengthen their applications since they last applied to Wharton given the limited word limit for this response.

Share information in this essay if you have improved your GMAT, received promotions, gained more clarity on your goals this time, taken new quantitative classes or certifications, or been involved in volunteer activities.

In short, Growth and Improvement is the name of the MBA reapplicant game. Wharton expects introspection, which you must provide, but you must also demonstrate how that reflection led to action and improvement. Demonstrate to Wharton that you are a stronger candidate this time around.

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)

“Addressing extenuating circumstances” implies that you should describe those circumstances clearly. Provide context to the admissions committee. Make no excuses or complaints. If possible, provide proof that those circumstances no longer exist and/or will not have an impact on your performance.

For example, you can explain a lower-than-average GMAT score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or significant employment or education gap in this essay. Make sure your reason for providing context for a weakness in your profile is genuine in order to persuade the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Your response should be positive, direct, and fact-based, and should not sound as if you are making excuses for a flaw in your profile. Also, please explain in the optional statement if you are unable to obtain a recommendation letter from your current supervisor. Your flaws may also highlight a positive aspect of your personality.

For example, if you’re talking about your job gap, you could say that you did something productive during that time, such as traveling, volunteering, or dealing with a family medical emergency.

FAQs

Should I respond to the optional Wharton MBA essay question?

The opportunity to address any application-related irregularities, such as subpar academic achievement, gaps in your resume, or low test scores, is provided via the optional essay prompt. Use this essay to answer any remaining concerns a committee member may have about your application.

Do I need to respond to essay prompts 1 and 2 if I’m reapplying to the Wharton MBA program? Or may I submit my earlier essays again?

Essay Prompts 1 and 2 as well as a special reapplicant-only prompt must be answered by reapplicants at Wharton. Your past submissions might no longer be totally applicable because the writing prompts are subject to change every year. Reassessing the caliber of your previous writings is still an excellent idea even if the prompts haven’t changed.

Do I need to write additional essays if I’m applying to a joint-degree program at Wharton?

Applicants to the Francis J. & William Polk Carey/JD MBA program “are strongly encouraged to answer the application essay questions in relation to the Carey JD/MBA Program rather than just the Wharton MBA Program.” Applicants to the Wharton/Lauder Institute Joint-Degree Program must answer one additional Lauder prompt.

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