Wharton MBA

Rankings | Class Profile | Employment Report | Sample Essays | Interview Questions

Wharton MBA – Introduction


The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is to finance what Harvard is to general management or Northwestern is to marketing. There’s an impressive variety of financial electives here taught by some of the best finance faculty in the world. We agree with Dan Bauer, formerly of The MBA Exchange, a leading admissions firm, who put it this way: “A Wharton MBA education is like a ‘blue-chip stock’ with a long history of growth. Yes, the market’s enthusiasm and demand for any investment will ebb and flow over time, but in this case, the long-term ROI is rock solid.”

Wharton, in fact, has consistently ranked as one of the top business schools in the nation for MBAs. Its earned recognition for its finance program and its total MBA population clocks in at over 1,730 MBA students and 240 world-renown faculty members.

But Wharton wants to be known for more than just “the finance school.”

“It’s great that Wharton is the finance school, but Wharton is so much more,” Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett says in an interview with P&Q.

Over the years, the school has focused on expanding its image to encompass more than just finance.

“How we deliver on that and what we focus on is important. First, with finance, we want to make it forward-looking, not back-looking, so we want to lead not only in private equity and hedge funds but also in fintech, cryptocurrency, and Blockchain,” Garrett says. “It’s great that we have the history and the heritage in finance, but we need to leverage that to be forward-looking. Second, what’s distinctive about Wharton is that it is a pretty technical and analytical place so Wharton should be known as the analytics school, too. We are not only analytical in finance, we are analytical throughout. We’ve got the university’s statistics department here. In a big data era, that is an incredible asset for us.”

Good Facts:

  • The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School was named the country’s top full-time MBA programin the 2020 U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking. This is the first time Wharton has held the sole top spot.
  • Wharton graduates reported the highest starting salaries with an average of $165,528.
  • According to this US News article, Wharton has produced the third most CEOs of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 500 list.
  • According to this Forbes article, Wharton has produced the most billionaires in the US.
  • Wharton’s MBA incoming class of 2018 had students from 80 countries, which is the highest among the top US business schools. The number of female students also jumped to 43% from 39% in 2017.

Not so good facts:

  • Wharton School of Business acceptance rate was 19.2% for 2018 admissions. The admission process is highly competitive and we recommend applying either in Round 1 or Round 2. Click on the links to know Wharton’s advice to International students, and reapplicants.
Financial Times
The Economist
US News Rankings

Wharton MBA Sample Essays


What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

Landing in Bangkok, you see a blue ocean of solar panels covering and powering the international airport. I co-led the financing of this solar project, winning Thai Greentech Award in 2012. Seeing my impact of enabling emerging markets to grow sustainably solidified my drive to pursue a career in clean energy.

My goal is to start my own clean technology company that is integrated from generation to consumption in order to increase energy access and consumption in emerging markets such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, where the feasibility and impact of disruption is higher. I desire to move into financing innovative solutions to the dual problem of generation and distribution of sustainable energy in emerging markets. Post-MBA, I intend to continue funding clean-tech deals as a senior associate and progress to senior executive level on the equity side at VCs such as Fenox Ventures, and Green VC.

Living and working across Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America, I have devoted my career to energy financing in emerging markets. I discovered a problem with energy generation and consumption inefficiencies such as lack of distributed generation to empower remote communities, unavoidable transmission loss, increasing fuel cost, and inefficient retail metering to enable demand response; clean tech offers a solution. A Wharton MBA is the essential next step to obtaining skills around equity financing of complex project ventures so I can achieve my short and long term goal. At Wharton I will sharpen my profile by majoring in Entrepreneurial Management. I will focus my strategic and entrepreneurial management skills required by VCs via classes…Continue Reading Here

Wharton MBA Interview


Had my Wharton interview at the San Francisco campus in a smallish room with a round table. Name tags were faced towards the interviewer and no visible, which made it hard to call people by name since I had forgotten a few.

Overall structure:

  1. Interviewer briefly introduced herself, read the prompt, and told us about what we would have: 35 minutes, a timer, and a whiteboard.
  2. TBD (Team Based Discussion)
  3. 1 on 1 interview

We were also asked to give our intended major in our intro, which threw some of us off, but I don’t think that ended up mattering. The rest of the TBD went very smoothly–we ended up finishing the trip schedule with about 10 minutes to spare, so we added in some other details. I was lucky to have an above average group, though that can sometimes make it difficult to stand out. 5 of us were admitted.

The 1 on 1 was incredibly easy. Just 2 questions: why MBA and why Wharton, though it was sort of combined into 1 question. Following that, the interviewer asks if you have any questions for him/her. Because I finished with about 6 minutes left, I had to make up a bunch of questions on the spot. While I was able to wing it and maintain a natural conversation, I would HIGHLY recommend having 5 questions prepared if your Why MBA/Wharton is less than 5 minutes…Continue Reading Here

Wharton MBA Application Essay Tips


The Wharton School seeks to understand who you are and what motivates you in this set of essays. Beyond your credentials and experience, fit is important. Are you excited to join the Wharton community? How will you contribute? Wharton values diversity and teamwork, and wants a class that will work well with each other. Review our Wharton MBA essay tips, and get to know the Wharton community. You could visit campus, research online, and attend admissions events. Wharton has a specific culture, and learning about the culture will pay off in your application.

Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

This is a standard career goals question. However, it’s also a question about your personality and potential success in the program. Jordan Mock, WG’16 wrote a blog post with three excellent tips for this essay, saying, “Wharton is unique and your essay should reflect that.”

Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay. Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments outright. You will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree. How will a Wharton MBA help you “connect the three career dots” that Jordan writes about?

You have room to add color by using your background information where it’s most relevant to your goals. Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume. Anything unique in your background is always worth highlighting.

Understanding exactly how you fit in will help you describe what Wharton will do for you, as well as navigate interactions with the Wharton admissions committee. Consider including specific information from your Wharton research in this essay. For example, mention the Wharton faculty you would like to study with or unique educational opportunities at Wharton.

When you address your personal goals for the MBA make sure you are making the case for Wharton specifically. Consider what living in Philadelphia might be like. Think about the many clubs and student activities. Also, research the leadership development opportunities like traveling to Antarctica with your classmates that may address some of your personal life goals.

Essay 2: Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (500 words)

Wharton is an intense academic environment, but also a strong community with focus on teamwork and learning from each other. As you select a topic for this essay, think about a time you demonstrated your collaborative approach to team problem solving. What have you done that can show how you will contribute to the community?

Your contribution to the Wharton community could be in the classroom, clubs or within small group projects. You might bring your experiences launching a new product to your marketing case studies. Maybe you will lend creative ideas to your learning team as you prepare a research project, because you have demonstrated creativity in your past accomplishments.
Perhaps you have shown a tendency to teach and mentor others, and you plan to help your learning teammates with skills that they may not have learned in their own past work.

Or you might contribute to the Media and Entertainment Club by leading a career trek or bringing a new speaker to campus because you have connections from a prior career experience. Think about what you have learned in your career and in prior academics that may help those around you at Wharton.

Additional Question (required for all Reapplicants): 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)*
*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

All re-applicants are required to provide information that supports your renewed candidacy. The most successful version of the re-applicant essay will provide tangible evidence that you have improved the overall package you are submitting this year.

Improvements like GMAT score or new quantitative classes are especially tangible and convincing. But a promotion, increase in responsibility at work, a job change or even a change of goals and mission can serve as reasonable updates.

A rejection or waitlist last year is a form of feedback, and may have led to soul searching for you. When you describe your changes make sure reflect your ability to take feedback and improve. Describe how you approached the reapplication process after assessing your own strengths and weaknesses as a candidate. It is also useful to describe your efforts to improve.

If you are not a re-applicant you may use this space to address any areas of concern in your application. If you have a low GPA or GMAT, gaps in your resume, grades under a C in any quantitative courses. Wharton cares specifically about calculus, statistics and microeconomics – classes like finance and accounting are less indicative of core quant ability.

Other issues could be disciplinary action in undergrad. If there is anything else that you want to explain, provide a brief explanation and any supporting evidence to show you have moved past the setback and corrected any concerns.

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