Wharton has announced deadlines for the MBA Class of 2020 (and they’re looking more and more like HBS).
2017 Wharton MBA Essay Question(s) – Class of 2020
No essay questions out from Wharton yet – but you can see what they asked last year in our archive of questions towards the bottom of this page.
Or, our Wharton guide walks through a process for developing a strong strategy for this school.
The Wharton Class Profile show the Class of 2018 stats which are largely the same as previously: Average GMAT is 730, 80% range is (gulp) 700 to 770. The worst news out of that is the fact that applications increased by 1.4% yet they REDUCED the class size by ten students, to 851. That could’ve been due only to factors of yield; it’s possible that it wasn’t an intentional class size reduction. Still, doesn’t bode well. Things were sooooo competitive last year and we do not expect it to be any different for the Class of 2019.
The SnarkStrategies Guide for Wharton will be refreshed for the 2017 version of the Wharton essays as soon as we get final confirmation on requirements. If you want to start now, the 2016 guide should prove to be plenty helpful, as it walks you through background info and exercises that are useful for creating a strong app. We cover letters of recommendation, a reapplicant strategy, and also some information on the Lauder essay. This is your best resource with insights on the Wharton MBA application!
Wharton MBA recommendationsWharton did NOT have standardized recommender questions in 2016 but who knows what they’ll do for 2017.
For history: In 2014 Wharton went along with the party and had the same questions as Stanford and Harvard had. We’ve since seen more and more schools diverge from that. Having sort of standard questions is actually WORSE than having completely non-standard ones! What are your recommenders supposed to do with THAT!?
Here’s what last year’s (2016) situation was:
- Two recommendations, one of which should be from your current supervisor if possible
- Three questions for your recommenders to answer which are slightly different from the “standard” questions that other schools ask – (review them here )
Other schools had two questions or four questions but no, Wharton had to have three!!
Lots of resources for choosing your recommenders available here on the blahg; if you want more help, our Letters of Recommendation App Accelerator walks through the specifics and lets you submit your recommenders’ strategy for feedback from EssaySnark. All of this will be updated once we know firm facts on requirements.
Wharton 2017-’18 Dates and Deadlines
Wharton MBA Application Deadlines
The deadlines are now out for the Class of 2020; these are morphing ever closer to what Harvard uses.
- Round 1: September 19, 2017 – a full week earlier than in previous years. You’re encouraged to apply in the first round at such a competitive school. Round 1 interview invites will come at the end of October.
- Round 2: January 3, 2018 – ouch. This is one of the earlier Round 2 deadlines and you will not be a happy camper after New Year’s because of it. Round 2 at Wharton is still viable, though they get a lot more apps then, which is why Round 1 is really really preferable if you can pull it off. Round 2 interview invites will happen in the first half of February.
Interviews at Wharton
Wharton’s interview process is quite unique compared to most other American bschools (though Michigan Ross also does things in a similar way). Wharton has what’s called the Team-Based Discussion which is basically a simulation of how you will experience academic life at this school. It’s designed to help the admissions team see candidates in action. You will also have a (short!) one-on-one interview, usually with a second-year student.
- Read about it on the Wharton website
- Additional info on the Team Based Discussion was provided in this new Wharton Admissions blog post from January 2015 .
- In October 2013, Admissions Dir Maryellen Lamb talked about the Team Based Discussion (10/7/13)
- In July 2015, a successful BSer shared his story about getting into Wharton which includes some comments on the Team Based Discussion (7/10/15)
Participation in the Team-Based Discussion is by invitation only. Invites start going out about a month after the round deadline; in past years, they issued them on just one day a week, every week for four weeks (or so) – but last year (2014) in Round 1 they did a big-bang approach, where on one single day they announced the invites, and the early rejects for that round. See the Wharton adcom’s blog to understand the process as described for Round 2 two years ago. We also go into great detail on how this works in the essay guide.
For Reference: Wharton’s Past-Season Questions
Included for historical purposes, in case you want to study what they’ve asked in the past.Click to view last year's questions
2016 Wharton MBA Essay Questions
- What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
- 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 maximum)
IMPORTANT: THERE IS NO 400-WORD “ESSAY 3”!! Their website was wrong through most of the summer.
They also have a 250-word Optional Essay — ALSO IMPORTANT: IT’S **NOT** 400 WORDS; THEIR APPLICATION SAYS 250 WORDS ONLY as of app open on 8/1/16.
The Optional Essay is required for reapplicants to use, to explain how they’ve improved since their original application, and it’s also for new applicants if there’s other critical details that are important for the adcom to know, which you can’t fit into the main essays.
(Except for the word count confusion) this is definitely an improvement! Hopefully they are also fixing the confusing bits of their application instructions along the way (haven’t seen it happen yet but we are optimists).
We have covered all of this to the best of our ability in the Wharton Application Guide, which went through a quick refresh on 8/1/16 to capture these $!#&* inconsistencies.
[End 2016 question section.]
Click to view 2015 questions
2015 Wharton MBA Essay Questions
The Wharton app has some gotchas
We had hoped (especially now that we’re further into the new dean’s tenure) that Wharton admissions would make changes to their not-totally-amazing essay questions. But no! Same single-essay app, with an optional opportunity to submit other stuff. They actually made more changes to the recommender’s questions (see below and our blahg rant on the topic). More and more schools claiming to have “standardized” the recommendations are straying further and further from a “standard.” Oh well.
UPDATE: We did a last-minute essay critique on the Wharton “what do you hope to gain?” main essay.
Really?!?? They kept the same questions? THESE questions?
We explained why we’re not total fans of this in our Wharton app changes post on June 16, 2015.
These are really not the easiest to deal with. A full pitch in just 500 words? Whatever. Wharton isn’t doing you any favors with what they’re asking here.
- What do you hope to gain personally and professionally through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
- (optional) Please highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words maximum)
They are also keeping the traditional “optional essay” – which is NOT the second question above – where they allow 250 words to discuss gaps in the profile – but boy their website does not make this easy to understand. It’s included under the so-called “Additional Question for Reapplicants” section. They say you can use the reapp essay for “extenuating circumstances” – anyone can. Not just reapplicants.
Say wha’? Wharton, why can’t you make your instructions clear??? Why use that header on the page saying it’s for “Reapplicants” when ALL APPLICANTS can use that space?
Anyway, having two “optional” questions was definitely confusing last year, particularly when most schools say, “Don’t answer the optional question unless you have a situation that warrants it!” So what are people to do with Wharton Essay 2 (optional) – answer it or not?
They also have offered no instructions whatsoever whether a reapplicant needs to answer the “required” essay – which is exactly the same from last year – or not. Or, what is a reapplicant supposed to do when they need to answer the reapplicant question AND they have “extenuating circumstances” – it’s only 250 words! That’s hardly enough for just one of those topics.
WHARTON!! You confound us. Why not HELP your peeps in applying!??
[End 2015 question section.]
Click to view 2014 questions
2014 Wharton MBA Essay Questions
They switched to just one required essay!
- What do you
aspirehope to achievegain personally and professionally through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
The “achieve” -> “gain” verb change is the only difference from the prior year’s question (besides deleting a couple of commas; they also changed the word “aspire” to “hope” sometime after first publishing the essay prompt, which was a little odd to us). We discuss the implications for that main verb change with this year’s question and how you should focus your writing in the Wharton MBA essay guide.
Wharton also has two optional essays – the first question, which maybe should be answered, is:
- Please highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words maximum)
We recommend being exceedingly strategic in using this essay.
And, they have the traditional “optional essay” where they allow 250 words to discuss gaps in the profile.
Should you submit something there? Hmmm… That’s definitely a case-by-case assessment. Most people should not need to use that space. Our Comprehensive Profile Review can help you out if you need insight into the places where an optional essay (or optional info like this) is warranted, and the Wharton essay guide also covers both of these essays.
See section below for what Wharton asked in 2013 – the changes may seem subtle but they’re significant. You may want to study them.
The recommendation questions have also been streamlined. Here’s a post from the Wharton blog (6/2/14) that provides a bit of context on the changes.
[End 2014 question section.]
Click to view 2013 questions
2013 Wharton MBA Essay Questions
This is what we said when two-years-ago questions came out… remember this analysis is old.
Here’s the Wharton essay questions – as we predicted, there’s fewer of them, and they’re more straightforward this year (Thanks
Ankur! Ankur left; Maryellen is now in charge of admissions at Wharton)
- What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words maximum)
- Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words maximum)
We did a post about these essays: You lucked out: Wharton’s essays are sooooo easy this year.
[End 2013 question section.]
Click to view 2012 questions
2012 questions – these are REALLY OLD
One required question
- How will Wharton MBA help you achieve your professional objectives?
Choose two more:
- Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. (
- Imagine your work obligations for the afternoon were cancelled and you found yourself “work free” for three hours, what would you do?
- “Knowledge for Action draws upon the great qualities that have always been evident at Wharton: rigorous research, dynamic thinking, and thoughtful leadership.” – Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School. Tell us about a time when you put knowledge into action.
[End 2012 question section.]
Wharton Useful Links
8/10/12: If you’re interested in the Lauder program, then check out this interview with their admissions director . Very helpful! The Lauder application is also covered in our essay guide.
9/22/13: We offered advice to someone considering the Wharton Health Care Management track.
EssaySnark blahg posts on Wharton and their app
- A warning about tone on contribution essays (a la Wharton) (August 2016)
- How to prepare for your Wharton Team Based Interview (November 2015)
- essay critique: Wharton “what do you hope to gain?” (September 2015)
- Wharton’s 2015 App Changes (June 2015)
- Applying to H/S/W? Why “Is my GMAT good enough?” is not the right question (November 2014)
- Wharton’s new app is beautiful and it sucks in multiple major ways. Plus typos. (August 2014)
- Stanford Essay 2 and Wharton Essay 1: Are they the same or not? (July 2014)
- A discussion of the changes to the Wharton 2014 essay questions (June 2014)
- ($) If scholarship money is important to you, don’t apply to Wharton. (May 2014)
- essay critique: Wharton’s “discuss a time when you were innovative” (2011)
- essay critique part II: “a time you were innovative” (2011)
- Wharton’s new (at the time) essay questions (2010)
- Wharton essay questions reviewed – 1 of 2 (2010)
- Wharton essay questions reviewed – 2 of 2 (2010)
- Wharton “design a course” question (2010)
The 2016 Wharton Application Guide has some very helpful insights about the changes going on at this school and how that might affect you (or not) as an applicant. It also discusses the Lauder MBA/MA program, and as always, we go into great detail on the Team-Based Interview experience.
Got the essays done? Get them reviewed!