Think about your Wharton application essays as stories you would like to tell the school’s admissions committee readers about your past accomplishments, your goals as a future business leader, what drives those goals, and how Wharton will help you realize them. Before writing your essays, it’s important to engage in the kind of personal reflection and goal setting that you might not have devoted time to during your last few busy years since graduating from university. In our Wharton MBA essay analysis below, we will help you understand what the Adcom is hoping to learn when they sit down to read your stories.
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
Your focus when writing this essay should be to express how Wharton will help you achieve key learning objectives that will prepare you to succeed in your short- and long-term professional goals. You will want to prove to the reader that you can articulate knowledge and skills gaps that must be addressed so you can accomplish your career goals. It is critical to show that you are aware of what it takes to be successful in your field and are ready to make the most of your Wharton MBA education.
At the same time, you must address how Wharton will help you achieve your professional goals. Therefore, it is necessary to research Wharton’s offerings through a campus visit and/or speaking with current Wharton students, faculty, and alumni. In your essay, you will want to highlight the Wharton courses, professors, student organizations, and experiential programs that are most relevant to your development goals and interests. It is vitally important to focus on programs that are unique to Wharton and pinpoint the opportunities you’re most excited about and that will have the greatest impact on your professional development.
Finally, when writing about your professional goals, keep in mind Wharton is looking for future global business leaders who will uphold, if not elevate, the school’s brand. As such, you should paint a clear vision of your future career goals and how you expect to have a lasting impact on an organization, market, or community.
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)
The group admissions interview format Wharton instituted a few years ago is a clear indication that the school assigns great value to a student’s ability to operate successfully within a diverse team. This is because highly functioning, diverse teams deliver above-average results; however, for that magic to happen, each team member needs to be capable of working with people from different backgrounds who may see both problems and their solutions very differently. This essay question is included to ensure that the Adcom accepts students who will be collaborative and valuable contributors to the Wharton community both during their time at Wharton and well after graduation.
To succeed with this essay, you should speak to the specific ways in which you plan to contribute to the Wharton community, whether it’s the role you’ll play on your learning team, an interest you have in starting a new student club, participating in the Global Immersion Program in another country, or joining a leadership program (like the Non-Profit Board Fellows). The ways in which you plan to contribute should be based on a strong interest and/or unique strength you have demonstrated in the past. By briefly referencing key moments of engagement and impact from your history, your essay will be able to convince the reader that you can add value to the Wharton community and the teams you will be part of during school. Keep in mind that the wording of the question signals that there is a premium placed on examples in which you were part of or leading a team rather than as an individual working alone.
While writing your essays, aim to be authentic and avoid paying lip service to what you think Wharton wants to hear. Admissions committee readers are turned off by empty platitudes, puffed up claims, and superficial points about why you want to be part of their program. By the same token, they truly appreciate application essays that clearly and candidly reveal where you’ve been, where you hope to go, and how a Wharton MBA will help you get there!