The Wharton School MBA Essay Analysis
(Application cycle 2021-22)
Wharton MBA 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; Required)
Wharton’s “P3” stands for Purpose, Passion and Principles. This unique program encourages Wharton MBAs to evaluate what they value in their personal and professional lives. They expect candidates to use Wharton's infrastructure to build leadership skills and work towards their passion and purpose in life.
Keen to ensure that the MBA candidates make the best use of the opportunities provided, the adcom uses this essay prompt to push you to reflect on your long term and immediate goals. They want you to build a narrative that rationalises your decisions so far and future plans. Therefore you’ll want to evaluate the career path you intend to take up, and the roles you’re keen to explore. Discuss the gaps you’ve identified in your professional skills. And then connect these to the Wharton MBA by explaining how it will help you achieve your goals.
Here’s an essay structure to combine your journey to this point, your plans, and how you intend to use your MBA to address the skill gap you’ve identified:
1. Goals: Start by articulating your goals, short-term and long term. Clearly defining your goals and communicating the reason to pursue an MBA at this point in your career will set the foundation for this essay.
2. Motivation: Ensure that you convey your motivation specifically. An MBA is all about preparing you for your target role, so identify and communicate that to help the adcom evaluate what drives you in life.
3. Stories: Then, it’s time to add in stories. Stories provide context. They offer the adcom a peek into your thought and decision-making process. And if they can see the justification for the choices you’re making, they wouldn’t be too far from being convinced about your intent to pursue an MBA at their school.
4. Why Wharton: Once you’ve established these, pivot the discussion/essay towards exploring how Wharton resonates with you. Mention the specific courses, electives, specialisation, professors, and research centres that you believe will prepare you for your plans. Discussions with candidates with similar backgrounds expand your view about a particular field or how the Wharton facilities provide you with the backbone to maximise impact.
Wharton MBA 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)
Wharton’s mission is to “develop leaders who can act with a deeper understanding of themselves.” Community, diversity, leading teams, innovation and leadership are central to the Wharton MBA experience, so write about how you’re going to engage within the community and add value.
Discuss the clubs, societies, community activities that you intend to be a part of. Feel free to add any specific plans you have in mind such as:
Organizing a conference
Setting up a talk with your professional network
In the classroom, you’ll be part of the leadership, self and peer discovery and character development ventures. Perhaps you make a specific contribution to these.
Ideally, connect this plan to something you’ve done in the past. For example, “In my previous employer, I established a Women in Business network, where I brought in successful women business leaders to speak. I plan to do the same for the Wharton Women network.”
If there is a minority club you want to begin or a consulting club you want to lead, this is the place for you to showcase your leadership plans.
Wharton 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.
Few applicants have followed the “traditional” employment route with no bumps in the road. So it’s not an issue that you took an unconventional path, as long as you make it clear.
But it is a problem if the reader of your application doesn't understand your journey. This essay is your opportunity to make it crystal clear.
Some unconventional aspects of your application might include: a low GPA in an academic semester or a gap in your resume because of Covid-19. Or perhaps you have an overlapping experience you’d like to address.
Important: Don’t be tempted to use the entire word count! Instead, be as concise as possible in explaining your exceptional circumstances, and close the essay with a constructive outcome, such as what you learned from the experience.
Wharton MBA 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; required for reapplicants)
Every business school wants to see how you used your time since the last time you applied. Add in the steps you’ve taken to strengthen your candidature. Be it a maths course you took, a CSR initiative you led, or a new role you opted for, the adcom wants to see how you reacted to your rejection last time and grew your profile.
Given the tight word limit, write a brief response that addresses the changes, shows your commitment to the Wharton MBA program and demonstrates the efforts you’ve made to become a stronger applicant this year.
The adcom especially wants to see:
Resitting the GMAT and score improvement
Taking courses from accredited universities such as Berkeley Extension or HBS CORe
New leadership responsibility.