Wondering how to get into Wharton School of Business? You are not alone. It is part of a venerated trinity known as HSW – Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, and the competition to get into one of these is fierce. This blog post will go over everything you need to know about Wharton’s famous MBA programs. You’ll find out about the curriculum, the application process, tuition, and so much more. Whether you’re just starting to compare different business schools, trying to figure out know , or if it’s even the right step for you, you’ll definitely find some helpful information below.
Please note: although we have made every effort to provide the most accurate information, admissions information changes frequently. Therefore, we encourage you to verify these details with the official university admissions office. You are responsible for your own results. BeMo does not endorse nor affiliate with any official universities, colleges, or test administrators and vice versa.
“Incubating ideas, driving insights and creating leaders. Wharton is changing the way business is done. Our faculty, students, and alumni generate big ideas, back them up with incisive analysis, and turn them into ingenious solutions that work. We educate, inform, and inspire the leaders who are meeting the world’s complex challenges, advancing business practice, and driving economic growth at a global scale.”
Wharton business school offers several different programs that are all very much in line with their mission statement. They have one of the that encourages students to explore ideas, think strategically, and impact by combining business with other liberal art programs. They also have a doctoral program that aims to create new business theories and education leaders by encouraging innovation in research.
The most famous program at Wharton business school, and the focus of this blogpost, is their Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program. The school offers the same degree in two different ways. They both have the same high admissions standards and follow the same rigorous curriculum, but the programs’ structures are different, as each one is designed to meet the needs of different students.
The Executive MBA (EMBA)
As the name suggests, this program is designed with executives in mind. It is ideal for experienced professionals who are looking to learn new skillsets, become a part of a global network and take their career to the next level. The students in this program have an average of eleven years of work experience.
This program is 24 months long, has extended classes that alternate between Fridays & Saturdays, and involves a one-week international trip as part of the curriculum. Students can pursue a formal major, but they're not required to do so. The aim is to offer them better-individualized study options with Wharton's extensive portfolio of electives.
The Traditional MBA
Wharton's traditional MBA program has been completely revamped in 2012. The program now has a unique structure that is still rigorous but also flexible. The program is 20 months long and includes an optional summer internship that is highly recommended.
Students choose from 19 majors, many of which combine two different disciplines. For example, The Healthcare Management Program (HCM) which is offered by Wharton and the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The curriculum of this program is designed to give students an understanding of the finance and management systems in healthcare, law and policy, health services delivery and health economics. Approximately 40% of students complete their degree with a dual major.
Wharton business school also offers two major integrated joint programs:
This dual major program allows graduates to earn an MBA and a law degree at the same time in a matter of three years. Thus, not only spending less time in school than their counterparts who take the two programs separately, but also spending considerably less money on tuition.
The curriculum of this program is designed to make sure the students are fully immersed in both disciplines. Students spend their first year in law school and the following summer at the business school, taking law and business courses designed specifically for this program.
This twenty-four-month long degree is one of the very first of its kind. It is interdisciplinary coursework at its finest with a combination of business courses, language studies, intercultural leadership, and research. Thus, providing a foundation for graduates to excel in today’s world as globalization continues. Students of this program have to pick one area of concentration out of the five region-focused Programs of Concentration (Africa, East & South East Asia, Europe, Latin America and South Asia, the Middle East & North Africa), or the Global Program.
The curriculum also includes travel opportunities and thesis research. Students who have selected a region-focused major are eligible to participate in the summer immersion program. This popular component of the curriculum allows students to travel to the region that they are studying and for three weeks, they will explore the literary, political, economic, historic and institutional dimensions of the region. Afterwards, they will spend another five weeks developing superior-level language proficiency for informal and formal contexts through systematic language instruction and active engagement in planned activities. You may take a look at this for a better idea of what this amazing opportunity looks like.
Interesting in seeing some helpful grad school application tips? Take a look at this video:
The Wharton MBA program has three rounds of applications every year. The current application deadlines are as follows:
- Round one: Sept. 8
- Round two: Jan. 5
- Round three: March 30
There are three important dates for each round: the application Deadline, Interviews, and Decision Dates. You must submit a completed application by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the day of the deadline. Late submissions for Rounds one and two, will be roll into the next round, but late submissions for round three will not be accepted at all.
Applicants to the Carey JD/MBA Program must apply during round one or round two. Applicants to the program will receive their response from both the Law School and Wharton at the same time.
The latest admissions stats are as follows:
These numbers confirm that Wharton business school is very competitive, so you want to make sure that you prepare a solid application that will stand out. We will go over a few tips to help you but if you are not sure where to start, maybe you should consider whether could be worth it for you.
The process of applying to Wharton business school is pretty similar to that of other top-tier business schools. It starts with a non-refundable $275 fee that needs to be paid with your application. The admissions committee has a specific list of required documents and information that you will need to provide.
Your application should include:
- Background Information
- Two Essays
- Transcripts (unofficial or official)
- Two Letters of Recommendation
- GMAT or GRE Score
- English Language Test Score (For non-native English speakers)
A strong application should show that the candidate reflects the qualities that Wharton values and the very collaborative culture of the school. It’s essential to keep this in mind as you write your admission essays and fill out your background information in the application. Here are three things that you should do in your application to demonstrate this:
1. Respond to the Essay Questions Wisely
It’s not enough to just tell the admissions committee that you are a team player. You need to demonstrate this skill in your application and interview. The good news is that Wharton gives you a few opportunities, including the essays, to show them that you have the potential to be a collaborative leader. The application includes two required essays that need to answer specific questions in 500 words or less and one optional essay that you can use to tell the admissions committee anything else that you feel they should know. In addition to this, all reapplicants are required to write a 250-word essay in which they share with the admissions committee how they have reflected and grown since their previous application and discuss any relevant updates to their candidacy (e.g., changes in professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements).
For the most recent class, these are the required essay prompts:
These questions essentially ask what you want to get out of their program and what you plan to bring to Wharton and its community, in other words, these can be considered your . You should talk about your goals and your background while answering these questions, but you should also try to put it within a team or community context whenever possible. For example, suppose that one of your goals is to help Wharton on its journey to becoming more environmentally friendly. You can contextualize that by talking about why it matters to you and how you have seen the effects of global warming in your own community. You should also use concrete examples to show your skills and experience. In keeping with the example above, you should also mention it if you have any experience leading or being part of a green initiative in your community or in your previous school.
Writing application essays isn’t unlike writing an effective . The key to writing strong essays is to give yourself ample time to do it. You should give yourself enough time to craft your essay, edit it as many times as necessary and ideally, get some expert feedback. Keep in mind that your essay needs to be an answer to the prompts given so it should only include relevant information. We recommend that you stick to concise answers, which should also help you stick to the word limit.
Keep in mind the competitive nature of this program. If you are looking for some inspiration for your personal statement, check out . These will help you understand what kind of level of self-reflection and writing is expected of you.
2. Select the Right Person for Your Recommendation Letters
Wharton School of Business requires two letters of recommendation from people who have worked with you directly. The referee's title is not important, but the school does recommend that at least one of your letters be written by a current or former supervisor. This application component is broken into two sections. First, there is a short selection form where recommenders will be asked to choose three positive personality characteristics to describe you from a list of ten. The second section is a bit of a twist on regular references like those you would see for an , for example. It is still a recommendation letter, but it needs to answer two free-form questions.
Your letter of recommendation should come from someone well acquainted with you professionally. The prompts clearly ask for examples, and that is just not something that someone who does not know you can provide. Avoid asking anyone who has not worked with you personally or who seems hesitant to write on your behalf.
3. Create a Resume/CV Specifically for Your Application
Many applicants assume that they can use their existing work resume/CV as part of their MBA application without any customizations. While this is technically true, we do not recommend that you do so. An is a unique document that should showcase your business impact, leadership potential, collaboration skills, and growth. Take the time to go through your current resume and modify it to reflect a more holistic picture of your life. It should cover your achievements your functional job skills, breadth and depth of experience, demonstrated leadership and management skills, and your potential for growth. If you feel that there is anything odd that the committee might not understand, like a long employment gap, for example, then be sure to use your essays to explain it. Keep in mind that they are more concerned with what you have learned from your positions than with the length of time you’ve been in the workplace.
Need some MBA resume writing tips? Check these out:
Wharton School of Business has specific guidelines for your MBA resume. Make sure that the document you upload is:
- One page long
- Contains only the important parts of your document. Do not scan pictures, graphics and unnecessary text.
- Saved as a .pdf file with the proper 3-letter extension. Please do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros. This will cause the process to fail.
- 10 MB or less. Check the size of the file.
- Clearly legible. Illegible documents will not be accepted and will delay the evaluation of your application.
Wharton business school’s interview takes place in two parts, the most prominent of which is the Virtual Team Based Discussion (VTBD). It is basically a group discussion between five or six applicants where you will be given a prompt and an end goal. These are not unlike the MMI collaborative stations you might be familiar with. Your group will need to work together to reach the end goal by proposing a solution or an outcome to a problem or a question presented to you collectively. Each team member will have one minute to share their ideas/reflections on the prompt before moving to the group discussion. After this round, your group will have just under thirty minutes to generate a subject and presentation model that will then be shared with the admissions committee observer.
Wharton’s MBA programs are very collaborative, and the school likes students who engage with their peers and their community. This kind of format allows the admissions committee to observe how you present yourself, approach challenges, and cohesively work towards solutions in a group setting.
It’s important to remember that this is not a competition. The aim is not to present the best idea and have it presented to the committee afterwards. You should, of course, think about the prompt carefully and propose a meaningful solution, but the aim here is to showcase your collaborative leadership skills. The committee wants to see if you can help facilitate a discussion, work toward a greater end goal with strangers and present a coherent idea in a compelling way within a limited timeframe.
Following the VTBD, you will have a one-on-one interview with an admissions representative. The one-on-one conversation will only last ten minutes, so remember to be as concise as possible in your answers. You should be prepared to tell the representative why you’ve chosen Wharton. It is also a good idea to review other common and so that you can be prepared.
Looking to test yourself with 3 tough grad school interview questions that you could face:
Pursuing a graduate degree can be expensive, but it is an investment in yourself and your future. Currently, the first-year budget for the Wharton MBA Program is $115,464, which includes:
There are multiple programs available to help students with these costs:
The Yellow Ribbon Program: Wharton offers grant funds through the Yellow Ribbon Program for veterans. Eligible applicants can receive a maximum Yellow Ribbon Award of up to $20,000, and the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will match the award amount granted by the school. If you are eligible for the Yellow Ribbon Program, you must indicate it by submitting a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) to the Registrar’s Office of Wharton Business school. If you are a veteran, you can find more information on this program on the .
Fellowships: Wharton also provides a broad range of fellowship opportunities for exceptional students. All admitted students are considered for the fellowships, but only those who meet the criteria will be selected. Wharton considers applicants’ unique personal qualities and background, academic achievements, professional development, and community involvement in the selection process. Fellowships are two-year awards, split equally over four semesters for a typical student. We suggest reaching out to the team at Wharton business school for additional information.
Once you have submitted your application, the Wharton school of business asks that you allow three weeks for them to process your online account and update your online status to reflect receipt of your application and any supporting materials. You should keep an eye on this account as all decisions are released via the Online Application System. You will get one of the following communications regarding your application:
This means that you have been accepted into the program pending confirmation of official academic transcripts and test scores.
This is a conditional offer given to candidates who demonstrate significant potential but need additional preparation before beginning the Wharton MBA program. Conditional admission is typically based on the need for strengthening a candidate’s analytical background or improving English communication skills.
Waitlisted candidates can expect to remain on the waitlist until the next round of decisions is released. There is no rank order to the waitlist, and the committee cannot offer feedback to candidates while they remain on the list. That said, they do welcome updates that you believe add significant value, growth, or development to your application since submission. Please note that this does not include items such as additional letters of recommendation or third-party pleas.
1. Is Wharton business school a good school?
Objectively, yes! Wharton business school is a top-tier institution that is highly ranked for a reason, but this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Just because it's a good school doesn't mean it's the right school for you. You will need to research the program you are interested in and decide if it would be a good fit.
2. How hard is it to get into Wharton business school?
Wharton does not publish its admission rate, but last year, 7,338 students applied to their MBA program and only 897 are in the class, so it's safe to say that the Wharton business school is very competitive. That said, if you are well prepared, you can submit a strong application, and it won't be as hard to get in.
3. What minimum GMAT score do I need to get in Wharton business school?
There is no official minimum score, but you should aim for the average GMAT score of the current class (727) or higher.
4. Does Wharton offer any financial aid?
Yes, it does. Wharton has several fellowships that can help exceptional students with the program fees.
5. What is VTBD?
Virtual Team-Based Discussion. This is a big part of the interview format that Wharton uses. Essentially, it involves a group of five or six applicants discussing a prompt and coming to a solution together while a representative of the admissions committee watches the interaction.
6. Who should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
You want to ask those who are well acquainted with you as a professional. They are more likely to provide a strong letter for you.
7. How much does the Wharton MBA program cost?
8. Do I need a consultant to get accepted into the program?
Not necessarily, but you might benefit from one. Look for a consultant that offers a free strategy meeting to find out how they plan to help you, and it could help you decide if you should invest in one for your application.
To your success,
Your friends at BeMo
BeMo Academic Consulting
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.