Wharton MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
Following up on our announcement earlier this week with the Wharton essay topics for the 2017-2018 admissions season, we wanted to offer our essay topic analysis for the Class of 2020 UPenn MBA hopefuls.
The Wharton adcom has decided to retain its two required essays on desired professional growth, and fit with the student community. Maryellen Reilly, the Deputy Vice Dean of MBA Admissions, Financial Aid & Career Management, noted in the Wharton Admissions Blog: “By asking these two questions, effectively breaking apart and expanding on [the 2015-2016] essay question, our hope is to give applicants ample space to more fully explain their aspirations, goals, and how Wharton fits into those.” With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of Wharton’s prompts and consider how each might factor into an applicant’s strategy.
Wharton MBA Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018
What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
A variation of the typical career goals essay, this question asks applicants to adopt a big-picture view of their aspirations, touching on their professional goals. Along with describing their immediate post-MBA career goals, applicants should explain their long-term career goals and the broad impact they hope to have on their industry, community, country or region. A brief career summary can naturally lead to the gaps in one’s professional skill set that the Wharton MBA would fill.
While the new second essay is dedicated to how one may, in turn, contribute to the school, it is still important to balance a sense of gain with giving here. It will require that applicants be very thoughtful and as concise as possible. For instance, if you are interested in consumer goods, do not limit your exploration of the topic to the idea that you would acquire knowledge individually, e.g. in taking a particular course; instead, consider how you may get involved in organizing a conference or bringing a speaker to campus so that you may share this knowledge with fellow students. The key is to define what you need to learn, and integrating a sense of individual growth balanced with knowledge sharing, so that you may be seen as part of a community. Also consider what clubs and activities could help you grow on a professional level—e.g. how would you learn to motivate others by organizing a specific event?
Of course, to craft a truly compelling essay, applicants must also display a strong and specific understanding of how Wharton’s program would enable them to accomplish their goals. Taking the time to learn about the school’s curriculum, special programs and extracurricular activities—whether by visiting campus, speaking with members of the community, or reading the Clear Admit Guide to Wharton—will pay dividends here.
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)
This response could be used to explain a teamwork experience that’s shaped who you are today (and therefore what you would bring to the campus community), or to highlight an especially proud team accomplishment and the lessons that you would be eager to share with classmates. Establishing a successful teamwork experience would show the adcom one’s collaborative and teamwork skills; this sets the stage for translation to contributions to Wharton. As with Essay 1, being well-versed in Wharton’s offerings would allow for discussion of specific clubs and activities, as well as potential classroom contributions. The more specific details one can bring in about Wharton, the easier it will be for the adcom to envision a future student.
Applicants should also think about the balance of content across their responses, and aim to incorporate something about themselves here that complements the material in Essay 1. This is particularly true for applicants from traditional pre-MBA fields like banking or consulting, who would be better served by highlighting something unique that will help them stand out than by a professional accomplishment or work-centric response. Finally, we encourage applicants to think about how they can use their comments in this essay to reinforce their fit with Wharton, which aims to build an international study body populated by humble, hard-working, and pragmatic students who are willing to leave their egos at the door and embrace a transformational MBA experience.
Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Wharton MBA essay topics! As you work on your Wharton MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s offerings:
Posted in: Admissions Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: UPenn / Wharton
How To Get Into University of Pennsylvania’s
The Wharton School
The legendary cylindrical tower edging Locust walk houses Wharton, a business school with a history of shaping the minds and clarifying the values of top business leaders. Wharton prides itself on team work, leadership, and instilling lessons of self-reflection and growth into the Learning Team—a group of six students placed together during pre-term to support one another, share ideas and bond.
To become part of the esteemed Wharton class, you must first tackle the application. The prompts haven’t changed since last year, so here are a few tips to help you write a sensational essay and to bring you one step closer to admissions:
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This essay is the bridge from your past experiences to your future career. It is an opportunity to communicate to the admissions committee what you hope to accomplish and how.
1. Share your future: Be able to articulate your story. Tell admissions select tidbits about where you came from, your current life junction, and where you’d like your goals to take you. The context of your story is important—it can highlight defining moments, and help admissions understand why an MBA makes sense.
2. Show your research: Wharton is data-driven and research-focused school, and your essay should reflect this. This doesn’t mean you should rattle off the school’s rankings, mean student age, or average GMAT, but you should do enough research to show you know which resources the school offers and how they will help you reach your goals. Think about classes, extracurricular activities, and even the local community to answer “Why Wharton?” over any other B-school.
3. Be authentic: Don’t try to imagine what admissions wants to hear. Your passion will show in an authentic essay and trying to write about someone else’s dream isn’t going to help Wharton know the real you or to find that diverse incoming class. Don’t be afraid to write about something if it defines you or your goals—or admit that you still have decisions to make about your future. The important part is that you have a plan—and Wharton fits into it.
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)
Some of Wharton’s key attributes include leadership, entrepreneurship, student-driven activities, and engagement. This is a chance to show Wharton that you will embrace their culture. Here’s how:
Teamwork. It will come up over and over again at Wharton, and you should allot a few of those sacred 400 words to this topic. The admissions committee doesn’t want to know whether or not you were a member of a team, rather they are interested in understanding the role you played and what it says about your future involvement with your team at Wharton.
Leadership. This is not necessarily about taking charge. As in the Team-Based Discussion, it is all about knowing your strengths and how you are able to create impact. Be specific about your plan to use your talents at Wharton or what your goals may be in terms of improving your leadership skills and how Wharton will help you do this.
Storytime. Your past can be good indicator of how you will react and work in the future. If you have a story that aligns, or even prefaces this, use it! These narratives can set you apart, and you won’t just be writing another essay talking about leadership in a generic and impersonal way.
And with that, I’ll leave you to brainstorm and outline.
Check out our Essay Blog for best practices on how to get writing.
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Topics: MBA Admissions Insights, MBA Application Tips, School Specific Articles, Your Top Schools | Tags: Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania