Wharton – 2018-2019 Application Deadlines and Essay Question Analysis

The Wharton School has just released its application deadlines and essays for this season! And here we have Personal MBA Coach’s tips on tackling this year’s questions.

Here are the 2018-2019 application questions:  For the first time in 3 years, Wharton has changed the second essay question, while the first question remains unchanged.

Essay 1:  What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

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Essay 2: Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words) 

Additional Question (required for all Re-applicants):

Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)*

*First-time applicants may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)

As a Wharton Graduate, Scott is intimately familiar with the MBA program and culture at Wharton and advise candidates to think about each question differently to ensure answers complement each other while showing readers multiple aspects of their candidacy.

Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

PMC’s tips: With this first question, you should discuss your specific short-term goals, but also think more broadly. Essay 1 allows you to reflect on your aspirations on a deeper level. Where do you see yourself in 10, 20 or even 30 years? How will you get there? It is also expected that you touch upon your past successes, explaining how they are relevant to your future objectives. This question does not require you to walk through your entire resume, and candidates are advised not to do so. Instead, focus only on your past to establish what your key skills are as well as how and why you will succeed in the future.

As you think about your future, also think about your skills gaps and how a Wharton MBA, specifically, will help you to close these gaps. It is important that you allow adequate time to research all that Wharton has to offer. I suggest being very specific in detailing what opportunities you plan to take advantage of on campus, what classes you plan to take, etc. Do not include a laundry list, instead carefully think through how each area will help you fill in the necessary pieces of the puzzle and explain them. Be sure to show an understanding of Wharton’s culture here. Avoid vague statements and copy/pasting stuff from other essays.

Essay 2: Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words) 

PMC’s tips: For essay 2, most candidates will be best suited thinking about extra-curricular or personal experiences and accomplishments. While it is not required, sharing non-professional stories will allow you to shed some light on another area of your candidacy.

I like the new question because it gives you a chance to cover three things. I advise that all candidates consider each of these three areas as they draft the essay.

First, you can share additional information about yourself that will further illuminate your unique strengths. For an understanding of how you can make your application stand out, you may want to go over PMC’s last article here.

Second, by sharing your learnings from this experience, you will be able to show a bit about your character as well as how you are able to adapt to and grow out of situations.

Finally, it gives you a chance to tell admissions committee members specifically how you will add value on campus. Be sure to do your research on all that Wharton has to offer and to be specific on the value you will add. By sharing this story and your learnings, you want to illustrate how you are uniquely suited to contribute to the Wharton community.

For a more detailed and customized plan, and individualized support with various aspects of the MBA application process such as early planning, school selection, essay editing or interview preparation, visit Personal MBA Coach.

This article has been re-published from Personal MBA Coach’s blog.

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