Wharton Class of 2018 Essay Question Analysis

Wharton kept the same essays from last year after changing them around for the last few years. These questions get to the root of your desire to obtain a Wharton MBA. They force you to think about what you will gain personally and professionally, which speaks to some of Wharton’s values. They also do a good job separating candidates who truly did their homework to understand the school from those who quickly browsed the website.


Required Essay: What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

What else you can do inside qs leap ?

2500+ Free
Practice Questions

Get Free Access to 2500+ GMAT/GRE Questions

30 Min
Prep Classes

Attend Free GMAT/GRE Prep Classes Everyday

Virtual One-to-One

On-demand online meetings with Admissions Teams for free


How to answer the question

First, make sure to do your homework. Wharton is a unique program and it will be very easy for admissions to know whether you understand that. (Speaking as an alum who knows the program inside and out!) Beyond going to information sessions, attending webinars and researching online, try connecting with current students and/or alumni. If you are close to Philadelphia and can visit the campus, you should do that. If that is not feasible, by talking with a student or alum, you can glean some very valuable information. Do your best to understand what makes up Wharton’s culture and how you will fit in.

What are some things you could discuss?

  • *Briefly* mention your past experience / knowledge only to the extent it is relevant to your future goals.
  • Write about your career goals, with a focus on what you plan to gain at Wharton.
  • Focus on what you will learn on campus (through classes, GIP, Treks or other offerings) and the connections you will make.
  • Where are you today personally and where do you want to be after your MBA? How will Wharton help you get there? Write about the social dynamics on campus and how you will evolve by immersing yourself in that culture.
  • What do you need to gain from a professional standpoint to reach your goals and how will Wharton (ideally this is specific to Wharton) help you get there?

What should you keep in mind while writing?

  • Different from a standard career goals essay, this asks you to reflect on what you hope to gain while at Wharton.
  • Wharton really cares about the personal part of this question!
  • Student life and student involvement on campus is different at Wharton than at some other top schools, so be sure to understand that difference and if it is relevant for you, how you will fit into and benefit from the experience.
  • While you should discuss your goals, at least briefly, you can think bigger. This question allows you to reflect at a higher level on your life aspirations.


Optional Essay: Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)


How to answer the question

This is an optional question and if you feel you addressed all of the key parts of your profile in the application so far, you may be better off skipping this. That said, this question is good to utilize if you want to address some aspects of your profile:

  • Poor performance in a particular class or during a semester in undergrad.
  • Explanation of a gap in your work experience (or any other extenuating circumstance you wish to discuss).
  • Significant accomplishment that you were not able to describe anywhere else in the application.


Reapplicant Question: All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this essay. 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)

All applicants, including reapplicants, can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)


How to answer the question 

For all applicants, if you have an extenuating circumstance you wish to address, this is the place. For example, poor performance in a particular class or during a semester in undergrad. Explanation of a gap in your work experience or reasons behind a job change if the decision requires explanation to make sense.

For reapplicants, be sure to reflect on your profile from the previous year and tell the admissions committee how you improved. Getting rejected one year does not mean you won’t get in the next. It does mean, however, that you need to show improvement. This could come in the form of a job promotion, increased responsibility at work, higher GMAT score or substantial leadership in extra-curricular activities. Unless your goals were not clear or after reflection did not make sense last year, it is not advised to change your goals and motivation for an MBA.


If you would like individual and personal support developing your story for the Wharton application, or have questions about choosing the right topics to answer these questions, contact me to learn how I can help! Ask your queries here.

Channel Name