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Wharton Class of 2020 Essay Analysis

July 13, 2017

2017/18 essay questions

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

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)

Optional question: First-time applicants can use this essay if you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weaknesses in your application). (250 words)

2017/18 essay question analysis

Essay 1

Unchanged from last year, Wharton’s main question expects you to share your future aspirations, sharing how an MBA will help you to grow on a professional level. This has been a challenging question in the past for some applicants, because some tend to blend personal and professional growth. While it is helpful to share your short-term post-MBA career goals, your long-term career goals are more likely to differentiate you. Some clients have fallen into a trap of using a lot of words to narrate their answers. While safe, it is difficult to differentiate your essay from others with similar goals. Instead, use specific examples of how you will leverage Wharton. You will also want to address how you will contribute to Wharton’s community; again, the more specific you are, the better.

As with any school’s essays, before you start writing this essay, make sure that you’ve taken the time to learn about Wharton’s program. Talk with students and alumni (note: aim for recent alumni, as programs change all the time, visit campus (or attend an info session), learn about classes and groups, and even specific professors.

Essay 2

Similar to last year, the Admissions Committee wants to know what and how you will contribute to Wharton’s community. Use specific examples, and tie to your longer-run goals to those experiences if possible. More importantly, make the reader imagine the impact you will have on campus. One example of a contribution that could last years beyond your graduation will have more of an impact on the reader than committing to leading 3-4 clubs that already exist. One way to brainstorm is to ask recent alumni what they found missing from the Wharton experience, and then design something to fill the gap.     

Optional essay

As with other schools, this should focus on addressing weaknesses you cannot address elsewhere in the application. While Tuck guides all essays to be a maximum of 500 words each, good optional essays will be much shorter. Be direct in your explanation. You won’t have space to be defensive in what you’re trying to explain, which may actually help you avoid a common trap in questions similar to this.  

2017/18 deadlines

Round 1: Application deadline: September 19, 2017 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: December 14, 2017

Round 2: Application deadline: January 3, 2018 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: March 29, 2018

Round 3: Application deadline: March 27, 2018 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: May 10, 2018

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