Wharton MBA Essay Analysis

The Wharton MBA admissions team has decided to make their application shorter. They’ve kept the first essay questions from last year, and added a new one. Here’s my analysis:

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

Analysis: This is the tried-and-true “why MBA, why Wharton” question, which has been used across MBA applications, from NYU to INSEAD to Columbia.

If you are:

A career-switcher: discuss the path you are planning to pursue and how the Wharton MBA will support and accelerate it. Don’t worry that you share this goal with many other applicants; just talk about this in an interesting way.

* An aspiring entrepreneur: talk about your vision for your new business and how you’ll create something (from nothing). Don’t share the exact details of your business plan – it’s too early. Talk about the strategic issues and what you need to be successful in this career.

*Undecided about your career: be careful. B-schools are rather perceptive, and if you just try to come up with a career goal that sounds reasonable to you (but not to the reader), this will raise a red flag.


  • Overlook the personal growth question. Think about your areas of development and what you need in order to be REALLY successful, in the short- and long-term.
  • Recycle essays from other schools without learning more about Wharton and what they have to offer. If you just talk about the great curriculum, alumni and network, the school will suspect that you are not serious enough about your MBA application.

Wharton 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)

Use this essay for one of the following subjects:

  • Great community work / entrepreneurial experience that is not covered in your first essay, resume or recommendation letters
  • Employment gaps, GPA/GMAT score
  • Special experiences that makes you a strong candidate – from how you learned to speak Spanish/Japanese to overcoming your fear of flying.

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Photo credit: The Wharton School of Business