Wharton Essay Topic Analysis 2016-2017
Following up on our announcement earlier this week with the Wharton essay topics for the 2016-2017 admissions season, we wanted to offer our essay topic analysis for the Class of 2019 UPenn MBA hopefuls.
The Wharton adcom has decided to retain its opening required essay on desired personal and professional growth, and added a second required essay centered on how one would fit and enhance 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 last year’s 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:
Essay 1 (Required): 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.
Essay 2 (Required): 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.
Posted in: Essay Topic Analysis, Essays
Schools: UPenn / Wharton
List of Sample MBA Essays