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Wharton MBA Essay 2020 | Analysis and Tips

As stated in the Wharton MBA application page, the admission committee wants to know you at a personal and professional level. Thus, an essential tip towards approaching Wharton MBA Essay is to be authentic and genuine. Wharton has two compulsory essay topics and one optional essay topic this year:

    1. What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?
    2. Describe an impactful accomplishment/experience that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community?
    3. Optional Essay – non-optional for reapplicants

Wharton-MBA-Essay-2020

 

In this article, we analyze the Wharton MBA Essay 2020 questions and provide tips towards the same. This article will include:

Purpose of Wharton MBA Essay: Expectation of Adcoms

Wharton-Expectation-of-adcoms

Wharton MBA admissions process is not just about your test score or work experience, things you might find on a resume. Wharton has a holistic admissions process where, with the help of essays, the Adcoms are looking to understand more about your personality and how will you contribute to the Wharton community.

Essays are an excellent way of getting more insight into your background and character, and thus, it plays a crucial role while evaluating your Wharton MBA application.

Blair Mannix, Wharton MBA Admissions director, has pointed out the expectations on Wharton MBA Essay in a webinar. Here is a brief about what she said:

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

This essay question has been around for a few years and would not be changing for the next admission cycle.  Through this question, the admissions committee wants to know why you want to come to Wharton to pursue your MBA and how will it help you to pursue your future goals. Blair Mannix highlights three points to keep in mind for Wharton MBA Essay:

  • The Setup: You need to answer three aspects – who I am, what I’m doing, and what I’ve learned. Start with who you are by giving a brief introduction about yourself.

For Instance,

“My name is XYZ. I have been working with a consulting firm for the last three years. I have worked on XYZ projects with XYZ clients, which has helped me in gaining XYZ knowledge and skills.”

 

  • The Pivot-Point: Particularly for an MBA program, there is always a pivot moment that makes you more inclined towards pursuing your MBA degree. There is a reason why you are getting an MBA degree, which you need to mention under essay1.

For Instance,

You are a consultant, sitting with the client, and you realize that you need to learn more about negotiating or statistics or accounting to work more effectively.

The instance provided above is a kind of one pivot moment where you realize that there is education out there that you need to have. Similarly, there can be a series of instances that lead you to think if you had more knowledge about statistics, you would be better at your job.

 

  • The Future: After realizing that you need to pursue your MBA to gain more skills, how are you going to implement the same in the future. Blaire states that “you should have an idea about where you want the skills that you hope to gain from Wharton MBA to take you.”

Essay 2: Describe an impactful accomplishment/experience 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)

Blaire states that “ the admissions committee needs to know you and as they have very limited means to achieve that, for essay2 you need to highlight information that is not reflected anywhere else in your application”. She also points out to highlight those specific moments that will help the Adcoms in understanding you better.

If you have a story that helped you in having a pivot moment or a story that informs why you want to come to Wharton or a story that tells who you want to be then, this is the essay for that.

Optional Essay

Reapplicant: If you are a re-applicant, then the Adcoms need to know how your application has changed and the updates you had from your previous candidacy. Blaire points out that the candidates should mention what they were working on or what they were striving for during the time.

General: the first-time applicant can use the space to provide information that is not mentioned elsewhere in your application. This essay is for sharing information that can affect your candidacy.

Standard Guideline for Wharton MBA Essay

Guidelines-Wharton-MBA-Essay

The Wharton MBA essay needs to be uploaded in the space provided in the application. It is advisable to draft your essay in a separate document. Once you have finalized your draft, you can transfer it to the space provided in your application form.

Below is an image to give you an idea about the essay section in your Wharton MBA online application:

wharton-online-application-essay

 

The below table represents the Wharton MBA Essay questions and the word limit. If your essay is above the limit, then you won’t be allowed to submit your application. So, make sure while drafting your essay that you do not exceed the word limit.

Wharton MBA Essay Questions Word Limit
Essay 1 What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? 500 words
Essay 2 Describe an impactful accomplishment/experience 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
Optional Essay (First-time applicants) If you feel there are any circumstances of which the committee should be aware (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, inconsistent academic performance, choice of recommenders, weaknesses in your application) 250 words
Optional Essay (Re-applicants) Use this space to explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and discuss any updates on your candidacy (e.g., additional coursework, volunteer engagements, changes in professional life). 250 words

Tip’s for Wharton MBA Essay for 2020 Intake

For Wharton MBA 2020 admissions, there are two types of essay topics and one optional essay:

Wharton MBA Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?

This is a typical Career goal essay, but the expectation of the admission committee sets it apart. As stated earlier, you are not only required to explain your goals but also relate them to how Wharton MBA will fit into your plan.

Make sure that your essay not only focuses on your professional history and achievements but your career objectives and with the program.

You need to connect your career vision within the context of how the Wharton MBA will help you.

A typical structure can start with a story that can highlight your passion in your field.  Then move on to how your past goals have shaped your future goals. After describing your past and future, explain how an MBA fits into the puzzle.

Tips for Wharton MBA Essay 1

Tip #1: You need to make a connection between your past, present, and future

Tip1-Wharton-MBA-Essay

While writing this type of essay, make sure that you draw a linkage between your past work experiences, the need to pursue an MBA degree, and your future goals and objectives. You need to highlight the knowledge gap and how Wharton MBA will fill it.

For Instance,

“Through my study of marketing and consumer behavior and my work experience as an assistant marketing manager, I have built solid fundamental skills in market research and analyzing consumer needs. But consumer needs are evolving, and to stay ahead of the competition, one needs to understand the consumer behavior at its core and develop strong analytical skills, which I hope to gain from the Wharton MBA program.”

 

Tip #2: Explain both short- and long-term goals

tip2-Wharton-MBA-Essay

Poonam Tandon, an admission consultant, points out to explain what you want to achieve professional both in the short and long term. You need to share your present mindset and explain why an MBA at this stage in your career will help in achieving those goals.

“I have been working as a financial advisor for a year, and at this point in my career, I feel an MBA degree will enhance my knowledge and skills in the financial market and will help me in gaining a managerial role in the financial industry.”

 

Tip #3: Explain how you will fit in Wharton community

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Poonam points out that while approaching this type of essay, you need to outline how you will fit into the diverse Wharton community. You need to provide specific information and demonstrate a fair understanding of the various offerings and resources at Wharton that aligns with your goal.

For Instance,

“Having an entrepreneurial mindset, I am looking forward to being a part of Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship hub where I can grow my idea into a successful business.”

 

Tip #4: Don’t forget to answer these questions

While writing the essay, think about all these questions:

  • Why MBA and Why Wharton?
  • How will a Wharton MBA help you in achieving your goals?
  • Where do you see yourself post MBA?
  • What resources and offerings at Wharton will be beneficial to achieve your career goals?
  • What living in Philadelphia be like, and will it add value?
  • What skills do you want to acquire/learn from Wharton?

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

As discussed earlier, the Adcoms want you to highlight specific moments/experiences that are not reflected elsewhere in the application and will provide them with more information towards knowing you. You can highlight both professional and personal experiences.

Poonam provides a basic structure on how you can organize this type of essay:

Tips for Wharton MBA Essay 2

Tip #1: Pick an impactful experience/accomplishment: 100 to 150 word

tip1-wharton-essay2

Highlight any significant experience that made an impact on your organization or community. You need to mention the challenges that you faced and how you dealt with it and succeeded.

For Instance,

“While working as a sales representative for ABC product, my organization was facing a huge challenge in increasing our market share due to high competition. After analyzing the market, I implemented activities targeted to increase engagement with our clients, such as daily updates, regular followups, etc. This lead to an increase of 5% in the market share within three months.”

 

Tip #2: Learnings that you gained from those experiences: 75 to 80 words

tip2-Wharton-essay2

After highlighting your significant achievement, you need to share your learnings from your experience. You can use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) to help you form a structure of your essay.

For Instance,

“After analyzing the market, I found out that our organization was only targeting high-value clients, whereas the other potential small clients were neglected and not targeted. Once we started talking to the small clients, the numbers went up, which made me realize the importance of creating a pool of clients and not just focusing on one. Thus, even if we lose a big client, we can make it up with our small pool of clients.”

 

Tip #3: Contribution to Wharton: 200 words

Under this, you need to explain how the Wharton community will benefit from your experience. Here you need to show the Adcoms what you can bring to the table as a student. Think about what you have learned in your prior career and academics that may help those around Wharton.

For Instance,

“After maintaining a relationship with more than 300 clients (small and big), I developed my negotiation and relationship management skills. I could help my classmates towards achieving the same and would also apply my skills by participating in various extracurricular activities that require negotiating and building relationships skills.”

Wharton MBA Essay: Optional

First-time Applicant: If you feel there are any circumstances of which the committee should be aware (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, inconsistent academic performance, choice of recommenders, weaknesses in your application), you should opt for writing an optional essay. It can even be in bullet points, as pointed out by Wharton admissions. Make sure you keep it brief and avoid making excuses for your weaknesses.

Your weaknesses should have a good explanation. For instance, if you have a low GPA, you can explain to why you scored less and highlight other parts of your application, such as GMAT score or work experience.

Learn how to overcome a low GMAT Score?

Learn how to compensate for a low GPA?

Re-applicant: If you are a re-applicant, you must explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and discuss any updates on your candidacy (e.g., additional coursework, volunteer engagements, changes in professional life). As the word count is 250, you need to make sure you keep it brief and provide areas where you have made improvements.

For Instance,

“Since the last time, I was able to work on my communication and negotiation skills by taking up XYZ classes.”

Key Things to Avoid in Wharton MBA Essay

Here are a few key things to avoid while writing a Wharton MBA essay:

  1. Since there is a defined word limit, make sure your essays are to the point and specific.
  2. Don’t be vague about the experiences that lead you to Wharton.
  3. Use the optional space only if you have any additional information. (For the first-time applicant)
  4. Don’t set unrealistic goals
  5. Don’t forget to include why a Wharton MBA makes sense for you now?
  6. Don’t forget to have a linkage between your past- present- future

Here are a few more articles you may find helpful:

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