We’re very glad to see that Wharton has done away with the one required and one optional essay of the last few years and now invites the class of 2019 to answer two “mandatory” essay prompts.
Essay 1: What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
The is a straightforward GOALS and WHY Wharton question that provides sufficient word count for candidates to connect their career objectives, prior experiences, and how the combination of the two – in conjunction with a Wharton MBA, will help them achieve their career vision. Think of this as the “protein” in your admissions essay packet. As with any top MBA program, Wharton is seeking applicant with goals that are realistic, and impactful. Close attention needs to be paid to the “WHY Wharton” component as it provides the opportunity to not only illustrate a well-thought-out career plan, but also, the applicant’s fit with Wharton’s program, alum network, and greater U. of Penn community. While citing specific classes and/or professors is important, you need to do your homework on this one— Wharton wants to read more than what can be found on their website.
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)
This year’s Essay 2 provides more direction than last years optional essay, (which I never thought was optional!) but it serves the same purpose- tell us more about yourself. Examples of teamwork and collaboration should be your guide for this essay, and ideally you should think about examples that span both professional and personal experiences. Finding the balance between each will depend greatly on what you’ve already covered in Essay 1. The next step is illustrating how your collaborative character will add value at Wharton, both in and outside the classroom. Volunteer activities, unique backgrounds (professional or personal), truly global perspectives are all fair game, as long as you can pull in specific examples and them to specific areas of life at Wharton.
Wharton still allows (250 words) for a truly “optional” essay, which should only be used to shed some light on an extenuating circumstance: Poor GPA, GMAT, gap in employment, etc. etc.