Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania)

University of Pennsylvania #

Year Founded: 1881

Average GMAT: 723

City: Philadelphia

State: Pennsylvania

Country: United States

About #

University of Wharton School of Business has the privilege of being the world’s first collegiate school of business. Wharton School of Business has continued to develop innovative teaching practices in order to keep up with global challenges and changes. Wharton has nearly 100,000 alumni spread across 153 countries. Students at Wharton learn what it means to transform business through vigorous entrepreneurial programs where they develop skills to start their own companies, disrupt industries, and propell economic growth. 

At Wharton decision making is reinvented. Students train to become future executive leaders as they learn how to investigate and act on the growth of digital data. Wharton teaches with an analytical approach wherein technology and business approaches are integrated to achieve knowledgeable solutions. Being able to change the world means students learn how to make decisive decisions regarding the globe’s greatest challenges. Students become a part of high-achieving and motivated teams in order to grow the skills necessary to change the world. 

Ranking #

#2 USNews – Best Business Schools

#2 USNews – Executive MBA

#2 QS Global MBA Rankings 2021

MBA Program Brief Overview #

The full-time MBA program at Wharton takes place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Because of Wharton’s prestige, admission standards are high and the curriculum is rigorous. The full-time MBA program is 20 months in length with a summer break of 3.5 months. It is highly recommended that students intern during that time so as to develop their professional skills further. Classes are held Monday to Thursday with year 1 beginning in August. Year 2 begins September of the following year. The core curriculum comprises 9.5 credit units, and students are expected to accumulate a total of 19.0 credits before graduation. Of those, an additional 4 credit units directly in correspondence to the student’s major should be earned and 5.5 credit units through elective courses. Students are able to select a major from 19 options, with 40% of students completing a double major. MBA students have the option to participate in the Global Experience, a program where students can participate in study abroad programs, Global Modular Courses, and a Global Immersion Program. Students, upon application, may spend a semester at Wharton’s San Francisco campus. 

Year One Description #

The first year at Wharton begins with 6 core classes that will provide a basis for students to succeed during their studies. In addition, students can select courses from the flexible core list. Because of the flexibility of the first year, students have more choices in their elective curriculum. Thus, students can utilize this flexibility to prepare themselves for internships, global experiences, business ventures, or other interests. The MBA core curriculum extends over a quarter or semester in length and offers students introductions to traditional management disciplines.  First year students attend 3.25 fixed core credit units and a portion of the overall 6.25 flexible core credit units needed for graduation. Students are assigned to a learning team, a group of 5 or 6 students, with which they attend core courses together and work together on projects. 

Fall Semester Mandatory Classes

  • Leadership: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership
  • Marketing: Marketing Management
  • Microeconomics: Microeconomics for Managers
  • Microeconomics: Advanced Microeconomics for Managers
  • Statistics: Regression Analysis for Managers
  • Management Communication: Speaking and Writing

Spring Semester Mandatory Classes

  • Operations, Information, and Decisions
  • Marketing
  • Communication
  • Accounting
  • Corporate Finance
  • Macroeconomics
  • Management
  • Legal Studies and Business Ethics

Year Two Description #

During their second year, Wharton MBA students take the rest of their core classes in addition to elective classes. Students are also allowed to team up with faculty and businesses for support on student projects and assignments. 

GMAT/GRE Stats #

Class of: 2022

Average GMAT: 722

Median Verbal GRE: 161 (average)

Median Quant GRE: 161 (average)

Unique Aspects #

Learning Teams

Wharton’s Learning Teams model is that the pinnacle of students leadership experience. Based on real-world experience, individuals learn to function within a team in order to learn how to successfully function in persuasive, rather than positional, leadership roles. Each team is made up of 5 or 6 MBA students which are first formed during the pre-term. The Learning Teams are not self selected and so are made up of a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, interests, and careers. The Learning Team model encourages trial and error, risk taking, and idea generation and its success had been emulated by other business schools nationwide. 

Leadership Ventures

Students can partake in leadership building and boundary-pushing experiences. These ventures include Expeditions, Intensives and Workshops. Expeditions take adventurous students on trips across the globe. Students spend 6-10 days in places that require high physical intensity and can include: Antarctica, the Atacama Destert, the Andes Mountains, and more. Each trek takes place during either winter or spring break and so do not interrupt the MBA program schedule. Intensives range from 1-3 days and place participants in new and challenging environments. These courses are also high in physical intensity and include either working in a Firefighting Simulation (FDNY Intensive) or a Military Simulation (Quantico Military Intensive). Workshops take place over 1-3 days and are less intensive than the Intensives and Expeditions. Workshops nevertheless engage and develop participants leadership skills. They also allow students to stay closer to home while still learning new leadership methodologies and techniques.

Student Life #

Each student can create a unique student experience. Students can choose from a broad array of courses, student clubs, leadership opportunities, and other means of personal growth. Student Life Fellows and the Student Life Associate Director are assigned to new incoming students are in place to provide advice and encourage participation in school opportunities. To help formulating lasting connections and friendships, incoming students are incorporated into a Cluster. Each cluster is composed of 210 students. Events such as football tournaments, suppers and quizzes are put on to build cluster relationships and help students feel comfortable in their new MBA life. 

Application Requirements #

There are 3 rounds of applications at Wharton. However, it is recommended that first time applicants apply during the first two rounds. This is because the third round tends to be more limited and thus more competitive. 

Candidates must provide background information including: 

  • Contact information
  • Date of Birth
  • Academic Degrees (incl. High School)
  • Professional Experience
  • Family Information
  • Prior Conviction Information


Applicants must provide transcripts from all academic work undertaking at the High School, Baccalaureate/Undergraduate, and Graduate level. Applicants can upload their unofficial transcripts online or self-report their scores. However, once an offer of admission has been accepted, submission of official documents is required.  


Applicants can submit either GMAT or GRE scores. Submitted scores cannot be older than 5 years and they are allowed to be ‘self-submitted’ with the highest score listed first. However, upon an offer of admission, official scores must be submitted. 

Foreign Language Requirements

Applicants whose native language is not English, or have not completed a degree from an  institution where english is the language of instruction must take either the TOEFL or PTE test.

Essay Description

Wharton Essay Application questions are designed for the applicant to define themselves professionally and personally. Wharton encourages essays to be ‘introspective, candid and succinct’. 

Essay Question 1

What do you hope to gain professionally from Wharton MBA (500 words)

Essay Question 2

Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Essay Question 3

Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Here reapplicants can share with the admissions committee their reflections on the growth they have had since their last application and provide details on any relevant changes since their last application (250 words)

Optional Essay

Information that may be relevant but cannot be listed in other parts of the application can be shared during this optional essay. This can include explaining gaps in study or work experience, choice in recommenders, and inconsistent academic performance. 


Recommendations are split up into two sections. The first is where recommenders are supposed to select three characteristics from a list of 10 which best describe the applicant. The second sections is there recommenders answer two free form questions, each about 300 words long. The two questions are: 1) Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success in the Wharton MBA classroom and 2) Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. 

Two recommenders are required, each having the ability to speak to the applicants performance in a work-setting. It is recommended the recommenders be a current and former supervisor. Each recommendation is to be electronically submitted. 


Applicants should submit a one-page resume which shows their breadth of experience in professional and academic environments. Knowledge gained is more important to the admissions committees than length of time at the place of work. 

Fee description

Application to Wharton costs $275  and is non-refundable. Payment can be paid via credit card. 


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