The Wharton MBA Program – Everything to Know Before You Apply

Huntsman Hall, Wharton Business School

Wharton is a great business school across many areas. Although its strength as a finance program receives a lot of attention because of its excellent placement in that industry, Wharton is equally powerful in areas like entrepreneurship and technology, which are powered by huge investments Wharton has made in these areas. For example, the school launched Tangen Hall as the home for entrepreneurship at Wharton, created the San Francisco Campus to host one cohort of its Executive MBA program, and then used that San Francisco campus to host a rotating cast of full-time MBA students taking one semester away from Philadelphia through the Semester in San Francisco program.

Wharton’s MBA program is student led, with many “Fellows” programs allowing second-year students to take leadership roles in key areas, including admissions, leadership training, student life, academics, and career development. Outside of those programs, you’ll also be seeing a lot of your fellow students in your Learning Team, Cluster, and Cohort.

Wharton’s philosophy of “Give and Take” is based on star professor Adam Grant’s book of the same name, and the school seeks to enroll students who know how they will benefit from and contribute to the MBA program.

The breadth of the program, and the enormous resources of UPenn generally, make Wharton a business school that can help you to achieve almost any goal. (Which can make it a great choice if you’re still evaluating your exact post-MBA goals.

This profile lays out the basic facts about Wharton’s MBA program and the resources you’ll need to further research it. 

For fast facts on getting into the Wharton MBA program see, Your Chances at Wharton: Acceptance Rate & Other Factors.

Wharton MBA Class Profile

25%
Sourced from P&Q article: Acceptance Rates At The Top 25 U.S. MBA Programs
916
730
3.60
Does not disclose
5.0 years
41%
19%
Consulting: 24%
PE/VC: 12%
Other: 11%
Technology: 10%
Nonprofit/Gov’t: 10%
Financial Services: 8%
Investment Banking: 7%
Health Care: 5%
Investment Management: 5%
CPG/Retail: 5%
Energy: 2%
Media/Entertainment: 1%
Humanities: 38%
Business: 34%
STEM: 28%

The data above is from 2020 and represents the Wharton MBA class of 2022.*
See the full report: Wharton MBA Class Profile

Student Experiences

Wharton MBA Employment Report & Careers

$175,000.00
Salary Median is a total of Salary + Signing Bonus
Does not disclose
Does not disclose
Financial Services: 36.2%
Hedge Funds/Other Investments: 3.2%
Insurance & Diversified Services: 1.4%
Investment Banking/Brokerage: 12.2%
Investment Management: 4.5%
Private Equity/Buyouts/Other: 11.9%
Venture Capital: 3.0%
Consulting 24.5%
Technology: 16.2%
Health Care: 6.7%
Retail: 3.2%
Real Estate: 2.9%
Consumer Products: 2.4%
FinTech: 2.1%
Legal & Professional Services: 1.8%
Social Impact: 1.8%
Media, Entertainment & Sports: 1.3%
Manufacturing: 0.8%
Energy: 0.2%
Future Mobility: 0%
Travel & Hospitality: 0%
United States: 86.6%
Mid-Atlantic: 8.3%
Midwest: 3.4%
Northeast: 41.6%
South: 3.6%
Southwest: 2.9%
West: 26.8%
Non-US: 13.4%

UPenn Wharton Employers

Wharton Career Services

The data above is from 2020 and represents the career statistics for the Wharton MBA class of 2020.*
See the full report: Wharton MBA Employment Report

Wharton MBA Academic Programs 

MBA Curriculum

Unlike most two-year programs, the Wharton MBA curriculum includes an additional required “pre-term”, which students attend before beginning year one. Students can choose courses that span either a quarter or a full semester. The core curriculum consists of fixed and flexible core courses that can be taken either in year one or year two. Wharton’s elective curriculum allows students to choose from 200 electives across 10 of the academic departments within the business school. Students can also take up to four courses from the 11 other schools at the University of Pennsylvania.

Majors

Students can choose from 18 Wharton MBA majors. Most majors require the completion of 5 course units, and students also have the option of graduating with a double major.

Experiential Learning Programs

The McNulty Leadership Program and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management offer students a variety of experiential learning opportunities. These programs are complemented by the Wharton Leadership Ventures program, which offers students the option of outdoor experiential treks in the form of expeditions and intensives or one to three day-long workshops.

Research Centers

Wharton has over 20 research centers and initiatives in topics such as behavioral economics, entrepreneurship and innovation, finance, risk management, and social impact. The full list can be found on the Wharton Research Centers page.

MBA International Study Programs

The Wharton International Study Programs are comprised of:

  • Global Modular Courses
  • Global Immersion Program
  • Combined International Study Degrees

Through the Combined International Study Degrees program at Wharton, students can pursue full interdisciplinary degrees through three institutions:

Video Resources on Wharton Academics

Conversations with an Admissions Officer

Wharton offers potential applicants the chance to schedule a phone conversation with one of their MBA Admissions advisors. During these conversations, potential applicants can ask questions about the MBA program, the application process, campus life, and other subjects pertaining to the Wharton experience.

Conversations take place with a small group of 2-3 other prospective applicants. Appointments are open to all those interested in learning more about Wharton, even if the potential applicant has no definite plans to apply.

Wharton asks that applicants come prepared with questions to make the most of the conversation.

Wharton MBA Application

The latest application requirements set by the Wharton MBA admissions office are described below.

Essays

Here are the prompts for Wharton’s 2021-2022 application:

  • Essay 1: Future professional goals

    How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (text box, 500 words)

  • Essay 2: Contributing to Wharton community

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

  • Reapplicant Essay

    Reapplicant Essay. Please share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements, etc.). (250 words)

Letters of Recommendation

The 2021-2022 Wharton recommender questions are as follows:

  • Examples / Success — Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (Text box)
  • Optional — (Optional) Is there anything else we should know? (Text box)
  • Examples / Meaningful Contribution — Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will meaningfully contribute to the Wharton MBA community. (Text box)

Video Resources on Wharton Admissions

Wharton MBA Admissions Interviews

Because Learning Teams, Cohorts and Clusters are central to the Wharton experience, Wharton wants to recruit students who work well with others. The interview process is designed around this–if you’re invited to interview, you will participate in a team-based discussion, followed up by a short one-on-one interview with a student Admissions Fellow (or, depending on the location, an admissions committee member) who observed you during the group discussion. 

The team-based discussion brings together a group of 4-6 applicants for a 35-minute discussion on a pre-announced discussion prompt dealing with some aspect of improving the Wharton MBA program. Previous discussion prompts have included what to do with alumni donations, launching a new course, or opening up a new facility on campus. This group discussion allows Wharton to gauge your skills in working together with a team.

After the team-based discussion, each applicant is invited to a 10-minute face-to-face interview. During this interview, you will likely be asked to reflect on how your group discussion went, as well as answer a few traditional questions (e.g. why you want an MBA, why you chose Wharton), and maybe an open-ended question asking about whether you’d like to share anything else about your candidacy.

Want to know more? Learn how to prepare for your Team Based Discussion.

Admissions Info MBA Program Home Page
Admissions Home Page
Application Requirements
Conversation with an Admissions Officer
How to Apply Request Information
Start an Application
Meet Wharton Business SchoolVisit Campus
Admissions Events – Upcoming
Admissions Events – Recorded
Connect with a Student
Do Your Research Wharton Stories: MBA
MBA Admissions Blog
Wharton Newsroom
Knowledge @Wharton
Faculty Directory

What Makes Wharton Unique?

McNulty Leadership Program: This is the umbrella program for almost all of Wharton’s leadership training programs, including the famous leadership ventures (want to trek to Antarctica with your classmates?), the P3 Program (Purpose, Passion, Principles), the Executive Coaching and Feedback Program, and more.

Technically, even the MGMT 610 course designed by Adam Grant falls under this umbrella.

Wharton's Adam Grant teaching MGMT 610

Wharton Lauder program: This program combines the Wharton MBA with an MA in International Studies from Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences.  Concentrations are available in:

  • Africa
  • Latin America
  • East and Southeast Asia
  • Europe
  • South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa
  • Global

*You must be fluent in a second language relevant to your concentration, and must apply in Round 1 or Round 2 only, because the program begins in May rather than August.

Semester in San Francisco: You can spend one semester in your second year at Wharton’s San Francisco campus, which provides a great networking opportunity with local tech companies — it’s much easier to secure informational interviews as a Wharton student than as an employed professional. 

*All data retrieved from the Wharton Business School MBA Program webpages, unless otherwise stated.