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Everything You Need to Know about the Wharton EMBA

When discussing top business school programs, University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business is often on the list. This business school offers both a full-time MBA program and an MBA program for Executives. 

The Wharton EMBA is aimed at those who have more than 10 years of professional work experience, and the average work experience at the time of enrollment in the program is 12 years. However, you don’t need to hit the 10-year mark to consider applying to the EMBA. We’ve seen a handful of clients who were successful with only 7 or 8 years of work experience. This resource page lays out the basics on the Wharton EMBA program, and covers all you need to know about whether the program is right for you.

Wharton EMBA Class Profile

Class SizePhiladelphia: 120
San Francisco: 116
Total Class Size: 236
GMATMedian: 700
Range (middle 80%): 640-740
Sponsored by Employer33%
Age/ExperienceAge: 36
Work Experience (years): 12
DiversityWomen: 32%
Minority Students:10%
Countries Represented: 26
Pre-MBA Median Salary and Bonus$195,000
Advanced Degrees53%

The data above is from 2019 and represents the Wharton EMBA class of 2021.*
See the full report: Wharton EMBA Class Profile

Wharton EMBA Student Experiences

The Wharton Executive MBA

If you’re looking into EMBA programs, you may also be wondering how the coursework is structured, and how you can realistically balance working full-time with completing academics and other program requirements. This is one the most frequently asked questions among potential EMBA applicants, and so we’re here to give it to you straight. Although the Wharton EMBA program is every bit as rigorous as the full-time MBA, it is formatted to suit the needs of senior professionals who cannot afford to take two years off from their work life. Essentially, you will not be the only one in this position in the program—far from it. 

To ensure that you will be able to balance work and business school during the EMBA program, classes are held every other weekend so that you can maintain your work schedule alongside your EMBA. Additionally, you will only take 3.5 credits each term (as opposed to 5 credits in the traditional MBA), which makes the course load more manageable when you’re working full-time. To complete the program in two years, you continue attending classes during the two summer terms, making the program a total duration of six terms spread across two years. 

Wharton EMBA Class Format

The Wharton EMBA program spans across a total of 24 months. Classes generally meet alternate Fridays and Saturdays. During these days, you are expected to spend time assimilating into your EMBA campus. This is an important part of the EMBA experience, and to this end, the Wharton EMBA includes Friday night housing built into its tuition. If you’re within commuting distance and are planning to spend Friday night at home, think again. Wharton requires you to spend some time on campus to take full advantage of what they have to offer. This promotes networking, offers time to meet with your classmates, and establishes a stronger sense of connection with the business school. 

Logistics for a Non-Traditional MBA Program

When considering Wharton’s Executive MBA program, here are some other logistics to keep in mind to help you make your decision:

  • Tuition. The cost of Wharton’s EMBA program is $210,900 for two years. This cost includes meals and housing for the program during the weekends you are in residence. 
  • Career Development. As part of the EMBA program, you will have access to Wharton’s career services and resources with the MBA Executive Career Advancement Team. It’s important to note that internships are not permitted during the Wharton EMBA program, and only certain eligible students may recruit along with the full-time MBA students.
  • Employer Approval. Since you will be enrolled in the EMBA program part-time while working, each applicant is required to show proof of endorsement from their employers for time away from work. You do not need to show financial support from your employer unless you are a Fellows applicant, but you do need to show that your employer is willing to give you the time off from work that you need to attend the program.

Wharton EMBA Curriculum

The Wharton EMBA curriculum is geared towards students who generally have several years of work experience, and therefore, you will not be required to declare a major as part of your degree. However, if you would like to structure your coursework, you may be able to pursue a more general major such as Marketing, Management, or Finance.

Each student enrolled in the EMBA program must complete the core course curriculum. The current core courses are:

  • Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership
  • Management Communication
  • Responsibility in Global Management
  • Microeconomics for Managers
  • Regression Analysis for Business
  • Managing the Productive Core of the Firm: Business Analytics
  • Business Foundations

The Business Foundations coursework covers topics such as Marketing Strategy and Corporate Finance. If you’re enrolled in the EMBA, you will also get the opportunity to participate in the Global Business Week, which is required of all students. The Global Modular Courses, on the other hand, are optional.

During the second year of the program, you will also take elective coursework. The elective classes that will be offered in the EMBA format are determined collectively by the students through voting. Some courses that have previously been selected include Introduction to Real Estate, Financial Derivatives, Pricing Policy, and Negotiations.

Video Resources on Wharton EMBA Academics

Wharton EMBA Application

Applying to business school can be a daunting process for many who have spent the last few years in the workforce. Several of our clients sought our help because they weren’t quite sure where to begin. Below, we outline the two main parts of the Wharton EMBA application to get you started: the essays and the interview process.

Wharton EMBA Essays

If you’ve previously looked into Wharton’s MBA program application requirements, you’ll notice that the requirements for the Wharton EMBA essays are different. The essays required in the EMBA application have some overlap with the questions asked for admission to the MBA, but there are a few additional essays that you’ll need to write.

Here is the full list of Wharton’s Essay Questions for the 2020 EMBA entry date:

  • Given your already demanding job and the desire to remain committed to important family and personal obligations, how do you plan to handle the additional demands on your time once you enroll? (500 word limit)
  • In his groundbreaking TedTalk “Are You a Giver or a Taker?” Adam Grant describes three primary personality types in the workplace: givers, takers, and matchers. Based on your understanding of yourself and our program, how do you intend to give and take as a student at Wharton? (750 word limit) 
  • What is your career objective and how will the Wharton MBA Program for Executives contribute to your attainment of this objective? (750 word limit)
  • Optional Essay. If necessary, you may use this optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware (unexplained gaps in your work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent academic performance, life defining circumstances not identified during your application, resume or interview, etc.). (500 word limit)

Wharton EMBA Interview

A final point of deviation when applying to Wharton’s MBA for Executives program is the interview format. While interviews to the full-time MBA are by invitation-only, the Wharton EMBA interview is offered to all interested applicants. This interview can be seen as part of your research into whether the school’s program is a good fit for you. The website even insists that you can schedule the interview even before starting your application. Moreover, you can schedule a phone chat prior to your interview to ask some of your questions beforehand.

An additional bonus of the EMBA interview is that they are scheduled on the same days as EMBA classes are in session. This built-in class visit is the perfect opportunity to get a sense of what it would be like to be an executive MBA student, immersed in a classroom environment during your weekends. 

Video Resources on Wharton EMBA Admissions

Why Wharton?

One good reason for considering Wharton for your EMBA is the business school’s strong reputation worldwide. Both nationally and internationally, the Wharton brand is sure to open doors and carry you forward in your career. 

Along with Wharton’s brand comes a high quality network of individuals who have excelled in their respective careers. You can be sure to find someone within the EMBA program who knows people in the role or job you seek or has that experience themselves. If you are a career switcher, Wharton will provide you with an excellent network of professionals to connect with in order to boost your transition into a new field. Bear in mind that you won’t be limited to just your EMBA class. Wharton’s large alumni network will allow you to reach the right people who may help you in the next step of your career. The Wharton full-time MBA program, for instance, currently matriculates about 850 students each year.

Finally, although Wharton’s host institution, the University of Pennsylvania, is based in Philadelphia, the Wharton EMBA also has a San Francisco location which is ideal for those of you based on the West Coast. This means that you can choose to enter the MBA either as part of the San Francisco cohort or the Philadelphia cohort, while still getting the same EMBA experience.

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*All data retrieved from the Wharton EMBA Program webpages, unless otherwise stated.