Wharton | Mr. Rates Trader
GMAT 750, GPA 7.6/10
Columbia | Ms. Growth Strategy
GMAT 700, GPA 3.83
Emory Goizueta | Mr. English Teacher
GMAT 680 (plan to re-take), GPA 3.78
Harvard | Mr. Brightside
GMAT 760, GPA 3.93
Harvard | Ms. Social Enterprise/Healthcare
GRE 324, GPA 3.5
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Dyslexic Salesman
GMAT 720, GPA 2.9
Kenan-Flagler | Mr. 10 Years In Finance
GMAT Not Required / Waived, GPA 2.65
McCombs School of Business | Ms. Registered Nurse Entrepreneur
GMAT 630, GPA 3.59
Harvard | Mr. Australian Navy
GMAT 770, GPA 3.74
Harvard | Mr. Supply Chain Photographer
GMAT 700, GPA 3.3
Stanford GSB | Mr. Former SEC Athlete
GMAT 620, GPA 3.8
Harvard | Ms. FMCG Enthusiast Seeking Second MBA
GMAT 730, GPA 3.1
NYU Stern | Ms. Civil Servant To Fortune 50
GRE Writing May 31st, GPA Undergrad: 3.0, Graduate: 3.59
MIT Sloan | Ms. Designer Turned Founder
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Strategist
GMAT 750, GPA 73%, top of the class (gold medalist)
Berkeley Haas | Mr. All About Impact
Harvard | Mr. Forbes U30 & Big Pharma
GMAT 640, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. Asset Manager – Research Associate
GMAT 730, GPA 3.6
Ross | Mr. FP&A
GMAT 730, GPA 3.5
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Hanging By A Thread
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Kellogg | Ms. Not-For-Profit
INSEAD | Mr. Big Chill 770
GMAT 770, GPA 3-3.2
Harvard | Mr. Captain Mishra
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
Ross | Mr. Dragon Age
GRE 327, GPA 2.19/4.0
Wharton | Ms. Type-A CPG PM
GMAT 750, GPA 3.42
Harvard | Ms. 2+2 Trader
GMAT 770, GPA 3.9

Winning Admission to Wharton: Four Steps

Shawn O'Connor is the chief executive of Stratus Admissions Counseling.

As one of the top three business schools in the country, Wharton has a highly selective MBA admissions process. While Wharton expanded its class size from 817 to 845 students last year, the school still accepted only 16.8% of applicants. And, Wharton is looking for a distinct profile from other top schools; so a personal story that would help you gain admission to Harvard or Stanford will not necessarily get you into Wharton. Instead, you must tailor your application in a way that clearly demonstrates to the admissions committee that you are a perfect fit for Wharton, and that Wharton is a perfect fit for you.

Drawing on decades of collective admissions experience, my colleagues (who include a recently-departed Wharton admissions reader and numerous Wharton admissions experts) and I have chosen the following four tips which will help maximize your chances of gaining admission to Wharton.

1) Leverage your unique work experience

If you are in finance:

Do not shy away from elaborating on your experience, leadership, and accomplishments in banking or private equity. While your finance background may not help you stand out at Harvard or Stanford (and can, in some cases, be considered at drawback at those schools), it will appeal to Wharton. Wharton’s greater emphasis on data-driven analysis make it an ideal fit for those coming from the world of venture capital, hedge funds, and investment banks.

If you are not in finance:

Do not assume that Wharton is only looking for financial geniuses. Do not try to be someone you are not in your application. Wharton is a much more diverse school than many applicants initially expect. Indeed, it may surprise you to learn that Wharton’s marketing program is regarded as one of the top in the country. The school also has a renowned healthcare program. Wharton actively seeks out leaders in these fields so if you have a background outside of finance be sure to connect it to Wharton’s specific programs through your essays.

Finally, Wharton is also more demographically diverse than many other top business schools. In fact, 45% of its incoming class is comprised of females (the highest ratio of any top business school). So, be sure to convey your unique personal background through your application and interview.

2) Show your love for Philadelphia

All business school admissions officers want to hear why you want to attend their particular school, but Wharton also wants to see that you are excited to study in Philadelphia. So, make sure your application emphasizes your passion not just for Wharton, but also for the West Philadelphia community. I’m a Philly native myself, and I love this diverse and vibrant part of the city along the banks of Schuylkill River. Consider emphasizing how you would give back in West Philly through, for example, the tutoring programs that Penn runs in local schools. Communicating your desire to interact with and improve the Philadelphia community will really resonate with the Penn admissions committee.

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