Meet The Wharton MBA Class of 2017

Members of Wharton's incoming MBAs in the Class of 2017

Members of Wharton’s incoming MBAs in the Class of 2017

There’s a curse that comes when you’re outstanding at something. People tend to define you by it. In business schools, you could call it, “The Wharton Curse.” Long labeled as a “finance school” for its near religious faith in facts-and-figures, Wharton is perceived as a sanctuary for the next generation of CFOs.

But that would be like associating Philadelphia with just cheese steaks and Rocky movies.

In reality, Wharton achieves the hardest feat in business: Across-the-board excellence. The second-largest full-time MBA program in North America, Wharton certainly reigns supreme in finance according to U.S. News & World Report. But it also ranks second to Kellogg in marketing, along with being a Top 10 program in accounting, international business, management, entrepreneurship, operations, information systems, and supply chain management. Only Stanford can make the same claim.


Such range can be attributed to Wharton’s vast resources, which are fueled (to an extent) by its sizeable commitment to undergraduate business and executive MBA education. Indeed, Wharton boasts the largest faculty and catalog of elective courses among full-time MBA programs. Even more, Wharton has recently been associated with everything from disruptive startups like Warby Parker and Harry’s to powerful alumni CEOs like Sysco’s Bill DeLaney and Johnson & Johnson’s Alex Gorsky. Bottom line: Think of Wharton more as a smorgasbord that includes something for everyone. And such fluidity fosters a dynamic community who’ll ultimately become an unrivaled network.

Wharton's Maryellen Reilly Lamb foresees no admission changes

Wharton’s Maryellen Reilly Lamb

Certainly, the Wharton Class of 2017 mirrors the wide expertise of the school. In a statement introducing the incoming class, Maryellen Lamb, Wharton’s deputy vice dean of MBA admissions, financial aid and career management, describes them as a “talented and diverse group of people that includes entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fashion designers, military vets, and tech gurus.” And their stories are as impressive as their resumes.

Take Miguel Gonzalez, for example. During a four year stint at Google, he founded JuntoSalimos, a non-profit social platform that connects entrepreneurs with practitioners to help them build (and potentially fund) their startups. Before entering investment banking and working in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Michael Hinckley authored a book entitled Microfinance: The Grassroots of Finance. Ashley Kang was exposed to entrepreneurship by spending three years at Rent The Runway, a runaway startup success that generated $60 million dollars of funding in 2014 alone! Kiki Teshome, previously a Goldman Sachs trader, was such a strong leader that he was named captain of his high school soccer team as a freshman! And Josh Phifer, who already holds a Master’s degree in aeronautical science, has spent the past decade in the U.S. Air Force, where he rose to the level of a division commander.


Statistically, several figures stand out about Wharton’s 2017 Class. First, the school received 6,590 applications for its full-time MBA program, up 479 from the previous year. Let’s put that 7.8% increase into perspective. At the Booth School of Business, which is often compared to Wharton, applications grew by just 2.6%. And apps grew by just 1.8% at Harvard – further indicating that interest in Wharton is spiking. Like the Yale School of Management, Wharton is also known for its hearty dual degree programs. Of the 861 students enrolled in the incoming class, 172 are also completing a joint master’s program with another school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Academically, the 2017 Class has made a big splash too. The students entered the quad with an average GMAT of 732 – 14 points higher than the Class of 2014. This score also matches the 732 GMAT produced by Stanford’s 2016 Class – the highest score on record. Even more, Wharton’s median GMAT – 730 – is equal to that of the incoming full-time MBA class at Harvard (and four points higher than Booth). Overall, GMAT scores ranged from a low of 620 to a high of 790, with the scores clustered from 700-770 in the 80% range.

When it comes to student composition, Wharton is more diverse than ever. For starters, the school enrolled 43% women, up 3% from the previous year (and tied with Kellogg for the highest percentage of women among the top tier programs). 32% of the class also arrives from overseas, a point higher than the previous year. These students also represent 73 countries, up from 71 in the Class of 2016. The percentage of U.S. minorities held steady at 30% for the third consecutive year.

Despite Wharton’s reputation as a quant school, undergraduate degrees tell a different story. This year, 42% of enrollees hold a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts. Think that’s an anomaly? Actually, they’re a staple of previous classes, as liberal arts majors comprised 45% and 44% of the 2016 and 2015 classes respectively. Business majors make up another 29% of this year’s class (up 2%) followed by STEM majors at 25% (up 2%). Professionally, the highest percentage of students came from consulting (23%). However, the class does skew towards the financial sector, as evidenced by strong representation by investment banking (11%), venture capita l (10%), other financial services (7%), and investment management (6%). The public sector, non-profits and military (11%), retail, healthcare, and energy (10%), technology and ecommerce (6%), and media (4%) account other substantive segments of the class.

Go to next page to access student profiles of this year’s incoming class.

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