Applying For The MBA As An Older Applicant

The Wharton School

How To Get Into Wharton

Getting into Wharton is no easy feat.

Luckily, Judith Silverman Hodara, former admissions director at Wharton and co-founder of Fortuna Admissions, recently gave some insider tips on how applicants can get into Wharton’s MBA program.

Be A Team Player

Wharton offers a collaborative environment where team players can shine.

“Contrary to popular belief, uber-competitive Wharton is actually home to an extremely collaborative, team-oriented learning environment,” Hodara writes. “The utilization of learning clusters, cohorts and teams (you may work with 15+ over your time in the program) provide a platform for collaboration and learning to lead through teamwork.”

To best position yourself for success in the Wharton application, it’s important to show you can be a team player.

“Accordingly, your application needs to reflect your ability to actively contribute and thrive in these settings,” Hodara writes. “Individuals lacking a team-orientation or having a closed (vs. facilitative) leadership style will be at a disadvantage in terms of being invited to interview.”

In the Financial Times top skills report, one of the most in-demand skills for MBA grads are “soft skills,” or the ability to work in a team, solve complex problems, and manage time wisely.

“The earlier leadership style – the talker, the teller, the demander – is long gone,” Steven DeKrey, associate dean of HKUST Business School, tells Top MBA. “Now it’s the listener, the facilitator, the team leader, the person who gets along with others and pays attention.”

Extracurricular Activities

Hodara says extracurricular activities can help Wharton admissions officers determine what kind of person you are.

“The holistic review process at Wharton lends itself to the program’s desire to bring in a class with top-notch candidates from many professional, educational, social and cultural backgrounds,” Hodara writes.

The key to highlighting your personality in this section, Hodara says, is to show how your extracurriculars make you unique.

“If the activity itself doesn’t feel particularly unique or glamorous, perhaps what differentiates your participation is why the activity is important to you,” Hodara writes. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself at Wharton.”

Career Goals

Wharton looks for applicants who know what their career plans are.

“From Wharton’s essay questions to the interview process, it is important to show that you have a career path in mind,” Hodara writes. “Students who indicate that they have ‘so many ideas that they don’t know where to start’ come across as unfocused and non-directed.”

It’s important to ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your career and convey how Wharton can help you achieve your goals.

“The beauty of a transformational business school education is that it does give you tremendous exposure to possibilities on a professional and personal level,” Hodara adds. “However, Wharton admissions officers want to ensure that you can create a viable path to follow – understanding that while the actual industry and functions are variable, you should enter the program with a sense of purpose.”

Sources: Fortuna Admissions, Financial Times, Top MBA