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Insider Tips on the Wharton Essay Questions

You want to attend the Wharton School, but you aren’t sure how to address the b-school’s essay prompts.

Stacy Blackman, of Stacy Blackman Consulting, recently discussed how applicants should address Wharton’s essay prompts for the 2019-2020 academic year.


What do you hope to gain professionally from Wharton?

The first essay question asks applicants the standard career goals question.

Yet, Blackman says, this prompt is more about gauging your personality and potential success in the program.

“Be careful to answer the specific question in this career goals essay,” Blackman writes. “Notice that you are not asked about your professional background or your key accomplishments outright. You will want to focus mainly on the future and what you are planning to pursue with your MBA degree.”

The key to addressing this prompt well, Blackman says, is to use your background information to your advantage.

“Think about the key moments of your professional life that crystallized your goals for you, and focus on illuminating those decision points rather than reciting your entire resume,” she writes. “Anything unique in your background is always worth highlighting.”

While noting your past achievements is necessary, experts say, it’s important to write about what you hope to accomplish in the future.

“When it comes to answering this question, you can earn top marks by demonstrating that you have passion for the career you describe and that your career goals are fueled by a larger sense of purpose — rather than by a desire for a bigger paycheck,” Tyler Cormney, Co-Founder of MBA Prep School, writes for P&Q.


Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community?

The second essay question is geared at determining your fit to the Wharton community.

Blackman says applicants should focus on a time when they demonstrated a collaborative approach to team problem solving.

It’s important, she says, to demonstrate what you’ve done and tie that to how you will contribute to the Wharton community.

“Your contribution to the Wharton community could be in the classroom, clubs or within small group projects,” she writes. “You might bring your experiences launching a new product to your marketing case studies. Maybe you will lend creative ideas to your learning team as you prepare a research project, because you have demonstrated creativity in your past accomplishments.”

Above all, Blackman says, these essays are used to understand who you are and what motivates you. The best piece of advice to follow in the writing process is to remember how you fit into the Wharton identity.

“Wharton values diversity and teamwork, and wants a class that will work well with each other,” Blackman writes.

Sources: Stacy Blackman Consulting, Poets & Quants

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