How To Get Into Wharton
What exactly does it take to get into Wharton?
Robin Madell, of Business Insider, recently spoke to Wharton grads and admissions expert Stacy Blackman on what to do and what to avoid if you want to have the best shot at getting in.
“Flexibility is inherent to the admissions process at Wharton,” Blackman tells Business Insider. “Wharton is very willing to take applicants with strong GMAT scores, professional experience, and clear goals without that ‘wow’ factor, though of course the preference is both. Also, Wharton will turn down interesting and unique candidates who lack clarity of goals and ability to succeed in academics.”
Numbers are only one part of the application.
Blackman says applicants can rely on solely strong GMAT scores and GPA to get into Wharton.
“Don’t think your smoking GMAT is enough to get noticed,” Blackman tells Business Insider. “Wharton could throw darts at a wall and hit 730 GMATs. Wharton wants to make sure the applicant can cut it quantitatively — which means they like to look at candidates holistically as a starting point.”
Rather, applicants should look at the average numbers that Wharton students tend to have.
According to Wharton’s website, the average GRE score is a 163 verbal and 162 quant. Average undergraduate GPA for Wharton’s class of 2020 is a 3.6.
Experts say it’s important to have your career trajectory mapped out if you want a chance at getting into Wharton.
“Quality and rigor of professional career path are extremely important to Wharton, especially as they’ve combined Admissions and Career Services under the same umbrella,” Blackman tells Business Insider. “The Wharton admissions readers are thinking about exit opportunities when reviewing applications in terms of: is this person already on the fast track, are their goals logical and reasonable, do they have a plan for how they will use their time during the program and how they will meet their goals?”
According to Kristin Fracchia, of Magoosh, Wharton places heavy emphasis on work experience when compared to other b-schools.
“This doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few students who are accepted straight out of undergrad or what Wharton calls ‘early career’ (meaning 0 to 3 years of work experience),” Fracchia writes. “Around a quarter of students fall into this category. But that means that 75% of successful applicants have at least 4 years of work experience, and the average is 5 to 6 years.”
COMMUNICATE YOUR STORY
Experts say the MBA essay is your opportunity to tell your story to admissions. To that point, it’s important to avoid ambiguity in your essay.
“I viewed the business school essays as an opportunity to connect the dots on what could otherwise seem like a bunch of disparate life experiences,” says Apu Gupta, a 2015 Wharton MBA who serves as CEO of the social commerce company Curalate, in Business Insider.
Nithya Thadani, a 2012 Wharton grad, says it’s critical to build a narrative that “cuts through the noise and allows your candidacy to shine.”
“It’s all about storytelling,” Thadani tells Business Insider. “The key is to own your narrative.”