The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School today (Oct. 29) turned down lots of round one MBA applicants and also invited some candidates to what some admission consultants are calling a “wedding planning” exercise.
Applicants who made the first cut in Wharton’s application process are invited to campus for a 35-minute team-based discussion and a brief informal interview with a member of Wharton’s admissions team. The discussion’s prompt, also released today with invitations is as much an advertisement for the university’s forthcoming entrepreneurship center (see First Look At Wharton’s New $46.5 Million Entrepreneurship Center) as it is part of an admissions exercise. Applicants will be asked to deliver a one-minute elevator pitch on the prompt in addition to engaging in the discussion.
The prompt, however, strikes some as putting potential students into the role of “wedding planners who have to order flowers and decide on invitations,” as one prominent admissions consultant told Poets&Quants.
Here’s the new prompt:
Entrepreneurship and innovation are at the forefront of Wharton’s focus for the future of the school. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania announced a $25 million gift that will spearhead construction of a transformative new building. Tangen Hall is the first-ever dedicated space for Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship and other student entrepreneurship programs across the University. Here students will incubate ideas to transform business. Completion of the new 70,000 square foot facility is set for fall 2020.
For the purpose of this discussion, you’ve been invited to be part of a team of students tasked with creating a one-day program that promotes the unveiling of Tangen Hall and Wharton’s focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. As a team, determine and define your target audience and invitation count. Identify and select a keynote speaker and programming for the day, including one interactive workshop and metrics for success. Provide unique experiential opportunities that highlight the depth and breadth of resources within Tangen Hall.
The new prompt replaces last year’s assignment that asked teams to prepare a retreat for a 70-member cohort of first-year Wharton students.
Prospective students invited to the discussion will be assigned to a team of four to five fellow applicants. Under the evaluative eyes of an admissions officer, the teams will work together to achieve a tangible outcome. The teams are randomly assigned based on your preferred time and location (on campus or one of our off-campus locations around the world.