Poets&Quants Top Business Schools

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


School Data

Annual Tuition: $76,580

Acceptance Rate: 19.23%

Full-Time Enrollment: 75

Average GPA: 3.6

International: 50%

Median GMAT: 740

GMAT Range (mid-80%): 530-790

Female: 38%

Male: 62%

The profile was last updated on January 9, 2018. If you have any questions, please contact our general manager.

Admission Deadlines:

Round 1: September 19th, 2017
Round 2: January 3rd, 2018
Round 3: March 27th, 2018

Wharton, of course, is to finance what Harvard is to general management or Northwestern is to marketing. There’s an impressive variety of financial electives here taught by some of the best finance faculty in the world. Even with Wall Street in decline, some 35% of Wharton’s Class of 2016 headed into the financial services industry, down slightly from 37% a year earlier. Most of them headed into investment banking and brokerage jobs, which took 16.1% of the class. MBAs landing jobs with private equity and buyout firms–which generally offer the highest total compensation packages–was 7.0%, down from 8.5% two years ago and the smallest percentage in five years. Yet, we agree with this assessment of Wharton’s programming strengths by a recent graduate: “The strength of the finance program probably overshadows other departments, but the school is strong in marketing, real estate, entrepreneurship, and is growing its social impact focus.”

In fact, when U.S. News & World Report asked deans to name the best schools in specific disciplines in 2016, Wharton emerged as one of the very few that was in the top ten in all ten categories: No. 1 in finance, No. 2 in accounting, marketing, and operations, No. 2 in production and operations, No. 3 in management, No. 7 in entrepreneurship, No. 9 in information systems, and No. 10 in supply chain management and logistics. The deans also rank Wharton’s Executive MBA program first in the nation. That is quite an impressive list of expertise for a single school.

That’s why–despite the slight erosion in Wharton’s rankings in recent years–we agree with Dan Bauer of The MBA Exchange, a leading admissions firm, who put it this way: “A Wharton MBA education is like a ‘blue-chip stock’ with a long history of growth. Yes, the market’s enthusiasm and demand for any investment will ebb and flow over time, but in this case, the long-term ROI is rock solid.”

Wharton has recently rolled out a new MBA curriculum that promises life-long education to MBA graduates, along with more leadership and communication experiences. The basic program will still evolve around an intensive core in general management, plus the depth of 18 majors and breadth of nearly 200 electives. The school’s month long pre-term session includes a two-day off-campus retreat where students begin the process of learning to lead in a team environment. The first year’s focus is a core curriculum that students complete together in learning teams of six. The core gives students the foundation of broad management skills that are applicable to any industry.

During the summer months between the first and second years, students are busy with internships, career treks, and volunteer projects around the world. When they return, the second year curriculum offers flexibility to follow personal interests and career goals. Students select from a wide range of majors and electives that help to develop one or more areas of expertise. And there is also an added bonus that is unusual if not unique for Wharton MBA students: the chance to spend one semester in the Bay Area at the school’s San Francisco campus.

Rankings Analysis:

Big changes on rankings tend to get exaggerated attention, but often times it is smaller, less noticeable changes that could have greater meaning. Such is the case with Wharton’s rankings erosion in recent years. For the sixth time in seven years of P&Q rankings, for example, Chicago Booth has outperformed the Philadelphia giant in business education. In 2016, Kellogg has forced a two-way tie for forth in this year’s P&Q ranking. In a recent town hall meeting on campus, Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett addressed concern over the school’s declining rankings performance. “Correlation is not causation, but it is true that HBS and GSB spend considerable more money at the MBA level than we do and we suspect that’s true for Chicago Booth as well,” he told students. “We’ve talked about how important the financial aid is for the MBA program for you all and that’s a very big deal. The closer you are to the schools that you have more information, the less relevant the rankings are. We should just try to do the best job we can and it’ll work out in the rankings. I think it’s much harder to game at the top.”

Garrett acknowledged that Wharton is lagging peer schools on scholarship support, which other schools have been using to attract quality applicants who would have otherwise accepted Wharton offers, and that the school’s facilities are less than adequate today. “We seem to be out of space, and the indicator I have for that is the amount of time spent in my office trying to allocate 100 sq. ft., 200 sq. ft., which is enormous,” Garrett added. “I think that space challenges at Wharton are sufficiently serious right now. The other reality about the university is that if we turn the switch to build new buildings, it takes three to four years. If we debt finance the building, we need to take it out of our operation revenue. To be a 100% philanthropic building, we need to raise our fundraising campaign and there are other issues regarding this.”

In general, it would be hard for Wharton to decline much further because the school is simply too good on multiple dimensions to lost much more ground.

Contact Information

Jon M. Huntsman Hall,
3730 Walnut Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Admissions Office:
School Social Media:

About the Lauder Program

Founded by brothers Leonard and Ronald Lauder in 1983 in honor of their father, Joseph, the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management & International Studies provides a fully integrated business education to a new generation of leaders coming of age in a rapidly globalizing world.

The Lauder Institute prepares leaders to speak the global language of business, culture, and politics. Fluently. Our students are committed to preparing themselves for a world of specialization, change, and uncertainty. Lauder Institute faculty are not only outstanding teachers but also respected thought leaders whose research and publications sway thinking from academia to the business world.

Our rigorous academic program integrates excellent teaching in tailored arts and sciences coursework with advanced language study and cultural immersion experiences. The unique JD/MA or MBA/MA joint degree program at Lauder was the first of its kind and it has remained in a class by itself.

The Lauder Institute is a cosmopolitan hub at the University of Pennsylvania for students who are passionate about international management issues and global studies. Each class of 70 Lauder students becomes part of a small, tight-knit community. While truly a part of Wharton and Penn, Lauder students benefit from dedicated faculty who deliver a unique curriculum specifically designed to create a fully integrated learning experience.

Lauder students don’t just study the world from the classroom; they take the classroom to the world. Students begin their Lauder experience with four weeks on the Philadelphia campus followed by an eight-week summer immersion program in cultures abroad. The Global Knowledge Lab (GKL), a practical, yet analytical, research undertaking, also provides students with the opportunity to develop and merge their language, managerial, and cultural skills during travel to multiple global regions.

Like current Lauder Institute students, Lauder Institute alumni can be found around the world. Our graduates are and have been global leaders in their respective fields, from multinational management consulting firms to microfinance operations in emerging economies, from major media and entertainment companies to technology start-ups.

How the Lauder program works

Unlike a typical academic calendar beginning in the fall, the Lauder Institute program starts in May of the first year. Whether in combination with the MBA from Wharton or the JD from Penn Law, the Lauder program lasts 24 months.

Completing the required coursework at the Lauder Institute begins with choices. Students select one of six Programs of Concentration, which span five geographic regions and the Global Program. The Institute also offers instruction in ten languages.

Starting with an eight-week immersion abroad in their first summer and extending through two short-term immersions – plus an optional Culture Quest adventure – students at Lauder take deep and meaningful dives into different countries and cultures over the course of their two years here. Read more.


To apply to the Lauder Institute, applicants must submit either an MBA/MA application or a JD/MA application by the appropriate application deadline. The Lauder Institute does not offer the MA in International Studies as a stand-alone degree. The MA is available only through the Lauder Institute’s uniquely integrated and interdisciplinary joint-degree program.

Although the Lauder Institute’s portion of the application is virtually identical for both types of applicant, the application processes are distinct. Please click through to information for either MBA/MA applicants or JD/MA applicants to find a complete summary of application requirements.

For quick answers to frequently asked questions, please click through to the Lauder Admission FAQ.

What are we looking for?

Our students come to the Lauder Institute from a diverse assortment of countries, industries, and educational backgrounds. In the aggregate, they speak dozens of languages, and all enter with advanced knowledge of at least one language other than English.

Given the diversity of the applicant pool, the Admission Committee has no formula for success in the admissions process. Generally speaking, a successful application demonstrates the following:

  • Strong passion for international and global issues
  • Excitement about learning about new cultures and exploring the world
  • International experience through professional, academic, or personal experiences
  • Good command of one or more foreign languages, often through extensive academic study, professional or personal overseas experiences, or as a heritage speaker

For questions about admissions, please contact The Lauder Institute at lauderinfo@wharton.upenn.edu or at +1 215 898 1215.

Admissions Events

Every Thursday at 2pm from October through April, there is an on-campus information session for applicants interested in the Lauder program. In addition, the Lauder admissions team joins the Wharton admissions office in recruitment events throughout the year, around the globe.

To sign up for an admissions event, please visit the Wharton admissions events page here and note additional events are updated regularly.