10 Dec What I wish I had known when applying to Wharton


Hello from the other side! I can hardly believe that it has been an entire year since I applied to Wharton for my MBA. Now that I am here seeing the prospective students on campus, there are a few things I wish I had known as I was applying.

1. Current students actually want to talk to you and share their Wharton stories.

I applied for the Lauder dual degree program and had tons of questions! I remember how nervous I was before I picked up the phone to call the Lauder office and then was promptly transferred to the program’s director of admissions!  

I also thought I was taking a shot in the dark by asking to speak with a Wharton student when I reached out to WWIB, but I ended up talking to a second year student with a similar international background to me for 30+ minutes and got really excited about Wharton.

Now, as a first-year MBA student, I regularly make time to chat with prospective students on the phone or in person. We love talking about our experiences, so just ask!

2. There’s a reason the application asks you for your post-MBA plans.

Full disclosure: I don’t have that much insight into what happens behind closed doors in the admissions office. And it’s certainly true that once you arrive on campus for pre-term in August, no one will ever hold you to what you said you would do in your admissions essays.

But the truth is, when you get here, things happen fast. You’ll have more courses, clubs, and recruiting events to choose from than you can handle.

So here’s a tip: do think carefully about what you want to do when you get here, before you arrive. Reflecting on why I wanted an MBA – and I mean really reflecting – was the most important part of the application process for me. It helped me keep my priorities straight when I arrived, and believe me, there are plenty of distractions.  

It can be tempting to write what you think Admissions wants to hear, but being honest about your goals and ambitions is the best way for you and Wharton to determine if you’re a good fit for each other.

3. The team-based discussion is pretty fun.

As far as interviews go, the team-based discussion was by far the most enjoyable experience I’ve had. My group was tasked with designing a conference to be hosted at Wharton, and we settled on FinTech. I didn’t know much about FinTech, and in any other interview, it would have been pretty scary to brainstorm and discuss an unfamiliar topic. But in the discussion, I got to learn something new from the people around me and focus on working as a collaborative team. While everyone’s experience is unique, I would encourage you to relax and try to have fun — easier said than done — and let your personality come through.

The WWIB Admissions Committee is working hard to continue to make the applications process navigable and personal for you. Be on the lookout on our Facebook page, our website, and the Admissions website for exciting updates. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to us to be connected with current students who were in your shoes very recently!

–Julia Hoos, WG’18, WWIB Board, Admissions Committee

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