The Wharton School of Business Overview

The oldest collegiate school of business in the United States, this top MBA program provides students with a modern business education emphasizing global participation, innovation, and experience.


Snapshot of University of Pennsylvania MBA Program

A typical Wharton class is very international. Most Wharton students can speak at least one second language. In pursuit of a truly global perspective, Wharton provides students several ways to broaden their horizons further. In 11 exchange programs, students have the opportunity to venture abroad and develop their international knowledge. To further this, Wharton also offers the Global Immersion Program (GIP). The program devotes six weeks to intense study of a region, followed by a four-week trip to that region. Wharton applicants should emphasize international experience - or show ways to gain from the international options Wharton provides.

While Wharton is a top-tier Finance school, it also offers nineteen majors and approximately 200 electives - more than any other business school.

  • Specialties include: Real Estate, Health Care Management, Innovation in Technology, and Strategic Management.
  • Students can also create individual majors that combine cross-functional learning paths.
  • Total credits included in the tuition: 21
  • Executive MBA Program requires the same coursework as the Full-Time MBA program.


At the Small Business Development Center, students advise local business people. In the Venture Initiation Program (VIP), students compete for a $70,000 prize by creating a business plan (the prize is then used to help make the business plan a reality).

The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management & International Studies combines a Warton MBA, a Master's in International Studies from Penn's School of Arts & Sciences, and customized language training. The result of this combination is an intense 24-month program preparing leaders for the ever-evolving global economy. It requires fluency in one of eight languages in order to communicate and conduct business - and a passion for understanding cultural diversity and interests that go beyond business.

Wharton also offers a joint program with Johns Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (for students interested in a more traditional study abroad opportunity).

Another joint program is with Harvard's Kennedy School on Social Impact, Health Management, Engineering, and Real Estate.




MBA Application Elements - Wharton School of Business

Overall, the school is looking for: self-awareness, integrity, good ethics, creativity, perseverance, solid communication skills, emotional intelligence, team spirit, and leadership potential. Additionally, it values an applicant's contributions made to school, community, and other personal initiatives.

Wharton values professional experience and maturity in a candidate. Applicants can be denied simply on the basis of needing a few more years in the field. Candidates will need to make it clear to Wharton why the present is the right time to begin business school. The school sometimes advises applicants to gain additional relevant experience. That being said, the average student entering the full-time MBA Program in the fall of 2011 had five years of work experience.

In the meantime, Wharton accepts existing MBA holders (including holders of online degrees), with no minimum work experience required. Wharton is also historically friendly to applicants from non-traditional backgrounds.

  • The average GMAT score for the class of 2013 was 720, with the middle 50% of admitted students scoring between 660 and 770.
  • The Admissions committee pays close attention to analytical abilities sown through GMAT scores, GPA, and professional experience.
  • Although the school values high quantitative and analytical ability, it's more concerned about a student's ability to do necessary classroom work.

Application essays should do a very good job of introducing the candidate. It is imperative to be very clear about past accomplishments and goals.

Wharton seeks to determine a candidate's innovative character on the basis of past achievements, work experiences, and stated goals; though the admissions committee does not necessarily assume that past achievements will lead to future ones.

Wharton looks for candidates who fit with their record of achievement in innovation, who display entrepreneurial spirits, and who are interested in new ideas, business models, and methods for the future. Feedback sessions are limited (some students denied) but all re-applicants are given equal consideration.

The Admissions Committee reads each application three times:

  • The first reading is by a trained current second year graduate student.
  • The second reading is by an associate director of admissions, including all notes taken by the graduate student and any additional correspondence with applicant.
  • The first and second readers decide whether to grant an interview (if no, then the applicant must reapply).
  • Interviews are either conducted by an alumni or by an associate director, verbally recapping interview questions.
  • The third reading is by an associate director and the Director of Admissions who will make the final decision, with input from the first and second readers.
  • All interviews are blind and on an invite-only basis.

Wharton MBA Program - Key Statistics & Information

o    Full-Time Enrollment: 1,669
o    Average Undergraduate GPA: 3.56
o    Average GMAT Score: 720
o    Acceptance Rate: 18.8%
o    Average Starting Salary and Bonus: $137,311
o    Full-Time Graduates Employed at Graduation: 82.1%
o    Average Age of New Entrants: 27
o    Average Work Experience: Approximately 5 years
o    Founded: 1881
o    36% of incoming students receive awards
Admissions Website:

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