Every year we get countless inquiries from applicants who are certain they want to go to Wharton. Once we dig a little deeper to get at their reasons, though, many of them realize they still have a lot more homework to do. Without a doubt, Wharton is one of the top business schools in the world, and for good reason: Very few schools can match its reputation in finance, and in recent years Wharton’s pace of curriculum innovation actually seems to be accelerating.
But how do you know if Wharton really is a good fit for you? More to the point, how do you know if Wharton’s admissions committee will decide that you’re a good fit for Wharton? Today we look at five things that might make Wharton you’re first choice among MBA programs:
- You are interested in finance. We haven’t even mentioned it much so far because we figure everybody already knows: Wharton is a finance school. They’re quick to point out that they’re more than that, but the core strength, and the interest of the majority of their students, remains in the world of finance. They send large numbers of graduates into investment banking, portfolio management, and corporate finance, and place a few here and there into hedge funds, private equity, and even sales and trading — areas that some schools never place anyone. In fact, Wharton is one of the few schools that Goldman Sachs recruits at, so if you’re looking to go to Wall Street, this would be a natural first choice business school for you.
- You’re interested in entrepreneurship. Less commonly known is that behind finance, entrepreneurship is the most popular field of study at The Wharton School. Around 20 to 25 graduates start companies coming out of Wharton every year, and this number is increasing. Schools like Stanford, Harvard, and even Columbia might give Wharton a run for its money on the entrepreneurship side, but it’s an area that is seeing more attention with Wharton’s renewed interest in innovation and social good.
- You have had, or want to have, internationally diverse work experiences. Wharton loves those multicultural stories in applicant backgrounds. Ex-pat experience is definitely not required in order to gain an offer from Wharton, but it never hurts. Just don’t be tempted to try to overstate your two weeks of European vacation into a “multicultural experience”; oftentimes, vacation stories can come across as fairly routine, and that’s not the level of cultural exposure the adcom values the most. Any travel to foreign countries is worth mentioning; whether you make it a cornerstone of your application depends both on the real nature of your experiences in country, and even more important, any international flavor to your stated future career goals. (Making these kinds of strategic decisions about what stories to include and how to position them is obviously a key benefit of the Veritas Prep admissions consulting process.)
- You’re a woman. Sorry, guys: in this case, the women may have a slight advantage. While Wharton definitely does not have looser standards for its female applicants, it is actively courting high achievers, and strong women will likely be well received in the application process. While women need to have the same high qualifications as far as GPA, GMAT, and quality of work experience, Wharton has acknowledged that their female students tend to be a little younger, having fewer years of work experience than the average male they admit. So, younger female candidates should not hesitate to apply. In our experience at Veritas Prep, female candidates who gain admission to Wharton also are successful at other great schools — and almost across the board, they choose Wharton over the others.
- You are changing careers. Wharton is very welcoming to career changers. If you’re in this position, be sure to highlight the relevant skills and experience that you bring with you from your previous life, and show how you will apply those strengths in the new undertaking you are interested in pursuing after Wharton.
Today’s blog post was clipped from our Wharton Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Wharton or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!