Wharton Is a Good Fit for You If…
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. The school has spent millions building and touting its highly recognized programs in marketing, real estate, healthcare, international studies, and more, but the core strength and the interest of the majority of its students remain in the world of finance. It sends large numbers of graduates into investment banking, portfolio management, and corporate finance, and places a decent number into hedge funds, private equity, and even sales and trading—areas that some schools never place anyone. If you’re looking to go to Wall Street, Wharton is a natural for you to consider.
You are interested in entrepreneurship. Behind finance, entrepreneurship is the second-most-popular field of study at the Wharton School. About 50–60 graduates start companies coming out of Wharton every year, although schools like Stanford, MIT Sloan, and Harvard might give Wharton a run for its money on the entrepreneurship side. Nonetheless, it’s an area that is seeing more attention with Wharton’s renewed interest in innovation and social impact.
You’re from or want to transition into the healthcare industry. Wharton has one of the strongest Health Care Management programs of any business school, and it deeply integrates academic and professional development. Unlike other majors, students must choose the Health Care Management major when they apply to Wharton, so if this emphasis interests you, be sure to do your due diligence on this program well before applying. Health Care Management majors at Wharton have their own career counselors and recruiting resources focused in healthcare consulting, biotech, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, and insurance and government agencies. The Class of 2016 included 70 healthcare students, who are grouped together in their own cohort. Take note when you’re applying, however, that this program is targeted specifically for students who are sure they want to enter the healthcare industry post-MBA. The vast majority of participants (usually more than 90%) enter the industry upon graduation.
You have had, or want to have, internationally diverse work experiences. Wharton loves those multicultural stories in applicant backgrounds. Overseas work 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-week 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 admissions committee values the most. Whether you make your travel a cornerstone of your application depends both on the real nature of your experiences in that country and, even more importantly, whether it adds an international flavor to your stated future career goals. (For Wharton, it’s less the international experience itself that is valuable, but rather what it says about you. For example, are you the kind of person who not only enjoys visiting foreign countries, but is also eager to really experience them beyond staying cooped up in fancy hotels and sticking to traditional tourist paths?)
You’re a woman. Sorry, guys. In this case, women may have a slight advantage. While Wharton definitely does not have lower standards for its female applicants, it is actively courting high achievers. 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 its female students tend to be a little younger, having fewer years of work experience than the average males it admits. 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.
You’re 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 to the new undertaking you are interested in pursuing after Wharton.
You have a military background. Wharton is a very military-friendly school: 11% of the incoming class came from the combined military/government/nonprofit sector. If you’re applying as a veteran, the school’s targeted recruiting events and Veterans Club will be valuable resources for you. As a Yellow Ribbon School, Wharton is also committed to assisting veterans finance their graduate educations.