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The Wharton School

of the University of
Top Biz Schools Guide
Table of Contents | v
1 Introduction to Wharton
Program Highlights .
Wharton History . .
Brief History of the MBA
Student Demographics .
2 Academics
Academic Calendar .
Pre-Term . . . .
Student Body .
. . .
Teaching Methods.
Electives .
The Major
Required Curriculum.
Health Care Management Major .
Business & Public Policy Major
Curriculum Comparison
Grading System .
Faculty . . . .
Grade Non-Disclosure
Wharton West .
3 Special Programs
The Lauder Institute .
INSEAD Alliance .
Study Abroad . .
Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative .
4 Life at Wharton
Campus Spaces
Life in Philadelphia .
West Philadelphia/University City
The City of Philadelphia .
Housing . . . . . .
-- --
vi | Table of Contents
Clubs . . . .
5 Life After Wharton
Career Management .
Career Statistics .
Industry . . .
. Geography .
Recruiting/Interview Procedures .
Alumni Network .
6 Admissions
Visiting Wharton . . . . .
Application Requirements .
Deadlines . . . . . .
Interviewing with Wharton .
Dual & Joint Degree Programs .
7 Financing the Wharton MBA
Tuition & Expenses .
Financial Aid . . .
Loan Forgiveness .
8 Appendix
Essay Topic Analysis . . . .
Admissions Director Q&A .
Career Services Director Q&A
9 Further Resources
Publications . . . . .
Wharton Research Centers & Institutes .
Contact Information .
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1 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Introduction to Wharton
creased the demand for formal business educa-
tion, and after the war, U.S. veterans used their
G.I. Bill funding to finance their business studies
and move into management jobs.
By the 1950s, the MBA was a two-year, post-
graduate program that turned business into a
professional discipline on par with medicine and
law, and the degree was seen as a ticket to a
better, more secure career. The MBA continued
increasing in popularity, from 21,000 business
management masters degrees awarded in the
1969-1970 academic year to 139,000 in 2003-
2004. This rise came in conjunction with a
growing demand for MBA graduates in the work-
place and with rising starting salaries for those
graduating from top schools.
Since the early days of the MBA, there have
been conflicts over the purpose of a business
education. Initially, tension between a classi-
cal education in economics and more practical
training in business dominated the debate, and
in some ways this remains the central conflict.
Today, the tension between theory and practice
has increasingly taken center stage, as business
school professors have become more academic
and employers demand broader skill sets from
MBA graduates. Most business schools, howev-
er, have designed programs that offer students
exposure to both theory and practice intern-
ships, field work and school-based consulting
programs are widespread. The increase in aver-
age full-time work experience among entering
MBA students, as well as the growth in Execu-
tive MBA programs, ensures that classroom
theories are continually tested against real world
experiences. Regardless of these tensions, the
MBA remains one of the most popular gradu-
ate degrees in the United States and around the
Program Highlights
Quantitative Focus Wharton is known for
its strong emphasis on quantitative skills and
Global Focus Wharton has one of the highest
percentages of international students among
the leading programs. Many students cite the
schools cultural diversity as one of the reasons
they chose Wharton and one of the most valu-
able aspects of their experience. In addition to
the international makeup of the class, Wharton
has a wide array of global programs to provide
students with firsthand international experience.
Flexible Majors Whartons mandatory majors
give students a valuable opportunity to distin-
guish themselves in the recruitment process,
but are still flexible enough for students to tailor
their courses of study.
Health Care Management Wharton has one of
the nations oldest programs in health care man-
agement, which today offers a major and more
than a half-dozen joint and dual degree op-
tions in the field. Whartons affiliation with the
University of Pennsylvania allows the program
to draw on the substantial resources of Penns
Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Veterinary
Medicine and Nursing, as well as the interdisci-
plinary Leonard Davis Institute of Health Eco-
Brief History of the MBA
Originally conceived as an extra year of under-
graduate training in finance, economics and
accounting, business schools shifted around the
start of the 20th century to begin offering mana-
gerial training for the U.S.s new industrialized
companies (see Figure 1.1). Their prestige grew
throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s,
when the research and training generated by
business schools was seen as a key to the coun-
trys economic recovery. The unprecedented
managerial needs of World War II further in-
Wharton History
Endowed with a $100,000 donation from Joseph
Wharton, a Pennsylvania steel magnate, Whar-
ton was founded in 1881 as the first collegiate
business school in the U.S. The school added a
-- --
Introduction to Wharton | 2
Figure 1.1 Notable Developments in MBA History
MBA Degree
Business schools are established in the U.S. to
train managers for service in the new industrial-
ized economy, especially the railroad industry.
Academic focus is on accounting and bookkeep-
ing, and most professors are professionals in these
The Wharton School
Joseph Wharton gives $100,000 to the University
of Pennsylvania to establish a School of Finance
and Economy, which becomes the first U.S. busi-
ness school.
The first marketing class is offered in 1909, begin-
ning Whartons tradition of marketing instruction.
1910s Association of Collegiate Schools of Business is
founded in 1916 to provide resources for the grow-
ing number of U.S. business schools, which by
1919 enroll over 36,000 students.
On-campus recruiting by industry rises.
Curricula begin to include policy issues.
The research and training conducted by business
schools during the Great Depression is seen as key
to the U.S.s economic revival, significantly raising
public opinion of business schools.
World War II sharply increases demand for trained
managers, and WWII veterans return to U.S. busi-
ness schools in droves.
Most professors now hold Ph.D.s in business, and
academic research begins to form the basis of
business school curricula.
Strategic decision making and quantitative and
statistical analyses enter many curricula.
MBA starting salaries rise 5-10% per year at some
schools, even during stagflation.
Entrepreneurship enters most curricula.
1920s Wharton begins awarding the MBA degree in 1921.
Students are required to complete personality
audits to be matched with potential employers.
First woman earns a Wharton MBA in 1939. 1930s
1940s Whartons full-time faculty drops from 165 to 39
during World War II as faculty members are called
into service.
Dietrich Hall is built in 1952, giving Wharton its
first dedicated home.
1970s Wharton establishes the first MBA program in
Health Care Management in 1970 and opens its
Executive MBA program in 1975.
Wharton creates the first MBA/M.A. program in
international management through the Lauder In-
stitute of Management and International Studies.
SPIKE, the ground-breaking Wharton student in-
tranet, is launched in 1995.
The Wharton Business Plan Competition begins in
1998, and the Wharton Data Research Services
(WRDS), a web-based data management system
used by more than 50 leading business schools, is
released the same year.
Wharton West is established in 2000 in San Fran-
In 2002, Wharton opens Huntsman Hall, a state-
of-the-art academic building that brings the
schools undergraduate and MBA programs to-
gether under one roof.
Dean Patrick Harker steps down in 2007. He is
replaced by Thomas S. Robertson, former dean of
Emorys Goizueta Business School.
Business schools focus on leadership, ethics and
interpersonal skills, altering course content and in-
creasing classroom emphasis on working in teams.
High-profile corporate scandals prompt calls for
greater ethics education in business schools.
By 2004, 447,000 students are enrolled in U.S.
business programs.
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3 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
graduate division and an MBA program in 1921.
Wharton consistently expanded its offerings
over the decades, adding courses in account-
ing, business law, industrial management,
insurance, marketing and transportation to its
original courses in economic history and public
finance & administration. In the 1960s, Whar-
ton founded the interdisciplinary Leonard Davis
Institute of Health Economics, and in 1970, the
MBA program in Health Care Management was
established. The Executive MBA program, which
shares the same curriculum and professors as
its full-time counterpart, began in 1975, allow-
ing more experienced executives to benefit from
a Wharton education as well.
Wharton created the first MBA/M.A. program
in International Management in 1983, adminis-
tered through the Lauder Institute of Manage-
ment and International Studies. By the end of
the decade, Wharton had introduced the Global
Immersion Program for second-year MBAs, as
well as creating the Wharton Global Consulting
Practicum and the Faculty International Semi-
nars to provide both students and professors
with opportunities for hands-on work with inter-
national business leaders.
The 1990s saw Wharton taking the lead in tech-
nological developments. SPIKE, the Wharton
student intranet, created a one-stop resource
for electronic communication and information
at Wharton and ranked 5th in InfoWorlds list of
the 100 most innovative IT applications when it
launched in 1995. The Wharton Research Data
Services (WRDS), released in 1998 by the Com-
puting and Information Technology Department,
continues to provide business schools around
the world with a way to easily retrieve informa-
tion from a wide variety of relevant sources.
Dean Patrick Harker served from 1999 to 2007,
bringing a commitment to maximizing busi-
ness education through the development of
technology-enabled learning tools. In 2000,
Harker founded an Executive MBA program in
San Francisco, nicknamed Wharton West, that
was linked through videoconferencing and online
communication to Whartons Philadelphia cam-
pus. In 2001, the school established its current
alliance and exchange program with INSEAD in
Fontainebleau and Singapore, further expanding
Whartons international reach. With the dedica-
tion of its state-of-the-art academic building,
Huntsman Hall, in 2002, Whartons facilities
have come to be considered among the best in
the nation.
In the summer of 2007, Whartons current dean,
Thomas Robertson, announced an ambitious set
of goals for the school balanced on three pil-
lars: driving innovation, reinforcing the schools
international orientation and positioning Whar-
ton as a force for good in the business world.
In addition to creating new vice-deanships for
innovation, global initiatives and social impact,
Robertson has recently overseen significant revi-
sions to the MBA curriculum for greater flexibil-
ity, to be implemented beginning with the Class
of 2013.
Student Demographics
In the fall of 2010, 817 students entered the
Wharton Schools MBA program a significant
drop from the schools high of 862 in the fall of
2009. Nonetheless, Wharton remains one of the
largest of the leading business schools, second
in its peer
group only to
The size of the school makes
the 900-stu-
for pretty diverse experiences
dent MBA
among the student body you
program at
can really see that in our case
Harvard (see
discussions. Wharton 09
Figure 1.2).
The Wharton Class of 2012 has a median GMAT
score of 720, with the middle 50% of scores
spanning an unusually wide range from 650 to
770. This latter statistic suggests that, while
Wharton has met with great success in build-
ing an academically talented class, it also tends
to be more friendly than some peer programs
Figure 1.2 Size of Incoming Class
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Introduction to Wharton | 4
Figure 1.3 Undergraduate Majors
Humanities &
Social Sciences
Math & Science
Unlike other types of professional schools, no-
tably medicine and law, that have seen higher
numbers of female students applying and enroll-
ing, leading MBA programs still receive signifi-
cantly fewer applications from women than from
men and must therefore confront regular gender
imbalances in their student bodies. However,
Wharton has consistently maintained a class
of 40% women over the past several years.
This represents both the highest percentage of
women in the schools history and the highest
percentage at
any leading
I was just floored at the sense
MBA program
of community when I went to the
(see Figure
Wharton Welcome Weekend. By
how much the students seemed
Given the
prevalence of
business and
the value
of diverse
cultural and
social per-
spectives in the classroom and around campus,
most leading business programs are committed
to building classes with students of many na-
tionalities. Students representing 68 countries
are enrolled in Whartons Class of 2012, indicat-
ing a great diversity within the schools interna-
tional student population.
A closer look at the student bodies at leading
programs reveals that Wharton boasts one of
the largest populations of international students
among its peers (see Figure 1.5). In the Whar-
Figure 1.5 Citizenship
to genuinely care about their
other students, how generous
they were with their time, how
excited they were about being
at Wharton. There were very
different people there, and that
was definitely the main reason I
went to Wharton. Wharton 12
to applicants with lower GMAT scores. While
more than half of Wharton students have a
background in business, engineering, math or
science, a significant 44% of the Class of 2012
have undertaken less traditional pre-MBA stud-
ies in the humanities & social sciences (see
Figure 1.3).
Though it was once standard practice for stu-
dents to be admitted to MBA programs im-
mediately after college, many of the leading
programs now express a distinct preference
for applicants with full-time work experience.
Only 26% of Whartons Class of 2012 entered
with three or fewer years of work experience;
the median experience is four years. Students
with fewer than two years of work experience
are often part of the schools submatriculation
program, which allows selected undergraduates
from Whartons B.S. in Economics program to
begin the MBA in their senior year.
Figure 1.4 Gender Distribution
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5 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Figure 1.6 Minority Students
students in general, given Whartons large class
Another indicator of diversity in the student
body of U.S. business schools is the number
of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who
identify as members of minority racial or ethnic
groups, a categorization that usually refers to
students of African-American, Hispanic/Latino,
Asian-American and Native American descent.
Wharton enrolls a large percentage of minority
students compared to its peers, with 32% of the
Class of 2012 identifying as members of one or
more of these groups second only to the per-
centage of minority students at Columbia (see
Figure 1.6). This figure represents an increase
of three percentage points over the Class of
2011 and six over the Class of 2010, suggesting
that the schools increased efforts to reach out
to minority applicants have met with success.
While these demographic statistics provide a
numerical perspective on the Wharton student
body, visiting the school, talking with current
students and sitting in on classes will enable ap-
plicants to better understand how each of these
facts affects the programs character.
ton Class of 2012, 36% of students are interna-
tional citizens. While this figure is a drop from
the schools high of 40% international students
in the Class of 2010, it still represents one of
the highest percentages of international stu-
dents among U.S. MBA programs as well as
one of the largest populations of international
-- --
Academics | 6
Figure 2.1 Academic Calendar 2011-2012
Pre-TermAugust 1September 1, 2011
Fall Semester
Term beginsSeptember 7, 2011
Q1 courses endOctober 18, 2011
Exam periodOctober 2026, 2011
Q2 courses beginOctober 27, 2011
Last day of classesDecember 9, 2011
Exam periodDecember 1421, 2011
Spring Semester
Core courses beginJ anuary 9, 2012
Elective courses beginJ anuary 11, 2012
Q3 courses endFebruary 28, 2012
Exam periodFebruary 29March 2, 2012
Q4 courses beginMarch 12, 2012
Last day of classesApril 24, 2012
Exam periodApril 30May 8, 2012
GraduationMay 1314, 2012
fourth semester if they need to take additional
summer courses in order to graduate.
Wharton offers a broad-based, quantitatively
rigorous curriculum with strong programs in
healthcare and public policy, as well as manage-
ment, marketing and many other fields.
Students in the Wharton MBA program must
complete 19 credit units (abbreviated cu) of
graduate-level courses, of which up to 4cu may
be taken outside of Wharton. One credit unit is
equivalent to a full-semester class that meets
for roughly three hours per week. The school
makes extensive use of 0.5cu courses, especial-
ly in the core curriculum; these courses typically
meet twice a week for only half of the semester.
Whartons tuition and credit load policy differs
from its peers, in that students may take as
many as 21cu over the course of the two-year
program, but do not face limits on their credit
loads in any given semester or year.
Academic Calendar
Like most leading business schools, Wharton op-
erates on a two-semester system. Each semes-
ter is further divided into two quarters to ac-
commodate shorter core courses and electives.
Fall Semester begins in early September, with
half-semester courses ending after roughly
seven weeks of instruction. Final exams take
place in late October for Quarter 1 courses and
in mid-December for Quarter 2 courses and
full-semester electives. Spring Semester class-
es begin in the second week of January, with
Quarter 3 exams taking place in early March and
those for Quarter 4 courses and full-semester
electives in early May (see Figure 2.1).
Most Wharton students complete the MBA in
four semesters, or two years, pursuing a sum-
mer internship between their first and second
years. While Wharton does offer a limited num-
ber of courses as part of the University of Penn-
sylvanias Summer Sessions, making it possible
to compress the MBA into only one and a half
years, the administration discourages students
from pursuing this option. Students are, how-
ever, permitted to delay graduation after the
Many schools offer pre-term and orientation
programs for first-year students prior to the
start of the academic year. While orienta-
tions are usually required three- or four-day
programs focused on meeting classmates and
becoming acclimated to the campus, pre-term
programs include an academic component,
which may be anything from placement exams
to leadership seminars. Orientations are always
mandatory, though pre-term programs may be
optional, depending on the nature of the activi-
ties taking place.
Wharton offers a mandatory and unusually
extensive month-long pre-term program be-
fore the start of first-year classes. Incoming
students choose from among several levels of
coursework in accounting, statistics, mathemat-
ics, microeconomics and finance designed to
bring all students up to the required level of
understanding in these areas before fall classes
begin. Students can self-register for Basic,
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7 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Secondary or Advanced levels of each pre-term
course, and can switch between levels with rela-
tive ease during the program. Students who
already have strong backgrounds in particular
fields are eligible at the end of pre-term to take
waiver exams to place out of all but three core
subjects (see sections The Core and Curricu-
While the pre-term courses provide a compre-
hensive overview of several quantitative subject
areas, they all assume that students are already
familiar with college-level calculus. Wharton is
very clear that it is the students responsibility
to ensure an adequate level of mathematical
knowledge before starting their Fall Semes-
ter classes.
Some view the long pre-term
who have
as a negative because youre on
never taken
campus earlier and have less of
a college-
a vacation. But for me, it was a
level calculus
great opportunity to meet people
course must
and feel comfortable with the
school environment before all the
acquire this
second-years came to campus.
Wharton 12
before arriving
at Wharton.
In addition to these refresher courses, Wharton
offers special courses and seminars during pre-
term on computing technology, trading simula-
tions, communication skills and other topics, as
well as offering short language courses. Few
other business schools offer pre-term activities
in such a wide range of fields. Wharton employs
online auction system, also used for elective
course and job interview sign-ups, to manage
enrollment in these optional pre-term activi-
ties. Students report that this pre-term auction
serves as a trial run to help them learn the ins
and outs of the Wharton bidding system, and
appreciate the opportunity to work out effective
bidding strategies before real course and inter-
view auctions begin.
Finally, Pre-Term concludes with a two-day
Learning Team Retreat, held off-campus in up-
state New York, which focuses on team-building
and leadership activities. The retreat is intend-
ed to introduce first-year students to the other
members of their learning team and give them
a chance to get to know one another and begin
collaborating before the academic year begins.
Student Body
To make it easier for students to form connec-
tions and build an academic support network
within Whartons large class, the school divides
its first-years into four clusters of approxi-
mately 210 students each who share the same
team of professors in their core courses. These
clusters are then broken into three cohorts of
mately 70
You spend a lot of time with
your cohort and you really get
each who
to know them well; some of
take all their
my closest friends were on my
core courses
learning team. Wharton 09
Within the
cohorts, stu-
dents are assigned to learning teams of five or
six first-years (see Figure 2.2). Though assign-
ment to these groupings is technically random,
the MBA Program Office works to ensure that
each reflects the diversity of the class as a
whole. Each learning team, for instance, must
include at least one female and one interna-
tional student.
Each cluster is assigned to a team of professors
who work together to teach the core curriculum
to their three cohorts an interesting aspect of
the schools approach to academics and commu-
nity-building. Professors for each cluster plan
out their core courses together, which means
Figure 2.2 Structure of the Student Body
Students per class
Clusters per class
Cohorts per cluster
Learning teams per cohort
Students per learning team
-- --
Academics | 8
they are aware of what material students have
learned in other courses and can use or refer-
ence this material in their own classes.
Cohorts form the backbone of the first year
experience at Wharton. Because these groups
take all of their courses together, a strong social
bond often develops among students, and co-
horts frequently spend time together outside of
academic obligations.
A students closest partners in the first year,
though, are the five or six members of their
learning teams. These teams first meet at the
off-campus Learning Team Retreat that marks
the end of pre-term and continue working to-
gether on group projects in their core classes,
providing hands-on learning opportunities in
how to build and maintain an effective team
dynamic. Teams are guided by second-year
Leadership Fellows who provide feedback and
help solve any conflicts that arise.
Wharton views the learning team experience as
a laboratory for teamwork. Teams are assigned,
rather than self-selected, in order to mimic the
reality of the workplace, and through a year of
working in these teams, Wharton students learn
to navigate interpersonal dynamics, deadlines
and crises to build a successful team.
As students move into their second year, the
learning team structure gives way to class
groupings governed by academic interest rather
than by assigned teams.
Wharton offers many opportunities for students
to test their classroom skills through hands-on
experience. Two notable programs in this vein
are the Al-
fred West Jr.
When people hear thatLearning
you went to Wharton, theyand the
automatically know you haveApplication
a certain quant grasp. In myProject. Pro-
summer internship, people wouldfessors from
say, Oh, you went to Wharton,all depart-
you understand this.ments use
Wharton 11the
Labs technol-
learning materials, developed by faculty and
industry leaders, to incorporate computer simu-
lations into their courses. These tool allow
students to apply the concepts they learn in
the classroom to real-world business situations
ranging from airfare competition to portfolio
fund management.
The Field Application Project, classified as an
elective in the Management Department, takes
Whartons experiential focus a step further.
Teams of students in this course are assigned
to work as project consultants for client compa-
nies, applying theories they learned in the class-
room to solve problems their clients face. Stu-
dents usually devote 200 hours apiece to their
field projects between November and mid-April.
Required Curriculum
Most of the first-year academic experience at
Wharton revolves around the core curriculum.
The schools current core, which will remain
in place for
the 2011-
The core curriculum was a big2012 aca-
reason that I chose Wharton.demic year,
I came from a non-traditionalis designed
background, so I didnt have ato provide
business skill set. I was terrifieda general
of Excel and didnt really knowmanagement
what financial statements were.background
But it is very satisfying at thethat spans
end of this first year to see howthe fields of
things have come together.economics,
Wharton 12ethics, fi-
nance, finan-
cial and cost
accounting, government and the legal environ-
ment of business, leadership, management,
marketing, operations management, statistics
Teaching Methods
As at most of the leading programs, Wharton
professors use a mixture of lectures, case stud-
ies, group
At Wharton, whether you are in
problem sets,
a management or a marketing
class, everything is very data-
driven. So you learn to back
up anything you say with hard
and pre-
numbers and state-of-the-art
research in the field.
to convey
Wharton 12
course ma-
terial. The
primary methods of instruction in each course
are included in the course description, allowing
students to choose elective courses that best
match their preferred method of learning.
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9 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Figure 2.3 Comparison Between New and Previous Wharton Core Curricula
Content Areas
Finance and Global Economy
Managing the Global Enterprise
Corporate Reporting and Control
Microeconomics: Markets, Strategies and Government Policy
Understanding and Serving Customers
Management of Operations, Innovation, Information, and
Decisions under Uncertainty
Required Courses
Statistics for Business and Economics
Ethics & Responsibility
and strategy. It is typically worth 10cu in total,
though some well-prepared students may need
to complete only 9.5cu. Students with relevant
experience are permitted to waive all but three
core courses based on pre-term examinations or
previously earned credentials; however, Whar-
tons online student portal, SPIKE, reports that
most students waive just one course, and ap-
proximately 35 percent of students waive none.
In November 2010, however, the Wharton facul-
ty voted to make a number of significant chang-
es to the MBA program, including an overhaul of
the first-year core curriculum. The majority of
these changes will be implemented during the
2012-2013 academic year.
Whartons revised set of core courses, to be
called the Required Curriculum, reflects an
increased emphasis on analytical and communi-
cation skills.
Students will
The school has really taken
now take a
steps to make the Required
full semes-
Curriculum more flexible than it
ter each of
currently is. Theyre letting us
take more electives during the
and applied
first year, but still maintaining a
strong core. Wharton 11
rather than
the half-
length courses they were required to take in the
previous core (see Figure 2.3). Meanwhile, in
response to feedback from recruiters about the
skills they consider most important in a poten-
tial MBA hire, the programs mandatory com-
munications unit will be expanded from 6 to 12
class meetings, and a writing component will be
Rather than prescribing specific courses that
students may waive based on credentials or
Applied Economics
content knowledge, the new required curriculum
designates six broad content areas Account-
ing, Applied Economics, Finance, Management,
Marketing and Operations each of which will
offer students at least two options for combin-
ing semester- and quarter-long courses to earn
the required number of credit units. Another of
Whartons recent policy changes, which permits
each department to make changes to its course
offerings without requiring a full-faculty vote,
may result in more choice and more dynamic
course offerings within each of these areas for
students entering in 2012 and after.
Overall, the new Required Curriculum is shorter
than the current MBA core by one credit unit.
The approved changes will also make schedul-
ing more flexible for MBA students. Whereas
current students are required to complete all
core courses during the first year, those in the
Class of 2014 and later will be required to take
only 3.5 credit units of coursework together with
their cohorts, and will be able to fulfill the bal-
ance of the Required Curriculum in either their
first or second year, freeing up more elective
slots during their first year of enrollment.
The second year at Wharton focuses on elective
courses and completion of a major. Electives
can be taken through Whartons 11 academic
departments (see Figure 2.4) or through any
one of Penns 11 other graduate and profession-
al schools. The university singles out the Fels
Institute of Government, the Graduate School of
Education, the School of Social Policy & Practice,
the School of Medicine and the Law School as
schools whose courses tend to mesh particularly
well with the MBA course of study.
-- --
Academics | 10
Figure 2.4 Number of Available Electives
Number of
Elective SubjectCourses
Business and Public Policy16
Health Care Management15
Insurance and Risk Management13
Legal Studies and Business Ethics16
Operations & Information Management 31
Real Estate10
Wharton encourages students to use some of
their elective credits to pursue language study
at the advanced or business level from the Penn
Language Center, and also offers specialized
English-language programs for international
business students. Students are welcome to
take elective courses beyond the programs
requirements, but do incur additional tuition
charges for courses over the 21cu maximum.
elective courses makes it easy to double-major,
since the same course may fulfill requirements
for two majors. Most majors require students
to complete a minimum of five credit units in
the subject,
though re-
quirementsThe fact that you
have to
vary slightlydeclare a major
here is a bit
by depart-unique. Some
people get a little
ment (seeturned off by that:
What if I
Figure 2.5).dont fit into one
of the majors?
But they offer 17 of them, and
Studentsthe school is very
flexible in
tend to speakallowing you to
create your own.
favorably of Wharton 11
the major
reporting that the administration and professors
work closely with students to identify or develop
an appropriate major. In addition, many stu-
dents see the major as a useful tool for defining
and branding their academic knowledge during
the recruitment process.
Health Care Management Major
Wharton has the oldest healthcare program of
any U.S. business school, as well as one of the
strongest. Drawing its faculty members from
Penns business, medical and nursing schools,
as well as from among the ranks of practicing
healthcare professionals, the Health Care Man-
agement major takes an interdisciplinary ap-
proach to this rapidly changing field. More than
any other major at the school, the Health Care
Management program seeks to integrate class-
room theory with professional development and
field work.
Students interested in the Health Care Manage-
ment major must indicate their interest as part
of their initial application to the school, instead
of declaring their major in the second year as
with all other programs. All majors are required
to take The Health Services System as part of
their five required credit units. Students gener-
ally consider this course to be an excellent over-
view of the industry, though they comment that
its scope may be too ambitious for the limited
amount of time spent in class. A Field Applica-
tion Project is also required of all Health Care
Management majors, in which teams of students
spend a semester working with a healthcare-
related firm to solve a business problem.
Like most of Whartons academic departments,
the Health Care Management major offers stu-
The Major
Wharton is one of the only leading business
schools to mandate the completion of a major.
While all students must choose at least one ma-
jor, students are permitted to double-major, pur-
sue a joint major, or propose an individualized
major that reflects their professional interests.
Students report that the number of cross-listed
Figure 2.5 Majors at Wharton

Business and Public Policy
Entrepreneurial Management
Environmental and Risk Management
Health Care Management
Information: Strategy and Economics
Insurance and Risk Management
Marketing and Operations
Multinational Management
Operations and Information Management
Organizational Effectiveness
Real Estate
Strategic Management
Individualized Major
-- --
11 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Figure 2.6 Course Type as Percentage of Credits Required to Graduate
Note: Mandatory classes are required for graduation and cannot be waived under any circumstances. Conditionally-required courses are part
of the core curriculum but may be waived by exam or credential or substituted with other coursework.
dents an opportunity to learn from recognized
leaders within the field. Among the most promi-
nent are Professor Kevin Volpp, whose work
explores how financial incentives can be used to
reduce smoking and obesity, and Professor Mark
Pauly, whose research into healthcare reform
influenced the idea of an individual mandate.
Students can additionally network with aca-
demics and professionals in the field through
the Health Care Management programs annual
February conference one of Whartons largest
which draws more than 700 attendees each
Though in
Im in the Health Care program,
past years all
and Ive found that the alumni
Health Care
network and contacts within the
program are phenomenal.
majors were
Wharton 09
placed in the
same cohort,
students in
the program are now partially integrated into
the other cohorts, with one or two healthcare-
centric learning teams within each cohort. This
system provides ample opportunity for Health
Care Management majors to get to know stu-
dents outside the major and gain exposure to
other industries, but may provide fewer oppor-
tunities for networking with other Health Care
students than the previous system.
Business & Public Policy Major
Whartons Business and Public Policy major is
unusual among the leading business schools.
The program is designed to help future private
sector leaders understand and work with gov-
ernment entities, and to enable future public
policy makers to formulate effective policies.
Peer school Stanford offers a similar certificate
in public management, and HBS students have
the opportunity to cross-register for courses at
Harvards John F. Kennedy School of Govern-
ment, but Wharton is the only leading school to
offer a major in the field.
Curriculum Comparison
While each of the leading MBA programs or-
ganizes its program around a core curriculum,
the structure and flexibility of these cores vary
significantly. By comparing the number of core
courses a school requires to that schools overall
graduation requirements, prospective students
can determine what proportion of their studies
will be structured by the school and what pro-
portion might be spent pursuing topics of their
own choice. This flexibility may be enhanced by
the possibility of waiving core courses or sub-
-- --
Academics | 12
stituting them for electives; courses that can be
waived in this manner are considered condition-
ally required.
Whartons new Required Curriculum bears strik-
ing similarities to the core curriculum in place
at peer school Chicago Booth (see Figure 2.6).
Both schools now require students to take a
handful of mandatory courses dealing with key
skills such as leadership, ethics and commu-
nications. All other core courses, though, can
be selected from a menu of qualifying op-
tions, which effectively means that students can
choose the courses that best fit their goals and
opt out of those they do not wish to take. No
waivers are necessary at either school.
As there are only three courses at Wharton
that cannot be waived, Whartons percentage
of mandatory classes is comparatively low, and
the new Required Curriculum may therefore be
considered rather flexible. This stands in sharp
contrast to the core curricula at peer schools
Tuck, where only 5 percent of core courses may
be waived, and Harvard, which does not permit
students to waive core courses for any reason.
A comparison with the MIT Sloan core curricu-
lum is a bit more ambiguous. Because its core
is condensed into one semester, MIT permits
its students to spend fully 75 percent of their
business school tenure taking electives. How-
ever, because most courses in this condensed
core are mandatory, not conditionally required,
students do not have as much freedom to tailor
their core studies as they do at Wharton.
Grade Non-Disclosure
Grade Non-Disclosure (GND) is a policy that
prohibits students from disclosing their grades
to recruiters during the interview process, as
well as prohibiting potential employers from in-
quiring about students academic performance.
Wharton had a popular GND policy in place for
over a decade, and many students and alumni
credited it for contributing to the collaborative
academic environment on campus. Since 2006,
however, the administrations official policy has
been to allow recruiters to inquire about aca-
demic performance and to encourage students
to disclose their grades, saying that such dis-
closure is a legal right and it is Wharton policy
to protect this right.
This change has found little support among the
student body, and the administration and Whar-
ton Graduate Association (WGA) have frequently
clashed over the issue. The WGA spearheads an
official student-led initiative that affirms grade
non-disclosure as a collective norm and asks
students to voluntarily refrain from disclosing
their GPAs and class ranks to employers. An-
nual student referendums run since then have
shown overwhelming support for this initiative,
despite the administrations policy shift.
As at most leading schools, the Wharton faculty
attracts a full slate of well-known and highly
regarded experts in their fields. The school em-
ploys over 200 full-time faculty members across
its 11 departments. Of these, approximately
are women
All the professors get a pretty
and 100 are
much unlimited budget to take
described by
students out to lunches and
Wharton as
dinners. So you do get a lot of
face time with professors, and
al. Based on
they are pretty proactive about
faculty size,
reaching out. Wharton 11
ment is the
schools largest department by far, boasting 75
faculty members; the next largest, Finance, has
59. Other large departments include Market-
ing and Operations & Information Management,
with over 40 faculty members each.
Contact information, research profiles and links
to recent articles by professors are available
through the Wharton website. A few of Whar-
Grading System
Wharton employs a traditional U.S. letter grad-
ing scale running from A (4.00) through F
(0.00) with plus and minus distinctions. Though
the school does not use forced curves, the aver-
age grade in courses of 20 students or more
may not exceed a B+ (3.33). Students who fall
in the bottom 10 percent of a given course are
reported to the MBA Program Office; those who
consistently perform poorly may be placed on
academic probation.
Overall, students say that the environment at
Wharton allows students friendliness and team-
oriented nature to come out, commenting that
students tend to collaborate enthusiastically in
most classes. This may not be surprising, since
all members of a learning team typically receive
the same grade on group projects.
-- --
13 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
tons most frequently mentioned professors are
profiled below.
Stuart Diamond
Practice Professor of Legal Studies and Adjunct
Professor of Law, Diamond has consulted on
deals and strategies for start-ups, Fortune 500
and govern-
Stuart Diamonds Negotiations
ments in
seminar was the most interesting
the U.S. and
and valuable experience I
around the
have ever had in a teaching
world. Part
environment. Wharton 09
of a Pulitzer
investigative reporting team at the New York
Times and manager of several entrepreneurial
ventures, Diamond brings a wealth of real-world
experience to the classroom. His Negotiations
course is famous among Wharton students, and
spots in the course are prized. Students, who
call him the master, say the course lives up to
its advanced billing, with demonstrable applica-
tions in areas ranging from mergers and acquisi-
tions to negotiating discounts at restaurants. Jeremy Siegel
One of the most widely known and respected
teachers at Wharton, students describe Siegel
as a rock star in the finance world. The Wash-
ington Post named his landmark Stocks for the
Long Run one of the top 10 investment books
of all time, and BusinessWeek, Financial Times,
and Barrons named The Future for Investors:
Why the Tried and True Triumph Over the Bold
and New one of the best books of 2005. Stu-
dents consider him one of the must-have
professors at Wharton, in large part because of
his deep passion for macroeconomics. Siegel
begins each class by displaying live Bloomberg
data and providing commentary and context for
the information, something students cite as one
of their most valuable and illuminating experi-
ences at Wharton.
Karl Ulrich
Currently serving as Whartons Vice Dean of
Innovation, CIBC Professor of Entrepreneurship
and e-Commerce Karl Ulrich is regarded as an
exciting and innovative classroom teacher and
a perennial winner of Wharton teaching awards.
Each year, his elective course Problem Solving,
Design, and System Improvement founds and
operates its own entrepreneurial venture, us-
ing the start-up environment as a learning lab
for implementing course concepts. In fall 2004,
students in the course developed and launched
TerraPass, a product which helps customers
compensate for car pollution by investing cus-
tomer fees in energy reduction and conserva-
tion endeavors. The project, named one of the
most noteworthy ideas of 2005 by The New York
Times, was funded by a $5,000 interest-free
loan from Ulrich and is co-owned by the Uni-
versity of Pennsylvania and the students them-
selves. In addition to his classroom start-ups,
Ulrich holds 20 patents and is the founder and
manager of Xootr LLC, maker of high-perfor-
mance personal transportation devices.
Wharton West
In the year 2001, the Wharton School opened
an additional campus in San Francisco, called
Wharton West. Home to a Wharton Executive
MBA program and non-degree executive edu-
cation courses, both of which share professors
with the Wharton full-time program professors
fly from Philadelphia to San Francisco to teach
its courses Wharton West provides a strong
EMBA option for West Coast executives and
expands Whartons presence in important Cali-
fornia markets and industries.
Classrooms in the Folger Building, the main
Wharton West facility in San Franciscos financial
district, were renovated in 2001 to match the
technological standards of Whartons Hunts-
man Hall in Philadelphia. All classrooms on both
campuses are connected to one another via vid-
eoconferencing technology. While Wharton stu-
dents in Philadelphia are unlikely to spend time
at Wharton West in the course of completing
their full-time MBAs, the presence of Wharton in
San Francisco provides a focal point for the over
12,000 Wharton MBA and undergraduate alumni
around the Pacific Rim, which in turn makes it
easier for students targeting a Bay Area job to
strengthen their networks.
-- --
Special Programs | 14
Special Programs
Figure 3.1 Tracks at the Lauder Institute

Arabic (Middle East)

French (Europe)
German (Europe)
Hindi (India)
J apanese (East Asia)
Mandarin (East Asia)
(Latin America)
Russian (Europe)
(Latin America)
The Lauder Institute
The Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Manage-
ment and International Studies, one of Whar-
tons most distinctive and prestigious special
programs, aims to provide its students with
the skills they need to do business in foreign
languages and cultures. Founded in 1983, the
program gives Wharton MBA students, as well
as J.D. candidates from the University of Penn-
sylvania Law School, the opportunity to earn a
joint M.A. in International Studies from Penns
School of Arts & Sciences.
Advanced language study is a hallmark of the
Lauder program. In applying to Lauder, stu-
dents indicate their interest in one of nine
tracks, each comprising a language and a region
of interest, and then pursue advanced study of
that track through the institutes Language and
Culture Program (see Figure 3.1). Acceptance
at Lauder is predicated on advanced proficiency
in ones chosen language, and students are
expected to reach fluency over the two years of
the program. Students whose assessed profi-
ciency is either too low or too high at the time
of application are not eligible for admission.
In addition to language coursework, the Lan-
guage and Culture Program encourages stu-
dents to improve their understanding of the cul-
ture, politics and history of their chosen region,
a process that culminates in a two-month Sum-
mer Immersion in that region. This immersion
includes language instruction, intensive cultural
activities and meetings with the leadership of
multinational companies. An individual focusing
on Japan, for instance, would visit firms in Tokyo
and Kyoto and participate in cultural workshops,
while one on the Russian track would travel to
Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kiev. Students also
work in five-person teams to complete a Sum-
mer Research Project, which takes the form of a
five-page article to be published in Knowledge@
Whartons Lauder Global Business Insight Report
The capstone of the Lauder program is the Glob-
al Knowledge Lab, through which students fulfill
their M.A. writing requirement by completing
an extensive research project with classmates
from several different tracks. Each student on
the team is responsible for traveling abroad
to conduct fieldwork in their country of focus.
Recent projects have explored food consumption
patterns in Mexico and Russia, women entre-
preneurs in China and South America, and the
viability of electric cars in the global economy.
To round out their course of study at Lauder,
students must take two full credit units from
Whartons list of international electives.
The Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings
several executives to campus each year to
present their experiences to students, provides
Lauder students with additional opportunities
for learning. After each formal lecture, students
have the opportunity to meet with the speakers
for dinner and discussion. Past speakers have
included Tom Bendheim, the current director of
Spectrum Capital Group; A.G. Lafley, the Presi-
dent and CEO of Procter & Gamble; and Lady
Barbara S. Thomas Judge, the Executive Chair-
man of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy
Authority. The lecture series is dedicated to
compiling a wealth of firsthand accounts of how
business decisions are made in an international
context an effort bolstered by Lauders pod-
cast and blog, which conducts interviews with
business leaders and alumni.
INSEAD Alliance
Launched in 2001, the Wharton-INSEAD Alliance
brings together the resources of two leading
management education programs to offer stu-
-- --
15 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
dents business education and research opportu-
nities across four campuses. Through collabora-
tive projects across Whartons U.S. campuses
in Philadelphia and San Francisco and INSEADs
campuses in France and Singapore, the two
schools leverage their alliance to combine the
intellectual capital of their more than 400 fac-
ulty members. Joint endeavors include an MBA
student exchange, a faculty exchange, and joint
research and teaching projects through the Alli-
ance Center for Global Research and Education.
In addition, the Alliance allows for Ph.D. student
collaboration, co-branded executive education
courses and joint alumni initiatives.
Since its start, more than 1,000 MBA students
have participated in the Wharton-INSEAD ex-
change, taking advantage of an opportunity
to study across three continents. In addition,
more than
1,100 ex-
The alliance has given ourecutives have
students wonderful opportunitiestaken part
to study within a multinationalin a range of
framework. Thomasco-branded
Robertson, Dean of Whartonexecutive
These programs, which include Strategic R&D
Management and Leading the Effective Sales
Force, are delivered at all campuses and taught
by faculty members from both schools.
Through the alliance, two Wharton professors
may also spend a semester teaching in France
or Singapore, and two INSEAD professors may
teach in Philadelphia or San Francisco. This
exchange of professors allows each school to
enhance its global education offerings. For
instance, in one academic year, Wharton profes-
sors on exchange to INSEAD taught courses on
financial engineering, supply chain management
and quality & process, while INSEAD profes-
sors at Wharton offered courses on mergers &
acquisitions, corporate strategy and marketing.
Although these are not new topics for either
institution, the Alliance believes that there is a
distinct benefit to tackling these topics with a
professor from another background.
Former INSEAD dean J. Frank Brown has said
of the alliance, INSEADs continued partnership
with Wharton underscores the value we place
on developing transcultural leaders. It is essen-
tial for leaders in business and beyond to gain
international experience and an understanding
of different cultures.
Expanded research opportunities have also been
a core component of the alliance, along with de-
velopment of the large joint alumni communities
of the two schools. The Wharton-INSEAD Cen-
ter for Global Research and Education, which is
funded and governed by a joint R&D committee,
promotes faculty exchange, large-scale global
research projects and teaching innovations. In
addition, alumni associations at each school pro-
vide regular opportunities to connect the 85,000
Wharton alumni in 140 countries with the more
than 41,100 INSEAD alumni in 160 countries.
Following the renewal of the alliance in April
2008, the schools plan to focus on expanding
the already extensive faculty research collabo-
ration and deepening the joint alumni relations
programs. Recent initiatives include an agree-
ment for direct distribution of INSEAD teaching
cases to Wharton and an INSEAD-Wharton re-
search conference on leadership held at INSEAD
in June 2008.
Participation in the INSEAD Alliance study
abroad program is particularly popular among
Wharton students. Wharton typically sends
about 50 students per year to INSEADs two
campuses between 30 and 35 to Fontaine-
bleau and between 15 and 20 to Singapore
while playing host to approximately 60 IN-
SEAD exchange students. Because Wharton
and INSEAD have linked their credit systems,
all courses taken at INSEAD will be listed on a
students Wharton transcript and will transfer
easily back to Wharton. Furthermore, because
INSEAD and Whartons career services are avail-
able to all Alliance participants, students in the
exchange are able to continue involvement in
full-time recruiting while abroad. The strength
of INSEADs corporate relationships in Europe
and Asia makes the exchange a valuable career
opportunity for Wharton students interested in
working abroad after graduation.
Study Abroad
Through Whartons 17 international exchange
programs, MBA students can spend a semester
studying at a partner school abroad (see Figure
3.2). Credits earned at each of these partner
schools will transfer back to Wharton
Wharton students can also travel abroad
through the Global Immersion Program (GIP),
an 0.5cu first-year elective course consisting of
five on-campus meetings, a four-week study
-- --
Special Programs | 16
Figure 3.2 International Exchange Partner
Australia: Australian Graduate School of Manage-
ment, University of New South Wales
Brazil: COPPEAD, Universidade Federal do Rio de
J aneiro
China: Chinese European International Business
School (CEIBS); Guanghua School of Manage-
ment, Peking University
France: INSEAD; HEC Paris
India: Indian School of Business (ISB)
Israel: Arison School of Business, Interdisciplin-
ary Center Herzliya
Italy: SDA Bocconi School of Management
J apan: Graduate School of Business and Com-
merce, Keio University
Netherlands: Rotterdam School of Management,
Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
Philippines: Asian Institute of Management
Singapore: INSEAD
Spain: IESE Business School, Universidad de
Sweden: Stockholm School of Economics
Thailand: Sasin Graduate Institute of Business
Administration of Chulalongkorn University
United Kingdom: London Business School
tour at the end of the first-year spring semester
and a 10- to 12-page written assignment due
the following fall. Second-year students may
be admitted to the program if there are seats
available, though they will not receive academic
credit for their participation. In Spring 2011,
the GIP organized two study tours to China and
one that traveled throughout South America. All
tours include an academic overview, meetings
with corporate leaders and government officials,
and cultural events.
Beyond academics, the Wharton International
Volunteer Program is a non-profit, student-run
organization that, for 20 years, has connected
small teams of volunteer student consultants
with charitable institutions in developing coun-
tries. The organization offers trips each summer
consisting of two to four weeks working on site
with a charitable institution, along with several
weeks of preparatory and follow-up work done
remotely. During the summer of 2009, students
worked with organizations in around 20 different
countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Kenya,
Zambia, Bolivia and Mexico. The clubs annual
Winter Ball fundraiser, which raises money to
cover most of the travel and organizational costs
associated with the program, is one of the most
well-attended student-run events at Wharton.
The Wharton Health Care Management Alumni
Association maintains a similar program, Whar-
ton Global Health Volunteers, which organizes
several international volunteer projects open
to both students and alumni. Projects in De-
cember 2010 included collaborating with Shree
Bidada Sarvodaya Trust in India to create a sys-
tem of merit-based compensation for its physi-
cians, and traveling to El Salvador to set up a
partner venture with the Micro Health Insurance
Program, the first-ever non-monetary model for
health insurance.
The Global Consulting Practicum is an innova-
tive, 1.5-credit, project-based course that runs
each year from October through April. Through
the course, groups of Wharton students and fac-
ulty members work with teams from internation-
al partner schools to support a clients entrance
into or expansion within the North American
market. Students enrolled in the course travel
to their clients country during Winter Break, at
the clients expense, and then return to Whar-
ton to begin work on the project. The program
is a cost-effective way for partner companies to
access high-quality consultants, and provides
Wharton students real-world global business ex-
perience to complement their classroom learn-
ing. Admission to the course is usually competi-
tive and includes an interview with one of the
dozen or so second-year teaching assistants.
In the 2010-2011 academic year, Wharton stu-
dents participated in 17 projects that traveled to
Alaska, Australia, Chile, China, Colombia, Israel,
Italy, Nigeria, Spain, Taiwan and the United
Arab Emirates. Projects included analyzing the
effects of cloud computing on an Israeli tech-
nology manufacturer, creating a mobile-phone-
based payment system for a Nigerian utility,
and investigating ways to improve the sales and
marketing campaigns of the Alaska Native Arts
Jay H. Baker Retailing
The Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiative (JHBRI)
aims to support Wharton students with an inter-
est in consumer goods and retail. The initiative,
founded in 2002 with a gift from Jay H. Baker
(MBA 56) and expanded by a subsequent gift in
2010, strives to give the Wharton community a
-- --
17 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
deeper pool of information on retail theory and
practice. To that end, the initiative has helped
shape the schools interdisciplinary retail cur-
riculum, sponsors a speaker series and sup-
ports Whartons undergraduate and graduate
Retail Clubs. The speaker series has drawn such
figures as Martha Stewart, Kenneth Cole and
Macys CEO Terry Lundgren. JHBRI also main-
tains a tri-annual newsletter, the Jay H. Baker
Retailing Review, which shares the latest news
from the initiative as well as recent articles or
research projects its members have completed.
-- --
Life at Wharton | 18
Life at Wharton
Life in Philadelphia
West Philadelphia/University City
Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania are
located west of the Schuylkill River in the Uni-
versity City neighborhood, located in an area
of the city broadly referred to as West Philadel-
phia. University City is a vibrant neighborhood,
home to
some of the
At Wharton, 90 percent ofmost popular
students live within a 10-blockrestaurants
radius of each other in Centerand shops
City. You see everyone all thein the city,
time just walking around, youand is just a
have that sense of communityshort walk,
you dont lose that sense ofbus, subway
Wharton. Wharton 11or trolley ride
away from
Center City
Philadelphia. The University of Pennsylvania
dominates southern University City, owning 155
buildings on 269 acres of land; Drexel Universi-
ty, just to the north, has also done a great deal
to shape the neighborhood.
Once one of the most prosperous areas in the
city, West Philadelphia declined in stature in
the latter half of the 20th century as average
incomes dropped and crime rose. UPenn, with
an annual budget equal to the City of Philadel-
phias, used its vast resources to stabilize and
revitalize West Philadelphia, increasing pedes-
trian traffic, creating new housing and retail
centers, and encouraging Penn affiliates to live
and invest in West Philly through a down-pay-
ment assistance program for home purchases.
The process, commonly referred to as Penntri-
fication, a play on the term gentrification,
transformed the area and attracted millions of
dollars in private investment. Critics, however,
lament the chain retailers and student-centered
shops that took over as the area became more
Due partly to its large community of Penn stu-
dents and alumni, University City has historically
Campus Spaces
Called the University of Pennsylvanias cho-
sen child by one commentator, for many years
Wharton branded itself as distinct from the
larger university. While Wharton and UPenn
collaborate more closely these days, and while
Wharton students can take courses in Penns
other graduate schools, they still tend to be set
apart from the rest of the university. The busi-
ness school enjoys some of the most advanced
facilities on campus, funded through donations
from successful Wharton alumni, and Wharton
students often spend a significant portion of
their time within the business schools facilities.
Opened in 2002, Huntsman Hall, Whartons
main facility, was designed to bring the schools
MBA and undergraduate programs under one
roof. Centered on the Forum, a 4,000-square-
foot lobby that serves as the venue for dozens
of formal and informal campus events, the
eight-story building can be recognized by its
distinctive circular rotunda that towers over the
intersection of 38th and Walnut Streets. The
57 Learning Team rooms that fill Huntsmans
first four floors provide students with dedicated
study and group meeting spaces equipped with
the latest classroom technology. Its 48 class-
room spaces likewise boast advanced videocon-
ferencing capabilities, and the entire building
has wireless internet access. Wharton under-
graduates tend to stick to the ground and first
floors of Huntsman Hall and use the expansive
social lounge on the ground floor, whereas MBA
students congregate in the fourth-floor lounge.
Other buildings used by Wharton include Laud-
er-Fischer Hall, home of the Lauder Institute;
Vance Hall, home of the MBA program prior to
the opening of Huntsman Hall; Steinberg Hall
Dietrich Hall, Whartons first building; and the
Steinberg Conference Center, which houses the
schools executive education program. These
buildings are located on or near Locust Walk,
the brick pedestrian walkway that runs east to
west through the heart of Penns campus.
-- --
19 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
had a pronounced countercultural streak, with
many progressive activist organizations and
communes taking root in the 1960s. Over the
past decade, though, the neighborhoods di-
verse immigrant population has become just as
prominent, with a wide variety of international
cuisines available along Baltimore Avenue and
elsewhere in the area.
ice (locally
ice), loved
by tourists
and Philadel-
phia natives
I have fallen in love with
Philly.... It is so rich in culture,
especially around the food and
wine scene. It is a great culinary
city, and that is something that I
very much enjoy. Wharton 12
The City of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, or Philly for short, is the fifth most
populous city in the U.S. and one of the coun-
trys most historically significant locales. Both
the Declaration of Independence and the United
States Constitution were drafted and signed in
Philadelphia, and the city served as the second
capital of the U.S. after independence. Inde-
pendence National Historical Park occupies 45
acres of downtown Philadelphia and incorpo-
rates Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the
National Constitution Center and more than a
dozen other historical buildings and landmarks,
which together draw more than a million visitors
a year to the area.
Planned and developed by William Penn, a
prominent Quaker and the namesake of the
state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphias streets
were laid out according to one of the worlds
first grid plans, still largely intact today. The
British author Charles Dickens commented on
the citys layout in his book, American Notes:
It is a handsome city, but distractingly regular.
After walking about it for an hour or two, I felt
that I would have given the world for a crooked
Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods, each of
which has its own distinctive culture and his-
tory. The downtown area, or Center City, with
its mix of residential, recreational, retail and
office space, forms the heart of Philadelphia.
The citys blending of residential and business
spaces results in a strong walking culture, and
the city was named one of the U.S.s Best Walk-
ing Cities in 2004 by the American Podiatric
Medical Association based on the percentage of
residents walking to work, the citys high rate of
museum attendance and other factors.
Many of the best restaurants in the city open
their doors twice yearly for the Restaurant
Week charity fundraiser, offering a selection of
three-course meals for just $35. Despite its rich
culinary offerings, Philadelphia is probably best
known for its cheesesteaks, hoagies and water
Philadelphia supports teams in all four major
professional sports: the Phillies in baseball, the
Eagles in American football, the 76ers in bas-
ketball and the Flyers in ice hockey. The Phillies
have a particularly storied history as the oldest
continuous franchise in American sports to call
a single city home; the team most recently won
the World Series in 2008. Philadelphia residents
have a reputation for being fanatically loyal to
their home teams.
The Philadelphia area is also known for its sup-
port of the arts. Northwest of City Hall, at the
head of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the
Philadelphia Museum of Art is one of the larg-
est museums in the United States, and its
exhibitions attract thousands of visitors to the
city each year. Meanwhile, the blocks of Broad
Street immediately south of City Hall, known as
the Avenue of the Arts, are home to a number
of theatres and performance spaces, includ-
ing the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.
The Kimmel Center, which opened in 2001,
houses eight resident companies, including the
world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra; other
companies include American Theater Arts for
Youth, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia,
the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Penn-
sylvania Ballet, Peter Nero and the Philly Pops,
PHILADANCO and the Philadelphia Chamber
Music Society.
The Philadelphia metro area is served by SEPTA
(the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transport Au-
thority), which runs the buses, trolleys, subway
lines and regional rail systems that connect the
neighborhoods of the city to each other and
to the suburbs. The Northeast Corridor cities
of Washington, D.C. and New York are only a
two- or three-hour drive away, and Amtraks
30th Street Station in Philadelphia offers round-
the-clock train service to both destinations. In
addition, Philadelphia International Airport is
located 15 minutes south of the city with service
to most major U.S. and international cities.
-- --
Life at Wharton | 20
Most Wharton students rent apartments or
rowhouses in Center City, usually in the Ritten-
house Square neighborhood (from Market Street
to South Street and between Broad Street and
the Schuylkill River), just over the river from
University City. One of the most expensive and
desirable areas of the city, it houses much of
Philadelphias retail core and is within walking
distance of most city attractions.
The University City and Art Museum neighbor-
hoods are also popular among Wharton stu-
dents. University City boasts cheaper rents,
slightly lower living costs and more parking
availability, as well as proximity to campus.
The Art Museum neighborhood, located north
of Logan Square on the east side of the river, is
quieter and slower-paced, making it a popular
choice for students with families. It has readily
available on-street parking and provides easy
access to the running trails in Fairmount Park
along Boathouse Row and Kelly Drive.
For students looking to be closer to Whartons
campus, the University offers a limited number
of on-campus housing spaces in the graduate
apartments at Sansom Place. MBA students
also have the option of becoming a residential
advisor (RA) in an undergraduate dormitory, a
position which provides accommodations and a
stipend in exchange for working with undergrad-
uate students to create and maintain a positive
residential life experience.
amateur and aspiring pilots. The schools web
of professional, athletic and community service
clubs mean that Wharton students tend to stay
busy outside the classroom.
Quite a few campus groups focus on issues of
social responsibility, ranging from environmental
sustainability and corporate ethics to non-profit
and public sector management. The Wharton
Alliance for Social Responsibility (WASR) was
founded as an umbrella group to bring together
all of these socially oriented student clubs in the
hopes of affecting greater change at the insti-
tutional level. In addition to details about each
of its seven member clubs, the WASR website
provides current and prospective students with
information on career opportunities, related
courses, faculty research and ways to become
involved in social causes on campus. More
than half of Whartons 1,600 MBA students are
actively involved in clubs that seek to make a
social impact.
A staple of
WhartonThe sense of
community here
social life ishas really blown
me away. I
Pub, heldknew the clubs were
Thursdayrun, and Id heard
that it was
eveningsa collaborative, fun
and social
environment but
the academicit has been
more than I ever
year. MBAexpected.
Wharton 11
students pay
a member-
ship fee at the beginning of the year for access
to all club events and to the beer, wine, pizza
and non-alcoholic drinks served at Pub. Other
Wharton student organizations take turns spon-
soring these weekly pubs; past themes have in-
cluded Japan Night, Pink Pub: Wharton Women
in Business, and Europa Oktoberfest. With over
85 percent of Wharton students typically joining
Pub, it is one of the most popular ways to meet
ones Wharton classmates.
Whartons ice hockey club, known as the Whar-
ton Wildmen, tends to be unexpectedly popular
among students. The Wildmen have branded
the club as an essential part of your Whar-
ton MBA, and they are quick to emphasize the
range of social and professional connections
and ice hockey skills that participants will
develop. The group schedules weekly practice
sessions and even more frequent social events
for its four leagues, as well as hosting the an-
nual Cheesesteak Chalice event, which includes
both ice hockey and cheesesteak-eating tourna-
Most Wharton students take advantage of the
opportunity to meet and network with their
peers through Whartons more than 100 extra-
curricular organizations, a testament to the var-
ied interests
and commit-
There are over 100 clubs and
ments of its
860 people in a Wharton class.
students (see
If you do the math, every eighth
Figure 4.1).
person is going to be a president
or vice president of a club.... I
clubs reflect
would say that on average, every
the diversity
student is involved in 5 to 10
of its student
clubs. Wharton 12
body, with
more than
20 international and cultural clubs and nearly 30
social and special-interest clubs, ranging from
a Comedy Club to Wharton Wings, a group for
-- --
21 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Figure 4.1 Wharton Student Clubs
Athletic Clubs
Basketball Club
Boxing Club
Crew & Rowing Club
Golf Club
Martial Arts Club
Mens Rugby Club
Mountaineering and Climbing Club
Outdoor Club
Roadrunners & Triathletes
Sailing Club
Ski & Snowboard Club
Soccer Club
Table Tennis Club
Tennis Club
Volleyball Club
Wharton Squash Club
Wharton Surf and Beach Club
Wharton Ultimate Frisbee Team
Wharton Yoga and Wellness Club
Wildmen Hockey Club
Womens Rugby Club
Community Service Clubs
Community Consultants
GUIDE - Guiding Undergraduates
Healthcare International Volunteer
Rebuilding Together
Say Yes to Education
Summer Public Interest Fund
Tax Assistance Program
Wharton International Volunteer
International & Cultural Clubs
African American MBA Association
Arabia! (Wharton Arab Club)
Asia Club
Australia/New Zealand Club
Canada Club
Catholic Club
Christian Fellowship
Europa! (Wharton European Club)
Greater China Club
India Club
Israel Club
J apan Club
J ewish Association of MBAs
Korea Club
Latter-day Saint Student
Muslim Students Network
Out for Business
Southeast Asia Club
Wharton African Students
Wharton Asian American Associa-
tion of MBAs
Wharton Francophone Club
Wharton Hispanic American MBA
Wharton Latin American Student
Wharton International Cultural
Professional Clubs
Automotive Club
Caribbean Business Initative Club
Consulting Club
Dealmakers (Wharton Sales Club)
Early Career Club
Energy Club
Entrepreneurship Club
Family Business Club
Finance Club
General Management Club
Healthcare Club
International Development Club
Investment Management Club
Marketing Club
Media & Entertainment Club
Operations Management Club
Penn Biotech Group
Philly Club
Private Equity & Venture Capital
Real Estate Club
Restructuring Club
Sales & Trading Club
Sports Business Club
Technology Club
Travel & Hospitality Club
Veterans Club
Wharton Graduate Association
Public Relations Club
Wharton Graduate Retail Club
Wharton Public Speaking Club
Wharton Social Impact
Wharton Women in Business
Social & Special Interest Clubs
Art & Design in Business
Arts & Design Club
Brewmasters Guild
California Club
Chocolate Club
Cigar Club
Comedy Club
Culinary Club
Dance Studio
J azz Club
Karaoke Club
Partners Club
Pets at Wharton (PAWS)
Photography Club
Poker & Gaming Club
Politics & Public Policy Club
Pub (MBA House)
Scotch Club
Texas Club
Vegetarian Club
The Whartones
Wharton Film Club
Wharton Kids Club
Wharton Wings Club
Wine Club
ments, with other MBA ice hockey clubs.
One of Whartons longest-running and highest-
profile activities is the annual Wharton Follies, a
full-scale musical comedy written, produced and
performed by MBA students. The show pokes
fun at business school and corporate life and
is considered one of the must see events on
campus. Recent productions of A Midsemesters
Night Dream and The Trojan WhARton: A Com-
edy About a Financial Tragedy played to more
than 3,000 audience members in professional
theatres in Philadelphia and New York. The
event is so well-regarded and entertaining that
the Class of 2004 voted it their Best Experience
at Wharton.
Another very popular annual event is the Whar-
ton International Cultural Show, a two-hour
extravaganza of performances reflecting the
-- --
Life at Wharton | 22
cultural traditions of the Wharton student body.
The event is open to both Wharton students
and their partners, with auditions taking place
in November and rehearsals continuing until the
performance in April. The diverse set of acts
frequently includes musical performances, dance
routines and martial arts shows. The organizers
stress that students are not limited to perform-
ing pieces from their own cultural backgrounds,
since part of the mission of the show is to ex-
pand the cultural awareness of both performers
and audience members. Students have de-
scribed past shows as dazzling, and the short-
ened version of the show performed during the
Wharton Welcome Weekend each spring tends
to generate great enthusiasm among incom-
ing students for the talent and diversity of the
Wharton student body.
Technology Officer of the United States Depart-
ment of Health and Human Services; Martin
Reeves, Senior Partner and Managing Director
at the Boston Consulting Group; and Scott Se-
rota, President and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue
Shield Association. Additionally, Martin Harris,
Chief Information Officer in the IT Division of
the Cleveland Clinic, and Inder Singh, Executive
Vice President of the Clinton Foundation, deliv-
ered capstone speeches.
Meanwhile, the 2011 Wharton Private Equity
and Venture Capital Conference was organized
around the theme of Moving Forward in Un-
certain Times: Navigating a New Economic,
Regulatory, and Financial Reality. The event
featured panels on topics such as investment
in distressed securities, identifying and creat-
ing sustainable competitive advantages, and the
changing venture capital landscape. Keynote
speakers included Glenn Hutchins, co-founder
and co-CEO of Silver Lake; Howard Marks,
Chairman of Oaktree Capital Management; and
Tom Stenberg, Managing General Partner at the
Highland Consumer Fund. The conference is
currently in its 17th year and has developed into
an important forum for industry leaders, alumni,
faculty and students to consider the issues fac-
ing the private equity and venture capital fields.
Finally, the 15th annual BizTech@Wharton con-
ference, formerly known as the Wharton Busi-
ness Technology Conference (WBTC), took place
in December 2010. This conference is a stu-
dent-run event designed to bring together noted
industry leaders, members of the press, faculty
and students to share innovative ideas and
technology-driven business solutions. The 2010
theme was Whats Next in the Mobile Evolu-
tion? Keynote speakers included Pankaj Kedia,
Director of Global Ecosystem Programs within
the Mobile Internet Devices division of Intel,
and Reed Peterson, Senior Director of Business
Development at the GSM Association. The heart
of the conference, though, lay in its innovative
panel discussions, which addressed topics such
as location-based services, mobile apps, mobile
advertising, digital content and mobile-driven
revolutions in healthcare and banking.
Wharton student groups host a series of confer-
ences each year, bringing industry leaders and
researchers to campus to focus on a variety of
fields. The healthcare, private equity and global
business conferences are particularly popular at
Wharton, attracting large numbers of student
participants as well as alumni and industry pro-
One of the few conferences of its kind, the
Wharton Global Business Forum is an umbrella
organization for regional conferences that focus
on Asia, Africa, Europe, India and Latin Ameri-
ca. Held each fall, these conferences combine
focused discussions on regional issues with an
overarching global theme. Recent Global Busi-
ness Forumaffiliated conferences include A
Blueprint for Africa: Navigating the Worlds Fast-
est Growing Continent and Global Asia, Global
Opportunities: Capitalizing on the Growth in the
The Health Care Business Conference at Whar-
ton regularly draws over 700 students and
industry professionals. The February 2011 con-
ference, Leadership in an Evolving Global Mar-
ket, featured keynote speakers Todd Park, Chief
-- --
23 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Life After Wharton
(DIP) in late January for summer internship
interviews. As part of the DIP, first-year classes
are canceled for a week, during which time the
majority of summer internship interviews take
place on campus.
The second-year recruiting process begins in
late September with a series of three Second-
Year Networking Expos, designed to give com-
panies a way to meet with second-years earlier
in the hiring cycle. Soon afterwards, in early
October, second-year interviews begin. There is
no DIP for second-year students, which means
that interviews must be scheduled around other
academic commitments.
Together with
Wharton Pro-
I have done probably 15 to 20
fessional Stu-
mock interviews with second-
dent Clubs,
years.... I have gotten so much
the MBA Ca-
support from them [during the
reer Manage-
recruiting process]. The culture
ment Office
is so student-driven, and people
also orga-
really pay it back in the second
nizes regular
year. Wharton 12
career explo-
ration opportunities, called Career Treks. These
trips provide opportunities for on-site company
tours, meetings with upper-level management
and human resources representatives, and net-
working opportunities with alumni in targeted
industries and geographic regions. Career Treks
connect students with more than 160 compa-
nies per year on three continents, with targets
including Japan, Dubai, New York, Dallas and
San Francisco.
Career Management
Whartons MBA Career Management office
organizes on- and off-campus recruitment and
guides students through this important process.
Staff members tend to come from business
and the of-
I have reached out to many of
fice works
the career advisors not only to
to cultivate
prepare myself for my summer
internship search but also to
ships across
figure out which industry will
a broad base
be the best fit for my particular
of industries
strengths. Wharton 09
and com-
panies in
the U.S. and abroad. The Career Management
Team works with individual students to explore
career interests and develop the skills graduates
need to manage both their short- and long-term
Recruiting/Interview Procedures
Wharton has an active on-campus interview
schedule; fully half of the Class of 2010 found
their full-time positions through on-campus
recruiting. One of the first steps in the process
are the Employer Information Sessions, through
which over
150 com-
The recruiting process for
panies per
internships arrives very quickly
year deliver
and there isnt a lot of time to sit
back and think about what you
on campus
want to do with your life. Do
about their
that soul-searching before you
come. Wharton 09
and corpo-
rate cultures. The bulk of these sessions are
scheduled for November and December, since
Wharton, like several peer schools, prohibits any
first-year recruiting from taking place before
late October.
To help first-year students balance their aca-
demic and recruiting commitments, Wharton
has instituted a Dedicated Interview Period
Career Statistics
All MBA career offices work to build recruiting
relationships with companies in many industries
and geographic locations. However, if a school
boasts a high number of students with an inter-
est in a particular industry or location, that often
suggests that the school is more likely to attract
recruiters from those fields or regions, and that
those companies are more likely to have a suc-
-- --
Life After Wharton | 24
cessful recruiting season and be interested in
building partnerships with the school. Likewise,
when a large number of companies from a par-
ticular industry or region regularly visit a school,
it tends to attract a larger network of students
interested in that field or location.
Because of this cycle of interest in on-campus
recruiting, MBA candidates should research the
industry and regional employment statistics of
their target schools to get a sense of the relative
recruiting opportunities available. Of course,
with up to half of students at some schools find-
ing their full-time positions through independent
searches, it is important to remember that there
are many opportunities available beyond on-
campus recruiting.
Figure 5.2 Wharton Regional Placement
Other International
Other U.S.
Financial services and consulting are the most
popular industry choices at Wharton, as they are
at nearly all of the leading programs (see Fig-
ure 5.3). Whartons focus on these two indus-
tries, though, is extreme to a degree matched
by few of its peers; 40.5% of the Class of 2010
accepted a position in financial services after
graduation, and 29.1% in consulting, for a total
of nearly 70% of the class (see Figure 5.1). The
financial services figure, in particular, is a prod-
uct of the Wharton curriculums strong finance
orientation; the school sends one of the largest
percentages of graduates into financial services
of any leading business school.
Among the smaller industries, healthcare,
pharmaceuticals and biotechnology stand out as
Figure 5.1 Wharton Industry Placement
Consumer Goods/
comparatively popular choices among Wharton
graduates, attracting 7% of the Class of 2010.
This is not surprising, given the strength and
reputation of Whartons Health Care Manage-
ment major and the concentration of major
pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms in the
Philadelphia metropolitan area, including Astra-
Zeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.
Though graduates of most business school
programs tend to accept positions in the same
geographic region in which their school is locat-
ed, Wharton graduates do not follow this trend.
They instead tend to leave the Mid-Atlantic
region, which includes Whartons home state of
Pennsylvania, and head to the Northeastern cit-
ies of New York and Boston no doubt a func-
tion of the schools strong finance orientation.
Wharton does send a higher percentage of grad-
uates to Mid-Atlantic firms than its peer schools
8.7% of the Class of 2010 but it also sends
one of the highest percentages to the Northeast
region, with 41.8% of the Class of 2010 settling
there (see Figures 5.2 and 5.4).
In addition to its domestic placements, Whar-
ton sends a higher percentage of students
into international positions than any U.S. MBA
program. In the Class of 2010, 24.3% of stu-
dents accepted overseas positions, a dramatic
increase from 17.7% just three years earlier.
Of the overseas destinations, Asia and Europe
attrracted the greatest number of graduates;
10.9% of the Class of 2010 took jobs in Asian
countries, while another 5.3% settled in Europe. Consulting
Note: Other includes Manufacturing, Media/Entertainment,
Non-Profit/Public Service and Real Estate, as well as other indus-
tries not delineated within Whartons employment report.
-- --
25 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Figure 5.3 Job Placement by Industry
Health Care/
Public Service
Real Estate
-- --
Life After Wharton | 26
Figure 5.4 Job Placement by U.S. Region
Alaska &
-- --
27 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Alumni Network
Wharton boasts a strong and well-connected
alumni network, with over 80 alumni chap-
ters and 86,000 living graduates spanning 140
countries. Wharton alumni tend to be heavily
involved in the admissions process, advising
prospective students, recruiting current students
and planning ongoing social and networking
events for alumni around the world. The Alumni
Event Calendar, available on Whartons website,
is packed with seminars, roundtable discussions,
happy hours and other events.
Wharton believes that learning and career plan-
ning should be lifelong endeavors, and therefore
makes it a priority to support alumni looking to
make a career change or broaden their knowl-
edge. Most
notably, in
The alumni are genuinelylate 2010,
excited to talk to you, providethe school
really good advice, ask goodannounced
questions, and are willing tothat it would
take the time to give you theirbe redoubling
perspective. Wharton 12its com-
mitment to
education for its alumni. Beginning with the
Class of 2010, every Wharton MBA graduate will
be provided with one week of tuition-free execu-
tive education every seven years for the rest of
their career.
alumni will
thus be able
to continu-
ally update
their skills
and continue
their Whar-
ton studies
long after
leaving the
The opportunity for a 65-year-
old graduate of Wharton to
come back and take a class in
marketing now that it will be
focused on the digital element is
a huge advantage. And I know
that the business world will
change as much in the next 30
years as it has in the past 30.
Wharton 12
Wharton additionally organizes two-day Global
Alumni Forums each year that connect Whar-
ton professors, administrators and alumni with
leaders in their industries and regions. The
school generally organizes two or three forums
each year, all on different continents; in 2011,
though, the several forums were unified into a
single event in San Francisco to celebrate the
10th anniversary of the Wharton West campus.
Wharton graduates also have access to the
Career Management Teams alumni job board
and to online resources collected especially for
their use, and can schedule individual in-person
or telephone career counseling appointments.
All Wharton graduates retain lifelong borrowing
privileges at the Wharton and UPenn libraries.
-- --
Admissions | 28
mation sessions with a member of the admis-
sions committee Monday through Friday at 3:00
p.m. throughout the year. Applicants who hope
to dig more deeply during their visit can also
take advantage of several formal and informal
programs for exploring the campus and meeting
current students. From mid-September through
mid-April each year, prospective students are
invited to sit in on classes, eat lunch with cur-
rent students, take a campus tour or spend an
evening at the MBA Pub. Although advance
registration is not required, visitors are encour-
aged to pre-register online for these activities.
Students planning a visit should be aware that
Wharton classes do not meet on Fridays, which
limits the campus visit programming available
on that day.
Whartons Lunch with Students program is
particularly popular, as it connects prospective
The Admissions Committee at Wharton is known
for its openness about the admissions process
and for its extensive use of current students
throughout the process. Wharton was the first
leading school to introduce a discussion forum
to connect current and prospective students
the Student2Student (S2S) message board
which is dedicated to helping prospective
students realize why they want an MBA, how to
choose the MBA program that is right for them
and why they should consider Wharton. The
site also features a large collection of Student
Diaries documenting the Wharton experience,
as well as profiles of members of the admissions
Visiting Wharton
Whartons admissions office offers official infor-
Figure 6.1 Wharton Essay Topics 2011-2012
Essay 1 (Required)
What are your professional objectives? (300 words)
Essays 2 and 3
Respond to 2 of the following 3 questions:
Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your
decision? Would you make the same decision today? (600 words)
Discuss a time when you faced a challenging interpersonal experience. How did you navigate the situ-
ation and what did you learn from it? (600 words)
Innovation is central to our culture at Wharton. It is a mentality that must encompass every aspect
of the School whether faculty research, teaching or alumni outreach. Thomas S. Robertson, Dean,
The Wharton School
Keeping this component of our culture in mind, discuss a time when you have been innovative in your
personal or professional life. (600 words)
All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete the Optional Essay. Please use this space to explain
how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and to discuss any updates to your
candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engage-
ments). You may also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances.
Optional Essay
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Committee should be aware, please explain
them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, or questionable academic
performance, significant weaknesses in your application).
For Top Biz Schoolss strategic advice on how to approach the Wharton essays, see the section Es-
say Topic Analysis in Chapter 8.
-- --
29 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
students with current students, allowing for
personalized conversation about the Wharton
experience and academic and social programs.
Interested students should congregate in the
Admissions Office beforehand. After lunch, visi-
tors may either take a student-led tour of Whar-
ton and the Penn campus or sit in on afternoon
Finally, prospective students who wish to get
a more informal view of the Wharton culture
and community may join current students at
the MBA Pub at 4:30 p.m. every Thursday from
mid-September through mid-April. Although
visitors meet in the Admissions Office before
going to Pub, this is not considered an official
admissions event and can thus be a good way to
connect with a wider selection of current stu-
For students unable to visit Wharton, or for
those who would like to begin learning about
Wharton closer to home, the admissions com-
mittee regularly schedules receptions in over
150 cities and 45 countries each fall. Details on
the Admissions Offices fall travel schedule are
available on its website starting in late summer
of each year.
Interviewing with Wharton
Applicants to Wharton must complete an inter-
view as a precondition for acceptance, either
with a member of the Wharton admissions com-
mittee or with a trained second-year student.
Interviews can be conducted either on campus
or in one of Whartons hub cities around the
Dispensing with the standard resume-based
discussion of a candidates broader professional
experiences, the Wharton Admissions Commit-
tee announced in the fall of 2010 that it would
switch to a behavioral interview format, which
has been in use for many years at peer school
MIT Sloan. As the name indicates, in a behav-
ioral interview, applicants are asked to describe
three specific situations from their past in which
they have exhibited particular leadership-related
traits, with the interviewer asking a number of
probing questions about the candidates deci-
sions and actions throughout the story. The
focus is on understanding the ways in which ap-
plicants have thought and approached problems
in the past.
Wharton has adopted a notably rigid approach
to its behavioral interviews, offering applicants
a list of only six possible questions and ask-
ing them to respond to three. Candidates are
then scored on the degree to which their re-
sponses reflect the personal and professional
traits the Admissions Committee hopes to find.
The aim of this radical break with the past is to
standardize the otherwise subjective interview
process and evaluate all its applicants based on
equal criteria.
The committee continues to refine its model in
response to applicant and interviewer feedback.
Most recently, it has announced that alumni
interviewers, long the mainstay of Whartons in-
terviewing strategy, will no longer be used, and
that all interviews will instead be conducted by
either Admissions Office staff or trained second-
year Admissions Fellows.
Figure 6.2 Wharton Deadlines 2011-2012
October 3, 2011 December 20, 2011
J anuary 4, 2012March 23, 2012
March 5, 2012May 8, 2012
To apply to Wharton, all applicants must sub-
mit an online application form, which includes
scores on either the GMAT or GRE, transcripts
for all collegiate or post-collegiate institutions
attended, responses to each of four essay ques-
tions (see Figure 6.1) and an application fee.
Applicants must also solicit two letters of recom-
mendation to support their candidacies, at least
one of which should come from a current direct
International applicants are also required to
submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign
Language (TOEFL), with exceptions for those
who have earned an undergraduate or graduate
degree from an institution where English is the
primary language of instruction. In some cases,
applicants with extensive work experience in an
English-speaking environment will be considered
for TOEFL waivers. Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
All deadlines are at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
-- --
Admissions | 30
Figure 6.3 Dual Degree Programs at Wharton
Architecture: MBA/M.Arch. with the School of
Biotechnology: MB/MBA with the School of Engi-
neering and Applied Science and the School of Arts
& Sciences
City Planning: MBA/MCP with the School of Design
Engineering: MBA/MSE with the School of Engi-
neering and Applied Science
Environmental Science: MBA/MES with the School
of Arts & Sciences
Historic Preservation: MBA/M.A. in Historic Preser-
vation with the School of Design
International Relations: MBA/M.A. in Interna-
tional Relations with the Paul H. Nitze School of
Advanced International Studies, J ohns Hopkins
Landscape Architecture: MBA/MLA with the School
of Design
Lauder Institute: MBA/M.A. in International Studies
with the School of Arts and Sciences
Law: J .D./MBA with the Law School
Medicine: M.D./MBA with the School of Medicine
(applications must be submitted in Round 1)
Nursing: MBA/MSN or MBA/Ph.D. with the School
of Nursing (applications to MBA and Ph.D. pro-
grams must be submitted simultaneously)
Public Policy: MBA/MPP with the J ohn F. Kennedy
School of Government, Harvard University
Social Work: MBA/MSW with the School of Social
Policy & Practice
Veterinary Medicine: MBA/VMD or MBA/M.S. with
the School of Veterinary Medicine
application, which includes two additional es-
says (see Figure 6.4), and must demonstrate
advanced proficiency in Arabic, Chinese, Japa-
nese, French, German, Russian, Portuguese or
Spanish. Applicants should note that Lauder
program classes begin three months earlier than
those in the traditional MBA program; partici-
pants complete one month of intensive language
study and a two-month summer immersion ses-
sion before beginning Wharton classes in Sep-
Whartons dual degree program with the Paul H.
Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
(SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University offers stu-
dents a three-year MBA/M.A. in International
Relations. The program, like Lauder, demands
advanced language proficiency, and through its
focus on political and economic decision-making
equips students to make both commercial and
policy decisions around the globe.
In the fall of 2008, the University of Pennsyl-
vania announced a new three-year J.D./MBA
program integrating the curricula of Wharton
and Penn Law School. Although Wharton has
offered its students the opportunity to comple-
ment their business education with a law de-
gree for some time, completing the necessary
coursework for both programs traditionally took
four years. In the accelerated three-year pro-
gram, students spend their first year complet-
ing the Penn Law 1L curriculum, then enroll in
four summer courses designed specifically for
the accelerated program. The second and third
years of the program consist of a combination of
Wharton and Penn Law courses.
Like many leading business schools, Whartons
full-time MBA program reviews applications in
three rounds (see Figure 6.2). The majority of
students apply and are accepted in Round 1 or
Round 2; Wharton generally uses Round 3 to fill
the last few spots in its class. Because Whar-
tons joint degree program with the Lauder In-
stitute begins in May, just days after the Round
3 decision release date, Lauder applications are
accepted only in Rounds 1 and 2.
Dual & Joint Degree
Wharton offers a joint MBA/M.A. in International
Studies through the Lauder Institute of the
University of Pennsylvania (see Chapter 3, The
Lauder Institute). To apply to Lauder, prospec-
tive students must complete a supplemental
Figure 6.4 Supplemental Lauder Essay Topics
Essay 1
Describe a cross-cultural experience in your
adult life that was challenging to you. How did
you meet this challenge and what did you learn
from the experience? (1,000 words)
Essay 2
Please explain why you are currently apply-
ing to Lauder. How do you expect the Lauder
joint-degree experience to benefit you on both a
professional and personal level? (1,000 words)
-- --
31 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
Wharton offers additional dual degrees in con-
junction with other professional schools at
the University of Pennsylvania, as well as with
the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University (see Figure 6.3). Students
interested in dual degree programs must apply
to and gain admittance to both programs, but
the requirements are slightly different for each;
candidates should contact each school for more
information on admission and on structuring
their course of study.
-- --
Financing the Wharton MBA | 32
Financing the Wharton MBA
Figure 7.2 Available Loans
U.S. Citizens & Permanent Residents
Federal Direct Loan (available to students
enrolled in two or more courses per quarter)
Direct Graduate PLUS Loan (available to all
Private loans (available to all students)
International Students
Private loans, with or without a co-signer,
through Digital Federal Credit Union
Wharton offers approximately 25 fellowship
programs to incoming students. All incoming
students are eligible to be considered for one or
more of these fellowships; no separate applica-
tion is required. While some awards are open
to all, others are targeted toward particular
groups. For instance, students from emerging
economies, citizens of Europe or Mexico, or U.S.
citizens of Hispanic or African-American descent
may apply for the Emerging Economy, Euro-
pean, Henry Ralph Ringe or Howard E. Mitchell
Fellowships, respectively.
In their second year, students are eligible to
apply for fellowships and assistantships within
Wharton or in other branches of the Univer-
sity. Leadership Fellowships, through which
second-year students serve as peer advisors
for first-year learning teams, and Admissions
Graduate Assistantships, which employ students
as MBA application readers, are generally the
most popular. Students may also work with the
Small Business Development Center, serve as
Wharton-Omnicom Communications Fellows,
or pursue teaching and research assistantships
with individual professors.
Tuition & Expenses
Tuition for the 2011-2012 academic year at
Wharton is $58,244, which represents a jump
of nearly $4,500 from last year and places
Wharton as one of the most expensive U.S.
business schools. Wharton students pay half
of the years tuition at the start of each of the
programs four terms, regardless of how many
courses they take that term. This policy allows
students to overload their schedules in a par-
ticular term, perhaps to take advantage of an
appealing roster of courses, without impacting
their tuition bill. However, students may not
take more than 21cu over their four terms with-
out incurring additional tuition charges.
Like other U.S. MBA programs, Wharton pro-
vides students with an estimated breakdown of
the total cost of attending the university, includ-
ing tuition, fees, room, board and other ex-
penses (see Figure 7.1). This breakdown helps
incoming students design their personal bud-
gets, and the total estimated cost serves as the
maximum amount that a student may borrow
from federal or private loan programs.
Figure 7.1 Estimated Costs 2011-2012
Expense I tem
Tuition & Pre-Term Fee
Health insurance
Room and board
Books and supplies
Financial Aid
While most students finance their Wharton edu-
cation using one or more of the loan programs
available to them (see Figure 7.2), Wharton also
offers merit- and need-based fellowships and
grants. Students report that merit-based fel-
lowships typically make awards of either $7,500,
$15,000 or $30,000 per year.
Loan Forgiveness
Students who are committed to pursuing a ca-
reer in the non-profit or public sector after grad-
uation may apply to the John M. Bendheim Loan
Forgiveness Fund for Public Service. Through
the fund, graduates may apply for forgiveness
for up to $20,000 in loan debt each year for up
-- --
33 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
to five years after graduation. Recipients must
re-apply annually for the grant and provide pe-
riodic updates on their activities, summarizing,
among other things, the mission of their current
employer and how that mission fits into their
long-term goals.
In addition to this post-graduate award, current
students pursuing internships in the non-profit
or public sector may apply for grant support
from the Wharton Summer Public Interest Fund
(SPIF). Funded entirely by current students
who donate one to two percent of their summer
internship earnings to the fund, SPIF makes it
possible for more Wharton students to explore
public service careers.
-- --
Appendix | 34
does not specifically call for a why Wharton
discussion, though a few words on how the MBA
program would facilitate ones progress toward
the outlined objectives would certainly be ap-
propriate, if space allows.
Respond to two of the following three
Option 1
Reflect on a time when you turned down an op-
portunity. What was the thought process be-
hind your decision? Would you make the same
decision today? (600 words)
Also making a repeat appearance in this years
essay set, this question poses an interesting
challenge for applicants. There is a good deal
of nuance to consider here; for example, if one
responds with an instance in which he or she
would not make the same choice today, this
may begin to sound more like a mistake or a
failure if not presented effectively. At its heart,
this is a question about the ways the applicant
approaches the decision-making process: the
way he or she weighs priorities, evaluates risk
and determines a course of action. To keep the
tone positive and avoid the subject of regret,
one viable approach would be to outline a time
you saw an opportunity but realized it would be
unwise to take it because you werent prepared
to fully benefit from it. Another example could
be a time when an applicant made a well-con-
sidered decision to turn down an opportunity,
undertaken for the right reasons, that opened
up doors that accepting the opportunity would
not have.
Regardless of the nature of the opportunity and
whether you would make the same decision
today, the key here will be to provide a sound
explanation of the reasons you made the deci-
sion you did, providing the adcom with insight
into your thought process and allowing them to
better understand how you would function at
Wharton and in your future career. We encour-
age applicants to think strategically about the
topics they might use in answering this ques-
tion, and to consider how the content would
Essay Topic Analysis
As seen in Chapter 6: Admissions, Wharton
applicants will need to respond to a total of
three essay questions in the 2011-2012 admis-
sions season. After a brief required question
about professional objectives, applicants choose
among a handful of additional essay options
(two of which are returning topics from last
season) to round out the set. In one respect,
this essay set is very similar to last years, the
difference being that applicants now respond
to just two of three of the prompts provided,
whereas last year they chose three out of a
given four. The upshot of this is that candi-
dates now have one fewer essay through which
to share information about their backgrounds,
accomplishments and interests, effectively put-
ting more pressure on the three essays they will
ultimately write.
The Top Biz Schools team has combined its years of
business school expertise to analyze Whartons
essay topics and help applicants determine how
to craft effective responses. Feel free to contact
us at for a free consulta-
tion, in which we can help you think through the
elements of your profile and determine how to
best present your strengths across this set of
Required Question
What are your professional objectives? (300
Whartons abbreviated opening essay returns
for a second year, allowing applicants just 300
words to describe their post-MBA plans to the
admissions committee. As this is a variation on
the typical career goals essay, applicants will
likely be well-served by adopting a big-picture
approach to this question; in addition to de-
scribing their immediate post-MBA career goals,
applicants should also explain their long-term
plans and the broad impact they hope to have
on their industry, community, country or region.
With only 300 words allotted for this essay, ap-
plicants will need to be highly efficient with their
writing. It should also be noted that this prompt
-- --
35 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
work with other essay topics. For example,
the story of a turned-down opportunity might
present a chance to introduce a new aspect of
ones candidacy that the adcom would not have
learned of otherwise.
Option 2
Discuss a time when you faced a challenging
interpersonal experience. How did you navigate
the situation and what did you learn from it?
(600 words)
This question, albeit with slightly different word-
ing, appeared in Whartons application for the
first time last year. Although the prompt no
longer explicitly requests this, applicants could
conceivably share a story about a challenging
episode in either their personal or professional
lives. The requirements that the experience
simply be challenging and interpersonal
opens the floor to a wide range of situations; for
example, one might write about recognizing a
professional opportunity and struggling to bring
someone else on board, or about leading a team
that included a particularly uncooperative mem-
For those who are more inclined to tell a per-
sonal story, remember that no matter what the
topic, the goal is to demonstrate ones maturity
and ability to overcome obstacles. Whether
the story is personal or professional, the ma-
jor themes of growth and learning remain the
same. After describing the initial challenge and
its origin in detail, applicants should comment
on both their thoughts and actions in response,
highlighting their perseverance in resolving the
situation ideally to positive effect. This es-
say is a good place to highlight instances of
resourcefulness, as well as to provide a com-
prehensive picture of personal and professional
development over the course of the narrative.
One final note about topic selection for this es-
say: the Wharton admissions committee likely
asks this question to understand how the ap-
plicant manages conflict or misunderstanding,
and in turn, to help them understand how he
or she might work through interpersonal issues
with Wharton classmates, learning team mem-
bers and future colleagues. The experience you
select should therefore be transferable in some
way, centering on a relationship that is similar to
those you will forge in the future. Colleagues,
supervisors, subordinates, classmates, team-
mates, friends and even one-time interactions
with strangers are all fair game here. Mean-
while, even though the door is open to personal
examples, challenging situations involving inter-
actions with members of your family will prob-
ably not be sufficiently relevant to your future
working relationships.
Option 3
Innovation is central to our culture at Wharton.
It is a mentality that must encompass every
aspect of the School whether faculty research,
teaching or alumni outreach. Thomas S. Rob-
ertson, Dean, The Wharton School
Keeping this component of our culture in mind,
discuss a time when you have been innova-
tive in your personal or professional life. (600
A new prompt for this admissions season, this
question invites applicants to discuss a situation
in which theyve applied creativity and resource-
fulness to effect some kind of change for the
better. As with the programs other essay op-
tions, Wharton allows applicants to draw from
the personal or the professional realms in ad-
dressing this prompt, so candidates could con-
ceivably write about anything from devising a
marketing strategy for a struggling product line
to developing a defensive strategy for a recre-
ational soccer team. Whatever sort of example
you settle on, remember that, by definition,
new and novel will be key criteria in judging
whether your example is in fact innovative; the
admissions committee is looking for examples
in which applicants have generated solutions or
created new tools or techniques.
To demonstrate the value of your innovative act,
it will be important to provide a complete nar-
rative in your response to this essay, explaining
the situation and the need you saw, comment-
ing on your innovative thought process and
actions, and providing an after snapshot that
illustrates the results of your efforts. Finally,
considering Dean Robertsons definition of in-
novation as a mentality, applicants may want
to conclude by showing that the situation they
chose is part of a broader pattern in their lives,
or perhaps commenting on their characteristi-
cally creative approach to problems or commit-
ment to improvement.
Wharton introduces its essays by encouraging
applicants to be introspective, candid, and suc-
cinct. To this, we would like to add the words
careful and strategic, particularly with re-
spect to choice of topics and the ultimate bal-
ance of content across the full set of essays. If
youre struggling here, feel free to contact Clear
-- --
Appendix |
Admit for a free consultation, during which we
can help you work through the elements of your
candidacy and determine which experiences and
characteristics to highlight in this set of essays.
thing she pledges to keep in the front of her
mind as she brings together Whartons future
Read on to learn more about what Kumar is
most excited about at Wharton in the year
ahead, as well as her take on the admissions
process in general and Whartons essays in par-
Top Biz Schools: Whats the single most exciting
development, change or event happening at
Wharton this coming year?
Ankur Kumar: From a program standpoint
its oftentimes hard to pinpoint just one thing.
The program really is constantly evolving. And
much of that is due to the students that come in
each year. Our students come in very motivated
and energized to have an impact. So thats the
student perspective. But its also the academic
perspective. Our professors are of the same
So I guess the one thing that comes to mind is
the constant evolution of our program. Specifi-
cally, we are able to bring things that are hap-
pening in the world into the classroom. For
example, after the recent earthquake in Haiti,
students and professors came together to create
a course on that event, looking at the aftermath
and the situation there from several vantage
points. I also remember from my time being
here as a student five years ago that certain
areas such as social impact and clean tech
were in a nascent form, and I can see now the
ways in which those areas have evolved and are
still constantly evolving.
CA: What is the one area of your program that
you wish applicants knew more about?
AK: I think that one area that is a strength
of ours that people may not necessarily real-
ize until they start to scratch the surface is
analytical thinking. Our history is, of course, as
a finance school. I am talking 125-plus years
ago. But over time, that has really evolved into
a strength in analytical thinking a strength
that goes across the board to different disci-
plines, from entrepreneurship to real estate to
healthcare. Our students are not just receiv-
ing a functional skill set, but an approach that
allows them to be very analytically grounded no
matter what field they choose.
The changes that have been going on in the
Admissions Director
As part of our ongoing mission to inform MBA
applicants about the admissions process, Clear
Admit has interviewed various admissions direc-
tors at the leading business schools. Read on
for our fall 2010 conversation with Ankur Kumar
of the Wharton School.
Kumar, a Wharton alumna, joined the schools
admissions team about a year and a half ago,
shortly after fellow Wharton alumnus J.J. Cutler
signed on as admissions director. Cutler has
since become Deputy Vice Dean of the Whar-
ton School, overseeing both the admissions and
career services offices, and Kumar has been
promoted to run the day-to-day admissions op-
erations of the MBA program.
I actually have quite a tie to this school, Ku-
mar says, noting that she was an undergradu-
ate there as well, completing a dual degree
program with the College of Arts and Sciences.
She worked in investment banking and finance
before returning to pursue her MBA, after which
she went into management consulting.
The decision to leave management consulting
to join the Wharton admissions team was an
exciting one because it gives her the opportu-
nity to shape the program and have an impact,
she says. For me, this transition was really a
chance to leverage the skills I enjoyed about
finance and consulting and bring them to a
program I feel very strongly about and that is
personal to me.
Prospective applicants might take comfort in
knowing that Kumar was on the other side of
the admissions process herself just a few short
years ago. She graduated with an MBA from
Wharton in the year 2007. So things are not
too distant for me, she points out.
In particular, her time as a Wharton student
helped her appreciate the importance of having
a diverse class of students who come from all
over the world and bring with them a range of
ways of thinking about business. This is some-
-- --
37 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
global economy have led to there needing to
be more data and basis for business decisions.
Wharton students get that from the courses
they take and also from being surrounded by
people from many different backgrounds. Forty
percent of the class has a social sciences back-
ground, and a third has a background in either
hard sciences or engineering. This mix allows
students to think about things analytically and
then apply that approach, whether it is in fi-
nance or consulting or any other field.
CA: Walk us through the life of an application
in your office from an operational standpoint.
What happens between the time an applicant
clicks submit and the time the committee of-
fers a final decision? (e.g. how many reads
does it get, for how long is each application
read, who reads it, does the committee con-
vene to discuss it as a group, etc.)
AK: First of all, our process of evaluation is very
holistic. We ask a lot of information about appli-
cants we want to know about their academic
achievements, their professional development,
the way they think about the world, how they
present themselves.
In terms of the tactical life cycle of an applica-
tion, it is a very iterative process. Our goal is to
get multiple points of view on every candidate.
The first people who read any application are
students students in the second year of the
MBA program whom we select and train. After
doing an initial read of the application, these
students will make recommendations.
From the student reader, an application then
comes to the admissions committee, at which
point we read and review it and decide whether
or not to grant an interview. We dont interview
everyone, but you have to be interviewed to be
And then, after the interview process, there
is another iterative process in which multiple
people give insight into whether to admit,
waitlist or deny a candidate based on all of the
components of his or her application as well as
the interview.
CA: How does your team approach the essay
portion of the application specifically? What are
you looking for as you read the essays? Are
there common mistakes that applicants should
try to avoid? One key thing they should keep in
mind as they sit down to write them?
AK: So, again, the process is a holistic one. We
look at academic records, professional experi-
ence and recommendations to get points of view
on applicants that are external to their own.
And then there are the essays, which are an
applicants vehicle to tell us more about him or
herself. They are all things that we value and
care about equally, but the essays are really a
primary vehicle for applicants to tell us more
about who they are and how they think.
There are a lot of whats that we learn through
the application process what they studied,
what they like to do in their free time, what
their professional experience is. In fact, many
applicants may look at themselves and define
themselves by the whats. But more important
from my perspective is the why and the how.
Why have they chosen to pursue a particular
path, how they chose the opportunities that
they have, how they learned from them, why
they made the choices that theyve made, how
they think. The essays really offer a window
into how they approach business and the world
in general.
I do not think that there are shoulds in terms
of the essays. We are looking for how the ap-
plicant thinks and how they interpret the ques-
tions. Our essay questions are broad for a
reason. My advice is always to be very genuine
and direct with whatever information they want
to share with us and not to think about we are
looking for but rather what they want to tell us.
People will notice that our essay questions have
changed this year, as they do every year. We
like to constantly think about the kinds of ques-
tions we are asking our candidates. In terms of
other things applicants can expect, we still will
have a one-on-one interview. Candidates who
are invited to interview can either interview on
campus with students, or they can stay where
they are located and interview with alumni or
with myself and my team as we travel to hub
In all cases, the interviews are blind, which is to
say that the person interviewing the candidate
will not have read his or her application. The
interview will be behavioral in nature we want
to see how people think about situations they
have been in and how they face challenges, not
just to have them walk us through their resume.
We are always trying to evolve our process and
really be able to continue to capture information
in the best way possible.
-- --
Appendix | 38
Career Services Director
To supplement our series of Admissions Direc-
tor Q&A interviews, Top Biz Schools has launched
a series of Q&A sessions with Career Services
directors at many of the leading MBA programs.
We hope these interviews will help you learn
what to expect from the recruiting process
when you get to campus, understand the rela-
tive strengths of each schools career services
centers, get to know a little about the directors
themselves and think about what you can do
before you even apply to ensure you have the
most successful job search possible.
In this winter 2011 interview, we reconnect
with J.J. Cutler, whom we first interviewed for
our Admissions Director Q&A Series in February
2009. Since then, Cutler has been appointed
Deputy Vice Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid
and Career Management for Wharton, with
direct oversight of the MBA Career Management
A lifelong Philadelphia resident, Cutler has deep
ties to the University of Pennsylvania, where he
got both his undergraduate degree and his MBA.
After receiving his MBA in 1997 from Wharton,
he worked for a number of years in healthcare
consumer goods and marketing, including a
stint at ARAMARK as Senior Vice President of
Marketing an seven years at Johnson & Johnson.
Most recently, he has served as the president of
Lindi Skin, a start-up offering skin care products
designed for people with cancer.
Thrilled to return to Wharton in 2009 as direc-
tor of MBA admissions and financial aid, he was
even more enthusiastic to step into his current
role last May. I was excited about tackling
such a unique and challenging role of oversee-
ing almost the entire life cycle of a Wharton
MBA student, from reading their applications in
which they articulate their aspirations to sup-
porting them in finding and selecting the right
next professional opportunity, he says. Next
year, I suppose Ill start interacting with the new
alums as they return to campus to recruit for
their firms, he added, at which point he really
can claim to oversee the entire life cycle of the
Wharton MBA.
Beyond his allegiance to Wharton, Cutler also
professes to being a passionate proponent of
Philadelphia and all that it has to offer. Its
important to me to be active in the Philadelphia
community and I am proud to be serving on the
board of the Independence Visitor Center Corpo-
ration, he told us.
Read on to learn more about how his new role
gives him a clear overview of career services
at Wharton, what he sees and how he hopes to
shape the schools offerings in the future.
Top Biz Schools: How do you view your Deputy
Vice Dean role as it relates to career services at
Wharton? Is it to administer workshops? Coun-
sel students? Counsel companies? Manage the
entire office and oversee its various functions?
All of the above?
J.J. Cutler: I certainly find myself wearing
many hats in my role, which range from man-
aging the strategic direction and operations of
the office to representing the office to constitu-
ency groups like employers, student groups
and alumni to working directly with students
to advise them on their career direction. I am
fortunate to have a talented and dedicated team
that is continually innovating and improving how
we serve both our student and employer popu-
Broadly, how we think about our role in serving
students is reflected in our Mission Statement,
which is:
Help students explore and refine their career
Teach career management skills and strength-
en students as potential candidates
Support students through the career search
Market Wharton talent to employers and
strengthen the Wharton brand
For students, our aim is to help them define
their goals and to enable them to meet their
career objectives. We believe that the set of
skills the students learn through their current
job search will serve them well in their lifelong
career management process.
CA: Now, about your team. How many place-
ment professionals do you have? Is this a
relatively constant figure? If not, how has it
changed in recent years? How might it change
in the near future?
JC: Our office follows a model where we are
organized by function into teams by industry.
Each member of the office is dedicated to either
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39 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
student or employer needs.
We have a team of career advisors who focus
predominately on working with students on the
full range of career management needs. Ad-
visors are aligned by industry and work one-
on-one with students interested in pursuing a
career in that industry.
On the employer side, our Employer Services
Team plays a two-fold role: 1) actively identify-
ing attractive opportunities for Wharton talent
and 2) working with employers to identify the
best ways for them to reach our students to
meet their recruiting needs.
The industry teams are comprised of the aligned
Career Advisor and their counterpart on the Em-
ployer Services Team, who work closely together
to provide seamless information and services
to students and employers. We have industry
teams that cover 12 major industries (such as
consulting, investment banking, private equity,
media & entertainment and energy).
We have a Career Management team of about
25 professionals. The size of our office has been
relatively constant over the past few years;
however, we have recently added additional staff
to increase our business development capac-
ity and to support students who want to pursue
entrepreneurial opportunities. We have also re-
cently added a career advisor who is dedicated
to supporting our alumni population.
As student career interests change and as pro-
fessional opportunities expand into new indus-
tries and geographies, I expect that our office
will continue to evolve to serve our ever-chang-
ing constituencies with excellence and impact.
CA: Can you provide prospective applicants with
an overview of the recruitment process at Whar-
ton? When does it start? How does it unfold?
JC: I would say that the career management
process begins when you make the choice to
apply to business school and go through the
self-inquiry necessary to answer the question of
what do you want to do? Once you are ac-
cepted into the program, the recruiting process
and timeline is really dependent upon the indus-
try in which you are recruiting.
When first-year students arrive on campus in
early August, we provide an Introduction to
Career Management, a set of self-assessment
tools and informational panels on opportunities
and recruiting processes in various industries.
Beyond that introduction, the recruiting time-
line begins following separate tracks dependent
upon the industry. We have begun thinking
about recruiting in two different streams: Ma-
ture and Enterprise. Were still refining the
language, but mature recruiting is made up of
employers with defined needs and demand for
MBA talent, and the recruiting process tends to
be very structured, usually on campus and usu-
ally earlier in the year. Examples of these op-
portunities include many consulting, investment
banking, healthcare and CPG firms. Enterprise
recruiting includes most of the private equity,
energy, social impact and entrepreneurial oppor-
tunities. These positions are usually identified
through research and networking, and offers
tend to be made later in the year.
Formal recruiting activity for first-year students
kicks off in the end of October with company
information sessions. (We require companies
to hold off until then so students can focus
solely on academics and extracurriculars.) On-
campus interviews take place in the winter and
begin with our Dedicated Interview Period (a
week dedicated to recruiting where most first-
year classes are not held). All throughout the
fall and the rest of the year, students are net-
working with companies, attending events and
conducting informational meetings and coffee
During the second year, recruiting begins early
with on-campus activity starting in September
with a set of networking events with employers.
On-campus interviews begin in October for full-
time positions.
Both students and alumni have access to jobs
on our exclusive job board year-round. This job
board received more than 5,500 job postings
from more than 1,900 companies last year.
CA: How has the economy impacted recruit-
ment at Wharton? How have you and your staff
remained flexible or adapted in order to help
students navigate a more challenging job mar-
ket? Have you encouraged flexibility on the part
of students themselves?
JC: Last year was tough, but Wharton students
rose to the occasion, tackled the challenge and
continued to be successful. Of the students
seeking positions [in the 2009-2010 academic
-- --
Appendix |
year], 88 percent of graduating students had re-
ceived full-time offers by the end of September
and 99 percent of the first-years received in-
ternship offers. Not surprisingly, there has been
a dropoff in students moving into finance after
graduation the last few years, but we are seeing
a resurgence in hiring interest from the banks.
Whether or not its connected to the economy,
we are seeing an increasing trend of students
interested in enterprise opportunities. We are
responding accordingly with additional focus,
support and outreach on these areas of interest.
We certainly encourage students to remain flex-
ible and think of their long-term career goals
and the steps they need to take to get where
they ultimately want to go. Our job is not to tell
students where to go or what to do, but rather
to work with them to create a strategy depend-
ing on their objectives and interests, their past
experience and skills, and tolerance in taking
risks to reach their goals. Sometimes getting
to ones goal is not immediate, particularly in
a weaker economy. Depending on your back-
ground and how competitive a field is, it can
take an interim step to develop the appropriate
skills to be positioned for your desired job. We
work with the students to help them chart the
path to where they want to go.
CA: How does your team counsel students re-
garding the interview? Is there a formal mock
interview process? How are interview schedules
administered? Is there an established policy re-
garding how closed and open interviews should
be conducted? What facilities are available for
JC: We prepare students through career educa-
tion programs on various assessment methods
such as behavioral interviews, industry-specific
interviews and case interviews. Advisors work
one-on-one with students to help them think
through and practice responses, and we sponsor
a mock interview program.
Through our mock interview program, first- and
second-year students meet with trained student
Career Fellows to practice conducting informa-
tional and industry-specific interviews and to
receive feedback on areas for improvement.
For most companies who interview on campus,
the entire application and interview process is
managed through our online recruiting system.
Students use this system to identify and apply
for opportunities and schedule interviews. All
interviews are closed (i.e. companies select can-
didates for interviews). If the company is will-
ing, we offer students the opportunity to drop
their resume for a walk-in interview where
companies can choose to interview additional
candidates not on their original schedule/inter-
view list.
Many interviews take place in our On-Campus
Interview Suite. We recently revamped this fa-
cility to include updated design and technology.
Equipped with 48 interview rooms, the suite
hosts more than 400 interviews per year. We
also offer students space for telephone inter-
views and technology for interviews via video-
CA: What kind of role do alumni play in Whar-
tons recruiting process? How integral are they
to your offices success? Is alumni participation
a major part of your placement platform?
JC: Alumni are a key component to recruiting at
Wharton. With more than 80,000 alumni at nu-
merous firms across industries and geographies,
Wharton students are plugged into a rich and
diverse network of some of the top profession-
als worldwide. Alumni come back as recruiters,
champion Wharton students at their firms and
are some of our key contacts at companies. To
that end, we have established relationships with
the majority of the geographic alumni clubs (in-
cluding 14 each in Asia and Europe respectively)
and affinity clubs such as the Wharton Private
Equity Partners. These clubs and their member-
ship are invaluable resources to our office and
to the students for industry and company infor-
mation as well as for networking and employ-
ment leads.
CA: Do you have any advice for prospective
applicants in terms of what they might do in ad-
vance of the MBA program to be better prepared
for the job search process? In your experience,
do you find that students who have done X, Y or
Z before arriving on campus have a more suc-
cessful experience with career services and the
job search as a whole?
JC: There is no specific formula for success.
Many of our students come to Wharton to switch
careers and see the MBA program as a chance
to explore new industries, functions or geogra-
phies and to chart a different professional path.
To that end, it is important to come prepared
with self-awareness of your goals and values,
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41 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
direction of what you are looking to achieve at
Wharton, curiosity to pursue intellectual and
professional interests and energy and drive to
achieve your career goals.
Lastly, recognize that career management is a
lifelong endeavor. Focus on developing skills
and establishing professional relationships that
will endure and serve you regardless of where
your path takes you, instead of just concentrat-
ing on that first postbusiness school job.
-- --
Further Resources | 42
The Wharton Journal is a weekly newspaper ca-
tering to and written by Wharton MBA students.
It covers both school and world news and pro-
vides student commentary on current events.
Online versions of most articles are available
through the Journals website.
Knowledge@Wharton is a free online business
research and analysis journal produced by the
Wharton School. It is produced in several lan-
guages, soon to include Arabic, and is also avail-
able in podcast format via iTunes.
The Wharton Center for Leadership and Change
Management publishes the monthly Whar-
ton Leadership Digest, which shares research,
events and case studies related to effective
leadership. Back issues from the last decade
are available through the centers website.
Further Resources
Dedicated to building a basic and practical
understanding of leadership and change, the
Center explores and communicates effective
strategies for restructuring.
Council on Employee Relations: Whartons
Council on Employee Relations is the Center
for Leadership and Change Managements pro-
gram for management/employee issues.
Emerging Technologies Management Research
Program: Identifies and explores the best
ways for companies to compete, survive and
succeed in industries that are being created or
transformed by emerging technologies.
Financial Institutions Center: Dedicated to ad-
dressing the issues resulting from revolutions
in the financial services industry due to tech-
nology, regulatory changes, and globalization.
Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Op-
erations Management: Through research and
teaching, the Fishman-Davidson Center strives
to understand the role of the service sector,
the largest component of the economy in all
developed countries.
Jay H. Baker Retailing Center: Links retail
theory with practice by forming a partnership
among world-class researchers, educators,
students and the global leaders of todays
retail industry.
Leonard Davis Institute of Health Econom-
ics: A formal cooperative venture among the
University of Pennsylvanias schools of medi-
cine, business, nursing and dental medicine,
LDI works to improve public health through
multidisciplinary studies on medicine, econom-
ics, and social and ethical issues that influence
health care.
Risk Management and Decision Processes
Center: Studies low-probability events with
potentially catastrophic consequences, such as
natural and technological hazards and indus-
trial risk.
Rodney L. White Center for Financial Re-
search: Sponsors financial research, a work-
ing paper series, a reprint series and a highly
Wharton Research
Centers & Institutes
Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement
Research: Supports scholarly research, teach-
ing, and outreach on global aging, successful
retirement, and public and private pensions.
Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business
Ethics Research: Serves as a focal point for
the interaction of business, professional, and
academic leaders concerned with responsibility
in business.
Center for Health Management and Econom-
ics: Explores how managerial insight and eco-
nomic incentive can improve the current state
of health care provision.
Center for Human Resources: Explores the
strategic role of human resource management
in areas like labor relations, increased produc-
tivity, public policy, work and family issues and
workforce education.
Center for Leadership & Change Management:
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43 | Top Biz Schools School Guide: The Wharton School
respected annual seminar.
Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Cen-
ter: Promotes and funds cutting-edge, schol-
arly research of interest to academics, policy
makers and real estate professionals.
SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Manage-
ment: Seeks to identify and understand
trends in management practice and to design
and implement research programs to meet the
future needs of management.
Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Cen-
ter: Focuses on increasing understanding of
the creation of social wealth through new busi-
ness creation and development, both within
existing organizations and via independent
S.S. Huebner Foundation for Insurance Educa-
tion: Works to bolster insurance education at
the college level.
Weiss Center for International Financial Re-
search: The worlds first research center
devoted exclusively to an understanding of
international finance.
Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative: Pro-
vides rigorous customer-level data analyses
to cutting-edge businesses in a wide array of
Wharton e-Business Initiative (WeBI): A part-
nership between business leaders, Wharton
faculty and students to generate and dissemi-
nate new knowledge about e-business.
Wharton Global Family Alliance: Develops
in-depth research about family businesses,
primarily in the areas of governance, philan-
thropy and wealth management.
Wharton Small Business Development Center:
Provides business assistance to small busi-
nesses throughout the greater Philadelphia
Wharton Sports Business Initiative: Forges
partnerships among top level sports business
leaders, Wharton faculty and students to gen-
erate and disseminate knowledge about the
sports industry.
William and Phyllis Mack Center for Techno-
logical Innovation: The umbrella organization
for all of Whartons technology management
Contact Information
-- --
OvEdu Education Group
Suite 1403, CITIC Square, 1168 Nanjing Road(W)
200041 Shanghai, China