A Wharton MBA Essay Example and Tips for Making Yours the Best They Can Be

Writing essays using a Wharton MBA essay example and tips

The Wharton MBA essay prompts are direct and allow enough word count to paint a robust picture of who you are and why Wharton is right for you (and vice versa). As such, this application can be a good one to tackle early in the process. The deadlines are also early in each round, which lends additional credence to this approach. To help you get started – don’t delay, the clock is ticking for Round 1! – today we’re sharing a Wharton MBA essay example as well as some tips to use while crafting your own. 

Wharton MBA Essay Questions

  1. How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)
  2. Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Wharton MBA Essay Advice

Your Career Goals Are the ‘Anchor’ For Essay One

When it comes to the first essay, the critical thing to keep in mind is that all of your content should be ‘anchored’ by your short- and long-term career goals. If you haven’t given robust thought to these and done your due diligence to ensure they are sound, now is the time to do so.

Once you have defined and refined your career goals, you need to think backwards and forwards. By thinking backwards, we’re encouraging you to think about the formative experiences that led you to your post-MBA career goals. Perhaps in your work as a consultant you were staffed on a healthcare project that opened your eyes to how complex yet exciting the healthcare industry can be. This sparked your interest in shifting to a strategy role within a healthcare company where you can make a lasting impact on the industry and those it touches. Tell the story of that case, focusing on why it was so eye-opening, so the adcom can really feel your passion and the authenticity behind your goals.

By thinking forwards, we’re recommending that you think very specifically about the skills you need to build to be successful in your target career. Then, research and describe the unique elements of Wharton’s program that will help you to build them. If the examples you cite are offered by other business schools, they are not specific enough to make a compelling argument as to why Wharton will best position you for success. Getting this part right takes work and that is exactly why it matters.

Focus Essay Two on Being a ‘Giver’ Not a ‘Taker’

When it comes to the second essay, take a cue from what Wharton professor extraordinaire Adam Grant’s concept of ‘givers and takers’. Whereas the ‘why Wharton’ section of the first essay can cover what you will ‘take’ from the experience, this essay should focus on the ways in which you will be a ‘giver’ while at Wharton and even after graduation. A giver ‘…[looks] to help others by making an introduction, giving advice, providing mentoring, or sharing knowledge, without any strings attached.’

To be in a position to ‘give’, you need to have a unique knowledge base, personality trait, or past experience from which others will benefit. This is the crux of the essay. It is, first and foremost, the place to share what distinguishes you from other applicants. Because the first essay is so career focused, we urge clients to write about something personal here.

For example, a past client discussed how she would use the determination that had helped her overcome personal challenges to motivate her peers in Wharton Women in Business. She went on to describe a specific area of programming she would bring to the club that tied in with some of the personal challenges she had conquered.  The essay was strategic, specific, and thoughtful (and it was successful in earning her an acceptance with full scholarship).

Wharton MBA Essay Example

Because it’s often hard to put theory into practice, below is a Wharton MBA essay example from one of our clients who was accepted (with scholarship!).

Wharton MBA Essay Example – Essay 1

My experience advising consumer products companies at [company x] and driving strategic go-to-market decisions at [company y] have sparked a fascination with strategy at the intersection of consumer and technology. Coupled with a Wharton MBA and a post-MBA role at a consumer technology startup, I plan to leverage these experiences to, one day, lead the strategy function of a company that disrupts a previously-established market by understanding and changing consumer behavior, like Airbnb or StitchFix.

In my work to date, I have seen both ends of the innovation spectrum, which has driven home the importance of responding to quickly evolving customer needs. At [company x], while interviewing company executives on a project for a multinational food manufacturer, I was surprised to find that they were focusing investment on legacy products that, while historically lucrative, would not position the company for future success in the face of changing consumer trends. In contrast, [company y] makes every strategic play based on customer needs. When customers became increasingly segmented by industry, we reorganized the sales team into industry verticals. When COVID-19 struck, we released [product], a product that helps customers evaluate how to safely restart operations. Combining my [company x] and [company y] experiences, I see an opportunity to leverage a deep understanding of consumer trends, based in data and analytics, to disrupt a consumer market with technology.

To succeed in this journey, I need to build the core business principles that were not a part of my liberal arts undergraduate education and develop my personal leadership style. At Wharton, a double major in Business Analytics and Strategic Management will provide a deep understanding of business fundamentals while teaching me to be an innovative strategic leader. Classes like Managing the Emerging Enterprise with Exequiel Hernandez will provide hands-on experience analyzing high-growth organizations, teaching me the fundamental principles of managing a disruptive consumer technology firm, from early competitive positioning to organizational structure and the strategic and operational art of expansion.

Further, understanding and developing my personal leadership style will be paramount to my future career. By taking part in the McNulty Leadership Program’s Leadership Ventures, such as the Quantico Intensive, I will apply my existing teamwork skills to a fast-paced problem-solving exercise. As someone who has always found growth in situations outside my comfort zone, I am excited to explore my personal leadership traits in this intense, hands-on environment, which will prepare me for the dynamic pace of the consumer technology industry.

Lastly, a leadership position in the Technology Club will provide access to Wharton’s broad industry resources and alumni base, preparing me to hit the ground running in a post-MBA role at a consumer technology start-up. Joining an existing but early stage company will expose me to the ins and outs of my target industry and, as is the nature with start-ups, provide experience playing multiple roles in a dynamic format. This breadth of experience will provide a holistic perspective on a consumer technology company’s growth levers and industry dynamics, solidifying my preparation to serve as a strategic leader.

Wharton MBA Essay Example – Essay 2

My parents nicknamed me “the quiet giant” because I was always the underdog whose determination surprised those who underestimated me. I grew up smaller than my peers, so when my softball coach told me that my size would prevent me from being competitive, I was crushed by his quick judgment of my size. Rather than letting this criticism deter me, I became resolved to prove him wrong. I persistently practiced my pitching technique and, two years later, was the best pitcher in the league, going on to win the all-star championship. In this pivotal moment, I was overcome with pride and realized that success was possible if I kept my will to persevere and pushed past my ‘limits’.

Throughout my life, I have leveraged this determination to benefit the communities and teams of which I have been a part. At [company y], I led a team of ten to create an automated headcount dataset that saved the strategy organization hundreds of hours of manual work each quarter. While this project required strategic alignment and technical creativity, my biggest contribution was my ability to motivate the team. We hit many roadblocks, but I took on every challenge with an open mind, encouraging my team to think creatively and listening receptively to each person’s perspective. As a result, our solution transformed the way the organization reports on headcount growth.

These same motivating principles and teamwork skills will allow me to make valuable contributions to the Wharton community. I look forward to using my determination to help motivate my learning team when coursework is challenging or the demands of recruiting wear on us. Through core classes like Corporate Finance, the difficulty of which has been emphasized by current students, I will work closely with my learning team and encourage my peers to persevere.

As a leader of WWIB, I look forward to working alongside my female peers to build our confidence in business settings and otherwise. As a woman in the male-dominated field of consulting, I have unfortunately felt the impact of being overlooked. After joining [company y], I attended courses on public speaking for women and was encouraged to voice my opinions. As a result of my determination to grow in this way, my confidence and presentation skills improved, which enabled my promotion to Manager. I look forward to continuing to develop these skills within WWIB alongside my diverse and talented female peers.

We hope you found this Wharton MBA essay example helpful and can apply our essay writing tips to your own personal narrative. We’re here to help if you’re struggling. Click here to request a free consultation

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