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Admissions Director Q&A: Wharton’s Frank DeVecchis

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Way back in February, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School named a new director of MBA admissions. Aside from an immediate flurry of coverage here and elsewhere about this Wharton “insider” Frank DeVecchis stepping in, little else has been heard since. What gives?

As was reported then, DeVecchis does know Wharton intimately. He worked in the Wharton MBA Program Office for more than five years before heading over to admissions. In charge of operations and daily management of the MBA program, he advised more than 800 students, implemented the school’s innovative Course Match registration program and rolled out a new three-week orientation for incoming students.

Frank DeVecchisSince joining MBA admissions earlier this year, he’s been a hard man to get a hold of. He works closely with existing Deputy Vice Dean of Wharton MBA Admissions, Financial Aid and Career Services Maryellen Reilly Lamb to oversee the entire application process, from recruitment through matriculation.

“These past few months have been a blur (and the next few don’t look much slower),” he shared when we finally managed to catch him last week. Before jetting off again to Asia this week, he was kind enough to make time to answer our questions. We’re glad we caught him!

As you work on your Wharton applications, we think you’ll be glad we caught him, too. In the interview that follows, he shares some of the unique perspectives he brings to admissions from his time in the Program Office, his excitement about an increased focus on innovation and entrepreneurship under Wharton’s new dean and why his team was so happy with last year’s essay that they decided to keep it exactly the same this year.

With Wharton’s Round 1 deadline still a few weeks off—September 29th—there’s still time to catch DeVecchis and other members of this team at recruiting events taking place around the globe. Click here for a full list of upcoming events. You can also catch a virtual MBA Admissions Information Session later today, from 4 to 5 p.m. (EST).

Clear Admit: What have you found most rewarding about your shift from the Program Office to Admissions? Most challenging?

Frank DeVecchis: There is something about being there from the beginning—when everything is new and everyone is in self-discovery and exploration mode. In my new role, I see candidates from day one, learning about their goals, aspirations, where they want to go and what they want to become, and learning how Wharton can be part of the journey.

Once they are admitted and become students, it is great to see our colleagues in academics, leadership, student life and career management take over and continue helping individuals grow and prepare to be extraordinary leaders. No two students or their pathways are the same. It’s amazing see how all the puzzle pieces fit together.

The most challenging thing: jetlag. In three months I’ve been to London, Dubai, LA, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Denver and Tokyo.

CA: What unique insights do you bring to your new role as a result of other work you’ve done at Wharton over the years (advising students, planning orientation, implementing Course Match, etc.)?

FD: I have a deep appreciation for the uniqueness of every candidate and student. Over the past few years, I have worked with students, faculty and staff to continue to develop a program that reflects and celebrates individuality and personalization. One of Wharton’s greatest strengths is its diverse community—in professional background, experience, culture, etc. and I strive to continue this tradition. Also, I can’t help but see everyone as a potential student in our classroom; considering what they will bring to and get from that setting and thinking about how their personal experiences will inform their learning and enrich the academic experiences of their classmates.

CA: When your new role was announced earlier this spring, your responsibilities were reported to include helping to develop strategic recruiting plans for Wharton’s global applicant pool. What does that look like?

FD: Wharton is committed to building classes that mirror the diverse business community our students will lead. To do this, recruitment cannot follow a one-size-fits-all model. We strive to continually innovate how we connect and develop relationships with candidates by utilizing new communications methods and strategies and technology. We bring a bit of the Wharton experience to every interaction, whether in person or virtual, allowing candidates to have a first-hand and personal understanding of what we have to offer.