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Wharton Director of Admissions Debunks 10 Myths About the MBA Program

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If you’ve considered applying to Wharton’s MBA program, you’ve probably been inundated with information—not all of it true. To clarify fact from fiction, Blair Mannix, the Wharton MBA Director of Admissions, recently wrote a blog debunking the 10 most common myths about the application process. Read on for a summary of what she had to say.

Myth 1:  A Background in Finance or Consulting Is Necessary
Wharton students come from a wide range of backgrounds, including non-profit, military, government, energy, and technology. They are an increasingly diverse community.

Myth 2: Round 1 Offers the Best Chance of Admission
Round 1 and Round 2 offer almost the same admission rate and accept virtually the same number of applicants. Thus, your chances of earning a spot are the same for Round 1 and Round 2. However, Round 3 can have fewer admissions depending on the application volume combined with the talent and application volume of the first two rounds. “It’s competitive, but it’s not impossible!” says Ashley M. Lucente, senior associate director for marketing & communications.

Blair Mannix, Director of Admissions at the Wharton School

Myth 3: Admissions Doesn’t Look at EVERY Application
The Admissions team reads all 5,000+ applications. The team sees it as a unique opportunity and privilege to evaluate each application. All applications are read by a member of the admissions committee as well as one of 40 part-time application readers who are either Wharton MBA alumni or admissions professionals.

Myth 4: Only Strong Undergraduate Students Should Apply
An MBA program is about stretching yourself. So the admissions team recognizes that mistakes could be made and that you are more than your undergraduate grades.

Myth 5: You Must Have A Lot of Work Experience to Apply
While most admitted students average five years of work experience, some students are admitted with just two years or 12 to 16 years of it. Undergraduate seniors in their final year of study without significant work experience should consider the deferred admissions program, the Wharton MBA Advance Access Program.

Myth 6: Wharton Students Are HIGHLY Competitive
We hear from students all the time, “This place was totally different than what I thought it was going to be. I thought Wharton was competitive and cutthroat, but it’s actually really not. Everybody’s really nice.”

Myth 7: Visiting Campus Helps My Admission Chances
Visiting campus is a great idea to give you an idea of student life, but it will not help your application process. In fairness to all applicants, it cannot be factored in.

Myth 8: If I Earn a Wharton MBA, I’ll Have to Go Into Finance
While financial services is the most popular industry for many graduates, it is by no means the only industry. According to the 2019 MBA Career Report, 25.1 percent of students chose consulting, 14.9 percent chose technology, 4.3 percent chose health care, and 3.4 percent chose consumer products.

Myth 9: I’ll Have to Live and Work on the East Coast Post-MBA
It’s true that almost 40 percent of Wharton MBA graduates continue to accept jobs in the Northeast, but the West Coast is also popular with approximately 26 percent of 2019 graduates choosing to settle there. You can follow your career anywhere.

Myth 10: Wharton Ignores Social Impact, NGO, and Non-Profit Programs
Wharton offers many resources for students interested in social impact and non-profit careers. For example, there’s the Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) for research, training, and outreach. There’s also the McNulty Leadership Program to provide students with opportunities to get involved in the Philadelphia community. Then, there’s the Wharton Social Impact Club.

To read what Mannix had to say directly, head on over to the Wharton MBA blog.

Kelly Vo
Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and topics related to personal development. She has been working in the MBA space for the past four years in research, interview, and writing roles.