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The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the first ever collegiate business school.  Wharton offers prospective MBA applicants either a two-year, full-time program or a two-year Executive MBA program.  The school also affords students the option of pursuing an MBA/MA through the well-regarded Lauder Program.  Wharton is distinctive among leading programs for its high percentage of international students, mandatory yet flexible majors, and rigorous quantitative training.

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Students in the MBA program at Wharton have access to over 225 professors; the school overall has roughly 266 faculty members.  Faculty teach across 10 academic departments and also contribute to Wharton’s 20 research centers and initiatives, which have study areas ranging from customer analytics to health economics.

Upon entering the Wharton MBA program, first-year students are immediately divided into Learning Teams of approximately five to six students. The teams are chosen with professional and personal diversity in mind. When classes begin, multiple Learning Teams are brought together to form cohorts of about 70 students. Wharton students complete most of the core curriculum with their cohort fellows and work with the same faculty for their first year; they are better integrated into the Wharton learning community as a result. Wharton adds another layer of group activity through clusters which are groups of approximately 210 students from three cohorts.  These students share faculty and administrative resources as well as social elements of the program, like group community service projects.  Course material at Wharton is delivered through a mix of lectures, case studies and field study.

Pre-Term commences for first-year MBA students in mid-August, three weeks before the formal beginning of the program.  All students are required to participate in Pre-Term activities, which include preparatory courses in key subjects such as financial analysis.  In addition, the first core course of Wharton’s curriculum, Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership, is taught during Pre-Term.  Wharton students also attend a two-day Learning Team Retreat at an offsite location, where they are first introduced to the other members of their Learning Team and the second-year student who will serve as their Leadership Fellow.

Wharton’s MBA program operates on a semester system, with the fall semester running from late August through mid-December and the spring semester lasting from mid-January to early May.  Students must earn a total of at least 19 and no more than 21 credit units over their four semesters at Wharton.  Both semester-long and quarterly classes, which last for about six weeks, are offered each semester.  The core curriculum is comprised of nine courses, though students may waive courses through pre-term exams or the demonstration of other relevant qualifications.  Since 2012, students have been able to choose from two or more options to satisfy the requirements of most core courses, allowing them to select the subject track that interests them most within each core discipline.  MBA students also have the option to fulfill certain core requirements in either their first or second years of study.

While Wharton provides students with nearly 200 elective courses to choose from, those seeking to further expand their studies may take up to four credit units at another University of Pennsylvania graduate school or may spend a semester studying abroad at one of Wharton’s 17 international exchange partner schools.  MBA students are required to tailor their studies by choosing a major or double major from among 18 areas of study and completing at least five credit units in each major area.  The 18 major options include the “individualized major,” an opportunity for students to complete their majors in an area not adequately covered by the more standard offerings.  Nearly 5 percent of students choose to pursue this path, while about 30 percent of students opt to double major.  Students wishing to pursue Wharton’s Health Care Management Program must note their interest in this program at the time of application; the program provides supplementary academic and professional resources to help students gain the necessary education in all areas of health care.

Other MBA Degree Options
Beyond the full-time MBA, Wharton offers the MBA/MA Lauder Program—the first joint degree in international management—as well as a three-year MBA/JD from Wharton and Penn Law, and 13 other dual-degree options at University of Pennsylvania schools.  Students may also choose from four dual degrees in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  In addition, Wharton offers an Executive MBA program at its campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Majors at Wharton

  • Accounting
  • Actuarial Science
  • Business Economics and Public Policy
  • Entrepreneurial Management
  • Environmental and Risk Management
  • Finance
  • Health Care Management
  • Individualized Major
  • Information: Strategy and Economics
  • Insurance and Risk Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Marketing and Operations Management (Joint Major)
  • Multinational Management
  • Operations, Information and Decisions
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Real Estate
  • Statistics
  • Strategic Management

Degree Offerings at Wharton
Full-time MBA Program

Interdisciplinary Programs
International Studies (Lauder), Healthcare Management, Biotechnology, Design, Engineering, Environment, Law, Medical Sciences, Nursing, Social Work

Wharton/School of Advanced International Studies, Wharton/Harvard Kennedy School

Executive MBA Programs
Philadelphia, San Francisco

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Clubs, Conferences & Competitions
Wharton students can get involved in extracurricular activities across more than 100 student-run organizations, including professional clubs, culture-based clubs, intramural athletic organizations, and community service and special interest associations.  For example, the Wharton Global Health Volunteer Program sends volunteers to developing countries to consult on healthcare services.  Meanwhile, the Outdoor Club organizes outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and biking that are open to Wharton students, partners and faculty.  Most MBA student activities are managed by the graduate program’s student government organization, known as the Wharton Graduate Association.

Each year, Wharton typically features over a dozen conferences led by students.  These include the Global Business Forums, the Annual Wharton Women in Business Conference, and the Restructuring and Distressed Investing Conference, among others. MBA students can also take advantage of Wharton’s competition offerings.  For instance, the Wharton Business Plan Competition has helped student entrepreneurs receive thousands of dollars in funding and national media coverage for over a decade.

Campus Spaces
The Wharton School is situated on the University of Pennsylvania campus in the University City neighborhood of West Philadelphia.  The core of Wharton’s complex, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, was opened to students in August 2002.  Nearly $140 million was spent on this facility, which includes 48 classrooms, 57 group study rooms, four teaching labs, two lounges, and several large spaces such as its 300-seat auditorium.  MBA students can opt for on-campus housing at Penn’s graduate student buildings, though many decide to live in Philadelphia’s urban neighborhoods or suburbs.

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Career Services
Wharton’s MBA Career Management Team offers a multitude of resources for MBA students seeking employment, including career education programs and mock interviews.  Wharton students benefit from one-on-one advising in addition to employer information sessions, on-campus recruiting and job fairs, and varied opportunities for engagement with alumni.  Recruiting for summer internships begins during the Focused Recruiting Period in January, a weeklong session that takes place while first-years are still completing core courses, and on-campus recruiting for full-time positions starts up around the first week in October.  Students can also go on international and domestic career treks hosted by student clubs and MBA Career Management to meet with firms in many industries.

Career Statistics
Close to ninety-eight percent of the members of the Class of 2015 who sought employment after graduation had secured at least one job offer by the end of September 2015. The most popular post-MBA industry for 2015 graduates was financial services, with a little over one-third of the class joining such firms. Over 26% of graduates took jobs in the consulting industry. Technology, consumer products and retail, and healthcare were the next most common post-MBA industries, representing roughly 11%, 7.5% and 6% of the class, respec­tively. Graduates also found work in real estate, media and entertainment, manufacturing, energy, social impact and professional services sectors.

Nearly 16% of the Class of 2015 accepted positions outside of the U.S., with Asia, Latin America and Europe being the most popular non-U.S. locations. Forty-two percent of 2015 graduates took jobs in the Northeastern U.S., while the West and Mid-Atlantic welcomed 22% and 8.6% of the class, respectively. Approximately 4% of the class each accepted posi­tions in the Midwest, Southwest and South.

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The Class Profile
The Wharton MBA program received 6,590 applications during the 2014-2015 admissions season, but the Class of 2017 includes just 861 students, making Wharton’s one of the most selective MBA programs. Of those 861 students, 43% were women. Thirty percent of the class identifies as U.S. minorities, which includes students of African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic American, Native American and multiethnic backgrounds. Thirty-two percent of the Class of 2017 are international students, and a total of 73 countries are represented in the class. The Class of 2017’s average GMAT score was 732 and enrolled students had an average of five years of work experience.

The undergraduate and professional profiles of Wharton students are quite diverse. The largest portion of the class, 42%, majored in the humanities and social sciences, while majors in business and engineering, math, and science constituted 29% and 25%, respectively. In terms of industry experience, 23% of students had backgrounds in consulting, followed by both government, military and nonprofit and investment banking at 11% each, and private equity/venture capital and consumer products/retail/healthcare/energy at 10% each. Another 6% of students had professional experience in the investment management industry.

Application Procedures
The Wharton application season includes three rounds that usually occur in late September, early January and late March; those interested in the Lauder Program must submit their applications in the first or second round.  Applicants should apply through Wharton’s online application system and are required to fill out a data form concerning both their personal and professional background.  Wharton also requires applicants to provide transcripts from all academic institutions attended, GRE or GMAT scores, TOEFL results if applicable, essays, a résumé, two letters of recommendation and a $265 application fee.  An interview is required for admittance to the MBA program, and interviews are offered to applicants by invitation only.

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The cost of tuition for the 2015 to 2016 academic year is $70,870. U.S. students and permanent residents qualify for federal and private loans, and Wharton recently established a partnership with Quorum Federal Credit Union that will allow international students to acquire a loan without a cosigner. Wharton also offers a variety of fellowships for which all admitted students are con­sidered and no additional application is required. Students are notified of their acceptance and fellowship nomination concurrently.

Two-Year Program Tuition (per year)

  • Tuition and Fees $70,870
  • Room and Board $20,626
  • Books, Supplies, and Miscellaneous $5,568
  • Health Insurance $3,390
  • Total $100,454


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Deadlines for 2016-17

Round 1: September 27, 2016

Round 2: January 5, 2017

Round 3: March 28, 2017

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Mailing Address:
Office of MBA Admissions &
Financial Aid
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Vance Hall, Suite 111
3733 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104.6340
Phone: 215-898-6183
Fax: 215-898-0120
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @Wharton

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Application results in real time, submitted by site visitors.
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