Wharton has joined the fray in releasing its essay prompts for the upcoming admissions season. First, the deadlines:
Round 1: Sep. 27, 2016 (dates for interview invitations and decision notification have yet to be released)
Round 2: Jan. 5, 2017
Round 3: Mar. 28, 2017
The R1 and R2 dates also apply to applicants to the Lauder MBA/MA and the JD/MBA.
Turning to its essays, Wharton has seemed to abandon the trend toward fewer essays by actually adding a new prompt:
Questions, Class of 2019:
1. (Required) What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
This prompt—a straightforward goals essay—and word limit returns from last year. Logically, stating your long-term goals, at least briefly, will provide focus to the heart of this essay: a demonstration that you have done your homework on the Wharton resources (broadly defined: classes, faculty, out-of-classroom/experiential learning, institutes, student clubs, etc.) that are most relevant to your goals, or that simply excite you. This isn’t a ‘right/wrong’ answer prompt—talk about the Wharton resources that you want to, but I do recommend you drill down deep to show as much mastery of Wharton’s wealth of learning opportunities as you can and don’t limit yourself to Wharton’s website: go to info sessions, visit the campus, talk to students/alums—all these data points can (but don’t have to be) discussed in this essay.
2. (Required) Teamwork is at the core of the Wharton MBA experience with each student contributing unique elements to our collaborative culture. How will you contribute to the Wharton community? (400 words)
This prompt is the new one this year, but it resembles a prompt Wharton used in 2013-14: “Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words).” The difference of course is the emphasis on teamwork. Use this essay to present, say, 3-5 differentiators (experiences, skills, qualities, etc.) that taken as a whole make you a unique or distinctive applicant. Ideally, these differentiators will relate to the teamwork theme—illustrate each differentiator with an example that shows you displaying interpersonal effectiveness. Then briefly connect each differentiator to a relevant Wharton resources where that experience, skill, or quality will add the most value.
3. (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)
Note that this essay does not require you to limit your discussion to ‘extenuating circumstances’—you’re welcome to discuss “any” information that you seem important for Wharton to know. This broad invitation should not be abused, however. Don’t just drop in an accomplishment essay here. At last add an introduction that explains why you think Wharton needs to know about this accomplishment. Of course, if your application has a weakness that you can place into context or do damage control on, this is the place to discuss it.
Additional Question for Reapplicants:
•All reapplicants to Wharton are required to complete this essay. Explain how you have reflected on the previous decision about your application, and discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)
•All applicants, including reapplicants can also use this section to address any extenuating circumstances. (250 words)
As for recommendation letters, Wharton’s prompts are the same as last year’s:
The Admissions Committee requires two letters of recommendation, preferably from supervisors. The recommendation questions for the Class of 2019 are:
• How does the candidate’s performance compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? Please provide specific examples. (300 words)
• Describe the most important piece of constructive feedback you have given the applicant. Please detail the circumstances and the applicant’s response. (250 words)
• (Optional) Is there anything else we should know?
My mid-term goal is to become the founder and CEO of an innovative fiber optics firm. I desire to position the company as a profitable, international and leading company in its industry, and aspire to establish a sustainable organization, creating workplaces for thousands of employees and turning an underdeveloped area into a flourishing industrial zone. Passave, an optical communication company, which was lately acquired for $300M, is a model for such a successful company.
After fulfilling this goal, I intend to follow the growing trend of successful executives who moved to the public service sector. My plan is to become a senior manager in the Prime Minister’s Office.
I chose my first full time position in the Optronics Division at the military because I knew it will introduce me to the diverse optical communication community in my country, equipping me with basic hands-on experience in the field. The first two years I worked as a Physicist and a System Engineer and then I was promoted to the position of Electro-Optical Projects Manager in the division’s headquarters. There I set the goals, supervised and directed 9 Project Mangers in optical projects performed by 7 different companies in the defense industry.
At that point I realized that for developing the managing tools required for a senior manager I’ll need to gain more experience in bigger organizations. Therefore, I persuaded the head of the R&D directorate to be reassigned to a classified Intelligence unit. My first mission as an Optical Engineer was to lead a group of 4 in building a module which was the heart of a $100M system. One year later I was appointed to a Team Leader where I commanded a team of 8. Two years later I was promoted to Project Leader.
I understood I lacked the financial and international experience of technological project management to lead a global optical communication company. I therefore became a Project Leader in a classified unit of the PMO. I supervised a team of 20, and managed all financial aspects of a $2M project (presented to the Minister of Defense), where I also had the marvelous opportunity to negotiate with highly ranked officials of three foreign governments.
While considering studying for a PhD, I worked as a part time an Internal Consultant of 5 Project Leaders. I then became an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) in Precede, an entrepreneurship and investment firm, in hope to learn more about becoming an entrepreneur. Working in Precede, I matured in my understanding. I realized I still lack some Finance, Marketing and General Management foundations, which an MBA will enable me to develop.
In light of my long term goal to become a founder and CEO of a technologically oriented company, I’ll need to gain the strongest possible general management skills. The finance and marketing foundations will compensate for my inexperience in these fields. The structured formal general management education I’ll acquire in Wharton will broaden my view and give me the tools to leverage my experience and create a successful company. I believe an MBA is the most structural way to learn how to build organizational values, culture and design organizational structure and hierarchy.
Moreover, most of my leadership experience was developed in governmental organizations, where a leader is defined in terms of his values, inter-personal skills and professionalism. However, looking into the future, I will need to lead in the private sector where leadership is also characterized by the talent to lead corporate players in global, competitive markets and an understanding of the cultural, economical and financial forces that drive the marketplace. Hence, I believe studying by the researchers of the Center of Leadership and Change Development like Prof. S. Kaplan who composed Framing the Future will help me build and lead a high performance optical communication firm.
My experience is mainly based on large and established organizations. Hence, learning from Prof. Dushnitsky on the various dimensions of new venture creation and growth in Entrepreneurship, will show me his perspective on the trail I wish to follow as a founder. Desiring to build a sustainable company, I am looking forward to taking Strategy and Competitive Advantage, where I hope to learn how to create and maintain such an advantage. Learning how to identify entrepreneurial opportunities and how to exploit them where “Creating Values” was contemplated, will lay a solid basis for achieving these goals by myself.
In a world which is growing ever flatter, I find international exposure and experience important for the global company I wish to found. The Multinational Management major courses, such as Global Strategic Management, and participation in the Global Immersion Program will prove valuable in helping me understand other cultures which will be important when penetrating new markets. This international exposure will improve my ability to establish contacts with other nations, hence supporting my longer term career goal of rejoining the PMO.
Wharton’s mindset and student body imply numerous benefits. The exciting opportunity to participate in school’s management would contribute to the fruitful interaction between students and faculty. I plan to take part in the leadership development activities and the various student clubs to create strong friendships. These connections, combined with the great global alumni community, can be especially relevant as an eco system for the company I plan to start and for recruiting its management backbone.