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Linda Abraham (Aug 26, 2009 12:00:55 PM)
Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I am the founder of Accepted.com and
the moderator of today’s chat. First I want to welcome all applicants
to the chat today, and I want to congratulate you for taking the time
to learn more about University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. It is
critical to your decision process and your admission chances that you
know as much as you can about the schools you are applying to. Being
here today allows you to ask experts about this top business school.
I want to introduce our special guests from Wharton:
Thanks for joining us today.
Linda Abraham (Aug 26, 2009 12:02:14 PM)
J.J., what’s new at Wharton from an admissions perspective?
Roshni (Aug 26, 2009 12:03:13 PM)
Ankur: How do you view early career applicants (2-3 years of experience)? Do they add much value to the classroom?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:04:26 PM)
Linda, that's a pretty broad question. Every year we are looking to attract a broad, diverse group of applicants. In particular, from an application
standpoint, we made some changes to our essay questions to try to
better identify applicants who would be a good fit for Wharton.
John (Aug 26, 2009 12:04:36 PM)
J.J.: What are you looking for reapplicants to demonstrate in their application package?
Linda Abraham (Aug 26, 2009 12:09:29 PM)
JJ: To follow up on the last response, what makes an applicant a good fit with Wharton?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:09:34 PM)
Roshni, regarding early careerists (less than 3 years work experience), we are
starting to see more and more qualified applicants in this category and
they add tremendous value inside of as well as outside of the
classroom. We have no set requirements for how many years of experience
we are looking for. It's an individual decision as to when is the
"right" time to apply.
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:11:43 PM)
Hi John, regarding reapplicants, we are looking for them to help us
understand how their candidacy has developed and grown over the time
since they last applied. That is something one can demonstrate in all
aspects of the application - from continued career progression,
increased awareness and insights, new experiences, to retaking the GMAT.
aspirant (Aug 26, 2009 12:11:46 PM)
Ankur: My average grade is low (75 out of 100), just above average. But
my GMAT is better (720). Can my GMAT compensate for the low GPA?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:11:49 PM)
Linda, a good fit for Wharton would be as follows: We look for people who are intellectually
curious, who ask "why" a lot, who want to make a positive change, who
like to work with other people, who like tackling complex difficult
problems, who see the current economic "crisis" as an opportunity, who
wants to be "in the game" as opposed to "watching the game," who will
make Wharton and their classmates better, and who ultimately will make
the world better.
Jack (Aug 26, 2009 12:11:53 PM)
JJ: I know that you don't encourage recommendation letters
from academic superiors. However, how about PhD and Postdoc advisers?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:13:47 PM)
Jack, we want you to pick the right recommenders for your own personal
situation and we are evaluating your choice as part of your judgment.
We encourage you to pick people who know you well and can give us
information about you that will help us make a decision. In general, we
prefer a direct supervisor in whatever context makes sense for you.
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:13:50 PM)
Hi Aspirant. We look at each candidate's academic achievements
holistically and triangulate across all the different data points
(undergrad performance, GMAT scores). In terms of GPA, we are looking
at more than just the final number and view it in the context of the
educational institution you went to, courses you took, performance
trajectory over time, and other factors such as work or extracurricular
MS (Aug 26, 2009 12:13:52 PM)
Hi JJ! Until last year, Howard E. Mitchell Fellowship was for students
of Hispanic, African-American, and American Indian descent. Is there a
policy change from this year to allow exceptional students from
under-represented backgrounds, but from other countries (such as India)
mba2010asp (Aug 26, 2009 12:13:53 PM)
Ankur: Since you've graduated from Wharton, what changes have you seen
in how you could contribute well to the organization - pre & post MBA? What was it about the Wharton MBA that made that difference?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:16:13 PM)
MS, all students can be considered for fellowships. We have a number of
fellowships that have specific criteria attached to them as well as
fellowships that are more general. All of the criteria for all
fellowships are online.
Robin (Aug 26, 2009 12:16:21 PM)
JJ: For candidates looking for a career move, let's say from
science/engineering to consulting, how does the nature of past work experience
affect the job a candidate lands in the end?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:18:47 PM)
Robin, obviously our Career Management team can give you more specific
information, but in general, I'd say that past work experience is one
factor that goes into the decision for a prospective employer. Most
employers know that many MBA students are in School to switch careers, so as
long as your story makes sense, you demonstrate interest and passion
in the path you are choosing, and get involved with the new
industry/company while in School, you should be able to set yourself up
well when making a career switch.
vikRed (Aug 26, 2009 12:18:50 PM)
Ankur: Hi, I have a question about the reapplication process. I had
applied in R2 last year. Do you advice reapplicants to wait at least a
year before they submit another application? Or is it fine if I submit
a R1 application this year?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:20:39 PM)
Hi Mba2010asp. The Wharton MBA is an opportunity to develop both
professional and personally. I was able to develop and test new skills
- both from a professional and personal standpoint. For example, I was
able to build my strategic thinking and problem solving skills to help
me transition from a career in Finance to Strategy. I also got to meet
and learn classmates coming from a diverse set of backgrounds -
including industry experience, geographic location and way of thinking -
that also helped shape my way of thinking. Overall, Wharton provided me
with the confidence to go out and tackle any business problem - by
leveraging what I had learned in the classroom, in my extracurricular activities
or from my classmates.
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:21:46 PM)
APA, I agree that we are known for our expertise in the Real Estate
industry, which has obviously gone through a tremendous amount of
change in the last few years and will continue to evolve rapidly in the
next 3-4. We are looking for applicants who have a passion for and a commitment to the industry. I don't have a crystal ball regarding
placement, but I think the Wharton experience will provide you with a
huge advantage in terms of access to faculty, industry leaders, and
MNA (Aug 26, 2009 12:21:51 PM)
JJ: Should applicants to the Lauder program draw upon examples from work experiences only, when writing their essays?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:22:17 PM)
Hi VikRed. I always say that applicants in general, and reapplicants as
well, should apply when they feel like they can put their best
candidacy forward. It's a personal decision and if you feel that you'd
like to apply in R1 then you should.
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:23:36 PM)
1982 - our campus visit program will still be ramping up and so, while
certain aspects are not available, you can attend an Info Session in
the Admissions Office at 3pm (held daily) and tour our building and
campus on your own.
Roshni (Aug 26, 2009 12:23:59 PM)
Ankur: The workplace today is increasingly global. It happens that a
supervisor may reside in some other continent and the only contact is
through internet/phone calls/video conferences. Can we take a recommendation
from such a person?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:24:01 PM)
MNA, I am not sure I completely understand your question, but I think
the answer is 'No." Make sure you read the essay questions carefully
and answer the question(s) being asked. There is no secret code! Draw
upon examples that make the most sense for your personal situation,
whether from work or other aspects of your life.
vikRed (Aug 26, 2009 12:24:06 PM)
J.J., is the reapplication
considered an extension of the previous years application? Or should it
be complete in itself? For example, I think that the story in one of my
essays last year was compelling. Should I be restating it in my
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:25:39 PM)
VikRed: A reapplication should be complete in and of itself. You need
to make a judgment call for yourself about how to handle the essays and
whether you want to keep an essay from last year.
John (Aug 26, 2009 12:25:47 PM)
J.J.- Do you expect the upcoming applicant pool to be the same size as last year's applicant pool?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:25:59 PM)
Roshni: If your supervisor doesn't have access to the internet to submit
their recommendation online, they can submit a paper copy to our office.
MS (Aug 26, 2009 12:26:06 PM)
Ankur: This year Wharton will be accepting only 2 recommendations. Will
a 3rd optional recommendation, submitted in paper, be acceptable or not?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:28:51 PM)
MS: We are strongly encouraging candidates to only submit 2
recommendations this year and therefore our online application only
allows for 2 to be added. If you feel strongly that a third
recommendation would add an additional perspective not reflected in the
other two, then you may submit a third. However, again, I would strongly
encourage using your judgment in doing so.
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:28:54 PM)
John, that seems to be one of the BIG questions this year! If I had to
predict, I would say that the pool will continue to grow moderately.
Now that the macro-economic news is brightening in Japan, Europe, Latin
America, and the U.S., I think we will see strong numbers from those regions in addition to the strong numbers we continue to see in
economies that were less hard-hit like India and China. The decision to
apply to Wharton is not one that people take lightly, so people don't
tend to apply on a whim regardless. And the ROI continues to be strong,
especially for the high-quality top-tier schools.
MNA (Aug 26, 2009 12:28:55 PM)
JJ and Ankur: In your opinion, what sets Wharton apart?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:34:33 PM)
MNA: We think that there are three aspects of our program that helps
our students achieve their set of professional and personal
aspirations. Those are:
Saurabh (Aug 26, 2009 12:34:40 PM)
Ankur: I'm trying to compensate for my poor GPA. In addition to a good
GMAT, what do you recommend more -- formal part-time classes at local
colleges, or certifications like CFA?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:36:21 PM)
Saurabh - as I mentioned to Aspirant, we look at applicants
holistically and on this dimension as well, we triangulate across GPA,
GMAT, etc. If you feel that courses will help boost your academic
profile, then that's your judgment call.
Robin (Aug 26, 2009 12:36:45 PM)
Ankur: How does the nature of industry you have work experience in, build your candidacy for Wharton? What is the most important point
according to you, which sets a candidate apart from his usual creativity
in assignments, etc?
AnkurKumarWHARTON(Aug 26, 2009 12:37:52 PM)
Robin - we have students who come from all industries and there is no
one preferred path to Wharton. We look for excellence and standout
factors in all aspects of one's candidacy including your work
experience and whatever industry you have chosen to pursue and are
arjun (Aug 26, 2009 12:38:26 PM)
Ankur: I’ve heard students read/screen applications. Does the admissions
staff also review applications after this? Could you provide some more
information on the application review process?
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:41:15 PM)
Arjun - the application evaluation process is very iterative with
multiple touch-points - meaning, your application is read multiple times
by multiples Admissions Officers. We do have second year students known
as Graduate Assistants, who are selected and trained, who evaluate
applications and interview candidates.
Rahul Joseph (Aug 26, 2009 12:53:38 PM)
J.J/Ankur: In working with the family business, what are considered appropriate choices for recommenders?
Roshni (Aug 26, 2009 12:53:50 PM)
Ankur, the essay question on career goals is different from last year's
question. So does it mean we should focus more on our goals than our
current career progress in that essay?
J.J.CutlerWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:56:52 PM)
Rahul, we obviously get quite a few applicants who are in family
businesses and ask this question, so we certainly will take this into
consideration. In general, try to find unbiased people who do not have
a financial connection/incentive. This could be suppliers, business
partners, other employees who are not family members, coaches,
AnkurKumarWHARTON (Aug 26, 2009 12:57:33 PM)
Roshni - this is another example of judgment being a key component of
the application process. It's hard for me to say how much emphasis or
focus you should place - to the extent that your current career
progress is important for us to understand your goals, then you should
tell us as much or as little as you think important to tell your story.
Rahul Joseph (Aug 26, 2009 12:57:38 PM)
Thank you very much for your time.
Linda Abraham (Aug 26, 2009 12:58:00 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to J.J.
& Ankur for joining us and sharing their inside knowledge of
For more information about Wharton admissions, please visit the web
site or Wharton's adcom
blog. Highly informative and
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