2009 Wharton MBA Admissions Chat with Jackie Zavitz

2009 Wharton MBA Admissions Chat with Jackie Zavitz

Please feel free to let us know if you would like to be informed of future chats by sending e-mail to chat@accepted.com. We would also be interested in knowing if you would prefer a different format or different topics.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 11:56:49 AM)
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:

·        Jackie Zavitz is a Senior Associate Director in the Office of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at the Wharton School. In addition to serving as a member of the MBA admissions committee, Jackie is responsible for the office's marketing and communications initiatives, including media relations, publications, advertising and website development, including management of the Wharton MBA Admissions Blog, Student Diaries and student2student discussion board. Jackie also oversees the office's private equity initiatives and is engaged with efforts to bring more students from the LGBT community to Wharton. Prior to MBA Admissions, Jackie spent several years in Wharton's MBA Career Management Office, where she managed investment banking and private equity recruiting for the MBA program. Before joining Wharton, she worked at the Electric Power Supply Association, a competitive energy lobbying group in Washington, DC, covering regulatory policy developments affecting the industry.


·        Tiffany Gooden joined the MBA Admissions Office as an Associate Director in July 2008. She is responsible for diversity recruitment, including pipeline development for prospective students of color. Immediately prior to joining Wharton, Tiffany graduated from Harvard with a Master's degree in Education. Prior to graduate school, Tiffany spent several years in the Dartmouth College Undergraduate Admissions Office, her alma mater. In that office she focused on diversity and international student recruitment. Before transitioning to the field of admissions, Tiffany worked at the Advisory Board Company, a Washington, DC-based healthcare consulting company.


·        Alex Fleming is part of the Wharton 08 class. Originally from Phoenix, AZ, he attended Penn for his undergrad studies with a double major in Physics and Russian. Following graduation, Alex spent five years in the US Navy as a nuclear submarine officer. This past summer, Alex worked as an associate at McKinsey & Company on a project for a $1.8B Ukrainian metals company to develop comprehensive marketing and sales strategy and enhance profitability. He is currently a Joint-degree student with SAIS – Johns Hopkins U and majoring in Finance at Wharton. After graduation, he would like to work in the consulting sector in Eastern Europe.

Thanks to everyone for joining. Please post your questions.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 11:59:02 AM)
Jackie, what’s new at Wharton from an admissions perspective? How has the departure of Thomas Caleel affected admissions procedures?

Kayla (Sep 15, 2008 11:59:39 AM)
Tiffany: I received my undergraduate degree from Wharton, and am now looking to apply to the MBA program. When reviewing applications of students who already have a Wharton degree, is there anything you're looking for that you would not expect from the other applicants? Do you have any advice about how to frame my application, specifically when discussing my career progress and why I want an MBA?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:00:05 PM)
We're expecting a robust year this year, but aren't looking to change course radically. Thomas was a wonderful ambassador for the program, and we were sad to see him go, but I look forward to engaging with him as an alumnus.

ahembeea (Sep 15, 2008 12:00:07 PM)
Alex : In a sentence, how would you describe the culture at Wharton ? What do you feel is common across all Whartonites?

mba09 (Sep 15, 2008 12:00:27 PM)
Jackie: question for the AdCom: How often does the AdCom review previous essays for reapplicants?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:01:11 PM)
Mba09: We can reference the previous application, but how much (or in depth) we read it is at the discretion of the evaluator(s).

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:01:14 PM)
Ahembeea, I would say "involved." It is amazing the amount of things people do around here and how much people initiate and innovate. I think this is the real strength of the place, from day 1 until graduation.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:01:16 PM)
Kayla - the benefit of an undergraduate degree from Wharton is that you have intimate knowledge of the Wharton School. We welcome Wharton UG to apply to the MBA program.

Wharton2011 (Sep 15, 2008 12:01:36 PM)
Jackie: Can you update us on the search for your director of admissions? How does a change at the top affect this year's applicants compared to last years? Any change in the type of students you are looking for?

SJW (Sep 15, 2008 12:01:48 PM)
Tiffany: What were the average TOEFL and GMAT scores for accepted students last year? Thank you!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:02:03 PM)
Most of the great things at Wharton are student initiatives that are later adopted by the administration.

wargame (Sep 15, 2008 12:02:07 PM)
Alex: What percentage of Wharton’s classes is in case method? What is the breakdown?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:02:40 PM)
Kayla - In your application we hope that you will express the unique qualities and skill sets that you gained through your undergraduate experience, as well as your professional experience.

Soni (Sep 15, 2008 12:02:50 PM)
Tiffany: Hi, this is Soni. I want to know the difference in applications submitted in Round 1 and Round 2. Are they given same preference?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:02:54 PM)
Wargame: There is no set percentage, all teachers are encouraged to adjust their teaching method to fit the course content. I have seen classes that use one case a week, no cases, and every level in between.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:03:06 PM)
Alex: How are the learning teams formed?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:03:13 PM)
Wharton2011: We are in the process of interviewing candidates right now. There is no impact on candidates, really-- our office still serves our faculty, and the School strives to admit the best, most qualified and diverse group of students possible. We have a wonderful admissions committee, student volunteer base and alumni network to rely on, as well!

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:03:42 PM)
Jackie: I would like to know how the committee looks at a candidate with a low GPA and GMAT score but with exceptional community involvement, recommendations and essays? Is there a point system while evaluating students that keep them out?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:04:06 PM)
USAF: Learning teams are picked from within your cohort to ensure the broadest range of backgrounds and diverse representation. They try to ensure you get to work with people who are very different from you are as part of a living experiment in teamwork and leadership.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:04:41 PM)
Alex, What is Wharton’s greatest strength. What would you like to see improved?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:04:48 PM)
SJW - The Average TOEFL was 629/276/111 (ITOEFL) . Average GMAT was 715 with the middle 80% between 660 and 760.

Zera (Sep 15, 2008 12:04:51 PM)
Hi Tiffany; In application essay 2, where you ask applicants to describe a failure, what should be the main focus when answering the question? What would you like to know more from candidates in that specific question?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:04:54 PM)
Oscar: we look at all candidates holistically with regard to what they'll bring to the School. That said, we do need to ascertain their ability to handle Wharton's academics.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:05:05 PM)
I think Wharton's greatest strength is its brand and its global reach.

wargame (Sep 15, 2008 12:05:18 PM)
Jackie: Will visiting the school be logged as part of the applicant file? Other than giving the student a better perspective of the school, will it be viewed positively on the applicant?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:02 PM)
Wargame-- we do NOT match visits with candidates' files. We're interested in the best candidates, not the biggest fans or best visitors, etc. Many admitted students see the school for the first time at our Welcome Weekend for admitted students!

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:09 PM)
Alex, what would you like to see improved?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:14 PM)
Soni - Applications submitted in Rounds 1 and 2 are viewed similarly in the admissions process.

Wharton2011 (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:23 PM)
Jackie: There has been a cheating scandal with the GMAT, and Businessweek has many articles on doctored resumes. Have you changed your verification process to make it more robust?

Naledi (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:33 PM)
Tiffany: Hello, are there scholarships, fellowships and grants available for minority students at Wharton and external programs as well that you'd recommend?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:06:42 PM)
I am happy to see that more focus is being made to change our reputation to ensure people know it is not just a finance school, but has many strengths in other areas.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:13 PM)
Alex, what are some of those less well-known strengths?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:20 PM)
Zera - We hope to gain a better sense of your abilities for self-reflection. The failure essay should not focus so much of the failure as it should tell us what you learned from the experience.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:20 PM)
This is the case, but the focus is to communicate it better to applicants. For instance our award winning marketing and insurance departments.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:29 PM)
Wharton2011: We do verify candidates' information after admission, yes. However, the situation in question was a function of GMAC's processes in administering and overseeing its test, which they are continually improving.

cj82 (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:35 PM)
Tiffany: Reapplicant Question: How much information needs to be repeated in essays? How closely will the committee look back at my previous application?

wargame (Sep 15, 2008 12:07:47 PM)
Jackie: With the understanding that the average of about 715 in GMAT is just the average, where about half of applicants accepted are below, are students who have less than 700 really demonstrated in other aspects of their file?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:08:09 PM)
Linda, Marketing, the Management Faculty, the Insurance and Risk Management section, the Real Estate Program, there are incredible world class capabilities in all these places.

hurtig (Sep 15, 2008 12:08:41 PM)
Alex: As someone who wants to switch from Engineering/business development to management consulting, how would I go about to contact consultants/ex-Wharton alumni to have a probing interview to show that I have done my homework and that my career goal is reasonable?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:09:00 PM)
Wargame-- not sure I understand, can you clarify? Also, note 715 is our average, not our median, as you suggest.

wargame (Sep 15, 2008 12:09:08 PM)
From reading previous chat transcripts, Thomas Caleel mentions that as long as an applicant crosses the academic threshold (such as GPA, GMAT, etc.), the admissions personnel will move on to other areas of the application. However, would someone with stellar academics (such as 780 in GMAT, 3.9 GPA etc.) in part compensate for other areas that are still good, but perhaps *slightly* weaker than the strongest candidates?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:09:48 PM)
Naledi - There is one fellowship that is offered through the admissions office for students from under-represented ethnic backgrounds - The Howard E Mitchell Fellowship. This fellowship covers the full tuition for students who are selected. No separate application is necessary, we will consider all admitted under-represented applicants of color for the fellowship.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:09:55 PM)
Hurtig: I would look at the Wharton alumni groups in your area, they might have events. Also look for local MBA clubs, who might be able to connect you with people. If you are not able to visit campus, then our online resources are also designed to help you in this effort.

Chloe (Sep 15, 2008 12:10:02 PM)
Tiffany: If it is impossible to come to the U.S., is it possible to be interviewed by Wharton alum in another country? How does one set that up?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:10:42 PM)
Wargame-- it's such a subjective process, it's a little hard to extrapolate in this example. Certainly, we're interested in academically superior candidates, but not so much as at the cost of other fundamental dimensions (teamwork, leadership potential, all-around nice guy/girl, etc.)!

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:10:45 PM)
Cj82- We will reference your previous application, but your new application should be able to stand on its own.

Ken (Sep 15, 2008 12:10:49 PM)
Alex: while addressing “why now” element of the application, sometimes applications tend to demonstrate negative factors of the current organizations such as slower promotion, narrower scope of works or bureaucracy. I'd like to hear your case?

i4 (Sep 15, 2008 12:11:30 PM)
Tiffany: What do you really look for in reapplicants?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:01 PM)
Ken, I have heard that justification, but I would not use that alone, for instance that could be a reason to leave your current company, but why go to an MBA? What about your career progression needs the MBA degree at this point in your life, why not just move to another company? That is just me playing devil's advocate.

smr12009 (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:11 PM)
Alex: Hello. Could you provide some feedback on the campus culture in terms of student cooperation, signing up for classes for popular professors (Siegel for example) and life in Philly?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:18 PM)
Jenny-- although it may sound disingenuous, congrats on being waitlisted-- it is an indication that you were, in fact, a very strong candidate. Be sure to highlight your growth since the last application (we understand it's been a limited timeframe!), and anything that has changed.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:28 PM)
Chloe - Wharton has an extensive internationally located alumni network. Many of our applicants who apply from overseas are interviewed by alums in their area. We also have admissions committee members go to select parts of the world where we have more applicants than interviewers.

woosup (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:37 PM)
Jackie: What parts of the application do you weigh most heavily?

Shay (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:51 PM)
Tiffany: How does Wharton evaluate student applicants who are mostly interested in entrepreneurship?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:58 PM)
Woosup-- there is no one part that is weighted more heavily than any other, believe me.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:12:59 PM)
Smr: Students pretty much cooperate in everything here, there are very few things that people do alone in this place.

Nazlymba (Sep 15, 2008 12:13:04 PM)
Jackie: the UGPA ranges from 3.1 to 3.7, what was particularly alluring about the 3.1 case that made you accept him/her?

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:13:21 PM)
Alex: What are the areas Wharton wants to be stronger in? For other schools I've visited, international reach, entrepreneurship, and technology have been common answers.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:13:55 PM)
Smr: Life in Philly is tons of fun, it’s a great city and everyone likes it. Competition for classes is governed by an auction, which competitively clears the market for demand on high visibility classes, like Siegel.

RYAN45 (Sep 15, 2008 12:14:06 PM)
Alex- What are the skills that you have obtained at Wharton that you are/will be using in your career?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:14:08 PM)
Nazlymba-- note that that GPA range is our middle 80%, so we do have 10% of our students below that, as well. We're looking for many aspects beyond the academics-- accomplishment and drive at work, in organizations, etc.

Aravind (Sep 15, 2008 12:14:17 PM)
Jackie: In the admissions process, what "exactly" happens to an application after the applicant completes his interview?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:14:37 PM)
I4 - We would hope that you have done some reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of your previous application. While your core values may not have changed, the application should be stronger than the one you previously submitted in the other areas that we evaluate (i.e. presentation, cohesion, etc.). Having previous experience with the application process should be a help for you in managing the process this year.

Wharton2011 (Sep 15, 2008 12:14:47 PM)
Tiffany: I am an international prospective. One of my advisors can't write English well. He would give a great recommendation. Should he write the recommendation in Japanese and have it professionally translated or should he seek help in writing the recommendation? Note: For verification, someone would need to speak with him in Japanese.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:00 PM)
USAF, there are big pushes right now on Social Impact, Entrepreneurship, and the new dean is very focused on expanding our global reach. Each of these is only a few of the initiatives lately.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:13 PM)
Aravind-- the interviewer provides feedback, which is incorporated into the applicant's file (just as another piece of data, not a make-or-break-threshold). The application, already read three times, is then read a fourth and possibly fifth time.

Aravind (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:22 PM)
Alex: Can you tell us about the composition of your learning team?

ben (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:26 PM)
Jackie: Can you elaborate or give examples of what  the AdCom is looking for in the essay of demonstrating "innovating" or "initiating"?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:53 PM)
Ryan: Teamwork and leadership, I have gained more high intensity team experiences than I could possibly get in one job. This has helped me a lot as I transition out of the military.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:15:57 PM)
Shay - We look for similar qualities in all students who apply, regardless of their intended major or professional interest. We hope to see applicants who have a strong career progression and focus, demonstrate leadership and value teamwork.

saharasnow (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:07 PM)
Hi Alex! How's Wharton’s global reach different from other top schools' global reach?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:10 PM)
Ben-- this is a new question this year! We're looking to see how applicants may have had to "think outside the box"-- could be at work, home, school, in life.. We kept the question in broad terms for a reason!

Soni (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:23 PM)
Tiffany: How can I contact/meet Alumni in my locality here at London?

ahembeea (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:33 PM)
Jackie: How well developed career goals do you expect the applicants to have at the time of application?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:38 PM)
Aravind: I am teamed with an Indian TV producer, a Philippines engineer, a marketer from Pittsburg, a Spanish consultant, and an Albanian pilot.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:16:54 PM)
Alex: What were the reasons you chose Wharton? Did it meet your expectations?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:17:38 PM)
Wharton2011 - We require that recommendations not submitted in English are translated by an independent translation service and are certified (notarized) as to the accuracy of the translation.

Zera (Sep 15, 2008 12:17:43 PM)
Tiffany, what skill sets do you look for in older applicant with more work experience than your MBA class average? How do you think an older applicant can add value to the student body?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:17:49 PM)
Sahara: I cannot speak for other schools, but Wharton uses its broad alumni network through global forums to expand our brand and reach all over the world.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:17:55 PM)
Ahembeea-- it depends. Some people have a laser-like focus, and others are very general (knowing a certain field/function/industry). It helps to have some idea, as that will guide your choice of programs, etc. That said, it's not necessary to know exactly, very specifically, all the time.

Ken (Sep 15, 2008 12:17:58 PM)
Alex: Am I free to choose my research subject and regions through GCP?

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:18:03 PM)
Jackie: Will submitting earlier in Round 1 help an international applicant get a hub interview?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:02 PM)
Hizkul: not necessarily, and you certainly don't need to interview in a HUB (with AdCom) interview. Believe me, we want the best candidates, not the "best schedulers"!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:03 PM)
Linda: I chose Wharton because of its brand strength and future network, and it has exceeded my expectations on this.

ben (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:11 PM)
Jackie: Will a poorly written recommendation significantly affect your overall application package?

Ken (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:31 PM)
Alex: Will you tell me any award winning marketing professors?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:44 PM)
Ken, I do not know the exact details of how GCP projects are chosen, but if you email me offline then I will get back to you on that.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:49 PM)
Zera - We value students across the professional spectrum. Students with more years of work experience often bring vast industry knowledge into the classroom discussion and with their learning teams. We look for the same qualities in the applications of students with more work experience as you should have many examples to draw from.

woosup (Sep 15, 2008 12:19:52 PM)
Tiffany : Is there any national quota of admission for international applicants? I am a Korean and I have heard that Korean applicants are always compared to their pool of applicants.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:20:09 PM)
Ben: I would venture to say a poorly CHOSEN recommendation is more detrimental. We're more concerned with what the recommender has to say (substance), than their writing style. Choose the recommender who is best positioned to speak in depth about your experience, accomplishment, etc.

SJW (Sep 15, 2008 12:20:35 PM)
Jackie: I am from a foreign country but I have a green card. Am I considered an international applicant? Thanks!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:20:36 PM)
Ken: Raju, Peter Fader, Reibstein, Bradlow, just to name a few.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:20:45 PM)
Soni - A good way to connect with alumni in London is through the local Wharton club. You can find information about the alumni clubs on our website.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:20:58 PM)
Alex, What is your biggest take-away so far from Wharton?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:21:23 PM)
SJW: yes, although being international or US citizen has absolutely no impact on your application, trust us.

consultant (Sep 15, 2008 12:21:45 PM)
Jackie: A follow up on the reapplicant question posted. To what extent should stories be re-told in the reapplication essays? I.e. the essays may not have been successful last year and although re-applicants may have some new stories/developments, some of the greatest accomplishments will have already been presented. Therefore, should these stories/accomplishments be repeated or should a re-applicant go for a completely fresh approach?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:00 PM)
Woosup - We do not have quotas for any population. In fact, Wharton prides itself on its international diversity.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:09 PM)
Linda: My biggest takeaway is the importance of solid technical skills combined with the 'softer' skill set, and how you must master both in order to succeed in business.

Soni (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:10 PM)
Tiffany: Are there more chances in Round 1 than Round 2 ?

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:34 PM)
Alex: Do students still have the option of pursuing a joint degree during their first year at Wharton?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:53 PM)
Consultant: I would discourage regurgitating the same material. If there is a completely new dimension to be explored in an anecdote, perhaps, but otherwise it seems like a waste of the opportunity..

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:22:56 PM)
Thank you Jackie: So with regard to a low GPA, you'll be looking for extra course work? And how does the admin committee look at MBAmath.com transcripts? I'm doing everything I can to offset that low GPA.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:23:00 PM)
Jenny - The age range for this year's incoming class was 18 - 43. We see and accept applicants across the spectrum.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:23:26 PM)
Oscar, yes, you can apply to Kennedy and SAIS during your first year and still set it up, but for Lauder you must be accepted into that program in the beginning.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:23:42 PM)
Soni - We evaluate applicants who apply in Rounds 1 and 2 in the same way. It is only in Round 3 that we are constrained and select fewer students.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:23:54 PM)
Tiffany - what are the under-represented ethnic backgrounds? Are there any under-represented Asian ethnicities?

RYAN45 (Sep 15, 2008 12:24:29 PM)
Alex: What are the skills that you have obtained while at Wharton that you feel differentiate it from other MBA programs?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:24:32 PM)
Oscar: a low GPA might bring up two concerns: One would be academic ability, which you can do a bit to offset, by demonstrating ability through a GMAT score and potentially through additional classes. Separately, it will bring to AdCom's attention your sustained academic performance over three/four years, and how that bodes for Wharton.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:24:42 PM)
Oscar, on the JD/MBA, I am not sure exactly how they are setting it up.

after_alex (Sep 15, 2008 12:24:43 PM)
Jackie: I am in Kabul, Afghanistan. I know, strange. Is there any chance to set up an interview locally?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:25:11 PM)
Chris - I would defer to your own judgment with regards to what example you choose to highlight in the essay. There are no right or wrong answers. The strength of the essay is dependent on how you express that team failure on paper.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:25:20 PM)
Oscar, not sure if I caught the question, but Wharton does now offer a three-year JD/MBA in additional to our existing four-year dual program.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:25:41 PM)
Ryan: it is hard to say because I have never been to any other MBA programs, and I was not in business before this so I have not been exposed to a lot of other graduates, but I feel like I have gotten an incredible base across all disciplines through the core-curriculum.

Nazlymba (Sep 15, 2008 12:25:56 PM)
Jackie: In assessing the applicants' work experience, what else do you look at apart from leadership and the scope of responsibility?

i5 (Sep 15, 2008 12:26:21 PM)
Tiffany: I am a re-applicant and am in a confusing situation regarding recommendations. I was laid off around the time while applying in late 2007. To take a step further towards my goal, I spent a lot of time traveling and doing research/gathering data on a community. Finally, I wrote directly to a company that works in the specific area about my research. They hired me and I started working at this company less than a month ago. I believe my current supervisor in not in the best position to judge my capabilities since we have worked together for less than a month. My past supervisor already provided a recommendation last time and will have nothing new to add since I was laid off. I did my entire research on my own accord which involved interviewing and spending time with a lot of people but nobody is in a position to provide a recommendation. What is the best strategy for me to choose recommenders?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:26:31 PM)
USAF_Intel_Germany - We consider U.S. citizens (and permanent residents) from African-American, Hispanic American/Latino and Native American backgrounds to be under-represented at Wharton.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:26:45 PM)
After_alex: Sadly, I don't think we have any alumni in the area (right now. I hope for the future!). In these cases where we have applicants in remote regions, we do phone interviews with AdCom staff. As we have candidates all over the world in these situations (especially in Iraq), we are well-equipped to handle this.

Zera (Sep 15, 2008 12:27:07 PM)
Jackie, How would you describe the main attributes of a good leader?

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:27:22 PM)
Tiffany: Who will be the interviewer at the hub interview in Asia, and will submitting earlier increase the chance to have a hub interview?

smr12009 (Sep 15, 2008 12:27:43 PM)
Alex: How would I go about contacting alumni in my country? If there are no receptions / events planned in my country would it be possible to meet with an alumnus/a?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:27:45 PM)
Nazlymba- accomplishment, career progression-- both especially when compared to your peer group-- the skills acquired, the breadth/depth of the experience, what you'll bring to classroom discussion..

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:28:19 PM)
Zera-- I feel as though you could ask a million people this question and get a million answers! Certainly, someone who can inspire others, but also knows when to LISTEN to others..

mbaapp (Sep 15, 2008 12:28:27 PM)
Jackie: is there a disadvantage to being an applicant who is a career changer - switching from real estate entrepreneurship to finance? Thank you!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:28:51 PM)
Smr: I would look for alumni clubs and then search your local newspapers for mentions of Wharton (usually it is when someone is given a new job). Also look at young professional clubs & if you have no success, then you can ask on s2s and we will do our best to connect you.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:28:54 PM)
Alex, What’s been your not-to-be missed class and extra-curricular activity?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:29:43 PM)
Hurtig-- we don't release our applicant stats by any demographic, as our admissions process doesn't work this way. There is no separate process, or evaluation metric, for international applicants. While we are certainly aware of differences in educational systems, backgrounds, and cultures, and take these into account when evaluating files, we do still want the most accomplished, driven students possible.

ahembeea (Sep 15, 2008 12:29:48 PM)
Jackie: Almost as much as if not more than other schools, Wharton stresses that applicants should have the right 'fit'. How, in your opinion, would a fit at Wharton differ from other top tier US schools ?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:29:50 PM)
Linda: The Wharthogs Rugby Team, Wharton Follies (musical comedy theater show), and Volunteer Admissions Committee.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:29:53 PM)
I5 - You are going to have to use your best judgment when selecting 2 recommenders for this application cycle. I would suggest briefing all of your recommenders about the progress that you've made in assessing your goals. This additional information may lead to new insights from previous recommenders.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:30:16 PM)
Mbapp-- Many students at Wharton are career changers. In the abstract, this certainly isn't a problem!

Soni (Sep 15, 2008 12:30:28 PM)
Jackie: Looking at current meltdown in  the Financial market, are there any special course or measures taking in course?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:05 PM)
Soni- I know that the normal finance classes are taking a good amount of time talking about this in addition to normal course material.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:08 PM)
Ahembeea-- well, a team player is important. If you're a lone wolf, this isn't the school for you! A general sense of humility, and a willingness to try new things is something I've found in almost every student I've met.

Soni (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:13 PM)
Alex: What is the status of recruitment for 2008 and 2009 class, looking at the current scenario?

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:13 PM)
Hizkul - We offer interviews to all candidates who we end up admitting. Alumni interviews and interviews done by admissions committee members are weighed the same in our process.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:26 PM)
Soni-- can you clarify?

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:31:47 PM)
Alex - schools seem to appreciate veterans' experience taking charge and executing, but also prefer someone who can work well in non-directive, non-hierarchical organizations. Any advice on which area to focus more on in applying?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:32:04 PM)
Soni - We are as curious as you are to see how it goes. I imagine banking will see something of a draw down, but consulting and other places seem unaffected from my point of view thus far.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:32:08 PM)
Hizkul - Also, submitting your application earlier in the cycle does not increase your chances of being admitted into the class.

GeorgeX (Sep 15, 2008 12:32:19 PM)
Jackie: The application asks about job responsibilities . How much detail do we need to provide given that a lot of information is already in our resumes?

consultant (Sep 15, 2008 12:32:35 PM)
Tiffany: What is the process at Wharton if the GMAT score reported does not match the score you have on your file from GMAC. Do you investigate to ensure that there has not been an error on the part of GMAC, before you dismiss the candidate?

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:33:00 PM)
Alex: What do you think is the benefit of joining a big-class MBA program?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:33:06 PM)
USAF - actually, the reason why MBA is pretty good for veterans is for that reason, it helps us harness our strengths and put them to work in a less structured environment.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:33:07 PM)
GeorgeX: I would use that space to make sure your responsibilities and accomplishments are explained fully. When I think about my own resume, I know there is a lot more I'd want to say.

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:33:19 PM)
Jackie: As I’ve been filling out the Wharton application, I've had some trouble locating certain stats from my previous employer (i.e., revenue) Is it ok if I estimate?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:33:55 PM)
Hizkul - the incredible range of activities and people to meet, you never get bored and you can put your effort into any of your interests and take leadership in a lot of different areas.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:34:26 PM)
Oscar-- I'd try to be as accurate as possible, frankly. As we verify all information upon admission, you want to avoid any potential pitfalls that could jeopardize your ability to enroll, especially after all the hard work of getting in!

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:34:32 PM)
Consultant - If there is a discrepancy between the self-reported score and the score reported to us by GMAC, we will follow-up with the candidate to determine from where the problem stems.

SJW (Sep 15, 2008 12:34:50 PM)
Tiffany: What is the percentage of women in the class of 2010? Any special advice for women applicants? Thanks!

imakshay (Sep 15, 2008 12:34:55 PM)
Alex do you find yourself competing more or co-operating with your fellow students at Wharton ?

Aravind (Sep 15, 2008 12:35:33 PM)
Thanks Alex!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:35:51 PM)
Imakshay - cooperating, definitely, even situations that may seem to be competitive (recruiting) people help each other out with contacts and advice. The only time you are truly on your own is during the actual interview J.

Nazlymba (Sep 15, 2008 12:36:02 PM)
Jackie: We understand that not a single factor is responsible for making or breaking the applicants' chances, but some schools are known to be more on the tough side when it comes to judging certain criteria, particularly academics. Wharton and Stanford to name a couple. Do you raise an eyebrow when you see a low GPA?

Coyne (Sep 15, 2008 12:36:11 PM)
Alex: Hi - are the essays read by students first before admissions office?

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:09 PM)
Alex - how does the SAIS program complement your MBA? How do you work out where you're living and when?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:09 PM)
Coyne, specially trained second years serve as graduate assistants and full members of the admissions committee, and, yes, they will be the first to read a file, but then every single file is also read by the staff.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:11 PM)
SJW - 36% of the class of 2010 are women. I would suggest connecting with the Wharton Women in Business Club. They can provide you with information about the culture of the campus and also offer mentorship to applicants. The can be found at www.whartonwomen.org .  

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:19 PM)
Nazlymba-- well, GPA is one of the best predictors of ability to handle the first-year of a business school curriculum. We need to ascertain that the applicant is academically qualified. That said, we're interested in the best all-around students, which is why we have a range of GPAs..

consultant (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:25 PM)
Jackie: How does someone from banking or consulting really distinguish themselves from the huge pool of applicants in this space?

TNBS (Sep 15, 2008 12:37:40 PM)
Tiffany: What do you consider to be the highlights of the real estate program at Wharton?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:38:13 PM)
USAF - it is fun, you spend 3 semesters in each place, and you have to balance your life commitments in each place. I just decided to commit to Wharton for the last 2 years, so I will be commuting there for classes but doing other activities up here. I spent my first year 100% at SAIS.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:38:22 PM)
Alex: I have a strong interest in Wharton-Lauder (Arabic). Can you recommend how I might be able to reach a Wharton student knowledgeable about the IFC? I haven't had luck reaching out through emails on club websites.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:39:02 PM)
consultant: We're more concerned with the applicant him/herself, than the industry or company from which they come. You should focus on your individual accomplishment-- the industry is just the background in that story!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:39:04 PM)
USAF: If you can't find a contact email on the lauder website ( I think they have a few there) then please email me offline and I will put you in touch.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:39:29 PM)
Alex: Can you discuss professor accessibility? How feasible is researching with a professor in a specialized area of interest (ex. gender rights in Middle Eastern economies)?

Ken (Sep 15, 2008 12:39:32 PM)
Alex: Oh, ok. Because I'm thinking about writing down my future subjects of GCP in my essays, thus want to check the feasibility of it first.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:40:01 PM)
TNBS - I think the Zell/Lurie Center is one of the hallmarks of the program as it brings to campus a wealth of information in the area of Real Estate. I would also highlight the size of our Real Estate faculty. We have 13 professors dedicated to the research and teaching of issues related to real estate.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:40:05 PM)
David_brent-- activities are often viewed as more structured involvement (organizations, etc.), whereas hobbies could be something less structured (skiing, reading, etc.).

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:40:14 PM)
Tiffany: Are minority applicants at a disadvantage if they did not go through MLT, or MBADiversity?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:40:34 PM)
USAF: the professors are extremely accessible, each has office hours every week, and research assistants are something that I am sure they are always looking for.

Suresh Tata (Sep 15, 2008 12:40:49 PM)
Hi Alex - What would be your advice to the incoming students to make the best use of Wharton program?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:41:26 PM)
Ken: http://mktgweb.wharton.upenn.edu/gcpcourse/ .If this website does not have the answer you are looking for, then please contact me offline.

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:41:31 PM)
Alex: Could you explain to us some of the activities you have had through, or have heard of  that had a social impact on Wharton if any?

Suresh Tata (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:00 PM)
Jackie - This question is regarding TOEFL waiver. I have seen a note on the website that the applicant needs to submit evidence in support for the waiver request. Can you please let us know what sort of evidence is required and how to submit the same?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:08 PM)
Suresh: Don't over commit to activities to early, wait until you get a handle on academics before getting too committed elsewhere.

TNBS (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:26 PM)
Tiffany: For those interested in Investment Management, what does Wharton offer outside the classroom? For instance, is there a student-run fund with actual money?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:31 PM)
Suresh-- if you graduated from a school taught in English, you can include a one-sentence explanation in the optional essay. That will suffice.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:41 PM)
Alex: Can students do more than one major? Strategy and International Business are immediate standouts for me personally.

consultant (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:52 PM)
Jackie: What are your thoughts on a third recommender?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:42:59 PM)
Hizkul - I am not involved in social impact myself, but the initiative is huge around here- we are hosting the National Net Impact Conference this year, so WSI (Wharton social impact) plays a key role in that.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:43:28 PM)
TNBS - There are actually two funds available to students - an investment management fund and a venture fund.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:43:43 PM)
Consultant: only if it adds a new perspective or dimension. quality, not quantity. Most students are admitted with two.

after_alex (Sep 15, 2008 12:43:50 PM)
Alex: Could you identify any professors in strategy who have won teaching awards?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:43:59 PM)
USAF: It depends on which majors and how you want to use your electives. Each department has different rules and guidelines, but individualized majors are also possible if you cannot find anything that fits your desires.

topnotchmba (Sep 15, 2008 12:44:08 PM)
Tiffany: I submitted my GMAT score when I took GMAT in Sept 2007 (one of the five free submissions). But I did not apply last year, I am applying this fall. Do I need to re-submit the GMAT score? Or self report is enough? Thank you!

Ken (Sep 15, 2008 12:44:12 PM)
Jackie: I'd like to know to what extent the core curriculum will be helpful to non-biz UG's like me? Will it be enough to make up for any knowledge gaps?

Nazlymba (Sep 15, 2008 12:44:33 PM)
Alex: Any tips on writing the "a mistake we've done" essay?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:44:57 PM)
After: I do not recall all the teaching awards off the top of my head, but Stew Friedman has done some pretty amazing things and is consistently popular in the core classes. Also Mike Useem.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:45:04 PM)
Ken: Less than half of our students have a biz/econ UG major. so most of our students are looking for a fundamental business education-- so yes! That said, we also offer flexibility to waive classes, so those with biz experience can probe other areas.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:45:05 PM)
Topnotchmba - We only require self-reported GMAT scores at the time of application. We will verify all information submitted in the application, after a student has been accepted.

Suresh Tata (Sep 15, 2008 12:45:29 PM)
Jackie - This question is regarding GPA conversion. It has been advised that the applicant should not convert the % score to GPA. In my case, though I have scored 74% (which may seem low in % terms) in under graduate studies, I secured University second rank. How will I bring this out in the application?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:45:30 PM)
Nazlymba - be honest and forthright, show what you learned and how you grew from the experience.

Nazlymba (Sep 15, 2008 12:46:08 PM)
Tiffany: a follow up on a previously asked question, what should we do (academically) apart from scoring high on the GMAT to offset some low quant grades? What kind of extra classes can we take?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:46:13 PM)
Further questions: http://s2s.wharton.upenn.edu

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:46:33 PM)
Suresh-- please do not convert your GPA. Rest assured we are familiar with educational systems around the world, and what standard achievement looks like in those systems. You should include any information on class rank, as well.

Oscar (Sep 15, 2008 12:46:37 PM)
Jackie: I read above that you help in the recruitment of LGBT candidates, how large is club membership on campus? What percentage of LGBT candidates represents the class?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:47:32 PM)
Oscar, as we have students at various stages of coming out, I don't know that we have a percentage of students in the community listed.. That said, it is one of the most active and fun clubs on campus and growing every year, which has been great.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:48:12 PM)
Nazlymba - Taking quantitative courses, such as calculus, accounting, statistics, at a local college and performing well in these classes may give us more confidence about your ability to handle the rigors of the Wharton core curriculum.

r0M316 (Sep 15, 2008 12:48:28 PM)
Tiffany: I am a re-app this round. I applied R3 and got rejected after interview. Since not whole lot of change happened in last 5 months, how would I go about my essays this time?

ask123 (Sep 15, 2008 12:49:01 PM)
Jackie: I have 75% in verbal section in GMAT with an overall score of 720. Since my score is not balanced, would it be advisable to use the additional essay to support my verbal ability with my scores in other competitive exams?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:49:17 PM)
Ask123-- no.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:49:46 PM)
Jackie: What are the strengths the ADCOM wants in a military applicant and the weaknesses they want to avoid? I want to understand how the ADCOM chooses from among the veteran applicants.

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:51:11 PM)
USAF-- frankly, we're looking for the same thing in military applicants that we are in any other applicants! We know they have great leadership experience, and often limited exposure to business. We're looking for potential, teamwork, initiative.

TiffanyGoodenWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:51:55 PM)
R0M - While your goals may not have changed, hopefully you have done some reflection on your previous application and are able to identify areas of improvement. We expect that your essays for the re-app will be new and insightful.

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:52:03 PM)
Jackie: In the leadership essay, what would be a better idea between explaining a single anecdote or multiple?

whartonprospective (Sep 15, 2008 12:52:21 PM)
Tiffany: Is it looked down upon to have essays all come from your professional experience?

Suresh Tata (Sep 15, 2008 12:52:45 PM)
Hi Alex - I am interesting in pursuing a career in emerging markets arena. In order to explore this further, I would like to know if there is a way to connect with any of the current students or alumni who has opted for emerging markets. Can you point me to right people?

JackieZavitzWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:53:44 PM)
Unfortunately, we have to get going. our apologies! Many thanks to everyone who joined. Very much appreciated!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:53:45 PM)
Suresh - I would look at alumni associations and clubs in the specific markets that interest you, and if you are unable to find anyone specific, then you can post on s2s and we will do our best to connect you.

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:54:05 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Jackie, Tiffany & Alex for joining us and sharing their inside knowledge of Wharton.

For more information about Wharton admissions, please visit the web site at http://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/admissions/  or Wharton AdCom’s blog at http://engage.wharton.upenn.edu/MBA/blogs/mbaadmissions_blog/default.aspx  . Highly informative and helpful!

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:54:14 PM)
Good luck everyone!

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:54:27 PM)
I know we didn't get to all the questions. Alex can you post again the link to student2student so people can post unanswered questions there?

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:54:43 PM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:01 PM)

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We look forward to seeing you at future chats. Here is a list of currently scheduled chats next month:

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woosup (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:36 PM)
Thank you so much! It's great opportunity.

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:38 PM)
Thanks Linda. It was a big help~ J.

smr12009 (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:52 PM)
Linda, thank you for this extremely helpful forum.

Wharton2011 (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:55 PM)
Thank you!!!!!!!!

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:55:58 PM)
When will this chat be posted?

Linda Abraham (Sep 15, 2008 12:56:01 PM)
Next week on the Wharton B-School Zone Page.

wargame (Sep 15, 2008 12:56:05 PM)
Thanks Linda and AdCom.

USAF_Intel_Germany (Sep 15, 2008 12:56:15 PM)
Alex - thanks for addressing my non-traditional applicant questions.

AlexFlemingWHARTON (Sep 15, 2008 12:56:29 PM)
No problem, ttyl!

hizkul (Sep 15, 2008 12:56:44 PM)
It's really amazing to be here!

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