2009 Wharton MBA Interview Insights Chat with Judith Hodara

2009 Wharton MBA Interview Insights Chat with Judith Hodara

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 (Nov 5, 2008 12:01:22 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. While you can ask general admissions questions, the focus of today’s chat is the Wharton admissions interview.
I want to introduce our special guests from Wharton:
  • Judith S. Hodara, Wharton’s Senior Associate Director of Admissions, graduated with a BA in English from Penn, and has been part of their admissions team since 1990. In addition to serving as an Associate Director of Admissions (1990-1997) during which Judith recruited both domestically and internationally, she also served as Director of Admission at the Graduate School of Education at UPenn, and as the Director of Academic Affairs at Hebrew University. After receiving her Doctorate of Education from Penn in 2003, Judith assumed her current position, working on admissions strategy and managing the reading process for Wharton admissions readers, as well as assisting students interested in non-profit and social impact, and members of the diversity community.
  • Kathryn Bezella is an Associate Director in the Office of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at the Wharton School. In addition to her responsibilities on the Admissions Committee, Kathryn serves as an advisor to Wharton's Volunteer Admissions Committee (VAC) and focuses on Wharton MBA Admissions marketing, communications and alumni engagement efforts.
  • Ainsley Parker is an Associate Director of the MBA admissions committee. She also oversees the office's student-run events for admitted students, Winter Welcome Weekend and Wharton Welcome Weekend, at which admitted students experience the school's academics and community. Prior to joining MBA Admissions, Ainsley spent several years working with the University of Pennsylvania's Alumni Council on Admissions, where she interviewed and counseled prospective legacy undergraduate students, was a member of the admissions committee, as well as working on alumni outreach and event planning at Penn's Graduate School of Education.
  • Kara Fowler (Class of 2009’) graduated from Harvard with a degree in Economics in 2004. She joined Booz Allen Hamilton’s Organizational Strategy practice in Washington, DC for several years where she provided consulting services to various government organizations. At Wharton, she is in the Health Care Management program and has been highly involved in the Health Care Club, Small Business Development Center, Dance Studio, and various activities related to helping prospective students learn more about Wharton. She spent her summer in Marketing at Genentech and plans to enter the health care field after graduation.
  • Jennifer Somers (Class of 2009’) graduated with a B.S. from Cornell University in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering, and upon graduation, went to work for Lockheed Martin. She is currently majoring in strategic management at Wharton and spent this past summer as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company, where she plans to return full time next year. Jennifer is also an active member in the Graduate Admissions Program, Volunteer Action Committee, and GM Club. She co-chaired Wharton's first ever General Management Conference this year, and was involved with Wharton Community Consultants and the Technology and Consulting clubs last year.
  • Gonzalo Mibelli (Class of 2009’) is from Caracas, Venezuela. After graduating there with a degree in Economics, he worked for Venezuela’s largest drugstore chain in various locations for more than 5 years. Now a 2nd year student at Wharton, he used this past summer to intern in Colgate-Palmolive in New York.

Thanks to everyone for joining.

lordofthedings (Nov 5, 2008 12:02:51 PM)
Judith: Could you please give us some insight into what percentage of interview invites for R1 are still pending?

Aravind (Nov 5, 2008 12:03:33 PM)
Kara: On what basis are the interview invites being sent?

bostonsparky (Nov 5, 2008 12:03:50 PM)
Kathryn: Hello, I'm an international applicant and received an interview invite last Thursday. Although I immediately emailed the nearest interviewer in my country, I still haven't gotten a response yet. How long should I wait until I contact someone else?
Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:04:10 PM)
Jennifer, Kara and Gonzalo: What were the reasons you chose Wharton? Did it meet your expectations?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:04:15 PM)
Lordofthedings, we are still releasing until November 13th. We are moving through the applications and have a good group left to go.

Aravind (Nov 5, 2008 12:04:30 PM)
Judith: During the interview process, what are some of the key qualities you expect in the applicant?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:05:00 PM)
Aravind, the interview invitations are sent based on the first round of reads we do: There is no formula for receiving an invitation to interview, and it's based on several reader's opinions of the strength of your overall application.

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:05:27 PM)
Hello Ainsley, thanks for this opportunity. Could you please let us know how the R1 has been so far? Did you see many more applicants? How many invites have been sent out? How many more are expected?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:06:21 PM)
Vani, like Judith mentioned, we are still moving through many Round one applications, and will continue releasing invitations to interview through next Thursday. We are within the normal year over year growth range in terms of numbers of applications.

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:06:45 PM)
Ainsley: Do you provide feedback on why an application has been denied?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:07:23 PM)
Linda, I chose Wharton for several reasons. One, it's exceptionally strong in every major -- operations, management, finance, marketing. Two, the culture breeds teamwork. Second year students are always willing to help first year students. Three, the core classes allow you to build a strong business base, and then the electives, which you take second year, allow you to really develop yourself in a certain area. Four, I was very interested in an international school with international opportunities. Wharton provides students with leadership ventures, treks, Wharton consulting practicum, and Global Immersion Program, just to name a few international experiences.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:07:35 PM)
Vani, we provide feedback on a limited basis. Anyone who would like to receive feedback receives instructions on how to request it, and then we randomly select people to receive it. As you can imagine, demand far exceeds supply in this arena.

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:07:58 PM)
Linda, Wharton has met and exceeded all of my expectations!

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:08:31 PM)
Ainsley: Do you recommend that applicants contact the admissions office or anyone else to show continued interest in the Wharton program while waiting for the results of R1 (before/after interview call)?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:08:47 PM)
Linda, first of all I was looking for a school that had a very international community. Additionally, after coming here to visit the school, I found that students were very down to earth and that the environment was amazing-collaborative and challenging! Furthermore, the fact that it is one of the most recognized schools in the world was a key factor as well. Wharton has an excellent balance between departments (Finance, marketing, Operations, etc.) which was well aligned with my General Management career goals. I have had a GREAT experience so far and it has gone beyond my expectations!!!!

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:09:01 PM)
Vani: Absolutely not. By virtue of your application, we know you're interested.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:09:27 PM)
Jennifer and Gonzalo: Did you feel prepared for your interview? What did you do to prepare?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:09:44 PM)
Boston Sparky: You should wait two-3 more days before you try to contact another local alumnus for the IV.

smr22009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:09:49 PM)
Ainsley: Is the percent of applicants selected for interviews in Round 1 different from that of Round 2? Which is higher and what are the numbers?

Naledi (Nov 5, 2008 12:10:11 PM)
Kathryn: What are some of the differences between an applicant chosen after the interview and one denied, besides someone not being well-versed on their own application information submitted?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:10:13 PM)
SMR, we maintain similar profiles for our interviewed candidates regardless of round.

Attagirl (Nov 5, 2008 12:10:33 PM)
Judith: Hi & thank you for being here. I am a first time applicant to Wharton and I submitted my application in R1. While I am still awaiting my interview call, can you please tell me how students can maximize their chances to enhance the material they have already submitted to Wharton (essays)? For example, if asked, can I provide more insights about my setback?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:11:18 PM)
Attagirl, you are welcome. Regarding providing more insights into your application, it depends if that comes up in conversation or not. Remember that the interviewer is leading the discussion.

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:11:43 PM)
Linda, I prepared for my interview by reviewing my application -- why Wharton, career goals, why now. In addition to reviewing my application, I prepared like I would for any interview -- prepare answers to behavioral questions and come up with a list of questions that you would like answered during the interview.

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:12:03 PM)
I think you have to know yourself and know why you want to pursue an MBA. So, if you know why you are applying to Wharton and have self awareness, you will be fine. My interview was just like a conversation. You will just talk about yourself, your goals, and you will have time to learn more about the school as well! So don't feel stressed about it.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:12:35 PM)
You may also want to check out the MBA Admissions Interview Feedback Database.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:12:57 PM)
Jennifer, Kara and Gonzalo, What is your biggest take-away so far from Wharton?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:13:18 PM)
Naledi, the interview is meant to give us a sense of how you communicate in person. It helps us see how you listen and respond thoughtfully to questions about your work experiences, and it also allows us a greater sense of your personality. Usually the IV would not be the single factor that would keep you from gaining admission to Wharton - it is still only one of many aspects that we would be evaluating, so someone denied post IV most likely still has other "holes" or areas that needed improvement in their application.

kk (Nov 5, 2008 12:13:34 PM)
Kathryn: On average what percentage of seats do you fill in R1? Is there any set target?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:14:28 PM)
KK, we do not have a set target for any of the rounds and accept according to ability.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:15:06 PM)
Vani, we had a slight, usual increase in application numbers, based on demographics.

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:15:27 PM)
My biggest take-away so far from Wharton has been that the diversity of experience really adds to my learning. You can sit in class, and you learn a lot from others' comments because they answer from a background that allows them to look at things differently than you do. This also pertains to everything outside of class as well. Overall, I have found that what I have learned has been augmented by the combination of interactions inside and outside of the classroom environment in ways I would not have expected going in. So I have learned to keep an open mind about approaching business problems, rather than taking a set approach each time.

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:15:36 PM)
Judith: Could you please describe the process you go through to decide whether to invite an applicant for interview or not? Do you waitlist an applicant before or after the interview?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:15:48 PM)
Linda- Tough question, because I have so many take-aways! But if I have to mention the most important one it would be to value diversity and different opinions in a group. Building a consensus in a team that has diverse opinions is the most powerful and rewarding thing you can imagine! The learning team experience and the diversity that Wharton has really enhanced this experience for me.

ben-k (Nov 5, 2008 12:15:59 PM)
Kara, Jennifer and Gonzalo: What were some things you did that was helpful in preparing for the interview?

Attagirl (Nov 5, 2008 12:16:27 PM)
Ainsley: Are there any specific details interviewees should keep in mind? Are there any fatal mistakes that should be avoided at all costs?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:16:27 PM)
Wow Linda, that's a good question. My biggest takeaway is the support system within Wharton. Because we automatically get assigned to teams during pre-term, the environment fosters teamwork. I can't even tell you how helpful the second year students were in helping me obtain my summer internship and in giving me general advice. I think because Wharton is such a strong brand, everyone who gets in wants to make it continue to be a strong brand -- and the way to do that is to support your classmates.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:16:41 PM)
Vani, we read all of the files carefully and assess if we would like more information on the candidate; or we are interested to learn more. We would waitlist only after the interview. The decision that you would get next week is an invitation to interview or a denial.

Wharton2009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:17:21 PM)
Judith: How many applications on average does one reader usually get assigned for Round 1?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:17:48 PM)
Ben-K: Reread your application. Know why Wharton, why now, and your career goals. Also, practice behavioral based questions. Remember to be sincere and honest during the interview!

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:07 PM)
Wharton 2009, each of our staff reads about 2500 files a year, including first and second reads.

Apang (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:18 PM)
Judith: Is the interview blind, as someone on s2s said?

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:31 PM)
Ben-k: I found that reviewing my application was helpful in preparing for my interview so I could clearly articulate all the main points. In addition, I took the time to learn more about the school through forums (such as these) and reaching out to alumni and current students so I really understood the environment and could articulate why I wanted an MBA, why I wanted an MBA from Wharton, and what I felt I could add to the school as well.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:39 PM)
Apang, the interview is blind.

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:44 PM)
Ben-K, Try to practice with family or friends so that you have your "speech" well practiced: Work experience, extra curricular activities, College experience, etc. Also, it is good to be very clear about why an MBA and be very clear about your goals.
AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:51 PM)
Attagirl, because you have prepared an application, you are prepared for the interview. Often, much of the material covered are things you've thought about while preparing your application. There are no fatal flaws; the interview is not a make or break situation.

aargh (Nov 5, 2008 12:18:56 PM)
Hi Judith, I just received an interview invite today. By when should we complete interviews for Round 1? I am from India and was wondering if I have to choose the hub interview or  an alumni interview?

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:19:03 PM)

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:19:27 PM)
Aargh, you can choose whatever makes you happy. We do not care if you interview with one of us or one of our alumni. Whatever is easier for you. Your interview invite gives you a date by which you need to finish.

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:19:34 PM)
Apang, we make sure the interviews are blind in order to keep the interviewer's mind open. We wouldn't want to bias them based on your undergrad record or that essay you may have decided to write at the last minute. Blind IV's allow us to meet YOU, and not just your file.

bostonsparky (Nov 5, 2008 12:20:24 PM)
Thanks Kathryn. My next question is for Gonzalo. I did some googling and see that you are involved with WHALASA. Does the club have any history of members with non-Latino heritage? I am an American currently living in Mexico who is interested in joining (if I get in obviously).

AB (Nov 5, 2008 12:20:36 PM)
Judith: Could you confirm if most of the interview invites are sent close to the interview deadline?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:20:57 PM)
AB, we release interviews on a rolling basis until November 13.

Mark (Nov 5, 2008 12:21:25 PM)
Judith, based on what you have seen in R1 so far, what are some of the notable differences between this year's applicants and prior years'?

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:01 PM)
Jennifer, Kara and Gonzalo: What is Wharton’s greatest strength. What would you like to see improved?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:01 PM)
Mark, we are seeing more students coming from non banking and non consulting industries as well as students who are coming to us earlier in their careers, which is a change of pace for us.

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:11 PM)
Aravind, that's up to you. You should always ask about what you truly are interested in learning more about here at WHMBA. There's no "right" or "wrong" questions, as long as you are polite, use good judgment, and are genuine.

cj (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:24 PM)
Judith: In the past, the Adcom has been much more transparent about the process and the current state of the process over time on the Adcom blog. This year there has been barely anything about the process - why the change?

VK (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:41 PM)
Kathryn: Can you please update us on the availability of loans for International Students without a US Co-signor?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:22:51 PM)
CJ, would you be able to tell me what you would like to know? We are currently releasing interview invitations.

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:23:28 PM)
Hi Bostonsparky! WHALASA is certainly the Latin American club and we welcome every student from Wharton. The vision of the club is to promote the Latin culture among the Wharton community. Currently I am the Co-President of the club and we are working in many ways to bring this Latin Spirit to Wharton: Parties, Speakers, Career Opportunities, Sport Events, etc. If you come to Wharton, you can be very involvend in the club!

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:23:36 PM)
CJ, I'm not really sure. I'm heading over to see what we were doing last year at this time.

MC09 (Nov 5, 2008 12:24:18 PM)
Judith: Many blogs/websites say that Wharton floats most of the interview invites on last 2-3 days? Is this true? I see many people also correlate the invites with when the application gets completed.

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:24:51 PM)
Linda: Greatest strength- In addition to the courses and impressive professors, the student network is very strong. A big part of business is networking, and Wharton excels in this area. What I would like to see improved: This is a tough question. I guess because of Wharton's size, the classes are larger (~60 people), and sometimes I would like smaller classes because I find them to be more interactive. That being said, the electives tend to be smaller in size since we have so many courses to choose from.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:24:56 PM)
Vani, each application goes through the SAME process: It's read by our 2nd year MBA students (they are full time, paid members of our admissions committee), and then it is read by the Adcom, and approved by our director for an invitation to interview.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:25:11 PM)
MC09, we move through the applications with careful consideration and great respect. The applications are released to readers daily in random order; we release invitations on a rolling basis.

Raja (Nov 5, 2008 12:25:13 PM)
Ainsley: Have the Adcom gone through all the applications that were submitted for Round 1?
Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:25:35 PM)
Judith: How has the credit crunch affect Wharton students’ abilities to fund their education? Are there no co-signor loans available for int’l applicants? Has Wharton budgeted additional money for grants in anticipation of fewer loans being available?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:25:58 PM)
Raja, as Judith said, we are still in the midst of reviewing Round 1 applications, and will continue to do so through next week, when we finish releasing invitations to interview.

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:25:59 PM)
Wharton's greatest strengths from my perspective are the rigor with which you learn, the diversity of the student body, and the overall energy of the school. There is so much to be involved in that I feel this has given me the opportunity I desired to expand my interests. As to what could be improved, that is a great question, and one that we are always asking ourselves around here, I think! I would like to have more opportunities to work with different people in the first year. You are in your cohort, and you get to know those people extremely well, and you'll branch out beyond that socially too, but you don't really work with different people on projects until second year. Though, I think that the pros of the system outweighs the cons.

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:26:32 PM)
Ainsley: Quite a few B-Schools are trying to increase their intake of early career applicants this year. Does the same apply to Wharton?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:26:39 PM)
Wharton's greatest strengths are the students and alumni. Students are "down to earth" and extremely intelligent, they have had amazing careers in very diverse countries and industries. Alumni are very collaborative and are willing to help you learn more about certain industries/companies. I have heard of students reaching alumni and even being able to partner with some of them!

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:26:52 PM)
Linda, we have a small number of international students who are currently in their first year and are affected by the credit crunch. We are working with University administration to make sure that they complete their education with us; and while the details are not yet public it is something that we are currently engaged with daily.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:27:33 PM)
Vani, we don't aim for particular numbers or bucket our students by background, industry, age, etc. That being said, we have seen an increase of early career applicants this year.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:27:56 PM)
Judith: Has Wharton budgeted any funds or taken any steps to help next year's students either int'l or domestic with funding since it appears some traditional sources are no longer available?

Wharton2009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:28:32 PM)
Ainsley: During interviews, is it okay to talk about stories from your essays or would it be beneficial to talk about other experiences to add more depth?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:28:33 PM)
VK, we are still working to find solutions for our International applicants. As almost 44% of our population is from out of the US, we will absolutely be seeking a good option for our international students to pursue in regard to their loans, and will release more information about those options as soon as we have it.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:28:41 PM)
Linda, we are working internally to address this issue; I am sorry that we cannot release the details of our plans and will provide more information as soon as we can.

Attagirl (Nov 5, 2008 12:29:02 PM)
Judith: Thank you for the answers. Are there many Indian girls targeting an MBA Finance? Does Wharton maintain overall diversity, or diversity in specific majors as well?

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:29:08 PM)
Thanks Judith and Kathryn.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:29:28 PM)
Wharton 2009, because the interviewers won't have seen your application, everything you talk about will be new for them. Certainly things that you speak about in your essays are meaningful, but it's up to you as to whether or not you discuss them.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:29:31 PM)
Attagirl, we look for overall diversity and in particular the individual characteristics of our applicants.

Wharton2009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:29:42 PM)
Kathryn: What would be things in an interview that would cause concern to an Adcom?

ben-k (Nov 5, 2008 12:31:06 PM)
Jennifer, Kara & Gonzalo: What have been some of the greatest challenges in the Wharton MBA program?

lordofthedings (Nov 5, 2008 12:31:12 PM)
Ainsley: Although we will only find out whether we have gotten accepted much later, has the Adcom already decided to deny admission to any folks? Or are all such decisions only made on Nov 13?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:31:51 PM)
Lordofthedings, all decisions that are a denial will be released on Nov. 13. We will continue evaluating files until then.

ohaqqi (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:03 PM)
Ainsley, if an interviewee lives a couple hours from Philly, do you expect them to do an on-campus interview?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:09 PM)
Wharton2009, as mentioned before, the interview cannot make or break you, so we are looking for a variety of qualities. We hope to see energy and enthusiasm, genuine aspects of the applicant's personality and interest in WHMBA, etc.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:22 PM)
Ohaqqi, we do not "expect" anyone to do anything. Where/how you interview is completely up to you.

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:30 PM)
Ben-k: The greatest challenge for me, honestly, has been prioritizing among the different opportunities here. There is so much available that I want to do at any given time, from classes to lectures to clubs to social events, that I have had to force myself to focus at least a little bit (if I want to sleep).

lordofthedings (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:41 PM)
Kathryn: Is there a particular time of day when the interview invites go out?

bostonsparky (Nov 5, 2008 12:32:47 PM)
Thanks Gonzalo. I was also curious, are all interviews required to be conducted in English?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:11 PM)
Yes Bostonsparky, the interviews are conducted in English because the language of instruction here is English.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:20 PM)
Lordofthedings, interviews are released on a rolling basis through November 13.

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:27 PM)
Judith: When you say rolling basis, do you mean that you release interview invites in batches or could be even a single one per day?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:35 PM)
Ben-K- Prioritizing! There are so many things to do at Wharton (take leadership on projects, join a club, attend social events, apply to a job and go on a trip) that it is very hard, especially at the beginning, to say "No" to something. Through the first year I learned a lot regarding this aspect.
JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:49 PM)
Vani, you will hear from us on a rolling basis until November 13. We release hundreds a day.

Apang (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:52 PM)
Thanks, Judith. My next question is to Kara. I'm applying to the Health Care program and was invited to interview. Could you share your experience about the interview with June Kinney?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:33:56 PM)
Ben-K: As an Engineer and former defense industry employee, I found a couple of the core courses to be particularly challenging because of my limited exposure to those areas -- e.g. marketing and accounting. In hindsight, I wish I had taken an accounting class prior to coming to Wharton. Another challenge, as Kara mentioned, is that you have so many different things you can do here. It's hard to prioritize everything.

ben-k (Nov 5, 2008 12:34:09 PM)
Ainsley: Even though interviews are blind, if the interview is conducted with an Adcom member, what is the possibility that the interviewer has some knowledge of your application?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:34:30 PM)
Ben-K, we are very careful to schedule your interview with someone who has NOT seen your file.

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:35:33 PM)
Hey Bostonsparky: Can you ask this question to Ainsley? I actually don't know the answer to this one...From my own experience, my interview was in Venezuela with an Alumnus and was conducted in English.

RB (Nov 5, 2008 12:35:45 PM)
Jennifer, Kara and Gonzalo: How is the course work divided between theory and case-study? What percentage is there of each?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:35:51 PM)

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:35:52 PM)
Apang: Congrats on the invite! The interview with June will be very similar to your Adcom interview, except she may focus more specifically on why HCM. However, it remains very much a dialogue. You'll find that it's great chatting with June!

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:36:04 PM)
Boston, we don't have a preference regarding with whom you interview, however, I think that the more Wharton alums you meet, the better you'll get to know Wharton.

GameTheory (Nov 5, 2008 12:36:08 PM)
Kara: How does Wharton view students who come from less competitive undergraduate institutions? For example, is a 3.5 from George Washington or Penn State perceived as the same as a 3.5 from Duke or Penn Undergrad? Do students from less competitive undergrad schools need to showcase a significantly higher level of academic achievement as compared to people from the usual Wharton feeder schools?

Vani Punam (Nov 5, 2008 12:36:58 PM)
Ainsley: What is the kind of feedback the interviewer (alumni) will give back to you? Will the alumni provide detailed notes on the conversation?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:37:25 PM)
Vani, each interviewer is trained in the same way, and the interview report forms are uniform.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:38:07 PM)
Ainsley: What can someone invited to interview expect at a Wharton interview?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:38:16 PM)
RB, I think there is no answer to this one percentage-wise. I would say that it varies a lot between courses. For example, in Accounting class we had less cases and more lectures, whereas in Marketing class we had more cases and less lectures. I find a very good balance between cases and lectures and have learned a lot by both methods.

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:38:21 PM)
RB: From my experience, I have found the course work to be mostly case study, but it depends on the class. In finance, for example, you spend more time learning the theory and then apply it via a case. In some classes, like Marketing, you may need to spend less time on the theory because it is more intuitive and spend more time learning via cases. So, it's hard to put a percentage on it because it varies by the class.

RB (Nov 5, 2008 12:38:34 PM)
Jennifer, Kara, and Gonzalo: Wharton has 10 core credits. Some schools have no set concept of "core" classes. Is that an advantage at Wharton? If so, how?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:38:45 PM)
RB: I think it's a pretty good mix of theory and case-study. Sometimes certain classes will focus more in one area, but overall it's a good mix.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:39:13 PM)
Linda, it's a half hour, behavioral interview meant for the interviewer to get to know you better. There are no cases to prepare, and we won't ask you to do complex derivatives.

cj (Nov 5, 2008 12:39:20 PM)
Not everyone receives e-mails sent by Wharton, for example I never received an e-mail after I submitted my application whereas others were sent an e-mail saying when interview invites would start to go out and when they would end. Just basic information about the process that we may not have received.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:39:47 PM)
CJ, please be sure that we are on your "safe senders" list and not in your junk box.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:39:56 PM)
I think Cj's question relates to information he would like to see posted on the Adcom blog.

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:40:04 PM)
RB: One reason why I applied to Wharton was because of its strong core curriculum. As I mentioned earlier, my background is pretty much engineering/management/operations focused. This program gave me insight into marketing, finance, strategy and accounting, which I think will be very valuable in the future as I progress through my career path.

Wharton2009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:40:12 PM)
Ainsley: Are there any questions that an interviewer is not allowed to ask?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:40:33 PM)
CJ, If you would like to email me directly, I can make sure that everything is all set for you to get the emails. It is not lack of transparency on our end but it may be a technical glitch. Kathryn, our communications expert, has just told me that the info that we have on our blog is mirroring pretty closely what we have had up in the past.

VK (Nov 5, 2008 12:40:40 PM)
Kathryn: What percentage of the interviewed applicants are finally extended an admit?

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:41:35 PM)
RB, the core has been a great advantage for me due to the fact that I am pursuing a General Management career, so I wanted to have a holistic experience in my first year and then, as a second year, have a better judgment to select the electives in which I wanted to enroll. One key aspect, for students who don't want to take certain course, is that Wharton offers you the opportunity to waive some courses (through an exam or through credentials), so this is a flexibility aspect of the core.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:41:40 PM)
Like in any kind of professional interview situation, interviewers are not allowed to ask about race, religion, sexual orientation, family status, political affiliation etc.

VK (Nov 5, 2008 12:41:48 PM)
Judith: How is the internship/summer recruitment scene looking like for the class of 2010?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:41:56 PM)
CJ, I look forward to hearing from you. You know that our primary concern is that you feel you are getting the information you need to be a successful applicant. If this was an issue for you, you certainly could have emailed us previously to let us know so we could have managed the process with you.

lordofthedings (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:02 PM)
Ainsley: To which aspect of the application does Wharton attach the most weight?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:07 PM)
I am letting one of the students answer that.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:22 PM)
Lordofthedings, each part of the application holds equal weight.

bostonsparky (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:35 PM)
Thanks to all regarding my English Question. I was curious if anyone would share their thoughts on the upcoming Net Impact conference at Wharton and if there's been any recent progress by the school (this semester) towards a Social Enterprise center/concentration?

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:39 PM)
GameTheory: Your academic credentials are viewed within the context of the entire application. So, while the rigor of an institution may be taken into account, it's not an explicit focus of the evaluation. And we take into account many other things while reviewing any part of the application, aside from just the rigor. But, it's important to note there are no requirements placed on what we expect from certain types of academic institutions. Ainsley, if you have something to add or clarify in this regard, please feel free.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:42:46 PM)
Think of it like a giant puzzle: each piece is shaped and colored differently, but you need all of the pieces to understand the larger context of the picture.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:43:18 PM)
Bostonsparky; email me and I can give you the names and contacts of the people who are very involved with this effort and they would be glad to speak with you.

RB (Nov 5, 2008 12:43:21 PM)
Ainsley: Can you shed some light on the exchange program you have with INSEAD? Where can I read more about it?

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:43:58 PM)
Judith, if you are interviewing an applicant and the numbers and basic profile of their application is in the ballpark for a Wharton student, what distinguishes an applicant that you recommend for acceptance from one that you recommend for denial?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:44:10 PM)
RB, like everything we have going on at Wharton, you can read more about the INSEAD exchange on our website. Is there something specific you'd like to know?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:45:06 PM)
We are looking very closely for the sense of self; how well can a student articulate where they are on their path and where they would like to go? How well do they know themselves, and how reflective can they be about this stage in their professional and personal lives? About 90% of those who apply are academically in the ballpark. The rest is individualism.

RB (Nov 5, 2008 12:45:18 PM)
I actually heard about it on a podcast and haven't had the chance to read details. So I don't have anything specific to ask.

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:45:28 PM)
When you do, let me know. Glad to be of help.

Attagirl (Nov 5, 2008 12:45:36 PM)
Thank you Linda and Wharton Adcom for this brilliant opportunity. And all the best to all prospective applicants on the chat. Have a great day!

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:45:53 PM)
Linda, there are some great answers to this question on our MBA Admissions BLOG under 'MBA Admissions Essentials" as well as on our Student to Student Chat room.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:46:14 PM)
Jennifer, Kara, and Gonzalo: Are you and your fellow students seeing recruiting fall out from the credit crunch?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:47:04 PM)
Linda, it's also important for the applicant to think about the value of the derivatives that they can get from our program. I would also add that we are looking for a sense of SPUNK from our applicants as well.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:47:25 PM)
Thank you. Those are great references for all Wharton admissions questions.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:47:49 PM)
Are admissions interviews for reapplicants different than for first-time applicants?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:47:57 PM)
Linda, no, they are not.

dawg (Nov 5, 2008 12:48:57 PM)
Ainsley: Why do Healthcare candidates need to do 2 interviews?

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:49:06 PM)
Linda, as you know, the economy is struggling right now, and subsequently companies are not recruiting for as many students. That being said, Wharton is one of the best business schools in the world, so your opportunity of getting a position is significantly higher than at many other business schools.

ral (Nov 5, 2008 12:49:10 PM)
Hello, In order to ensure that I am not missing the invite, what is the mail ID from which the interview invite comes?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:49:28 PM)

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:02 PM)
I would say that there is certainly more competition to get jobs. The fact that the financial services industry has taken such a big hit, has made many students and employees in this area look for alternatives. On the other hand, Wharton has made a huge effort to bring many companies to our campus and Wharton Alumni have been very helpful to many of my classmates. Certainly the economy has hit the job search, but all of us have had many opportunities to get jobs in the market place!

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:06 PM)
I think we are seeing people make different choices about full-time recruiting because of a greater amount of uncertainty (i.e., taking their summer job offer instead of "shopping around" before making a decision, although that has certainly been going on if they think they may want to do something different full-time). I imagine some of the people who worked in finance (I-banking, for example) may find companies being much more cautious about hiring (I haven't been interviewing directly in that field so it's hard for me to say for sure what is going on there).

Wharton2009 (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:21 PM)
Kathryn: What is the application process for a 2nd year student who wants to join the Adcom?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:30 PM)
Dawg, the healthcare program is a very specific program, looking for a very specific fit. As with any of our small programs, we want to be sure that there is a "fit" with the program. We require the same thing of our Lauder students.

bostonsparky (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:32 PM)
Thanks Judith, I will be in touch. My last question is regarding the alumni interview - does it have to be in person, or is over the phone possible as a last resort. I live a 10+ hour bus ride from the nearest alumni in my country. Thanks in advance for your responses.
VK (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:49 PM)
To current students: What do Wharton guys do for fun? How is life in Philly?

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:50:59 PM)
Boston, if you are not near an alum you can call our office and arrange to have a phone IV with a member of the Adcom. Alumni do not do phone IV's.

ohaqqi (Nov 5, 2008 12:51:10 PM)
Judith, what do you mean by "SPUNK" from applicants?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:52:24 PM)
Wharton 2009, our GA's go through an intensive interview and application process and then, if selected, they undertake quite a lot of training for both interviewing and application review.

VK (Nov 5, 2008 12:52:39 PM)
Kathryn: How much weight is given to community work? My question is specifically regarding if there are different expectations from Indian applicants, given their orientation or rather the lack of it, towards community work.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:52:44 PM)
Ohaqqi, we're looking for a unique personality, passion for whatever you're doing (for example, I read a great essay about a verdant plant lover this week that displayed a great sense of spunk!).

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:53:56 PM)
Kathryn: Do you ever Google applicants or check out their social networking sites?

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:54:13 PM)
VK, we have no expectations of students to be involved in volunteerism. It's up to you to involve yourself in whatever interests you, whether it is community work or something else.

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:54:38 PM)
VK - There are several way to have fun! 1) The Wharton Graduate Association puts on Wharton parties every Thursday throughout the semester. Since we don't have class on Fridays, the parties are well attended and are a great time. 2) Most students live in Center City and go out downtown together. 3) Individual cohorts always schedule events which range from barbeques, to dinner at a student's home, to bowling. 4) We have MBA pub every Thursday at 5pm. This is where the students go after class to relax and have drinks/pizza.

KaraFowlerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:54:48 PM)
VK - We have a lot of social gatherings in a variety of different settings (think everything from community service to quizzo to bar crawls). So when you are looking for fun, you have a lot of different options, and I feel like I have taken advantage of a lot of them over the course of my time here. I have been pleasantly surprised by Philly, to be honest. It has a great restaurant scene, is very "livable", and has a very unique personality.
GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:44 PM)
We do many things to have fun! There are many different clubs that organize social events every week, and many sports clubs that organize tournaments. Philadelphia is a great city in which to study: It offers you the possibility to live very close to school and to your friends, it has the benefit of being a city that is neither too big nor too small, there are many activities that you can do (watch the World Baseball Champions, concerts, theatre, etc). Philly is very close to DC and NY as well, so you always have the possibility to travel during the weekend.

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:54:51 PM)
Linda, No, we don't really have time to do that in the process. After we admit an applicant, their app is checked for accuracy.

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:17 PM)
Judith, Ainsley & Kathryn, do you have any final interview advice for Round 1 applicants?

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:29 PM)
Relax, and wait to hear from us!

Apang (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:35 PM)
Judith, Ainsley, Kathryn, Jennifer, Kara, and Gonzalo: Thank you all for taking the time to chat. I look forward to the opportunity to join Wharton. Bye!

KathrynBezellaWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:43 PM)
We'll be posting some thoughts on the blog today, so check in later this afternoon.

AinsleyParkerWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:44 PM)
Our pleasure!

JenniferSomersWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:47 PM)
Apang - Good luck!

JudithHodaraWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:48 PM)
Looking forward to being in touch with you and all the best!

Linda Abraham (Nov 5, 2008 12:55:58 PM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Judith, Ainsley & Kathryn as well as to Jennifer, Kara and Gonzalo for joining us and sharing their inside knowledge of Wharton. For more information about Wharton admissions, please visit their website or Wharton Adcom's Blog. Both are highly informative and helpful!

For Accepted.com’s information about Wharton, including previous chats and interview feedback, please visit the Accepted.com’s Wharton B-School Zone. We look forward to seeing you at future chats. Here is a list of currently scheduled chats next month:

Nov. 10: Kellogg
Nov. 19: Consortium
Nov. 24: MIT

Please check our chat schedule page for more details. 

Good luck with your applications!

GonzaloMibelliWHARTON (Nov 5, 2008 12:56:45 PM)
You are very welcome it was fun sharing my experience with all of you!

Attagirl (Nov 5, 2008 12:56:49 PM)
Thank you all again!

Aravind (Nov 5, 2008 12:57:19 PM)
Thank you Adcom members!

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