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2013 Wharton Lauder MBA Admissions Q&A with Marcy Bevan and Meghan Ellis

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

Audio for Q&A (Click to listen now, or right click and choose “Save As” to download and listen later.)

Linda Abraham: Hello. My name is Linda Abraham. I'm the founder of Accepted.com and the moderator of today's Q&A. First I want to welcome all applicants, and congratulate you for taking the time to learn more about Wharton-Lauder's program. It's critical to your decision making process and your admission chances that you know as much as you can about the schools you're applying to. Being here today allows you to ask the experts about this top business school and international program, and I think, unique program.

I also want to give a special welcome to Marcy Bevan, Director of Admissions and External Affairs, and Meghan Ellis, Coordinator for Admissions and Student Affairs at the Lauder Institute. Thank you to everyone for joining.

Javier asks, "Good morning. Could you please talk about CIBER. Is it exclusively for Lauder students, or the entire Wharton community?"

Marcy Bevan: CIBER is a grant given by the US government, which supports programs that we help sponsor. But anybody at Lauder or Wharton who's interested in language development is welcome to go. It's not formally a part of our curriculum.

Linda Abraham: Okay. Great. Before I get to the applicants questions, I always like to ask the school representatives what's new in your program. Do you have anything you're just rolling out?

Marcy Bevan: We are in the process of developing a tenth track which we are calling the program for people who have advanced proficiency in multiple languages at the time they apply.

Linda Abraham: How many is "multiple?"

Marcy Bevan: It is two plus English. It's a global track, and it's for people who are already proficient in the languages we offer, or other languages, and are interested in a different approach to learning international education. We're announcing it, but we haven't yet initiated it. So as we go on the road this summer to a variety of places to talk about the Lauder program, as well as Wharton, we hope that we will have more details. If there's somebody on here from Peru, that's one of the locations we'll be doing an admissions session. So I hope people go onto the Wharton site and sign up to participate in those. Because it's nice to meet current and past students, and learn more about the program. That date in July is the 16th, Monday night in Lima.

Linda Abraham: So most of the Lauder students focus on a particular area. This global track is going to be more global or more multinational/ multicultural?

Marcy Bevan: What's going to be different is that the Summer Immersion program is going to take place in a number of different locations, and language training is not going to be part of that. They're going to be focusing on local economics and international policies. Then when they get back to class in the Fall, we will be developing new classes which they can take and also the students who are in the other specific language tracks.

Linda Abraham: Another question from Javier. What percent of MBA programs do Lauder students take? I guess the question really is, what is the split in percentages in terms of the time that Lauder students spend in Wharton classes as opposed to Lauder classes?

Marcy Bevan: Lauder requires two extra classes a semester. So the students start early. They come here in May. They've been here in fact for one week. Then they are here until the end of May, and go to the country that corresponds with their Summer Immersions in the beginning of June. So that part is extra in addition to what Wharton offers. Then, each semester, they take two extra classes. One is a language class, and one is a school of arts and sciences class, which counts towards the MA.

Linda Abraham: Great. Thank you.

Marcy Bevan: I tell people who are thinking about Lauder, to think of it as an extra-curricular activity or two.

Linda Abraham: It sounds like it's more than two, yes.

Marcy Bevan: There are 200 clubs that exist at Wharton, so everybody thinks "Oh, my heavens, this is so exciting, let me go and join 20 of them". Our students are still very active in Wharton government and clubs. They produce conferences, they’re in the Follies, they do extra-curricular activities there, but under the theory that you can't do everything.

If you realize that you're in classes for 6 extra hours a week, keep that in mind, and presumably doing homework for those classes, too.

Linda Abraham: I'm also curious, in terms of the people who are here if you could raise your hands if you're sure you're going to apply to a Lauder program. So raise your hand if ready to decide and you basically want information so that you can better present yourself. That's about half our crowd, so you have a pretty committed group here. I'm going to guess that the other half of you are doing research in order to decide if you're going to apply to a Lauder program. If you're doing research to decide if you're want to apply, raise your hand. Let me also ask you to please post your questions.

I have a question for Marcy and Meghan. What is the typical career path for the Lauder, or is there a typical career path for the Lauder graduate? What are the kinds of positions that they typically go into?

Marcy Bevan: The reason we don't discuss this on our website is because there's no such thing as "typical." There are too many variations to start talking about it. Our students have access to the Wharton Career Center, so they can go through the regular recruiting program for them. There are multinational companies which do come to campus to interview. Our students also have access to recruiters when they do their Summer Immersion programs in specific locations. So they will go visit some of the companies they might end up wanting to work for. While it's not the time to interview for a job, it's a time to start making relationships. Our students go all over the world to work. Sometimes it corresponds with the language in which they focused, and sometimes it not corresponding. Sometimes it's right after graduation, and sometimes it doesn't happen for years after graduation. They do consulting, banking, non-profit work, private equity, hedge funds, and work for general managing for companies, a lot of entrepreneurs in the crowd these days. People wanting to start their own businesses. Some of our graduates have done so, very successfully, starting when they're in school, and continuing when they're out of school. And successful ones, too.

Linda Abraham: Another question from Javier, "What are appropriate GMAT and TOEFL scores for being considered at Lauder?"

Meghan Ellis: The average GMAT and TOEFL scores are posted on the Wharton websites. I would take a look at those, but bear in mind there's a really wide range. So you shouldn't be discouraged or decide not to apply if your score is below average. But it's also important to make sure that you're prepared, especially quantitatively, for the Wharton curriculum. If you haven't taken Calculus or Statistics when you were in college, it's a good idea to take a course and let us know you're taking it. So you could write about it in the optional essay on the application. Let us know that you've identified a weakness and have gone ahead and done something about it. Also make sure you do as well as you can on the GMAT or the GRE. We take either of them. There's no advantage or disadvantage to taking one over the other.

Linda Abraham: Are the scores for Wharton-Lauder very similar?

Meghan Ellis: They are, yes. The scores are posted on the Wharton site. I think the average GMAT is 720. They post a range, and you'll see that it's a pretty wide range. Accepted Lauder students are going to have the same averages.

Linda Abraham: Gavin asks, "Hi, I just wanted to say a quick thanks for the chat today. My question is regarding the student life of the Lauder students. In addition to the Summer Immersion language classes and arts and sciences classes, are there other extra-curricular activities that the Lauder students are involved in? What other ways do Lauder students exercise their interest in languages and global affairs outside of the classroom?" Good question, thank you.

Meghan Ellis: The Lauder students are actively involved over at Wharton. Like Marcy said, they're helping to plan conferences and taking part in various social clubs and activities. But specific to Lauder, there are a couple different ways to get involved. One of these is on the student advisory board. There are different roles for students within that board. They can help Marcy and I in admissions, there's an academic role, an external fellowship for an external affairs role. The students vote for the student they feel would do the best job in that role. So it's our version of a student government. There are also opportunities to get involved even deeper in admissions. We have students at Lauder who help us with applications, with hosting student visitors, and with interviewing. For some accepted students, this is a really exciting part of what they want to do extra-curricularly. We also have different social events. Every year we have a Welcome Back party, and a photo contest, and the students, staff, and faculty vote on their favorite photos from Summer Immersion. It's a really fun party we do every year. It's a good Lauder tradition. We also have a holiday party. The students also plan some parties with the help of the social reps on the student advisory board, and they have some money to help them fund this. They do a party every year. It actually just happened. It's called the 3G party which stands for "three generations." It's one of the few times that there are three generations of Lauder students on campus at the same time. There are the graduating second-years just getting ready for graduation, the rising second-years, and the new class of first-years. So it's a very unique week where we have the first-years, who just started on campus, and the second-years are still on campus because they haven't had graduation yet.

There's also a really cool program called Culture Quest. It was started last year. It was the initiative both of our director, Mauro Guillen and also current students. It's something that's credit-bearing, and only open to Lauder students and alums. The best way to describe it is to think of a TV show called "The Amazing Race". The students traveled from, it was either Belize or Guatemala, down to the Panama Canal, using only public transportation. It was a bit of a race, but along the way you had to do certain activities, so whether it was going to a wedding, or teaching children at a local school, or going to visit a corporation. You had different activities you had to complete along the way, and, because it was credit-bearing, there was a paper component and some course work the students did ahead of time.

Linda Abraham: That's fascinating.

Meghan Ellis: It's really fascinating. It's just a great example of being able to do something quickly. So it didn't take years and years to plan. It was something we heard the students wanted to do, and we were able to execute fairly quickly. The students got to vote on where they wanted to travel. So last year we were in Central America. This year, they're getting ready to go for second installment. They are going to Madagascar and South Africa.

Linda Abraham: Wow. Are they also going to do the public transportation thing?

Meghan Ellis: I'm not entirely sure. So obviously, we have to modify things somewhat based on the region. I think the goal is certainly to use it as much as possible.

Linda Abraham: Fascinating, fascinating. We actually have some good questions coming in, here. Roshio asks, "Is there any limitation regarding age? Is there an age minimum or maximum?"

Marcy Bevan: No, there's not. We've had students who have been submatriculants, who were still doing their senior year at Penn while they start. Our oldest student this year is 34. There's a time at which people seem to stop wanting to pursue graduate degrees, but it's illegal to discriminate by age in this country, so we don't do that. We don't do it emotionally, either. I just wanted to add one point for the target for GMAT. If you don't want to worry about your GMAT score, if you reach, approximately, 80% in both the quantitative and verbal, you should be fine. If you had a 690 and those were your percentiles, don't worry about taking it again. If you had something as low as 60%, particularly on the quantitative side, you should do something to remedy that.

Linda Abraham: Sudot asks, "Do Lauder candidates tend to focus on the language of emerging markets, such as Hindi and Chinese? What are the languages that form the largest groups?" [There are nine languages].

Marcy Bevan: This year, it's Spanish, by far. Chinese is second. Probably Portuguese and French are tied for third and fourth. Our lower programs have recently involved Russian and German. And Arabic has never gotten very large. And Japanese is lower. We react to the markets that present themselves to us each year. We would love to have more in some of those smaller programs, but I'm sure the economic conditions within some of those regions are a part of what influences people's decisions to apply. That being said even though we have a small Japanese program, our students are still graduating and getting jobs in Japan, and staying there. So it's an interesting thing. If anybody gets the answer to that problem, we'd love to hear it.

Linda Abraham: Okay. Victor asks, "How much international experience are you expecting applicants to have?"

Marcy Bevan: That depends. Some people do a semester abroad. It's more than just travel. You don't necessarily have had to have worked there. Sometimes it's a person based in New York and handles accounts in different countries, and spends a great deal of time communicating with them with some occasional trips. It's not for the person who loves to travel, but it is for the person who understands other cultures, and has had some experience there. But we don't have a formula in terms of time that has had to have been spent in a country. Sometimes there's a person who's worked in one region and is applying for another one, that's fine. It’s just we don't want somebody who's spent their entire life in New York.

Linda Abraham: What if they've spent most of their life in New York or Milwaukee or wherever, but they've been working for international companies, and they've had international and multicultural interactions and responsibilities?

Marcy Bevan: That's fine.

Linda Abraham: Priscilla asks, "What is the makeup of the student body in the program? How many students of color are usually accepted, and how much value do you place on diversity?"

Meghan Ellis: We place a big value on diversity, the same way Wharton does. As far as the makeup of the student body, last year, we had a tremendously large number of women in the program. We were just about 50-50 when it came to gender. This year it's not quite that, but it's still very strong. We have about 35-40% women. International students were also very strong. Again about 30% were international, and this isn't even counting students that are dual citizens. We definitely have a solid number of students of color. I’d say we see diversity really broadly, so it's something that spans across many different definitions. We're certainly looking for a class where people are coming from different backgrounds and have different experiences to bring to the classroom and to bring to classroom discussions.

Linda Abraham: Wonderful. Thank you. Javier asks, "Can you describe for me a typical day for a Lauder student?" He's particularly interested in the Portuguese track.

Meghan Ellis: I think it's hard to describe a typical day. It depends on the time of year. In May it's a bit of a compressed schedule, because the students do one full class, and then begin a second class. So you do quite a bit of class time in that first May, along with a lot of orientation activities. I've noticed from my interactions with students that they're certainly finding time to be quite social outside of the classroom. They were at a Philly's baseball game the other night. A group of them played a pickup soccer game. They've been doing quite a bit outside the classroom, despite their busy schedule. Once the academic year starts, I'd say it's less time in the classroom as opposed to May, but you're also taking more classes. I'd be hard-pressed to describe an actual day. But if anybody on this call wanted to talk to a current student and get their perspective, I'd be happy to put them in touch. I think you're going to be giving out our e-mail address afterward.

Linda Abraham: Yes, we'll give it at the very end. I noticed in preparing for the call that you have a research project at the end of the May term, and there's something called Global Knowledge Lab, which is when the student is further in the program. Could you talk about those aspects of your program?

Meghan Ellis: The first research project is an article the students write during their Summer Immersion. That's something they'd work with a group of three or four other students in their language group. It would be on a topic of their choosing, but certainly something that relates to Summer Immersions. One of my favorites from this summer was a group in the Spanish track, they wrote about the flour industry in Columbia, because Columbia was one of their locations in their Summer Immersion. They visited a flour distributor. That's a sense of what these articles would be like. They're going to focus on a specific industry or company and relate back to that specific language group. And then they're published.

Linda Abraham: Would the article be in that language, or a different language?

Meghan Ellis: They write them in English. They're also published in Knowledge of Wharton. It's kind of a nice thing for you to then have a hard copy of your published article to give to your family and friends. Of course they're also online, like everything. The GKL project (Global Knowledge Project) is our version of a traditional Master's thesis. It's something the students start thinking about even in their first month or so at Lauder. The actual writing and research doesn't begin at this point, but thinking about what kind of topic you'd be interested in pursuing does begin with the first class in May, called International Political Economy.

This class spans from May all the way into the first academic semester in Fall. During this class, there's dedicated time for identifying topics you'd be interested in pursuing on your GKL. Many times, the GKL projects are actually sponsored by companies, so they might toss out a general idea. Every year, Booz & Company sponsors the project on culture and consumption. That's a very broad topic. The students have the opportunity to work with the adviser from Booz & Company, to identify something more specific they'd be interested in knowing more about. For these projects, students work in cross language track teams. So it's different from the Summer research where you have students from the same track. With the GKL, you might have one student from Hindi, one from Chinese, one from French, and one from the new Global program.

Linda Abraham: So for the GKL, the projects tend to be cross- bordered.

Meghan Ellis: Yes, exactly. The GKL has a little more flexibility than the traditional Master's thesis. Marcy and I had the opportunity the other day to watch a documentary that a group of students made in lieu of writing a paper. They did the same amount of work, and of course, they had to write quite a bit to get the documentary off the ground, but they were able to do something outside the lines of a traditional thesis, but worked with their project and communicated that idea the best way possible. And of course, all this would be vetted by the program directors.

Linda Abraham: Great. We have another question here from Victor. "For the Portuguese track you accept Spanish speakers without advanced Portuguese knowledge. When this is the case, do they normally acquire advanced language skills by the end of the program?"

Marcy Bevan: Yes, they do. They do need to take an OPI, which is an oral proficiency interview, in Spanish, because sometimes people have had varying backgrounds in their Spanish-speaking ability, like they grew up speaking it as a child and consider themselves natives, so they need to get to a superior level in Spanish. And then they begin with no knowledge of Portuguese from the time they come to school, and all seem to graduate at a superior level in Portuguese by the end of the program.

Linda Abraham: Great. Thank you. Marcy and Meghan, when you're looking at an application for Lauder, what are the three qualities you're really looking for?

Marcy Bevan: They need to be able to get into Wharton. They need to be able to speak the language at the requisite level, and they need to have had some international exposure and understanding, that life is different outside of the US than it is here.

Linda Abraham: Okay. That's very clear.

Marcy Bevan: Getting into Wharton is not so clear. When we read an application, we look at somebody's academic capabilities, their GMAT's, and their undergraduate grades. We look at what they've been doing professionally and for how long and how they've developed. We also like to know who they are outside of the classroom. We really do try to get the picture of the whole person. There isn't one particular area that more weight is placed on than the other. They're all important. For Lauder, we ask two additional questions. One is to talk about a cross-cultural challenge, and that's not "I got to this country and realized they eat different food," which sounds very simplistic, but we have read that. Or that I don’t speak the language.

Linda Abraham: I believe you.

Marcy Bevan: It's understanding how business or life is conducted differently than it is from their home country. We also ask why they want to come to the Lauder Institute, which gives us a sense of how deeply they understand the program. So all of those component parts, I’m not meaning to be glib when I say the first one is that you have to get into Wharton. We consider all of those factors when looking at an application.

Linda Abraham: Right. Okay. So there is no Master's degree from Lauder, unless you're either in UPenn Law, or Wharton, correct?

Marcy Bevan: That's right. Our classes are uniquely for our students. They're not elective students for the Wharton population.

Linda Abraham: Right. You cannot get a Lauder Master's.

Meghan Ellis: No, it's not a standalone degree.

Linda Abraham: How would you describe the academic culture in Wharton-Lauder? Well the student culture would be a better way to put it.

Marcy Bevan: I've had people say, "I really feel as though I absolutely need to get the MBA in order to make progress in the field that I have chosen to pursue", and the mechanics of that piece is very important. The Wharton experience offers a rich array of non-academic activities. But with Lauder they get to study things that are not business related, like a history class they never had the opportunity to take, or learning about what goes on in International Political Economies, or understanding multinational management. The language courses are not grammar classes one might have encountered in college. They are classes that explore current topics within the region they're focusing on, as well as political, cultural, and business topics that get discussed.

Linda Abraham: What do you anticipate in terms of application volume next year? Do you have any anticipation?

Marcy Bevan: I have absolutely no idea. It's always a mystery to us. But the numbers remain fairly static over the years. We get in the hundreds of applications, not in the thousands. So that's a nice number. We would love it if there were more in certain languages, but we always get a rich array of students from which to choose for our program.

Linda Abraham: In terms of admissions interviews, do applicants interview just with Wharton or with Wharton and with Lauder? How does that work?

Marcy Bevan: There are two interviews when you apply to Wharton-Lauder. The first is for Wharton, and the second is for Lauder, we’re looking more for a fit. Wharton's system changes from year to year, and ours remains fairly consistent, in that we have alumni interviews on campus. Sometimes they're done by the staff, and sometimes by students. We do like the opportunity to meet with people, in addition to Wharton. You have to fit with both programs.

Linda Abraham: Got it. Gavin asks, "I know that Wharton has a robust leadership development program. Does Lauder do any programs related towards leadership? Or are these mostly handled through the general MBA program?"

Marcy Bevan: The culture quest could be considered leadership. There is, as suggested, a wide array of opportunities to display leadership in the classroom, and out of the classroom at Wharton. We do have leadership positions available at Lauder's student government, as Meghan previously mentioned.

Linda Abraham: Okay. Let's see. Javier has another question. "What have been the most successful or most recent projects in energy in which Lauder students have been involved?"

Marcy Bevan: I don't know. I suggest he looks on Knowledge at Wharton, because we have had things that have been published there. I believe there's a project that has been discussed on Knowledge at Wharton, which relates to energy. I know there are people working on it, but I can't be specific. We get them in. Once they're in, they do things we sometimes don't follow as carefully. If the individual wants to write to Meghan or me directly, we're happy to get more information on that.

Linda Abraham: And again, we will be supplying an e-mail address at the end of the Q&A. You mentioned that there are a growing number of students in Wharton-Lauder who are interested in entrepreneurship. How does the Lauder program help them in terms of their entrepreneurial ambitions?

Marcy Bevan: One thing we can do is identify alumni who have been involved in successful ventures. Sometimes they have opportunities to meet with them when they're doing their country immersions. For instance, there's somebody who graduated last year, who's gone to Brazil. He was working on this entrepreneurial project when he was here, then he worked for a venture firm in Mexico during his summer. He was in the Spanish group and he launched his business when he graduated, in Brazil, where he had never been. He now has 80 employees. So it has worked. We can suggest that people get in touch with alums who have had successful experiences with that. Some of our students who come in are entrepreneurs. In every aspect, we can't compete with Wharton. We add on. There's an Entrepreneurial Studies major, and a club where they get together. At Wharton, there's a business competition.

The other thing we do, which is interesting, is that we have scholarships available for students that want to work in the country that corresponds with their language during the first summer, second summer. Sometimes they choose to go work in the country where the business is supposed to originate. So that's an additional opportunity to spend time exploring their business. They need to work for a company, but they could be working for another person who’s an entrepreneur and can't afford to pay them. So we make it possible for them to spend time in the region.

Linda Abraham: One thing that's coming through loud and clear in all your comments, from both of you, is that the Lauder program compliments and builds on the Wharton program, allowing the students to learn a lot about a particular region in the world that will enhance their ability to do business in that region in world. It's not just a matter of learning grammar of a certain language, or even medieval literature of that culture, which might be nice, interesting, and beautiful. There's a particular focus of the program that's supposed to enhance and complement the Wharton program with an emphasis on a specific region of the world. Is that a good summary of what's going on there?

Meghan Ellis: Yes, absolutely. I think the focus at Lauder is really on getting a solid understanding of the culture, politics, history, and economics of a specific part of the world. Students get that through the Summer Immersion, language studies, and area history. As Marcy mentioned, in the language classes, they're not drilling grammar, they're having discussions about current events. They're learning, not just about the language but about the culture, history, geopolitics, and all of those areas in the language classes as well.

That's why we ask that people are coming in at the advanced range, because it allows them to have those conversations, even if they're not at a place where they're able to conduct business, which is the goal of the program, and hitting the superior mark on the language test. Students also get a view of the world as a whole. They're going to get that through two important classes that are requirements of all Lauder students. They take them together as a cohort. The first is International Political Economy of Business Environments. That's taught starting in May. Also, when they return from Summer Immersions in the Fall semester, it's cited by many students as their favorite class. It's taught by our director, Mauro Guillen. It's one of the two required core courses for Lauder. The second is Global Economic History. Students take that in the second semester of their first year. Those classes give students a view outside of their specific language track or regional area. It's a nice place where everybody has the ability to comment on different part of the world that may be related to their track, but it might also be related to having done work or grown up in that region.

Linda Abraham: Wouldn't the Global Knowledge Lab also fall under that heading?

Meghan Ellis: Absolutely. And even culture quests. We don't have a track that's focusing on South Africa, but this is giving students the opportunity to go to South Africa, to go to Madagascar, and learn about another part of the world. For students who weren't in the Spanish group when we went last year to Central America, it was an opportunity for them to learn about a different part of the world.

Linda Abraham: Sure. Getting back to application nitty-gritty, is there an advantage to applying in different rounds? Considering that a lot of applicants apply in Wharton's round 1 or 2, is there an advantage to applying in one versus the other?

Marcy Bevan: You have to apply in round one or two, because we've already started classes by the time the third round decisions get released. It depends on when your application is ready. We tell people that they should apply when they're ready, not with an eye on the calendar. We have room after both rounds to accept students, but if you apply in round two and are an international student, you have to move very quickly to get your visa issues worked out in order to get here. This year, there were five weeks between the time when the students were accepted and when they needed to be on campus. That wouldn't work for me, but I'm pretty high on the type-A list, but it depends. There have been years where there hasn't been much space in round two for certain language programs. Given that we can't predict how many people are going to apply for which programs next year, I don't know what those languages that will be, but if it continues on the current trajectory, Chinese will continue to be very popular, as will Spanish and Portuguese. So it depends. But if somebody needs to retake a GMAT or doesn't have their essays right, they should wait for round two.

Linda Abraham: Certainly the people on this call, by virtue of the fact that you're here today, May 14th, and the fact that half of you say you have already decided to apply, would indicate that you have every hope of being ready for Round 1. You should be able to get your essays ready and the GMAT done, and done well. I guess you'll take to heart what Meghan has just said. If somebody is not accepted and wants to reapply, are there any special considerations for re-applicants? Do reviewers also look at last year's application when reviewing the application of a re-applicant or do they just look at the reviewer's notes?

Marcy Bevan: Wharton has a specific process for re-applicants which the re-applicants should follow. We look at last year's application, as well as this year’s application. It would usually have to do with somebody's numbers being off, or somebody not having a clear idea of what they want to do, or somebody not having spent enough time working to date. It would be hard to have somebody figure out what happened. If people have individual questions, they should feel free to get in touch with us. We’re pretty friendly. We seriously encourage coming to visit, if it's a possibility, because the experience tells more than we can in words.

Linda Abraham: Alright. That's very helpful. Wharton has a waitlist. Do Wharton-Lauder students get waitlisted? For next year, if they are, do you have any tips for them?

Marcy Bevan: There were people who were waitlisted in round one this year who did get in by round two, so you're not going to be waitlisted in round two for Lauder. It depends on so many variables. I couldn't even begin to describe it to a group of interested people. We had somebody who was waitlisted last year who reapplied and got in this year. It's a moving process, and people shouldn't be discouraged by having been denied the first time, because it can turn out very well. Making sure you have a solid foundation is important before you apply to this school. Sometimes, people are conditionally accepted based on language in round one. If they get an intermediate-high in their language, they have the remainder of the time before the program starts to get that up to the advanced level. I don't advise that, but it's possible. We had somebody this year who was conditionally accepted in round one, and is here. He brought the language up to the advanced level.

Linda Abraham: Great. I guess your suggestion for a rejected applicant who wants to reapply would be to get in touch with you, right?

Marcy Bevan: They're welcome to send us an e-mail. If there's something we can clearly discern that they can do in order to improve their application, we'd be happy to talk to them. Don't just pick up the phone and call, because we don't have the applications waiting for the call, but we're happy to look at them. Wharton used to give feedback interviews, and so did we. It became a tricky business, because if you tell somebody they might want to try this, and they take six months studying for and taking the GMAT, then they get rejected again, it becomes a waste of their time, and end up being disappointed and not happy with the school.

But you can look at an application and say it looks good and they should try to reapply, or that another year of work would help them. We can't say they should try a different recommender, because that's confidential information. But somebody should ask a recommender to write a letter for them and be really happy. They should choose their recommenders carefully. Somebody who wants to write a letter of recommendation is something that those thinking about applying can start thinking about now. Lining up the people they want to write letters of recommendation. It should be somebody for whom they've worked. It's difficult, because you don't want your boss to know you're applying to business school, in which case you could get a former employee, client, or somebody who knows you and your work well, and is in something of an advisory/superior position to you, not a friend, not a professor, not your mother.

Linda Abraham: How about your grandmother?

Marcy Bevan: No, that's probably not an any better idea. We've had all of those people. It's a matter of judgment. I would encourage people to take the opportunity to say anything else they'd like the admissions committee to know to use that to explain a poor grade or a lapse in a work experience, or why they didn't get their boss to write a letter of recommendation. Instead of us trying to figure out what's missing or what happened, they should use that paragraph to explain something to us, if there's something that needs explanation.

Linda Abraham: Mickey asks, "Is it rare for somebody to be accepted into this program immediately from undergraduate programs? What would be the exception?" What would cause an undergrad to be accepted?

Marcy Bevan: Somebody has to be rather exceptional for that, and had some good internships during the summer. The reason we want people to work before they go to our business school is so that they have a sense of what they want to do with a business degree, and a sense of what they want to do when they're here. If they've never worked or had a business course, they’ve missed the opportunity to be more specific in what they want to do, major in, or what they want to do once they get here. And once you get here, knowing what you want to do in the first year of experience is significant, because you can get awfully confused. There are so many opportunities that come and present themselves to you as a student, that if you don't have a sense of what field you want to go into, you're not going to get a job.

Linda Abraham: Right. That would be true for an older applicant, too, if you don't have a good sense of direction from them.

Marcy Bevan: Sure. Absolutely. With an older applicant, somebody can look at them and say this person has had seven years of experience in a particular field that I would really find valuable, I would like to hire them. With a younger applicant who's majored in biology and has a good, high GMAT, you don't know, and they don't know. We did have somebody who graduated from college and had three really good summer jobs outside the country. He was terrific, and we took him at the age of 21. He was an amazing student. That being said, when he graduated from us, he went to law school, so there was that sense of that not knowing what he wanted to do. He's now working for an investment bank doing mergers and acquisitions in companies in Latin America. So he’s managed to put it all together.

Linda Abraham: I guess he figured it out.

Marcy Bevan: He's still 28, or something. Not really.

Linda Abraham: That's a very talented individual, there. Javier asks, "Do Lauder students typically live on campus?"

Marcy Bevan: No, in Center City. The graduate students don't live on campus. Most of them live in the Rittenhouse Square area, which is 18th, and we're on 38th. It's about 20 blocks East from here. Some people live in West Philadelphia, which is a couple blocks away, some people in the suburbs. But most of the Wharton students live in a general area that we call Center City.

Linda Abraham: All right. I have one more question here. Also from Javier, "Do Lauder projects involve other departments or faculties at Penn?"

Marcy Bevan: Yes.

Linda Abraham: Okay. Great. In that case, I think it's time to draw this to a close. It's been wonderfully informative. We are getting "thank you's", now, from the participants. I want to thank you all for participating. Special thanks to Meghan and Marcy for joining us. If you have additional questions for the Lauder admissions team, please e-mail them to Lauderinfo@Wharton.Upenn.edu .

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Once more, thank you for joining us today. It's been an excellent session. Thank you, Meghan and Marcy.

Meghan Ellis: Thank you.

Linda Abraham: You're very welcome. And, thank you, participants, for all your excellent questions. Best of luck to all of you with your applications.

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