Wharton 2006 MBA Admissions Chat with Thomas Caleel


Wharton 2006 MBA Admissions Chat with Thomas Caleel

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Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:12:55 AM)
First I want to welcome you all to Accepted.com's Wharton admissions chat.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:09 AM)
I want to introduce and welcome our special guests from Wharton:

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:21 AM)
Thomas Caleel, Wharton's new Director of Admissions; Mae Shores, Senior Associate Director Wharton MBA Admissions; Peggy Bishop Lane, Deputy Vice Dean & Adjunct Associate Professor of Accounting; Sara Simons, Senior Associate Director of Wharton's Career Management Center; and Tammy Carter, Assoc Director, Financial Aid.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:32 AM)
Thanks to everyone for joining.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:39 AM)
Glad to be here!

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:46 AM)
Me too!

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:47 AM)
Thank you for having us here.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:13:55 AM)
You're most welcome.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:14:44 AM)
We have representatives here from Wharton's program, admissions, financial aid, and career placement offices. Could each of you tell us about something new or interesting in your area?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:15:30 AM)
There is plenty new in admissions, but also a dedication to our defining characteristics like transparency and inclusion of current students and alumni in the admissions process. One area we will be looking at closely this year is early career- that is, applicants with 0-2 years of work experience.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:15:47 AM)
We just started classes yesterday for the Fall 2005. Happy to have our new Class of 07 beginning and welcome back our Class of 06.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:15:53 AM)
We're very excited about the diverse number of companies that have looked to Wharton for talent. The number of companies recruiting on campus as well as posting jobs has risen substantially.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:16:18 AM)
Thomas, so you're planning to build on what's great about Wharton admissions, but could you mention a couple of the changes?

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:16:46 AM)
Financial aid is in the process of trying to find a better way of awarding aid.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:17:04 AM)
Does that mean you will be giving early-career applicants a more serious look?

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:17:26 AM)
It's a trong possibility, Linda.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:17:35 AM)
Tammy are you actually thinking of changing the criteria used to award financial aid?

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:17:48 AM)
Yes.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:18:01 AM)
Linda, it means that we are encouraging them to apply, and giving them support in our office. We will be training our adcom to look for specific traits and exceptional qualities that these candidates possess.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:18:05 AM)
Sara, are you seeing additional industries and companies recruiting on campus? More interview slots per company?

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:18:19 AM)
Thomas, that is a change.

Lejun (Sep 8, 2005 10:18:35 AM)
Thomas: I am a re-app. I revised my short and long-term goal based on what I observed from business development of my current employer in the past year and what I found from Wharton alumni I worked with. How does adcom view this change in such a short period?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:19:08 AM)
Not entirely. We have accepted sub-matriculants since 1935, so I view this as a broadening and deepening of a very successful (and innovative) program.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:19:25 AM)
Peggy, could you comment on the proposal to move Wharton from a non-grade disclosure policy? What disclosure policy is proposed to replace the current one?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:19:41 AM)
We are seeing some new industries, but because of our already diverse base, it's hard to get too many more. We are seeing more companies within industries coming. They are not necessarily hiring more people, just more companies.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:19:57 AM)
There really is no proposal to remove grade non-disclosure per se. The school does not have a grade non-disclosure policy. Rather, our students have voted to not disclose their grades to employers. Any academic institution is not able by law to disclose its students' grades. Rather, the school is looking at ways in which we can deepen our students' commitment to learning and this is a goal we share with our students.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:20:00 AM)
Lejun- we know that you have a short time period in which to update your progress, so focus on the "why" of what you did. Tell us the motivation behind your decision...additionally, there is no problem with changing your goals, per se. Just make sure you explain everything clearly.

AJ (Sep 8, 2005 10:21:59 AM)
Mae: I will be a reapplicant; will there be any negative consequences to apply in round 2 rather than round 1?

priya (Sep 8, 2005 10:22:09 AM)
My question to Thomas - can you please elaborate on the applicants with less work-experience? Do you mean to say that you want some percentage of the class with early career stage applicants?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:23:09 AM)
AJ, none whatsoever. Apply when you are ready. We understand that for some reapplicants, it may have only been a few months since they received their decision, and they may want the extra time to update their application. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ROUNDS 1 AND 2. Sorry to shout, just wanted to make sure that came through loud and clear...

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:23:18 AM)
Peggy, thank you. In what way are you trying to deepen the students' commitment to learning?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:23:48 AM)
We are trying to provide added incentives for academic achievement by increasing honors.

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 10:24:09 AM)
Thomas: Many people say that Wharton is a school for more experienced applicants; is this true? Do you look unfavorably at candidates with less than 5 years of experience?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:24:22 AM)
Priya, I mean that I want to encourage them to apply. We have no set percentage for any group. It's just that there is a perception in the marketplace that business schools are not open to candidates direct from undergrad, or with only 2 years of work experience. Wharton is making a commitment to reach out to this demographic and say that we want to hear from them.

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 10:24:28 AM)
What areas of Wharton need improvement?

James (Sep 8, 2005 10:25:05 AM)
I am a reapplicant from last year. I feel that my whole reapplication is great except for the my GMAT score of 670 (74%Q, 86%V). I have taken the GMAT three  times but can't seem to do better. I have 3.3 GPA in computer engineering from an Ivy League school. I got As in all my quant classes. Will not having an 80/80 split on the GMAT or a score above 700 hurt me?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:25:10 AM)
Sandman, experience is relative. Many undergrads have tremendous leadership and internship experiences. The key issue is this: why is now the right time for a Wharton MBA? That is a critical question for any applicant to answer. We are always looking at ways to increase and broaden our course offerings. For example, when new areas of interest arise, you will often see new courses appear. This year we see a new course on Management and strategy in China, for example.

>>Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:25:29 AM)
Tammy, do you have any suggestions as to how applicants can prepare now financially for their MBA program?

Lejun (Sep 8, 2005 10:25:56 AM)
Thomas, you had successful expatriate working experience before you came to Wharton as a student. I have experience and a strong bent in international business. Do you feel Wharton had enhanced your experience from an academic standpoint? And, how do you contribute to the Wharton community, including experience sharing in the classes, group projects, and student organizations?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:26:10 AM)
James: We look at each application holistically. The key is to present your candidacy in the best way possible.

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:27:15 AM)
Linda, we encourage students to make sure they have less debt and to save money so they can borrow less.

>>Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:27:22 AM)
Sara, how are international students managing in the job market?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:27:47 AM)
International students are faring as well as US students - i.e. they are doing fine. As far as the number of offers received there is no difference between the two populations.

>>wharton06 (Sep 8, 2005 10:28:02 AM)
Peggy, how is the Wharton-INSEAD alliance working out? Can students from INSEAD use Wharton's placement services and vice-versa?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:28:11 AM)
Lejun, I use what I learned at Wharton every day. In fact, my only regret is that I did not have an extra two years to take all the courses I wanted to! Your coursework is critical to your experience, and the team-based learning environment ensures that you learn. As for contribution, that is a very personal decision, and part of what makes Wharton so wonderful. Of course, you contribute in class and in your learning teams, but you also find ways to contribute through clubs, boards, etc.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:28:49 AM)
Sara, are there any particularly active sectors now?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:28:56 AM)
Sandman, bulleted is fine. Again, think about your message and how you want to communicate to us.

JD (Sep 8, 2005 10:29:26 AM)
Thomas: One of the required essays for re-applicants is a multi-part question. One portion focuses on the steps that you have taken to improve your candidacy. Is that the portion of the question that a re-applicant should focus vs. the portions that discuss career goals and career history?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:29:26 AM)
We ask a multi-part question because all parts are equally important.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:29:35 AM)
Students seem to continue to be interested in Private Equity, although it is a VERY tough market to enter. Also Hedge Funds are increasingly interesting.

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 10:29:58 AM)
Thomas: How does Wharton view candidates who are interested in getting into the social sector?

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:30:35 AM)
What kind of background should one have for Private Equity?

Lejun (Sep 8, 2005 10:30:46 AM)
Peggy, is the new course on China dealing with running an oversea office or starting a new business there? I'm very interested in it.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:31:14 AM)
Sandman: As with all candidates, we like to see a clear path, and a realistic assessment of how the applicant will get there. We are looking forward to deploying our first Bendheim Fellowships, a $2.5 m fund that provides loan forgiveness for up to 5 years for Wharton graduates who enter public service, government, or non-profit.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:31:49 AM)
The PE firms like people with a finance background, or a deep industry experience. There are a number of resources here at Wharton such as the PE boot camp to get people up to speed, but they do like people to hit the ground running.

Cash Smith (Sep 8, 2005 10:32:00 AM)
Thomas: How many applications were received last year and do you expect increase/decrease?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:32:02 AM)
Lejun, here's a snippet of the course description: This course will acquaint students with the governance and management of some of the largest and best known Chinese firms, and with the capabilities and liabilities of Chinese firms and hence their strategic options. It will provide students tools needed to assess the investment potential of Chinese firms and the opportunity to do original research on issues of governance and management of Chinese firms.

mbagirl (Sep 8, 2005 10:32:39 AM)
Tammy:  Does applying round 1 vs. round 2 affect eligibility for fellowships and scholarships at Wharton?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:32:53 AM)
We were at roughly 5,700 applications last year. It's hard to say at this point, but I am optimistic that the number will increase. There is an optimism in the marketplace, and early indications (receptions, tours, etc) are positive.

nocilis (Sep 8, 2005 10:33:30 AM)
Thomas: The average work experience for a Wharton student is 6.4 last year. This is about one 1 yr greater than other top schools. Does Wharton give more importance to work experience and inherently prefer folks with more experience?

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:34:00 AM)
Not really. However, our funds are very limited because we have very needy students.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:34:49 AM)
Nocilis, no (and scroll up to read the thread). We look at the choices people have made, and why they have made them. Again, we are actively looking to early career (0-2 years work experience) candidates.

wharton06 (Sep 8, 2005 10:34:57 AM)
I am working as a consultant at a client site for last two and half years, and report to my customer manager on a day to day basis. It makes more sense for me to get both of my recommendations from client managers rather than my official employer. Would it be okay if I get both recommendations from my client's managers? or would the admissions committee want to see at least one recommendation from my 'employer'?

WhartonFan (Sep 8, 2005 10:35:08 AM)
Sara: Can you please give us some insight on the recruitment process at Wharton? Specifically, how do recruiters evaluate candidates without grade information? Does pre-MBA work experience play a big part in the decision?

Rachel (Sep 8, 2005 10:35:29 AM)
>>Thomas: Who do you find provides the best letters of recommendation?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:35:43 AM)
Wharton06- That's really your call. Who can give us the best picture of your performance and personality? It depends on who knows you the best...

Cash Smith (Sep 8, 2005 10:35:47 AM)
Peggy: Can you explain if students choose a major and what flexibility exists to select courses from outside your major's curriculum?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:36:31 AM)
Companies evaluate candidates on what they can contribute to the position. They are looking for experience, characteristics (fit), enthusiasm etc. There are a number of ways to show how one excels - not simply grades. It depends on the company and the position whether the experience plays a role or not. Everything is put into the mix, and it is up to the candidate to articulate to the employer why the fit is a good one.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:36:33 AM)
Rachel, we are unimpressed by titles. By that I mean, don't get the CEO if they don't know you. It's much more helpful to have your direct manager, even if s/he is an Associate or VP. We are looking for insight into your strengths and weaknesses.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:36:56 AM)
Cash - there is a lot of flexibility. A major usually requires about 4 courses outside of the core curriculum, and there are at least 9 electives a student may take and, that 9 is earning the minimum number of credits to graduate and waiving no core courses.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:37:27 AM)
Thomas, if you are looking at an application and the numbers and basic profile is in the ballpark for a Wharton student, what distinguishes an application that is accepted from one that is rejected?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:38:48 AM)
We look for three major things: intellectual curiosity; passion; and a desire to make an impact. We want students who will bring energy, enthusiasm, and a hunger for learning into Wharton and carry that into the workplace afterwards. In addition, candidates who themselves stand out from the pack. Many people will "over polish" their applications and lose their personality and voice in the process. Don't tell us what you think we want to hear- tell us what you want us to know about you...

PaulBodineACCEPTED (Sep 8, 2005 10:38:57 AM)
Peggy: There is a perception among many applicants, I think, that Wharton now occupies a "middle ground" between traditionally quant schools like MIT and Chicago and case-study / general management programs like HBS. Is this also how Wharton views its unique niche?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:40:30 AM)
Well, I can see how that perception gets formed. We purposefully use a mix of methods - lecture, cases, quant, readings, guests - to educate. We are very proud of this. It's hard to imagine one educational tool fitting all possible subjects! We also like to stress that it's possible to excel at traditionally "quant" subjects like finance and accounting, as well as perceived "general management" subjects such as strategy, marketing, entrepreneurship here.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:41:09 AM)
>>Tammy, does Wharton have financial aid programs that do not require a co-signer for international applicants?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:41:47 AM)
Paul, as an alumus, I can tell you that Wharton's method really gives you great exposure to all the facets of a problem. You learn the theory, then apply it across a broad range of situations, so that when you are faced with challenges in "the real world," you are well prepared...

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:43:08 AM)
Wharton has a loan through Citibank that is guaranteed 100% for our international students.

Lejun (Sep 8, 2005 10:43:10 AM)
Peggy: Wharton has different majors. Do you have any quota on each? Let's say finance is hot, so will it be more competitive if I chose this major when I apply?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:43:33 AM)
There is no quota on majors. I don't think a stated area of interest and the relative size affects your application, although I will leave that more to Thomas.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:45:02 AM)
Thomas, thanks for the thorough answer to my question.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:45:04 AM)
We consider all aspects of your application, including stated area of interest, but it should tie in with where you have been and where you see yourself going.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:45:36 AM)
My pleasure Linda. It's something we get asked a lot. There is no magic number - we really do look at the whole package.

MBA2008 (Sep 8, 2005 10:45:45 AM)
Thomas: How does Wharton view military service? Does that count as work experience?

harbor (Sep 8, 2005 10:45:53 AM)
Peggy: I'm interested in doing the exchange program in Spain or France. How do students get admitted into these exchange programs? Any way I can get in touch with those who have done this in Spain or France?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:46:34 AM)
Certainly. We have a very active veterans club, and they advise us on how to read a military applicant's work history. We also speak with the various service branches (in the US and abroad), to put duties in context.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:47:05 AM)
harbor - once in the program, we have an application process to go on exchange. The process is just to ensure that a student is looking to study abroad, not just go on vacation :-) As long as we have spaces, most of our students qualify to go.

Cash Smith (Sep 8, 2005 10:47:11 AM)
Thomas: Should the optional essay only be used to describe "extenuating circumstances" or can applicants also discuss an additional 'experience' (i.e. leadership, volunteer, etc.) that is worth sharing.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:48:26 AM)
Regardless of what you write about, it should add value to your application. Don't use it to just cram more facts in. Think carefully about how it enhances your candidacy overall. And please don't write a novel- I actually read every application that comes in  ;-)

AJ (Sep 8, 2005 10:48:37 AM)
Peggy: Similar to the China course, is there a course that is tailored around Japan?

nocilis (Sep 8, 2005 10:49:10 AM)
Thomas: If you want to maintain diversity in the class, how do you not have a quota (however informal and unwritten it may be) for different profiles, sex, etc.?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:49:49 AM)
AJ, I do not think there is a course like that for Japan. The reason it makes sense in China is that in moving from a communist to a more capitalist regime, there are many interesting issues that arise. That's not the case with Japan! However, we do have an exchange program with Keio (see prior question) that would be a great opportunity if someone wanted to delve into that area. We also have Independent study opportunities, so that if a professor were working on an issue particular to Japan or had an interest in that area, a student could always propose a project and try to work with that professor.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:50:28 AM)
Nocilis, you can strive for diversity as you craft the class without a quota system. It's imperative to do a lot of outreach to bring the best candidates into the pipeline, so that we have the best set to choose from. It's important for all Wharton students to know that they are here because they earned their spot, just like everyone else in the room.

Guest (Sep 8, 2005 10:50:47 AM)
Thomas: What percentage of students are accepted in each round?

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 10:50:57 AM)
Thomas: The question was raised about reapplicants applying in round 1 vs. round 2. What type of advantage do first time applicants have in applying to round 1 vs. round 2?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:51:23 AM)
NOTE: for those applicants asking about contacts with students, I strongly suggest that you visit our student2student chat board, where current students, alumni, and adcom all answer your questions throughout the application process. Get there through our website: http://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:51:41 AM)
Sandman: Their is no advantage. Submit when you are ready.

wharton06 (Sep 8, 2005 10:51:42 AM)
Thomas: As a consultant, I may not be allowed (or want to) to disclose the names of companies that I have worked for in my essays. Can I use terms like 'Company A' and 'Company B' while writing my essays or would it make it sound less authentic? Would it make it difficult for Wharton's admission office to do a background check? In that case ,what should be my approach?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:52:49 AM)
Wharton06: we've heard this before, so don't worry. Try to give us the "consultant bullet" (i.e. a Fortune 100 consumer products co.) so that we have some context, and make sure we know why (i.e. nondisclosure rules). But it's no problem.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:52:57 AM)
Peggy, I noticed that you are a professor of accounting and I know that Wharton's accounting program is top-notch. I also, know, however, that the big accounting firms aren't actually encouraging their associates to earn an MBA. Do you believe this will change?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:53:24 AM)
The accounting profession is going through some interesting changes. I do not think they will start requiring or encouraging their audit staff to get MBAs. It is possible, however, that with the greater demand in the profession that they may begin to hire MBAs directly.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:53:28 AM)
Sara, can you comment on the increased use of undergrads by consulting firms and investment banks. Do you feel this is a trend or a rumor?

Lee (Sep 8, 2005 10:54:17 AM)
Peggy: Could you provide any details on the exchange program in Asia?

Cash Smith (Sep 8, 2005 10:55:06 AM)
Thomas: How are applications viewed from re-applicants from 2003 that do not qualify for defined reapplicant process? Is the old application reviewed?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:55:36 AM)
Currently in Asia we have exchanges with INSEAD Singapore, Keio, and Sasin in Thailand. We are currently investigating an exchange opportunity in China, but do not have one at this point. The exchange simply has the Wharton student studying at the exchange school for one term. Credits apply to the MBA degree.

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 10:56:02 AM)
There is a general consensus that among the top b-schools, one school is not necessarily better than another, but may provide a better fit for certain applicants. What type of applicants do you believe Wharton is a good fit for?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:56:04 AM)
Investment Banks have promoted their most talented analysts into associate roles. However part of the reason for that has been the increase in business, and their need for associates. It does not happen so often in the consulting world, because they like the maturity of the MBAs, and their analysts tend to suffer a little from burnout.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:56:11 AM)
CS: If your application is from 2003, chances are it has already been destroyed, so there is no overlap. If it is on hand, we will place it in the file with your new application, but the focus is on your most recent application. We may go back to check something, but that's all.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 10:56:50 AM)
Sara, they suffer a lot from burnout.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:58:00 AM)
Sandman: I'd agree that fit is very important. Wharton tends to attract students who enjoy a large community, team-based learning, and a dynamic environment where you are challenged to excel every day. We are an entrepreneurial culture- students who excel here are proactive people who like to shape their own destiny.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:58:28 AM)
Linda: people who have worked in consulting right out of undergrad are on the road a lot, and therefore the firms report that there is a lot of turnover in their analyst program. Of course, many of those analysts will come to Wharton and other business schools.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:58:47 AM)
Sandman, judging from those who really excel here, I'd say a hard worker, committed (to both learning and the community) individual does well here. You can define community in many different ways and I believe all definitions would make sense.

WhartonFan (Sep 8, 2005 10:59:31 AM)
Thomas: How does the adcom view extensive part-time graduate study in a non-business discipline?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 10:59:40 AM)
Sara brings up an interesting point - there's nothing wrong with learning what you DON'T like to do. A negative experience can be valuable if you learn from it.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 11:00:11 AM)
Agreed. And a very valuable lesson.

lategroomer (Sep 8, 2005 11:00:29 AM)
Sara: is experience in the IT industry valued in consulting or analyst positions?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:00:30 AM)
WhartonFan: we view it as part of who you are. It's up to you to incorporate it into your application. Tell us why you did it, and how it relates to why you now want an MBA from Wharton.

flystone (Sep 8, 2005 11:00:48 AM)
Thomas, do you give more focus on the applicants with working experience in famous big companies than those working in some smaller companies?

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 11:01:31 AM)
Peggy, do you recommend that applicants, especially non-traditional applicants, take courses other than calculus prior to Wharton's pre-term?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:02:08 AM)
Lategroomer: All experience is valued. The key is understanding what the consulting firm wants and then articulating that to them. IT experience might not be as much value for their HealthCare Practice, but for the Technology practices, of course it will be valued. There is a lot of variety of opportunity out there.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:02:13 AM)
flystone: not at all. We have many students who come from smaller companies, start-ups, non-profits, etc. that are not "big name" (including myself). Just spend some time in the work experience portion making sure we know what the company does, what you do, etc.

Test_taker (Sep 8, 2005 11:02:32 AM)
Thomas: For the recommendation letters, would it be OK to get a letter from a peer in a non-profit where I volunteer?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:03:36 AM)
TT: Sorry, but another "it depends." How does it fit into your overall application? What are you trying to get across to the Admissions Committee? Is that the best use of 50% of your recommendations? Only you can answer these questions.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:03:37 AM)
I think calculus is an excellent preparation. Really any math or statistics class that gets someone back into thinking analytically. Some haven't done so since high school! Other than that I advise students to relax. We really do get you prepared in our Pre-Term. Plus, core classes are at an introductory level.

Cindy TokumitsuACCEPTED (Sep 8, 2005 11:04:33 AM)
Are there any industries or sectors that you feel tend to be under-represented in the applicant pool that you'd like to see more people from?

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 11:04:52 AM)
Peggy: is it possible for an MBA student who wants to take more classes to extend his/her stay beyond two years?

lategroomer (Sep 8, 2005 11:05:05 AM)
Sara: I will be 33 by the time I can join an MBA program; do you think an MBA will help me for transition into general management or consulting position? Will I be helped by career resources or will I be on my own in prepping my career?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:05:34 AM)
Cindy: We are certainly working on applicants from the non-profit and government sector, as well as media. In the big picture, however, we are looking for the core skills I mentioned above, regardless of industry background...

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:05:44 AM)
Generally no. We really do think that the two year experience is sufficient. Sometimes we will allow a second year student to delay graduation until August to take advantage of our exchange program during the summer, but other than that, most students are ready to graduate after two years.

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:01 AM)
Thomas: How many applicants are you expecting to interview?

Tasha (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:17 AM)
Peggy: Does that mean calculus is not a pre-requisite?

sandman (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:25 AM)
>>Sara: What percentage of the 2005 graduating class started their own businesses?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:27 AM)
We generally look to interview between 45-50% of the applicant pool. You can interview on campus, with alumni, or at a hub location. All are weighted the same.

cns1 (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:36 AM)
Thomas: Hi. How important is it for an Indian engineering applicant to have a GMAT of 720+? I know you look at the whole application but if others have 720+ then would you be at a disadvantage if you don't? I am in Indian citizen but lived in US for 25 yrs. Would I be lumped into the Indian subgroup? Thanks.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:06:53 AM)
lategroomer: We do have a number of people with 8+ years of work experience. That includes our Wharton MBA for Execs. Many of them are not looking to start at an entry level position, and we help with developing strategies to engage.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:07:14 AM)
All students have to take and pass a math test, which has a calculus component. So, while we may not ask you to take a calculus class before arriving, it can't hurt since we'll expect you to know the basics.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:07:15 AM)
cns1: each applicant is considered on his/her own merits.

priya (Sep 8, 2005 11:07:36 AM)
I want to switch my focus from my current domain (Energy & utilities) to Finance & Investment, but I do not have any prior work-experience in Finance. Do you think this aspect would weaken my application in any way?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:08:25 AM)
sandman: I don't know off the top of my head, and we're running out of time. But the information is available in our Career Report which is available on our website at http://mbacareers.wharton.upenn.edu (click on Employers - and the Career Report is there.)

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:08:36 AM)
Priya, not if you have a clear vision of how you will get there. Peggy touched on this, but Wharton is a large and fast-moving place. In order to get the most out of your experience, and to be successful in classes and recruiting, you should have a focus and a plan.

Guest (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:08 AM)
Peggy, this is close to what you addressed earlier but there seems to be a lot of interest in this topic: At Wharton, students declare majors; how does this affect the academic experience (e.g. how specific is your academic experience, versus general management, and versus other business schools where you don't declare a major)?

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:08 AM)
I think the major just ensures you have a depth of knowledge as well as breadth. We find that makes a better overall MBA graduate. It never seems to hinder anyone's ability to take what they are interested in. In fact, many students try to double major!

PaulBodineACCEPTED (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:09 AM)
Thomas: Has the number of Wharton admits who are 35 or older gone up or down in the past few years?

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:13 AM)
Priya: I don't know about application, but it wouldn't necessarily impact your job search. After all, most of our students are career switchers.

lategroomer (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:37 AM)
Thomas: I have my transcript from India, which was prepared in 1994; can I submit a copy of that with the application, upload the self-reported transcript and order the transcript from school later once admitted?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:41 AM)
Paul, it has remained relatively constant.

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:56 AM)
lategroomer: yes.

wharton06 (Sep 8, 2005 11:09:57 AM)
Thomas: How does the admission committee view GPAs from non-US school? Is there any sort of normalization of grades before comparing grades from a school more lax about awarding high grades and students from schools with a stricter policy? How important/relevant are GPAs for someone who graduated 6 years ago? Would GMAT scores be more relevant in judging academic abilities?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:10:53 AM)
Wharton06, we have a good grasp of the variations between programs, and will view your GPA accordingly. Again, no one part is more or less important. We will consider your GPA, GMAT, and all the other information you provide.

Lejun (Sep 8, 2005 11:11:20 AM)
I want to start my own business after completing my MBA. I know Wharton has a large alum body in PE, VC. How does Wharton help students in this regard?

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:12:32 AM)
Lejun, as an alumnus formerly in Private Equity in Silicon Valley, I can tell you I did countless coffees with students and fellow alumni looking to break into, or move within, the PE community. There is a strong network to support your search.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 11:12:50 AM)
Thank you again all for participating today. Special thanks to Thomas, Sara, Peggy, and Tammy for joining us today.

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:12:56 AM)
Lejun, there are a number of resources available here in the community. Not the least is the vast number of alumni, as well as current students. There is also the Sol Snider Entrepreneurial Center. The Business Plan Competition. The list goes on and on.

PeggyBishopLaneWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:12:59 AM)
Thank you!

SaraSimonsWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:13:05 AM)
Thank you!

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 11:13:06 AM)
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!

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:13:14 AM)
Linda- thank you. It was a pleasure to participate. See you all soon!

TammyCarterWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:13:21 AM)
Thank you!

ThomasCaleelWharton (Sep 8, 2005 11:14:25 AM)
Please remember to check our website for our reception dates and locations.

Linda Abraham (Sep 8, 2005 11:15:33 AM)
Good luck with your applications!

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