The following are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we receive from prospective students interested in the Wharton MBA Program. If you do not find an answer to your question below, please visit our discussion forum, where you will find current and archived discussions on a variety of topics. In addition, the MBA Admissions Blog will have the latest news from Admissions and Financial Aid. If none of these resources works for you, please contact us.
Interact With Us: On and Off Campus
What can I do when I visit campus?
You can attend MBA classes, have lunch with a current student, attend an information session hosted by a member of the Admissions Committee, and attend the MBA Pub (only available on Thursdays). These activities are not available May through September when classes are not in session. For more information, explore the Student Discussion Forum or go to the Visit Campus page.
Where should I stay when I visit?
Please review our list of hotels.
How can I contact Wharton alumni in my area?
Although our alumni have occasionally been overwhelmed by requests to meet one-on-one, they are eager to discuss the benefits of a Wharton education with prospective students at the scheduled receptions and forums in which we participate throughout the world. For a list of these events, please check the Admissions Events page. We invite candidates to visit campus, sit in on classes, and speak with current students. A campus visit remains one of the best ways to get to know the program and what we have to offer.
As an international prospective student, I need a visa to come to the U.S. for a campus visit. Will Wharton or the University of Pennsylvania sponsor me or provide a letter of support that I may use when I apply for a visa?
The university is unable to sponsor individual visits to the campus. The Office of International Programs, which handles visa and immigration issues at the university, may only support students who have been admitted to and intend to enroll at the school.
Admissions Process and Requirements
Do I need to hire an admissions consultant to get into Wharton?
Hiring a paid admissions consultant isn’t necessary to gain admission to the Wharton MBA program. Our goal is to have a transparent evaluation process, as we believe in providing each applicant with an equal opportunity for success. While we certainly encourage you to have a trusted family member or peer review the written portion of your application for clarity and accuracy, we do not believe that professional services are needed. If you have questions during the application process, we recommend seeking guidance through our website, student discussion boards, and visit opportunities.
When will the new catalog and application be available, and how can I request these materials?
The materials are typically available online in August for admission in the following year. We welcome you to use the website to access our application and view, print-and/or download informational brochures.
When should I apply, and when is the application deadline?
Wharton offers three rounds of admissions. To determine which is the best round for you, please visit the Application Deadlines page. We encourage all applicants to apply in the year preceding their start at Wharton. Our general policy is not to grant deferrals. All requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
What are the minimum requirements to apply to Wharton?
The minimum requirements to apply to the MBA program include:
- Completion of an undergraduate program in an accredited U.S. college or its equivalent in another country.
- Results of the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
- Submission of the Wharton application.
- Results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless you have earned an undergraduate or Master's degree in an English-speaking country or from an institution in which English is the language of instruction. To waive the TOEFL, you must include a letter requesting the waiver in your application AND documentation that your education was in English.
For more information on the application process, go to the Admissions Process page.
I already have an MBA. Can I apply to Wharton?
Yes. We do not exclude candidates who have an MBA or any other graduate degree. You should, however, fully explain your reasons for pursuing a second MBA in your application.
I earned an undergraduate degree that only took three years. Am I eligible to apply to Wharton?
Several universities around the world offer three year undergraduate programs. If you have received a Bachelor's degree upon completion of such a program, you are eligible to apply to the Wharton MBA program.
How many applications do you receive for a given class?
We typically receive 6,000 to 7,000 applications in a given year. Approximately 75% to 80% of all applicants are qualified for admission. Of these, we generally admit about 1,000 candidates for a class of about 840 students.
Do I need an interview, and if so, how can I arrange one?
We interview by invitation only. After we review the completed application, we select candidates for interviews. No candidate is admitted without an interview.
Can I get my decision over the Web or by e-mail, telephone, or fax?
All applicants receive their decision letter over the Web via their online account. We do not release decisions over the telephone or via e-mail or fax. If admitted, you will receive additional information, along with a hard copy of your admissions letter, via regular mail.
How long does it typically take for an applicant to receive a decision after he/she has submitted his/her application?
The three round deadlines for Fall 2014 are:
|Application Deadline||Decision Release Date|
|Round 1||October 1, 2013||December 17, 2013|
|Round 2||January 7, 2014||March 25, 2014|
|Round 3||March 27, 2014||May 6, 2014|
|Application Deadline||Decision Release Date|
|Round 1||October 1, 2013||December 17, 2013|
|Round 2||January 7, 2014||March 25, 2014|
What should I know about the GMAT?
The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is offered year round as a computer adaptive test. You should register for the test at least one month before you plan to take it. You need to complete the GMAT test (or the GRE) before we can process your application. GMAT scores are valid for five years after the test date. You may self-report your GMAT score; if admitted, you will need to submit an official GMAT score report to our office before you can matriculate. If we are unable to locate your official score sent by ETS, we will confirm your score with ETS by telephone. Our median GMAT score for recent entering classes is approximately 720, but the range of scores of admitted students is very broad. A high score does not guarantee anyone's acceptance, nor does a low score preclude it. There is no minimum score required. For more information, go to Admissions Process.
What is the average TOEFL? Do you keep scores submitted in prior years?
For international students entering Wharton in Fall 2012, the average TOEFL/iTOEFL score was 633/110. We keep TOEFL scores submitted within the previous two years or as long as they are valid (two years from the test date). If we cannot locate your official report, we will verify it with ETS. For more information, go to Admissions Process.
Can I waive the TOEFL?
International students may waive the TOEFL exam if they have earned an undergraduate or Master's degree in an English-speaking country or from an institution in which English is the language of instruction. Other international students, with extensive work experience in an English-speaking environment, can include a waiver request with the application. The Admissions Committee will review this request before granting a waiver.
Can I submit the English for International Opportunity (IELTS) exam results instead of the TOEFL?
No. We want to evaluate all candidates against the same measure so applicants must submit the TOEFL. The TOEFL is one tool we use to assess English proficiency. We also pay careful attention to a student's GMAT (verbal percentile and AWA score), written and spoken English, recommender observations, and exposure to language, in addition to the GRE. Applicants who earned a baccalaureate or advanced degree at an institution in which the medium of instruction was English, or who have had considerable exposure to the language, may waive the test. A waiver request may be submitted as part of your application.
Are application fee waivers available?
Application fee waivers are only granted to students for whom the application fee would create an extreme financial hardship. Applicants who wish to request a fee waiver should e-mail email@example.com with information detailing their financial need. We will then follow up for supporting documentation. Requests must be submitted no later than 15 days prior to application submission, and no requests will be granted after the application deadline for the round in which you applied.
How much work experience do most accepted students have? Is there a particular type of work experience Wharton seeks?
The average student has worked for five or six years between graduating from college and entering the MBA program. The program does accept early career candidates with limited or no experience who exhibit strong managerial and professional potential. The Admissions Committee looks for individuals who exhibit professional maturity. In other words, we evaluate work experience not in terms of years, but the depth and breadth of an individual's position, his or her contributions to the work environment, and level of responsibility and progression.
Wharton looks for diversity in the professional backgrounds of its admitted students just as it does in all other parts of our applicants' profiles. No one industry is favored over another, and experience in a Fortune 500 company does not have higher value than experience in a small business or public institution.
Does graduate education count as work experience?
While we recognize the value of graduate academic work, we do not count academic work as professional work experience.
Does time spent in the military count as work experience?
Absolutely. The service provides many rich and varied opportunities for professional growth and development. Military candidates are evaluated based on the same criteria as other candidates, including the nature and scope of the work, the skill sets required, work progression, and general leadership and management skills developed.
Does time spent in the Peace Corps, on a Latter Day Saints’ mission, or other voluntary assignment or internship count as work experience?
Certainly. As with all work experiences, we are interested in the skills acquired on the job and level of progression (measured by scope of responsibilities, job title, salary).
I am still an undergraduate student. How can I increase my chances for admission?
We welcome applicants directly from undergraduate programs who are motivated and exhibit strong leadership and managerial potential. When preparing for the Wharton MBA program, consider that the stronger your quantitative background, the better prepared you will be to take finance, statistics, accounting, economics, and other quantitative courses offered in our curriculum. For example, calculus and/or statistics are good foundation courses. We do accept students without this type of background, but we like to see evidence of a capacity to handle these types of topics (e.g., strong quantitative GMAT scores, strong academic performance in quantitative subjects). We are also interested in your history of involvement in extra-curricular activities, community service, and hobbies. We find that candidates with less years of work experience are better positioned to contribute and engage more in the Wharton community. We advise undergraduates to apply in the Fall prior to the academic year in which they want to enroll in the program. Admission to the program is contingent upon successful completion of the undergraduate degree. We do not offer deferred admissions for those who apply while still in an undergraduate program.
I have less than your average four years of work experience. Is this a disadvantage in the admissions process?
Each year, we welcome several early career candidates (individuals with 0 to 3 years of professional work experience) into our program. About one-fourth of the incoming class for Fall 2013 is early career candidates. We are more interested in the skills you have acquired to date, including leadership and management opportunities, than the number of years you have been in the work force. We consider both the skills you have demonstrated to date and your future potential.
Is an applicant at a disadvantage without previous course work in business?
No. Many students at Wharton have not had business courses prior to entering the program. Generally, 40% of our class consists of people with liberal arts backgrounds. Pre-term offers incoming students an opportunity to "brush up" on their quantitative skills before classes begin. Candidates are also encouraged to complete introductory courses in calculus and statistics prior to entrance, since much of the course work requires quantitative skills. Please go to Non-traditional Backgrounds for more information.
I heard that Wharton is offering some of its core courses online through Coursera. Where can I find out more information about this?
Yes, as part of a greater Penn initiative, Wharton has recently launched nine non-credit, massive open online courses (MOOCs) available at no cost through Coursera. More information about these offerings is available on Penn’s Open Learning Initiative site, our Coursera FAQS page, and the University’s Coursera homepage. Registration for these courses is available directly through Coursera.org.
How will changes to the curriculum affect current applicants?
Wharton fully implemented the new curriculum in 2012 and has received much positive student feedback regarding the new course structure and resources. The new curriculum offers increased flexibility based on your background and experience with strengthened emphasis in microeconomics, statistics, ethics and legal responsibility, leadership and communications. New MBA graduates will have access to tuition-free executive education every seven years throughout their careers. See curriculum.
What is the application procedure for Wharton's dual-degree programs?
Applications for dual-degree programs must be filed separately with Wharton and the co-sponsoring school. The co-sponsoring school often has earlier deadlines and different procedures than Wharton. Applicants to dual-degree programs should make sure to follow the individual school's instructions carefully. For a full list of dual-degree programs, visit Interdisciplinary Programs.
Prospective students who are interested in these dual-degree programs should request Wharton School information and should contact the co-sponsoring school directly for their admissions information. Note: The Lauder Institute's MBA/MA program is an integrated curriculum, so please submit applications to Wharton and Lauder simultaneously.
Are transfer credits accepted?
Wharton does not accept transfer credits, but does encourage students to waive required core courses, either by furnishing the required academic or professional credentials or passing Wharton's waiver examinations. Waiving courses gives you the opportunity to take more electives.
Can I reapply to the MBA Program?
You can reapply to the MBA program, but not during the same academic year. For more information, visit Reapplicants.
What is the median compensation package for graduating MBA students?
The median total compensation for graduates of the class of 2012 included:
Annual Base Salary: $120,000
Sign-On Bonus: $20,000
Guaranteed Year-End Bonus: $25,000
Other compensation included tuition reimbursement, relocation expenses, mortgage assistance, automobiles, stock options, etc. For more detailed information, please see the MBA Career Management’s Annual Career Statistics.
Does Wharton offer a one-year, a part-time, an evening, or a distance-learning MBA?
Wharton offers the Wharton MBA for Executives program, a two-year program that offers the same MBA degree in an executive format, delivered in Philadelphia and San Francisco. Other (non-MBA) programs that may interest you are executive programs offered by Wharton Executive Education.
I’m fluent in another language. How can that help me with my MBA?
Consider the joint MBA/MA - Lauder program if you are interested in acquiring an expertise in a specific region and speak one of these nine languages relatively well: Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. In addition, Wharton offers many opportunities to participate in career treks or global consulting in which you can immerse yourself in the culture and language. See Global Learning.
Online Application Questions
How does the system work?
You may already have an account on the Wharton Web Application System if you have completed your profile through the “Let’s Get Acquainted” Form, or if you started or completed your MBA application through the Wharton Web Application System.
If you encounter problems logging on, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I created an account and began and/or submitted my application. But, when I log into my account, information I entered is missing and/or my application does not appear to have been submitted. What happened to my information?
The problem you encountered typically happens when two accounts are inadvertently created. To determine if you have more than one account on our system, please follow the instructions below:
Return to the login page. Click on the "Search" button in the user login box at the top right-hand corner of the page. A PIN lookup box will appear. Complete the required fields for first name, last name, birth date, and e-mail address. Then click "Search."
An e-mail(s) will be sent to you with your login and password information for each of your accounts. Please check both to see which one is active and make a note of it. If you continue to encounter problems, please contact email@example.com.
When should I check the system after submitting the application?
You should allow three weeks for us to process your online account and update your online status to reflect receipt of your online application and any supporting materials.
Will I receive an e-mail when decisions are made? How do we know when to check the system?
You will receive an e-mail each time your status changes, including when we release a decision. Once you receive an e-mail, you need to check your status online (the e-mail only indicates there is a change, but it does not indicate what the change is).
How do I calculate my GPA if my university or college does not provide one?
Students reporting grades from institutions that do not evaluate academic performance on a 4.0 GPA scale should NOT convert their scores to a GPA. Report your scores or grades as your university lists them in your official transcripts, including an explanation of the grading scheme if needed. Keep in mind that we have students from more than 70 countries in our program and have broad expertise in grading methods around the world.