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 student2student discussion forum, where you will find current and archived discussions on a variety of topics. Please visit our MBA Admissions Blog! for the latest news from Admissions and Financial Aid. If none of these resources works for you, please contact us.
- If you have questions about the online application, please visit our Online Application FAQ »
- If you have questions about financial aid, please visit our Financing Your MBA FAQ »
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 student2student discussion board or go to the Visit Wharton 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. In addition to the forums and receptions, 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, is restricted to support for students who have been admitted and intend to enroll at the school.
Admissions Process and Requirements
When will the new catalog and application be available, and how can I request these materials?
The materials are typically available in August for admission in the following year. In an effort to support Penn President Amy Gutmann's commitment to environmental sustainability, the Wharton MBA program will no longer be printing and mailing paper brochures. By doing so, we will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and conserve valuable environmental resources. We welcome you to use the website to view, print and/or download some forms and informational brochures. For more information on Penn's commitment to sustainability, please visit the Penn Green Campus website. To download our current brochure, please visit our Request Information page.
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 Quick Facts and Dates page. We encourage all applicants to apply in the year preceding their start at Wharton. It is our general policy 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 be eligible to apply for admission to the MBA program are as follows:
- 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 you can apply. 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 3 years. Am I eligible to apply to Wharton?
There are a number of universities around the world that 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 receive 5,000-7,000 applications in a given year. Of these, we generally admit about 1,000 candidates for a class of 800 students. It is fair to state that approximately 75-80% of all applicants are qualified for admission.
Do I need an interview, and how can I arrange an interview?
We interview by invitation only. After we review the completed application, Wharton selects candidates for interviews. No candidate is admitted without an interview.
Can I get my decision over the Web, email, telephone, or via 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 an admissions decision after he/she has submitted his/her application?
The three round deadlines for Fall 2012 entry are:
|Application Deadline||Decision Release Date|
|Round 1||October 3, 2011||December 20, 2011|
|Round 2||January 4, 2012||March 23, 2012|
|Round 3||March 5, 2012||May 8, 2012|
|Application Deadline||Decision Release Date|
|Round 1||October 3, 2011||December 20, 2011|
|Round 2||January 4, 2012||March 23, 2012|
What should I know about the GMAT?
The Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) is offered year round as a computer adaptive test. You should plan to register for the test at least one month before you plan to take it. You need to have completed 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 you are 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 2011, 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. Because we want to evaluate all candidates against the same measure, applicants need to 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 where 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 wishing to request a fee waiver should email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 college and 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 towards 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. Any advice about what I can do to increase my chances for admission?
We welcome applicants directly from undergraduate programs who are motivated and exhibit strong leadership and managerial potential. In preparation for the Wharton MBA program one thing to consider is 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 applying while still in an undergraduate program.
I have less than your average of four years of work experience. Will this place me at a disadvantage in the admissions process?
Each year we welcome a number of early career candidates (individuals with 0-3 years of professional work experience) into our program. The incoming class for Fall 2011 is 26% 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 not only the skills you have demonstrated to date but also 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 is made up 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 Nontraditional Students for more information.
How will changes to the curriculum affect current applicants?
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. Often the co-sponsoring school 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 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 Reapplication Procedures.
What is the median compensation package for graduating MBA students?
The median total compensation for graduates of the class of 2011 included:
Annual Base Salary
Guaranteed Year End Bonus
Other compensation included sign-on bonus, year-end bonus, 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?
Other than the Wharton MBA for Executives program, the Wharton MBA is a two-year, full-time program with most courses taught during the day (Monday-Thursday). Other (non-MBA) programs that may interest you include Wharton Executive Education and Wharton Programs for Working Professionals.
I’m fluent in another language. How can that help me with my MBA?
Consider the joint MBA/MA – Lauder program if you speak one of these nine languages relatively well and are interested in acquiring an expertise in a specific region: Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish. In addition, Wharton offers many opportunities to participate in career treks or global consulting where you can immerse yourself in the culture and language. See international opportunities »