Wharton MBA Director of Admissions Blair Mannix debunks 10 of the most common misconceptions about the application and the full-time MBA Program.

If you’re interested in Wharton’s full-time MBA Program, you’ve likely encountered some inaccurate information during your research.

To separate fact from fiction, Wharton MBA Director of Admissions Blair Mannix debunks 10 of the most common misconceptions we hear about the application and the full-time MBA Program.

1. I don’t have a background in finance or consulting, so I won’t be considered.

The biggest misnomer in the MBA admissions landscape is that you have to come from a finance or consulting background. Wharton accepts students from an array of backgrounds, including non-profit, government, military, energy, and technology industries. The employers who come to campus are increasingly diverse. We admit students who will make the most of our community. Because of the diversity and breadth of the Wharton culture, community, and career resources, our programs are not exclusive to finance and consulting.

2. If I apply during Round 1, I’ll have a better chance of being accepted.

Wharton has three rounds. The number of applicants and the admission rate per round is almost identical during rounds one and two. Therefore, your chance of being admitted is nearly the same. If you feel your application is ready for the Round 1 deadline, go ahead and submit. If not, submit it during Round 2. Round 3 is different in that, depending on the talent yield during the year, the class can have fewer admissions.

3. Admissions can’t possibly read all 5,000+ applications and essays.

We read every application. To do so, we employ 40 part-time application readers who are Wharton MBA alumni or who have professional backgrounds in admissions to ensure that every application file receives a thorough and fair review.

4. My undergraduate academic record isn’t strong enough, so I shouldn’t apply.

We want business school to be a place where you stretch yourself and take risks. To do that, we admit people who have made mistakes, taken risks, and failed. We understand that you are more than the sum of your academic record. So, please apply.

5. I’m an undergraduate and I don’t have enough work experience yet to apply.

Admitted students have an average of five years of work experience, and so their experience levels vary. We admit students who have only worked for two years, and students who have worked for 12 to 16 years. It’s not about your years of experience. It’s more about where you are in your career.

If you’re concerned you don’t have enough work experience to apply, Advance Access is our deferred enrollment program for current undergraduates. Undergraduate seniors or graduate students in their final year of study can apply to the Wharton MBA, work for two to four years, and then join the MBA Class with a guaranteed spot.

6. Once accepted, Wharton students are too competitive and I won’t fit in.

This is not true. Students tell us all the time, “This place was totally different than what I thought it was going to be. I thought Wharton was competitive and cutthroat, but it’s actually really not. Everybody’s really nice.” There is a false perception that Wharton has a competitive culture.

7. If I visit campus, it will improve my chances of being accepted.

If you visit campus, it will not improve your chances of being accepted. Not all students have the money to visit campus — let alone visit more than once. In order to ensure the fairness and accuracy of admissions decisions and decrease bias, we do not factor this into admissions decisions.

8. If I go to business school, I’ll be pigeonholed into a career in finance.

Look no further than the 2019 MBA Career Report to dispel this common myth. While 35.8 percent of the MBA class went to work in the financial services industry and 25.1 percent for consulting, the remaining students accepted full-time offers in a wide range of careers such as technology (14.9 percent), health care (4.3 percent), and consumer products (3.4 percent).

9. If I go to Wharton, I’ll be committing to living on the East Coast after graduation.

Refer again to the 2019 MBA Career Report. Yes, 39.3 percent of graduates chose to accept jobs in the Northeast region, but the next most popular work location was the West Coast, for 26.1 percent of 2019 graduates. Overall, students are open to following their careers wherever the opportunity exists.

10. Wharton focuses on finance and consulting, and doesn’t offer social impact, NGO, or nonprofit program options.

There are many resources for students interested in social impact and nonprofit work.

The Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) is our cross-disciplinary center for research, training, and outreach to strengthen business-based solutions to social and environmental challenges. WSII’s programming includes the WISE Fellowship and Wharton Impact Venture Associates (WIVA) among many other resources. The McNulty Leadership Program Lipman Family Prize Fellows and Nonprofit Board Fellows are both opportunities to get involved with the Philadelphia community and the social sector. Also, Wharton offers more than 30 classes with a social impact focus and student clubs, such as the Wharton Social Impact Club, that are dedicated to this career path.

The Wharton MBA program has a wide variety of academic options. We believe that supporting a student population with a diverse range of backgrounds and work experience enhances our community at large. Whatever you’re interested in and wherever you come from, we hope you’ll consider applying to the Wharton MBA Program.

Erin Lomboy, W’21

Posted: December 13, 2019

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