How do you find the best fit when it comes to an executive MBA program? Wharton MBA Program for Executives student Jun Fan, WG’18, says there are many ways to learn more about programs, but the key is to give yourself plenty of time to look.

Jun Fan, WG’ 18, a partner/portfolio manager at FDO Partners in Cambridge, MA, looked at several EMBA programs before deciding that Wharton was the right program for him. He told us how he made that decision:

Website

First, Jun visited EMBA programs’ websites, which provided helpful information like admissions requirements, program schedules, and curriculum descriptions. “They also provided class profiles, which give me an idea of their admissions criteria based on average age, types of work experience, GMAT scores, etc. I was able to rule out some programs with that information,” he said.

Campus Visit

Once he narrowed down his list of possible programs, he made a point to visit each campus. “Many programs look similar on paper, but they are very different in person. I also wanted to see what the commute was actually like, and learn more about each program before I applied. It’s a long and expensive commitment, I wanted to make sure I picked the best program for me,” he said.

Information Sessions

When Jun visited Wharton in Philadelphia, he attended an information session. “Those sessions covered a lot of useful information, and it was helpful to hear other applicants’ questions,” he said.

Several of the topics discussed were key differentiators for Wharton. Jun points to logistics as an example. “At Wharton, all logistical details are handled by the administration from hotel reservations and books to meals. You just show up for the weekend and focus on school and building relationships with other students. This was very different from some of the other programs I researched.”

“We also discussed the residency requirement. Wharton is unique in that all EMBA students are required to stay at the same hotel on the Friday night of class weekends. This was a big differentiator because it means you spend more time with classmates and it helps you build bonds that would not be possible if everyone was staying at different hotels or going back home,” recalled Jun.

Another aspect covered in the information session was the GMAT, which is an admissions requirement at Wharton. “Preparing for the test puts you back into learning mode after working for so long. It was helpful because it got me thinking about how to balance my work, family, and study time – and gave me a glimpse of what the next two years would be like,” he said.

In addition, he learned about Wharton’s wide selection of electives. He explained, “All of the second-year classes are electives, which enables students to concentrate in the topics of interest to them, benefiting their long-term career growth.”

Later in the admissions process, he attended an information reception in Boston, where he met Boston-area alumni. “That event gave me the opportunity to see first-hand how Wharton EMBA alumni and current students interact and welcome new applicants. Their friendliness and encouragement of applicants became a factor when I was deciding between programs,” he said.

Observing a Class

During his campus visit, Jun observed a Technology Strategies class and saw how Wharton EMBA classes are unique. “The professor was highly engaged with students and there was a lot of interaction among the students. It was interesting to see how students were learning from the professor as well as each other,” he said.

“As students shared their experiences and perspectives in class, I saw the diversity of their backgrounds.  I wanted to get my MBA because I was an expert in one narrow field, and I wanted to broaden my knowledge. I was excited to see how Wharton EMBA students would help me achieve that goal,” added Jun.

During the class break and lunch, Jun had a chance to talk with current students about what it’s like to be a student in the program. “That was helpful because I could ask about their experiences in the program and the impact the program is making on their careers,” he said.

Interview

The interview is a required part of the admissions process at Wharton’s EMBA program, however you don’t need to have submitted your application in advance. Jun took advantage of his time on campus to do the interview, which helped him better assess fit. He said, “I enjoyed that two-way conversation. I told them why I was looking for an EMBA program and about my goals. There was time to ask questions too.”

Making a Decision

When it came time to decide on a program, Jun said that Wharton stood out as the best fit for him. He based that decision on several factors:

  • World-renowned reputation
  • Engagement of faculty and students in classes
  • Diversity of students
  • Ease of commute from Boston to Philadelphia
  • Residency requirement
  • Elective class availability
  • GMAT requirement
  • Supportive alumni

Now that he is a second-year student, Jun said he “absolutely” made the right decision. “This is an amazing program and I’m learning things that I would never have learned just at work. And there are even more benefits than I expected, like multiple global learning opportunities and helpful career management resources.”

If you are thinking about applying to Wharton’s MBA program for Executives, consider attending one of our admissions events, which are listed on our Events page. If you don’t see a city near you, keep checking back because we are adding many more sessions.

Posted: July 31, 2017

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