Category Archives: Wharton

Wharton Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania recently released its MBA admissions deadlines and essays for the 2014-2015 application season. The trend that picked up speed last year has continued: After dropping its number of required essays from three to two last year, Wharton has announced that this year’s application contains only one required essay. We keep asking, “How much lower can they go?” but admissions officers keep finding a way to shed essays and put more emphasis on other parts of the application.

Without further ado, here are Wharton’s application deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Wharton Application Deadlines
Round 1: October 1, 2014
Round 2: January 5, 2015
Round 3: March 26, 2015

Wharton’s application deadlines are virtually unchanged since last year. Note that applying in Round 1 means that you will receive your decision by December 16, which will give you about three weeks before most top school’s Round 2 deadlines. If you get bad news from Wharton in Round 1, you should still have enough time to pull together at least a couple of Round 2 applications (but don’t wait until the last minute!).

While many schools maintain that it doesn’t matter when you apply, Wharton gives pretty explicit advice on its website: “We strongly encourage you to apply in Round 1 or 2. The first two rounds have no significant difference in the level of rigor; the third round is more competitive, as we will have already selected a good portion of the class.” The school does add that there is room “for the strongest applicants” in Round 3, but your mission is clear: Get your application in by January 5!

Wharton Admissions Essays

  • What do you hope to gain both personally and professionally from the Wharton MBA? (500 words)

    Yup, this is the only required essay in Wharton’s application this year. It has been reworded a bit, but this is really the same “Why an MBA? Why Wharton?” that the school has asked for years, so our advice mostly remains the same. Note the word “personally” in the question — Wharton isn’t only interested in what six-figure job you hope to land after earning your MBA, but also wants to know how you plan on growing as a person from the experience. You definitely still need to nail the professional part — you need to discuss clear, realistic career objectives here — but the admissions committee also wants to see maturity and introspection. How do you see yourself growing during your two years at Wharton? How do you hope the degree and the experience will impact your 10 years from now? This sort of depth will make the difference between a great response and a merely good one.
  • (Optional) Please use the space below to highlight any additional information that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about your candidacy. (400 words)

    We normally tell applicants to only use the optional essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need to. However, as schools like Wharton have been cutting down on essays, the role of the optional essay has evolved a bit. No need to monopolize the admissions committee’s time, but since Wharton’s application now gives you far less space in which you can describe your interests and inject some more personality into your application, this essay provides the perfect place to do that. Have a passion or something else that goes “beyond the resume” and will help Wharton admissions officers get to know you better? This essay gives you room to discuss it and make your application that much more memorable.

    Our original advice still holds, too. If you have a blemish that you need address, then this is the place to do it. You don’t want to leave a glaring weakness unaddressed. However, if you don’t have too much explaining to do, don’t be afraid to reveal something personal and memorable about yourself here!

Are you thinking about applying to Wharton? Take a look at our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton Imports New Dean from Australia

This week The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School named Geoffrey Garrett as the 13th dean in the school’s history, effective July 1. Garrett, who used to serve on the Wharton faculty, currently serves as the dean of the Australian School of Business at the University of South Wales.

Garrett has made a name for himself around the globe as a passionate supporter of online education. In a recent editorial published by Financial Times, Garrett argued that the rise of massively open online courses (also known as “MOOCs”) is inevitable, and that this irresistible force will force MBA programs to change for the better. Wharton is the perfect landing spot for Garrett, since the school already makes its first-year curriculum available to everyone for free through Coursera. It’s safe to assume that this trend will only accelerate under Garrett.

Before he was the dean of Australian Business School, Garrett was the dean of the University of Sydney Business School, and also served as the founder and CEO of the United States Center at the U. of Sydney. Before that he held various roles at Yale, UCLA, USC, Wharton, Oxford, and Stanford. Garrett earned his BA with honors from the Australian National University, and earned his MBA and PhD from Duke University.

Garrett will replace Thomas Robertson, ending a seven-year term in which he raised more than $600 million for the school. Under Robertson, Wharton also grew its faculty ranks and introduced a new MBA curriculum. Despite some recent noise about Wharton’s application volume, the school recently moved into a three-way tie with Harvard and Stanford for #1 in the 2015 U.S. News business school rankings. He came into a good situation to begin with, for sure, but Robertson seems to have left the school in an even stronger position compared to when he took charge in 2007.

If you want to improve your chances for getting into Wharton and other top business schools, get yourself a copy of our MBA admissions book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton MBA Admissions Director Steps Down

Earlier today Wharton announced that Director of Admissions Ankur Kumar will step down from her post effective this Friday, October 4. Kumar’s resignation comes after a week of the school being absolutely pummeled in the press in the wake of Wharton’s application volume dropping as most other top MBA programs announce year-over-year gains in applications.

Admissions officers come and go, but what makes this news so surprising is that it comes in the middle of the busiest time of year in MBA admissions. In fact, the news broke just a day after Wharton’s Round 1 admissions deadline passed (though Kumar reportedly told her team about her pending resignation last week). Presumably the school wanted to wait until this deadline passed before making the announcement, although we doubt that droves of applicants would have decided not to click “Submit,” after weeks and weeks of hard work on their Wharton applications, just because of the news.

More broadly, we’re fascinated by how quickly Wharton has gone from a member of the Holy Trinity of American business schools — it’s the school most frequently mentioned after Harvard Business School and Staford GSB — to a fusty, old MBA program that is completely out of step with the times. Yes, Wharton has seen a 12% decline in applications over the past four years, while other prominent schools have been crowing about year-over-year gains this past admissions season (the first year of gains in a few years, for many schools), but if there were a future market where one could buy and sell the fortunes of MBA programs, we’d be buying low right now. In fact, we really are willing to bet money that Wharton’s application volume will show a larger-than-average jump in 2013-2014 (partly because it’s coming off a lower base), and many outlets will publish “Wharton Is Back!” headlines about nine months from now.

Forgetting what might happen next year, why did Wharton’s application volume drop? Take a close look at the left-hand graph that accompanies this Wall Street Journal article… Wharton’s application volume was mostly tracking along with that of its peer schools until this past year, when Wharton dropped some more while other top schools reported modest increases. What changed? An obvious culprit is the team-based interview (aka “team discussion“), which Wharton piloted in the 2011-2012 admissions season and then officially rolled out in 2012-2013. That was a big change to an admissions process that hasn’t changed very much over the past several decades.

Many are brushing off the school’s mention of this as an attempt to cover up some sort of bigger bungling by the Wharton administration, but the team discussions were what we immediately thought of was soon as the news broke about Wharton’s application numbers. It’s not hard to see the team discussions scaring off more casual candidates to the tune of a 5-10% drop in applications. If that’s in fact what happened, then it’s also easy to believe Wharton’s argument that applicant quality is still excellent — if you’re only scaring away the less serious applicants, then your overall numbers will suffer, but you will still like the looks of the people who do apply.

Surely there’s some spin coming out of Philadelphia as Wharton calls in the PR crisis team and tries to get everyone talking about its drop in application volume, but we don’t see why this reason isn’t at least a large drive — and probably the largest driver — of Wharton’s drop in application numbers. And we envy the person who will step into Kumar’s role, because he or she will almost certainly be featured prominently in those “Wharton Is Back!” articles in 2014. (Tip to Wharton’s new Director of Admissions: Ditch the team-based discussions for an even bigger bump in application volume!)

Want more advice on getting into Wharton and other top MBA programs? Take a look at our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

A Look at 3 Top JD/MBA Programs

Even as applicant numbers at many law schools have dropped significantly over the past few years, JD/MBA programs at prominent universities still manage to attract a significant number of applicants. Whether it’s because of the flexibility the degree provides, or the ability to earn two degrees in compressed time, demand for these programs doesn’t seem to be in too much danger. Not any time soon, anyway.

Which JD/MBA program is right for you? As always, you owe it to yourself to do a great deal of research before applying to any such program — and before deciding that a joint degree really is right for you to begin with. Today we take a quick look at three of the most prominent JD/MBA programs in the United States. This isn’t our own ranking of the three very best business/law joint programs, but rather a snapshot of three programs that applicants ask about all the time. Let’s start with…

Columbia University
Columbia actually offers its JD/MBA programs in two flavors: a three-year program and a four-year option. The university introduced the three-year option back in 2010, and since then it has grown to dwarf the four year option, which is still available. In the three-year program, students spend their first year at Columbia Law School, then their second year at Columbia Business School, and then a mix of courses in their third year.

Columbia doesn’t offer the ease of a joint application; you need to apply to each program separately, and there’s a chance you will be admitted to one but not the other. (The two admissions offices may discuss your application.) 1L law students can apply to enter the three-year JD/MBA program, but 2L students may only apply to the four-year program, since they will have missed the planned second year at Columbia Business School.

Northwestern University
Northwestern was one of the pioneers of the three-year JD/MBA option. The school uses a more integrated admissions process, with applicants submitting just a single application to Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. (Note that this means you only need to submit a GMAT score, and not an LSAT score.) From that point forward, a coordinator works as a liaison between the admissions department of the two schools for each application. 1L Northwestern law students may apply to the program, but Northwestern does not accept transfers from other law schools.

Similar to students at Columbia, Northwestern JD/MBA students spend their first year at the law school, then a year at Kellogg, and then do a year of both (but with a heavy emphasis on law courses). Given the fact that Northwestern Law is in Chicago and Kellogg is in Evanston (just outside of the city), and that students spend their first year at the law school, many students end up living in Chicago throughout the whole program.

University of Pennsylvania
Penn is also a relative newcomer to the world of three-year JD/MBA programs, having introduced its own in 2008. Penn’s JD/MBA admissions process is a bit if a hybrid of the two programs described above: Prospective students submit one application through Penn’s Wharton School, but then must wait on separate decisions from Wharton and Penn Law. Also, in Penn’s case applicants need to submit both an LSAT score and a GMAT or GRE score. Current 1L Penn Law students may also apply to the program.

Penn touts its JD/MBA program as being the most integrated such program at any top school. Students in Penn’s JD/MBA program spend their first year at Penn Law. Their second year includes Wharton’s typical core courses and more law classes, and then their third year covers more blended coursework as well as a capstone course. Most Penn JD/MBA students live in or around Philadelphia’s Center City.

Wondering if you have what it takes to get into one of these competitive JD/MBA programs? Pick up a copy of our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton Application Essays for 2013-2014

Wharton has released its admissions essays and application deadlines for the 2013-2014 admissions season. Wharton is the latest top-ranked MBA program to reduce its required essay count (from three to two in this case), although you will actually have more words to work with for the first essay this year.

Here are Wharton’s MBA application essays and deadlines for the coming year:

Wharton Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: October 1, 2013
Round 2: January 7, 2014
Round 3: March 27, 2014

Wharton Admissions Essays

  1. What do you aspire to achieve, personally and professionally, through the Wharton MBA? (500 words)
  2. Academic engagement is an important element of the Wharton MBA experience. How do you see yourself contributing to our learning community? (500 words)

Want to know how to get into Wharton? We break down your application strategy to this school and dozens of other top-ranked MBA programs in our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton Dean Thomas Robertson to Step Down in 2014

Yesterday Wharton Dean Thomas R. Robertson announced in a letter to faculty that he plans to step down when his term ends on June 30, 2014. While he will no longer lead the school, he will stay at Wharton to return to teaching and research. When he steps down, Robertson will have been at the school’s helm for nearly seven years.

In the letter to faculty, Dean Robertson wrote:

I realize that any success that I have as Dean is with your support, dedication, and good counsel. I rely on all of you to conduct leading-edge research, teach to the highest standards, and meet with alumni and world leaders. Your collegiality, the professionalism of our staff and the excellence of our students are the mainstays of my tenure as Dean.

I want to take this moment to thank you sincerely for your willingness to pursue the course with me, for your support and encouragement, and most of all for your friendship. It is a privilege to represent you and the Wharton School, and I value our relationship.

Under Robertson’s leadership, the school overhauled its MBA curriculum, relocated and rebranded its West Coast offering (now known as Wharton San Francisco), and renovated parts of the school’s Philadelphia facilities. Robertson also pushed to grow and strengthen the school’s faculty, expanding headcount by about 10%.

“Wharton is a fantastic brand name. We can get in almost any door in the world,” said Robertson in a Bloomberg Businessweek article. “It is important going forward to be true to the school’s founding goals to create future leaders and be a force for good.”

Want to know how to get into Wharton and other top-ranked business schools? Take a look at our industry-leading book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Applicant and Administrator Feedback on Wharton Team Discussions

Wharton Admissions Director Ankur Kumar recently provided an update on how Wharton’s team-based discussions went during Round 1. It sounds as though the experience has been positive so far, both for Wharton and for applicants. We still have a lot of questions about this as a means if evaluating candidates, but it’s interesting to study the early impressions from applicants and administrators alike.

The feedback we have been hearing from students is that the discussions haven’t turned out to be the shark tanks — with applicants elbowing each other for air time — that some had feared. If anything, applicants have erred on the side of being a little too friendly, with some going out of their way to show how courteous they can be. Many applicants have reported seeing this “unnatural graciousness” in effect.

According to Kumar on the Wharton Admissions Blog:

It was wonderful to observe our candidates connecting with one other – both inside and outside of the team based discussion. We saw you exchange contact information for future business endeavors, continue to discuss the question posed to your team far after the exercise came to a close, and we noticed a few groups that headed out for celebratory dinner or drinks after the interview was complete. The most heartwarming part for us was to see how much you invested in and supported one other; waiting for everyone in your group to be done, high fiving each other, laughing together, this is the true hallmark of Wharton’s culture of collaboration and something we look forward to your bringing to the program.

Wow, sounds like fun! Even the most collaborative MBA classrooms normally don’t have all of the back-patting described here, although we know that the stakes are much higher with these admissions discussions than they are in a typical business school classroom on any given day. Our take is that some candidates are indeed overdoing it, and going out of their way to show that they’re not jerks or sharks. Whether or not this helps them get into Wharton is still to be determined.

At the same time, we have heard that some applicants definitely felt a need to speak up, lest they be drowned out. This is fairly normal — this same pressure exists in the business school classroom, especially at case study-based schools such as Harvard and Darden — but this is the sort of thing that we’re sure Wharton wants to downplay as much as possible.

While we may still sound skeptical, we definitely laud Wharton for taking such a big risk in the admissions process. They, along with other schools that have significantly cut down their essays in some cases, are advancing the state of the art in the MBA admissions process. We’re reserving judgment, however, until we can better measure how performance in these discussions correlates with admissions success.

For more business school admissions advice, take a look at our book, Your MBA Game Plan, now in its 3rd edition. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

Wharton recently released its admissions essays for the 2012-2013 admissions season. Last year Wharton didn’t make too many big changes after really mixing it up the year before. Let’s dig into this year’s application and see how much things have changed this year.

Here are Wharton’s deadlines and essays for the Class of 2015, followed by our comments in italics:

Wharton Application Essays

Required Question
How will Wharton MBA help you achieve your professional objectives? (400 words)

This question is a revised version of last year’s required question, which asked, “What are your professional objectives?” Also, bucking the early trend we’ve seen with other school’s essays so far, Wharton actually bumped up its word count from 300 to 400 words, no doubt to make room for the new “Who will Wharton” part of this question. (Note: “How will Wharton MBA” is how it’s written on Wharton’s site as of right now. We agree that this looks odd.) Looking at how this question has evolved since last year, it’s not hard to imagine that the Wharton admissions team felt that applicants weren’t connecting their career ambitions to Wharton quite enough. When you answer this question, don’t write an “This is why I need an MBA” essay and then sprinkle in a few Wharton references… Plan on writing an essay wholly dedicated to why a Wharton MBA (and not just an MBA) is what you need to help you achieve your professional objectives.

Optional Questions (Choose Two)

  1. Select a Wharton MBA course, co-curricular opportunity or extra-curricular engagement that you are interested in. Tell us why you chose this activity and how it connects to your interests. (500 words)

    Ahh, Wharton has taken out some words here. These optional essays each had a limit of 600 words last year. And we’re sensing a theme… This question is new this year, and note that it also puts the spotlight on Wharton. (Last year’s question was entirely different.) We tend not to love this kind of question since we see many applicants simply find a course or student club on a the school’s website and write about it, giving admissions officers what applicants think they want to see. If there is something that truly excites you about Wharton — especially something that very few other top MBA programs can offer, such as one of Wharton’s well known research centers — then this essay may be a great opportunity for your to truly demonstrate your fit with the school. Otherwise, resist the temptation to invent interest in a class or club just for the sake of completing this essay.
  2. Imagine your work obligations for the afternoon were cancelled and you found yourself “work free” for three hours, what would you do? (500 words)

    This question is also new this year, and it replaces a “deeper” question about dealing with a challenging interpersonal experience. While we liked that essay prompt, we also like this one. In the above two questions Wharton shows that this year’s it’s looking for more “Why Wharton?”-type insights in your essays, but don’t forget that they also need to get to know you as a person. Don’t feel that you need to reveal something amazing here — will the admissions committee really believe that you would use those three hours to work in a soup kitchen or build a house with Habitat for Humanity? What do you enjoy doing? What do you wish you could do more, or know that you should do more? Going for a run, fishing off of a pier, and reading a book on a hammock all make for good answers. The key is to not only say what you would do, but why you would do it. That’s what the admissions committee really looks for here.
  3. “Knowledge for Action draws upon the great qualities that have always been evident at Wharton: rigorous research, dynamic thinking, and thoughtful leadership.” – Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School

    Tell us about a time when you put knowledge into action. (500 words)

    This question is also new, although it replaces a similar prompt from last year. Putting “knowledge in to action” can be interpreted in multiple ways, and if no example from your past immediately springs to mind, then think about the words “creativity” and “insight.” How did you creatively solve a problem at work or in your life? How did you go beyond your normal job description or come up with a solution that had never been tried before, using the information that was right in front of you? More than anything, here the Wharton admissions committee looks for signs that you’re not content to just follow your job description, you do more than simply work on assignments as they’re handed to you (but do no more than that), and you’re not afraid to dream big now and then. “Knowledge” is nice, but “action” is how people make a positive impact on those around them. Wharton is looking for those people.

To stay on top on all of the latest news about Wharton and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Get to Know: The Wharton School

In our new “Get to Know” series, every so often we will profile one of the world’s top MBA programs, uncovering some of the less well known facts about a school to help you learn each MBA program better. For our first installment, today we take a closer look at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

Wharton is one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the world, and every year the school attracts thousands of applicants from all over the world. Whether or not you get in may come down to how well you know the school. Today we dig into three things that contribute to Wharton’s unique, high-energy learning environment. If reading about these attributes make you even more excited Wharton, then the school might be a good fit for you:

Experiential Learning to the Core
Nearly every elite business school is advertising its “action-based” or “experiential” approach, but Wharton deserves credit for the way it puts a premium on student involvement in campus activities and organizations. Gaining knowledge and putting it into practice is seamlessly integrated into the student experience through initiatives such as the Global Consulting Practicum.

Leadership Everywhere
Building leadership acumen is a core of the Wharton program. While we’d be hard pressed to say that leadership is more important at Wharton than it is at Harvard, opportunities to build this skill abound at this school. Wharton features a dedicated Center for Leadership and Change Management, which spearheads multiple leadership-driven initiatives including Leadership Ventures (outdoor experiential leadership experiences and global leadership treks) and the Leadership Fellows Program (a leadership development/mentor program). Leadership is also baked into the Wharton experience through its entirely student-led community and the many opportunities to be a leader outside of the classroom through programs such as the International Volunteer Project and Wharton Community Consultants.

Heavy Student Involvement
Inside and outside of the classroom, students play a leading role in defining the Wharton experience for themselves, their classmates, and for future students. The expectation is that Wharton students will be active members of the community — a standard that manifests itself in all aspects of the Wharton experience as evidenced by more than 100 student run clubs that evolve each year depending on student leadership, the existence of the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee and the Wharton Graduate Association, and student participation in the admissions process.

To stay on top on all of the latest news and analysis of Wharton admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Wharton Application Essays for 2011-2012

Wharton has released its MBA application deadlines and admissions essays for the coming year. Last year Wharton really stirred the pot by introducing radically different essays. Let’s dig into this year’s application and see how much things have changed this year.

Here are Wharton’s deadlines and essays for the Class of 2014, followed by our comments in italics:

Wharton Admissions Deadlines

Round 1: October 3, 2011
Round 2: January 4, 2012
Round 3: March 5, 2012

These deadlines are virtually identical to last year’s deadlines. Note that applying in Round 1 means that you’ll receive your decision by December 20, giving you time to adjust your Round 2 application strategy if you don’t receive good news from Wharton.

Wharton Admissions Essays

Required Question
What are your professional objectives? (300 words)

This question carries over from last year, when it was new. Although it’s phrased differently than other schools’ questions, you can still consider this a “Why an MBA?” essay. (Note that this question doesn’t come up in any other essay here, so you will need to address it here.) Also note that, while this mandatory question only requires 300 words, Wharton gives you 600 words for each of the other, more introspective essays. Clearly, the Wharton admissions committee is more interested in getting to know you as a person than as a professional. We always hear MBA admissions officers sat this, but Wharton is really putting this idea into action.

Think of this essay as your chance to properly “set the stage” for the rest of your candidacy. It’s only 300 words long, but after reading this essay admissions officers should clearly understand where you want to go in your career and why a Wharton MBA makes sense for you now. Wharton doesn’t ask “Why Wharton?” and you don’t have many words to spare, so don’t devote too many words to answering this here. You have 1,200 more words (across your other essays) to help lead them to the conclusion that you’re a great fit with Wharton.

Optional Questions (Choose Two)

  1. Reflect on a time when you turned down an opportunity. What was the thought process behind your decision? Would you make the same decision today? (600 words)

    This question carries over from last year, and we love it as an “introspection” question. MBA admissions officers really want to see self-awareness and introspection in applicants, and this question provides that. Don’t worry if the opportunity that you turned down seems small — you don’t need to blow them away with the “sexiness” of the opportunity. Also, note the emphasis on your thought process; that matters more to the admissions committee than what the actual opportunity was. Help them understand why you made the decision, what you learned about your wants and values in the process, and how it’s shaped you as a person. Also, answering “No” to the last part of the question is okay. Having the humility to wish you could make a decision over again is one terrific sign of introspection and maturity.

  2. Discuss a time when you faced a challenging interpersonal experience. How did you navigate the situation and what did you learn from it? (600 words)

    This question is new this year, although it is not radically different from one of last year’s essays. The difference to note is that, while last year’s question only asked about navigating a challenging relationship, this new version specifically asks for how you did it and — perhaps most importantly — what you learned from the experience. Our bet is that last year many applicants didn’t place enough emphasis on this last point, and now Wharton wants to make clear that this is a critical part of this essay.

    This essay is your chance to demonstrate empathy, maturity, and a willingness to consider others’ points of view. Where it differs is that it takes a little emphasis off of the idea of diversity and explores tough relationships of all types. As we’ve said before, it’s most important here that you can make clear why the situation was challenging, what you did to overcome it, and — hopefully — how you were successful. Even if you weren’t successful, though, what’s most interesting here is what you learned in the process.

  3. “Innovation is central to our culture at Wharton. It is a mentality that must encompass every aspect of the School – whether faculty research, teaching or alumni outreach.” – Thomas S. Robertson, Dean, The Wharton School. Keeping this component of our culture in mind, discuss a time when you have been innovative in your personal or professional life. (600 words)

    This question is entirely new this year. “Innovation” can be interpreted in multiple ways, and if no example from your past immediately springs to mind, then think about the word “creative.” How did you creatively solve a problem at work or in your life? How did you go beyond your normal job description or come up with a solution that had never been tried before? While it’s so trite that we’re reluctant to use this phrase, think about a time when you “thought outside the box.” More than anything, here the Wharton admissions committee looks for signs that you’re not content to just follow your job description, you do more than simply work on assignments as they’re handed to you (but do no more than that), and you’re not afraid to dream big now and then. Don’t think “innovation” necessarily means “science” or “tech” here!

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