Posted on August 23, 2023

Wharton MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines -2023-24


For more than 135 years, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School “has been the place where visionaries, inventors, and trailblazers get their start.” One of the most prestigious business schools in the world, Wharton once again invites applicants to submit two essays for the 2023-24 application season. The word limit for all the essays remains unchanged. The candidates have 900 words to present their candidacy to the Wharton MBA program. They can also submit an optional essay to provide additional information and explain extenuating circumstances. Reapplicants must also write an additional required essay to demonstrate their commitment further.

From Wharton Blog: “The Admissions Committee is looking to understand more about you and your unique personality and how that can ultimately contribute to the Wharton community. We are a student-driven campus and need each and every MBA to bring something to the table.”

Application Deadlines

Round Application Deadline Interview Invitations Decisions
Round 1 September 6, 2023 October 24, 2023 December 14, 2023
Round 2 January 4, 2024 February 16, 2024 March 26, 2024
Round 3 April 2, 2024 April 19, 2024 May 13, 2024
Deferred Admissions Round April 24, 2024 May 28, 2024 June 27, 2024

Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on the day of the deadline.

Integrated Joint Degree Program Application Deadlines

For more information about applying for the Wharton MBA, visit the Wharton admission website.


The two required essay questions expect you to explain how Wharton can help you achieve your goals and what you can contribute to the Wharton community. This is the essence of the Wharton MBA application- what you will gain from Wharton and what you will bring to Wharton. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. So, your two essays should complement each other. "We encourage you to be introspective, candid, and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself.”

Here is MER's analysis of Wharton Essays.

Essay #1: How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

This essay is a standard career goals essay that asks applicants to explain their short-term aspirations, long-term vision, and how they will leverage resources at Wharton to achieve them. Explain how the skill set and experience acquired at Wharton will help you fill the gap between your present career and your long-term goals. This essay should focus not on your professional history and key accomplishments but on your career objectives and your 'fit' with the program.

Though the essay does not ask about your professional history, it is essential to provide a brief account of your vital professional experiences that have kindled your ambitions and given you clarity regarding your goals. Explain what skills you have gained throughout your career journey and what you hope to achieve professionally both in the short and long term. Then, share your present mindset and explain why an MBA at this stage in your career will bring you closer to your goals. You need to self-critique your weak points and highlight how the MBA experience can help cement them. The crux here lies in demonstrating self-awareness and outlining the gaps in your skillset.

Then proceed and elucidate how an MBA from Wharton will help you fill those knowledge gaps and how the resources and offerings at Wharton will support your goals. You can do this by conveying to the admission committee that you understand the Wharton community and what the school offers. Articulate your synergy with the diverse Wharton community and specify how your professional goals are in line with various resources and offerings at Wharton. The key here is to include specific information from your Wharton research and link it to your goals and values. For instance, you should talk about how unique educational opportunities, culture, activities, student clubs and organizations, rich and flexible curriculum, and the accomplished faculty at Wharton can be a pathway to your goals. Be exceedingly specific about how a specific class or student club directly talks to your career aspiration. The bottom line is making your case for Wharton.

Essay #2: Taking into consideration your background– personal, professional, and/ or academic- how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

The admission committee is looking for candidates who can make an impact while at Wharton and later as alumni. This essay provides applicants the flexibility to cherry-pick experiences from their personal, professional, and academic life. Thus, this essay is a great place to showcase your passion and the impact you have made in these realms.

You can select 2-3 pivotal experiences from the past when you brought value to your organization or community. Then, explain how these experiences have prepared you to contribute to the Wharton community. Throw light on what challenges you faced and how you dealt with those challenges, eventually making an impact. You must also share the learnings you gleaned from the experience and then elucidate how the Wharton community can benefit from your experience. Please note your contribution should directly stem from your personal, professional, and academic experience. These contributions could manifest within the classroom, group projects, or clubs or various clubs and student organizations. Wharton values teamwork and diversity and wants a student cohort that can support one another.  For instance, you overcame stress at work by learning meditation or yoga, and now you can use that experience in taking yoga classes and helping fellow students to overcome stress.

To answer this question, you must familiarize yourself with Wharton's resources and offerings and the school's culture and then answer which club or student organization will benefit from your unique talent. Finally, your impact should extend beyond your two years at Wharton. Your story should convince the admission committee that you will enrich the Wharton community not only as a student but also as a valuable alumnus.

Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)

Wharton is inviting reapplicants to reflect on their candidacy. If you are a re-applicant, you must illustrate that you have grown and evolved since the last time you applied. Discuss your enhanced professional qualifications, improved records, the actions you took to familiarize yourself with the distinct culture at Wharton, or the efforts you have made to strengthen your candidature. For example, if you have improved your GMAT, received promotions, gained more clarity on your goals this time, taken new quantitative classes or certifications, or been involved in volunteer activities, this essay is a great place to share that information. Since the word limit is 250 words, we suggest providing a crisp, straight-jacket account of the areas you have improved upon, presenting growth and determination.

Optional Essay: Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee. This space can also be used to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (500 words)

An optional essay is an opportunity to provide relevant information to the Ad Com that you could not present in other parts of your application. It is a great place to address extenuating circumstances, meaning you should explain any weaknesses in your profile. For example, if you have a lower-than-average GMAT score, any grades below a C on your transcript, academic probation, or a significant employment or education gap, you can address it in this essay. To provide context for a weakness in your profile, make sure your reason is genuine to convince the Ad Com that your low grades or employment gap occurred due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. Your response should be positive, straightforward, and fact-focused and not sound like you are making excuses for your weakness.

Furthermore, if you cannot secure a recommendation letter from your current supervisor, please explain the rationale in the optional statement. Your weakness may also bring out a positive aspect of your personality. For instance, when discussing your employment gap, you may share how you channeled this period into meaningful pursuits, such as traveling, volunteering, or managing a family medical emergency.

If you do not have any weakness in your profile but think you did not get a chance to present every vital aspect of your candidacy, use the optional essay to present that information. For example, you can throw a spotlight on a significant professional accomplishment, extracurricular accomplishments, or community involvement. If you have done considerable community work and could touch upon it in the second essay, you can elaborate on it here. Perhaps you have a stellar leadership story or entrepreneurial experience that you did not get a chance to share elsewhere. Feel free to use this space for that.

To meet the stringent word limits, you must be extremely precise in crafting your narrative and make every word count.

You may click on the following blog for strategies to meet the stringent word limits

11 Strategies to Meet the Strict Word Limits

For additional essay writing resources, see the essay tips article on the Wharton website.

Want to learn more about what it takes to get into Wharton, check out Wharton admit Mansi's video interview.

Free Resources:

Overarching Essay Tips

MER Students Share Their Success Stories

Case Studies

Since 2011, MER (myEssayReview) has helped many applicants get accepted into the top 20 MBA programs, including Wharton. (Poonam is one of the top 5 most reviewed consultants on the GMAT Club.)

Do you have questions about your application? E-mail Poonam at or sign up here for a free consultation.