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16 things every Wharton MBA student should know

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania was established in 1881 with a donation from Joseph Wharton, an American industrialist who was involved in manufacturing and mining.

Wharton is the US’ first collegiate school of business and part of the M7 group of elite MBA programs that also includes Booth, Chicago, Columbia, Harvard, MIT Sloan, and Stanford.

Wharton is hardly a studies-only school, and provides students with many extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs and other student-initiated events.

Here are some interesting facts about the school, with a focus on its full-time MBA program.

16 facts about Wharton School every MBA applicant should know



The Wharton School is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, about 160 km south west of New York. Philadelphia, now a city of 1.5 million people, is a historical site from the American Revolution days, and was the nation’s capital when Washington, D. C., was under construction in the 19th century. Seven Fortune 1000 companies are located in Philadelphia, which has become an economic and education hub with the growth of universities in the city.

Tourism is a major industry with 41 million domestic tourists in 2015, thanks mainly to the 67 national historical landmarks. Wharton students can taste a range of world cuisines at Philly’s eclectic restaurants. Recreation options include running, cycling, and riding trails at Fairmount Park, and fields and courts at Penn Park.

Philly is the location of many firsts—first hospital, first library, first stock exchange, first zoo, and first US business school.

The climate? Summers are usually hot and humid, fall and spring are mild, and winters are cold with highly varying snowfall. The January average temperature is 0.6 degrees Celsius, and the July average temperature 25.6 degrees Celsius. Freezing temperatures usually hit the city between the first weeks of November and April. It rains almost throughout the year with about 12 wet days each month.


The University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university established in 1740, is America’s first university. The university’s 300-acre campus, formed in the 1870s, is situated in West Philadelphia. The Wharton campus lies on Locust Walk, a brick-lined pedestrian pathway that goes right through the heart of UPenn.

Wharton’s Philadelphia campus comprises four buildings—the Huntsman Hall (the 324,000-sq-ft. main building), Steinberg-Hall Dietrich Hall (academic departments), Vance Hall (graduate programs, administrative offices), and Lauder-Fischer Hall (international business teaching/research). Wharton opened a campus in San Francisco in 2001, where MBA students can opt to study for one semester.

On-campus housing facilities include studio and two-bedroom apartments in two high-rise buildings. Off-campus housing is available all over the city at Center City and University City. Suburban living is also possible for those with families and those planning to remain in Philadelphia after graduation. Students can easily commute on foot, by bike, and on public transportation network of buses, trolleys, and trains.


FT has given the Wharton MBA the third rank among MBA programs worldwide, and Business Insider the top rank. US News and World Report has adjudged Wharton’s MBA the best MBA program in the US and given the school the third rank among b-schools worldwide. QS has rated Wharton the fifth best b-school in the world.


Geoffrey Garrett is the Dean of the Wharton School, Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise, and Professor of Management. He was on the Management faculty from 1995 to 1997 and returned to Wharton after stints as b-school dean at the Universities of Sydney and New South Wales in his native country, Australia. He is supported by senior academic and administrative officers including vice deans.

The Wharton faculty consists of 225 members who are experts in their fields, with a number of publications to their credit, and they lead 20 interdisciplinary research centers. Over the decades, Wharton’s professors, among them Nobel Prize winners, have contributed to the development of the study of business management and explored new areas of research on industrial relations, marketing, insurance, pensions and retirement, finance, and administration.


Wharton runs a range of MBA programs that include the full-time MBA, MBA for executives, joint degree programs (MBA/MA) in international management and arts and sciences, MBA/law program, and MBA/public administration. The school also runs pre-college programs, undergraduate programs in economics, and dual-degree programs in international studies and business, management and technology, and life sciences and management.

Among doctoral programs are accounting, management, applied economics, ethics and legal studies, marketing, and statistics. Executive programs are available for both individual candidates and organizations. Wharton also runs global programs, such as the Wharton-INSEAD Alliance and Advanced International Studies.


Wharton revised its MBA curriculum in 2012 to give it more vitality and flexibility. The core curriculum consists of six required core classes, with choices in the flexible core. The flexibility helps students to take up more electives in the first year in preparation for internship, and defer other electives to the second year.

The fixed core includes leadership, marketing, microeconomics, economics, statistics, and management. Among the flexible core topics are marketing, communications, macroeconomics, accounting, corporate finance, operations, and legal studies and business ethics.

A chronological division of the curriculum would have a pre-term, when the student settles down and also takes a core course in leadership and teamwork; the first year, when the student begins key courses and joins five or six other students in team projects, chooses electives, and participates in extracurricular activities; the summer, when the student starts internships (optional) and joins summer activities; and the second year, when students complete core courses and electives and initiate advanced projects.

Application requirements

Applications to the Wharton MBA should include two essays, one on the candidate’s professional expectations from the course (500 words), and how he/she will contribute to the Wharton community (400 words).

Academic transcripts, GMAT/GRE and TOEFL/PTE scores, resume, and letters of recommendation from two people who can speak about the applicant’s work performance are required. The application fee is $265. Read How to get into Wharton

Fee, expenses

The first-year cost of attending the Wharton MBA comes to around $110,000 (including tuition and other fees $77,000; room and board $22,000; and miscellaneous $6,000).

Scholarship, aid

Wharton offers fellowship programs for students with exceptional academic achievements, leadership and other personal qualities, and professional development. Among these fellowships are the Joseph Wharton Fellowships, Emerging Economy Fellowships, Forte Fellowships (for women students), Social Impact Fellowships, and Wharton Fellowships for Current Students. Loans for international students with or without a US consignor are also available.

Admission statistics

There were as many as 6,679 applications for the Wharton MBA Class of 2018, and 851 students were enrolled. The class has students from 71 countries. Forty-four percent of students are women and 32 percent international students.

Forty-six percent have an undergraduate background in the humanities, 28 percent in STEM, and 26 percent in business. Twenty-three percent students have previous industry experience in consulting, 13 percent in private equity or venture capital, 12 percent in government/military/non-profit, 11 percent in investment banking, 11 percent in consumer products/retain/health care/energy, and 9 percent in technology/Internet/ecommerce The work experience range is zero to 13 years (mean five years). The GMAT score range is 570-780 (mean 730).

Career development

Wharton’s MBA Career Management provides graduates with education and guidance to help them secure the jobs they want and the careers that they wish to build. The career team has connected students with over 650 companies, from Fortune 500 organizations to startups. Its resources include workshops, information banks on companies and industries, research tools, recruiting, career counseling, career treks, and lifelong support from alumni.

Jobs after MBA/employers

The MBA Class of 2016 (850 students) reported full-time job offers for 98.3 percent of students who sought employment (75.2 percent of the class), and 95.5 percent accepted offers.

Seventy-five students returned to their previous organizations. Fifty students chose to start their own companies and 10 students to continue their education. Thirty-five percent of students who accepted job offers chose financial services, 26 percent consulting, and nearly 13 percent technology industries.

The most popular function choices was, by far, consulting/strategy (31.2 percent). Other popular choices: investment banking (14 percent), investment/portfolio management (9 percent), and private equity (8.6 percent). As a job destination, the US was the most popular by far (86.9 percent). As for employers, Wharton graduates (academic year 2015-16) were selected by a variety of industries and companies from Accenture to J. P. Morgan to Zinga.


The annual base salary range of Wharton graduates (2016) was $27,600-$250,000 (median $125,000), the sign-on bonus range was $4,000-$175,000 (median $25,000), and the other guaranteed compensation range was $3,600-$175,000 (median $20,400).

Alumni network

Wharton’s alumni member network is 95,000-strong in over 150 countries and links 80 clubs worldwide. A Wharton reunion is held on the campus annually, and alumni clubs organize many global forums each year.

Notable alumni:

Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Anil Ambani, Ruth Porat, Warren Buffett, Sundar Pichai, Aditya Mittal, William Wrigley Jr. II, and many more from the international list of celebrities are among Wharton’s alumni.


A special feature of Wharton’s MBA is the flexible core and “the depth of 19 majors and the breadth of nearly 200 electives” that allow students to choose their course content based on their interests, background, experience, and goals. Wharton’s faculty, which includes professors sought after as consultants by businesses, government organizations, and nonprofits, is also one of its main strengths.

Also read:
How I got into Wharton with a low GMAT score
Harvard MBA vs Stanford GSB vs Wharton MBA
Life at Wharton MBA as an international student
Wharton, Columbia, Yale and Kellogg MBA admits for social worker
Wharton Deferred MBA and Team Based Discussion Tips, Prompts

Resources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

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5 thoughts on “16 things every Wharton MBA student should know”

  1. Hi Sameer,

    Thanks for a detailed documentation.

    I want some help and I am confident you can guide me.

    I am a Maths and Statistics graduate and passed in 1998 with GNIIT course.

    After that worked on Software Development side for 11 years and worked for Application Support for 6 years.

    Recently my support project (Its in Digital Marketing Plate form) was transitioned to big company that did not hired me as they cant afford the 10+ Lacs person on the project.

    I need to rebuild my carrier and you can say need to start once again.

    I can’t afford to leave the Job and go for studies. I need something that I can do with Job. I need someone who can show me a path

    Please help!

  2. Hi, I have M. E in production engineering with 2.5 years of experience as part time lecturer
    I am not getting my job satisfaction that’s why I want to go for MBA… But main concern I am approaching 31 years of age and if started from today I might get good score in 2018. But my worry is wheather I am able to got a call from top B Schools in India considering my age if get a good score in CAT or any other entrance. Plz suggest.

  3. Hi,
    I am working in an IT company as a python developer. I have 1 year of experiance right now . I want to study further but i am confused what to do either MS or MBA. Since I do not have excellent grades in my 10th, 12th and degree. Would it be possible for me to get into a good university. please suggest if you can.

  4. Hi Sameer,

    I am an engineering graduate and currently working as a fresher in one product based company as a performance tester.
    I just want to know what should I do further stick to my job or go for higher studies like MBA.Because I passed out from an average college and my package as a software engineer is jut fine not great.I want suggestions ,Please Help.

  5. @Kapil: With 11 years of experience, you should be able to find another similar role, right? Once you are back in a stable situation, you can always explore other technical courses to re-skill yourself. There are many available that you can pursue on a part-time basis.

    @Anurag: Read this to understand how being over 30 affects business school admissions:

    @Yogesh: If you aren’t sure which degree you want, why not wait for a few more years till you have clarity? In the meanwhile, gain some good experience that’ll help you irrespective of the degree you choose.

    @Drishti: See the response above. Similar inputs for you too. Wait for a few years and then think about an MBA.


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