3 Tips to Make an Impact with Your Admissions Essays


The admissions essays for Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives provide an opportunity to frame your personal and professional experience, not just for EMBA admissions directors, but for yourself and your future career.

In a recent Webinar hosted by Directors of Admission Diane Sharp (Philadelphia) and Barbara Craft (San Francisco), they discussed tips for writing impactful EMBA essays. Here are three takeaways to keep in mind when developing an effective EMBA application:

1. Be Reflective.

The first required admissions essay asks about your career objectives and how this program will help you achieve your goals. Diane and Barbara explained that this essay is intended to help applicants structure their thoughts clearly, allowing them to reflect on why they want to be in the program. “The application should help you outline your career plans and clarify how to obtain those goals,” said Barbara.

The second required admissions essay asks applicants to listen to Professor Adam Grant’s TedTalk, “Are You a Giver or a Taker,” which describes three primary personality types in the workplace: givers, takers, and matchers. Based on your understanding of yourself and our program, the essay asks how you intend to give and take as a Wharton student.

Diane explained that the EMBA program emphasizes diversity and encourages all personality types to apply. “This essay is an opportunity to reflect on your personality type and give examples of how you will impact your classmates,” she said.

She also encouraged applicants to start reflecting on the essays as soon as possible. Wharton wants to learn about the whole applicant and hear your voice. Providing essay questions in advance gives applicants plenty of time to draft and rework answers before submitting their application.

2. Be Authentic.

Being honest in your responses and staying true to who you are as a candidate is essential. According to Barbara, the most common mistake applicants make is saying what they think Wharton wants to hear. Instead, she suggested that applicants do their best to communicate who they are. “Share your goals and personal objectives, build a rapport with the person reading your application. Share what makes you unique and how your goals align with that of the program.”

The Admissions Committee examines essays several times with the help of many different eyes. Essays are one piece of the overall application and an opportunity for the applicant’s voice to be heard. “It’s a way of getting to know you,” Diane said. The committee wants to know you as a person and why you’re a good fit for Wharton. It wants to learn and understand the entire candidate: your background, journey, goals, where you intend to go and how Wharton can help you achieve those goals.

3. Describe Your Plan.

The third question asks applicants to describe their plan for handling the additional demands on your time once you enroll. According to Barbara, EMBA students spend approximately 20 hours a week outside of the program studying for class.

“Being enrolled in the program means candidates will need to realign responsibilities, as this is a large time and financial commitment. This is an opportunity to let the Admissions Committee know you have considered this process and have carved out time for both school work and classes,” she said.

Adapted from a June 2018 Webinar.

Looking for Additional Tips?

Read these stories from Dr. Ehab Hanna, WG’18, and EMBA student Jay Disser to get insights about how they approached Wharton’s essay questions.

How This Physician Took a ‘Logical’ Approach to Application Essays and GMAT

Nuclear Engineer Shares Steps for Writing Admissions Essays