Admissions Director Barbara Craft Shares Her Top Advice for EMBA Applicants

Barbara Craft
Barbara Craft, director of admissions at Wharton San Francisco, leads all recruiting and admissions activities for Wharton’s West Coast MBA Program for Executives. You might run into her at an information session or recruiting event, see her fielding admissions questions during one of our webinars, or sit across from her during your admissions interview.
Barbara has worked at Wharton San Francisco in various roles since 2002. As a member of the Admissions Committee, she interviews candidates and advises them on the application process.

Barb’s Advice for EMBA Applicants

What to Consider When Evaluating Executive MBA Programs

Determine what matters to you most and see how each program stacks up. Look closely at the curriculum, the number of elective offerings, the number of classroom hours, the profiles of the alumni and current students, professional development opportunities beyond the curriculum, and extracurricular activities. Learn more about the diversity of backgrounds and industries represented through the class profile.

In terms of academic rigor, student life, and networking, how does it compare to a full-time MBA program? At Wharton, for example, the only difference between the EMBA program and the full-time MBA program is the executive format — the curriculum, number of contact hours, teaching faculty, and degree are the same.

Size, location, reputation, and the strength of the alumni network are also important considerations. Does the program have additional services for professional and personal development? See what they offer in terms of career services, help with entrepreneurial ventures, student services, clubs, and global learning opportunities.

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Advice for Students Applying to Wharton’s EMBA Program

Make sure you have buy-in from those closest to you. Start early and talk to the people who are most important in your life, including your partner, employer, family, kids, etc. It’s not a road you want to go down without their support. Make sure they understand the long-term rewards and benefits in addition to the challenges.

Visit the program when you have time to sit in on a class and talk to current students to see if it’s the right fit for you. If you decide to apply, do your homework in advance and be thoughtful and well prepared throughout the process. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to be yourself.

Getting Feedback on Your Application Before You Submit

We realize applying to Wharton’s Executive MBA Program is a very big decision and we’re happy to provide feedback and direction to prospective applicants. We want to help people put together the strongest application possible. We can look at your academic credentials and work experience and provide advice if additional steps need to be taken.

What to Expect During the Interview

Have a good understanding of the program and what it entails. We’re trying to determine if someone is a good fit for this program and if the program is a good fit for them. We ask questions that help us understand their journey and how they got to where they are and where they see themselves going forward.

Do your research. Our website should be able to answer any basic questions you have. Come to your interview with thoughtful questions that pertain to your unique situation or about the Wharton experience as it relates specifically to you and your goals.

About Barb

What I Love Most about Wharton San Francisco

The people I interact with on a daily basis are the best and the brightest. I love the intellectual stimulation I get from my colleagues, the faculty, the current students, and the prospective students. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something new. This is a highly motivating, challenging, and rewarding environment.

I’m a firm believer in the Wharton brand and passionate about the value and impact of this program. With the opening of Wharton San Francisco 15 years ago, Penn became the only Ivy League on the West Coast. I’m thrilled we can bring that kind of legacy and history to the Bay Area.

My Life Outside of Wharton

I have lived in California for a long time, but I’m originally a Philadelphia native. Before coming to Wharton, I was director of marketing and admissions for all of the graduate business programs at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to that, I was director of the executive MBA program at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. I have a home in South Orange County and in Marin County, which keeps me deeply connected to our two largest markets for the Wharton EMBA program.

I have three teen children and an adult stepson with my husband Jim. We also have a very large Old English Sheepdog. I’m passionate about education and in my spare time, I serve as an advocate and coach for higher education for underprivileged youths.

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