Wharton’s Executive MBA Application Process
We work closely with students both during the application process and throughout the program to ensure they fit well within this collaborative and rigorous academic environment. We seek diversity of background and interests, from a wide range of corporations, public institutions, and nonprofit organizations, as well as from professional fields such as engineering, law, and medicine.
Preparing a Successful Application
While there are no fixed requirements regarding age and work experience, class profile averages typically reflect:
- 8 or more years of work experience*
- 5 or more years in a managerial position
- A college degree or the equivalent
- Senior management experience or potential
- All applicants must have the written endorsement of their organization, confirming that the organization supports the application and understands the time commitments required to fulfill all class attendance and study
*Global applicants must have a minimum of 10 years of work experience
Submitting Your Application
You may begin your online application at any time during the admissions process. You can add to and edit any information on your application until you submit the completed application. The online application can be submitted up until 11:59 p.m.* on the day of the deadline.
*ET for Philadelphia and Global applicants, PT for San Francisco applicants.
The Wharton MBA Program for Executives seeks a diverse and well-rounded class. As such, we do not release decisions on a rolling basis and instead evaluate each round of applicants as a whole. We understand, however, that there can be exceptional cases in which applicants need an answer prior to our decision release date. If you have decided that the Wharton MBA Program for Executives is your top choice, and you believe that your situation warrants consideration for an earlier decision, please contact our office to discuss whether we might be able to accommodate your request.
Interviews are by invitation only. If selected for an interview, we will contact you to arrange the interview as part of the application process. The interview is a chance for us to ask specific questions about your candidacy and for you to provide a more personal explanation about your professional background and interests.
Interviews will be conducted via Zoom, after which we will offer access to classes virtually.
For most applicants, proposing and receiving sponsorship is a crucial part of the application process. While employer endorsement is a requirement for admission, financial sponsorship is at the discretion of the student’s organization. Financial sponsorship can send a strong signal of endorsement for an applicant and can return significant benefits to the sponsoring organization.
Fellows candidates (less than eight years of work experience) are required to receive at least 50% of the cost of program covered by their organization.
Applicants are encouraged to approach their employers early in the application consideration process and make a case for financial sponsorship.
What We Look For
We do not use formulas or ranking systems, or give specific weight to individual sections of the application. Each component of your application should be as strong as possible, and the pieces should fit together to create a complete picture of who you are as a candidate. We then measure each candidate in the context of a large, talented, and diverse applicant pool.
We look at all your academic experiences to get a holistic view of your ability to succeed at Wharton. The academic rigor of your curriculum and the intellectual curiosity you have demonstrated are important. Undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as professional certifications and continuing education credit in both related and unrelated fields, will be considered.
Standardized test scores also help us evaluate scholarship. We accept the GMAT, GRE and EA. We accept scores from tests taken either at home or at testing centers.
We evaluate the overall score and each section of the test. Please see the Application Requirements section to help you decide which test to take or schedule a conversation with an admissions team member to discuss your best option.
There are no cut-off scores, but we expect higher than average test results. In the most recently admitted class:
- The average GMAT score for admitted applicants was 711
- The average EA scores for admitted applicants was 155
- We do not have statistics available for the GRE due to the limited quantity we receive.
If you have been out of school for several years, we recommend that you take advantage of test preparation resources and allow enough time to take the test more than once. We’ve found that most people are rustier than they realize.
Professional Development and Goals
The career choices you have made to date are important to the Committee in evaluating your application. Significant attention is given to the length of time spent in a management role, progression in job responsibilities, and total work experience. We also look at how you have distinguished yourself professionally. We do not place value solely on the type of work you have done, but rather on what you have gained from your experiences. Someone who has worked as a museum curator, for example, may be just as strong a candidate as someone who has been in a management role. What you have contributed is more important than the industry, and what you’ve learned from successes and failures is meaningful.
We are very interested in your short- and long-term goals, and why business school — and particularly this Wharton MBA program — represents an important step in achieving your goals. We assess your leadership potential as demonstrated at work, whether you were leading projects, effecting change within a team, or directly managing personnel. Leadership potential can be demonstrated in activities outside of work. We look for evidence of effective interpersonal skills because the Wharton environment emphasizes leadership in the context of teamwork.
The endorsement of your organization is vital to your success in the program. How enthusiastic is your sponsoring supervisor or management about your candidacy? Has careful thought been given to how your MBA experience and degree will fit into your career development within the firm — both during the program and after graduation? Have you thought through the impact of your participation on others in the organization, so that you have the support of your colleagues as well as your supervisors? Please feel free to schedule time to discuss your application with the Director of Admissions.
The Admissions Committee is interested in the whole person. What makes you unique? What can you contribute to the Wharton community?
We look for evidence of personal leadership qualities, such as ethical integrity, self-motivation, empathy, communication skills, and personal style. How have you challenged yourself, how have you reached beyond your comfort zone, how have you effected change in your organization, or led a team through a process?
We consider extracurricular and volunteer leadership because we believe that applicants who get involved beyond what is required are well-rounded and engaged, and want to make a difference in their communities. In addition, candidates should demonstrate a balance between work and outside activities.
Team skills are essential to success in Wharton’s curriculum because of our learning team structure. Students are assigned to teams with a flat hierarchy. Each team is comprised of individuals from multiple industries and with diverse goals. Flexibility, tolerance for difference, and effective communication skills are all required to succeed.
Entrepreneurial spirit does not necessarily mean that you have experience with an entrepreneurial business. Rather, it means you can think and behave in an entrepreneurial manner. This is as important in large international companies as it is in small start-ups. We will therefore look at how you have challenged the status quo and made a difference, regardless of your environment.
Wharton accepts simultaneous applications to its executive and traditional MBA programs. In order to apply to both programs during the same admissions cycle, applicants must submit separate and complete applications, following the instructions and deadlines required by each program. Dual applicants must also indicate within both applications that they are applying to the other program and whether a decision has been rendered by the other program and, if so, what that decision is. Admitted students may only matriculate in one program. Acceptance of one admission offer will automatically negate any others.
View admissions decision by logging into your online application account after 5:00 p.m. ET (Philadelphia and Global applicants) and 5:00 p.m. PT (San Francisco applicants) on the decision release date.
|Class Entering in 2024|
Application Deadline October 11, 2023 (11:59 p.m.*)
Interview invitations released November 15, 2023
Decisions released December 21, 2023
Application Deadline January 17, 2024 (11:59 p.m.*)
Interview invitations released February 22, 2024
Decisions released March 28, 2024
|*ET for Philadelphia and Global applicants, PT for San Francisco applicants.
Decision dates are guaranteed only if all application materials are received by the deadline.
Wharton has a two-year residency requirement. No credit toward the degree can be given to candidates on the basis of work completed in any other program. Students can gain waivers for up to two core courses in which they have considerable experience, allowing them to take more electives.
All deferral and extension requests are handled on a case-by-case basis, and it is our general practice not to grant deferrals and extensions, except in extenuating circumstances. Candidates who wish to request a deferral or extension must submit the reason and request in writing to the Director of Admissions. If the deferral request is granted, a deposit will be required to reserve a place in the class; this deposit will be applied to the first semester’s tuition. If the deferral request is denied, the candidate will need to reapply and may or may not be admitted based on the competitiveness of the applicant pool that given year.
Evaluating EMBA Programs
The Wharton MBA Program for Executives Admission team offers advice and criteria for evaluating executive MBA (EMBA) programs. The factors include academic quality, selectivity, and program format.
How do you get a sense of the quality of an EMBA class?
The selectivity of the school is one factor in determining the skills, abilities, and experience of the peer group you’ll work with throughout your studies. Also, at Wharton we find that diversity is key to dynamic class discussion. Make sure that there are a lot of viewpoints represented. What industries are the students coming from? What geographical areas are they coming from?
What kinds of things should you be looking at when deciding whether to apply to a particular EMBA program?
First, what is the equivalence of the program to a full-time MBA? How does the curriculum compare? Do you want a very rigorous program or one that is less demanding?
Second, how selective is the school? Does the program require all applicants to take a standardized tests? Many executive MBA programs waive that requirement; at Wharton, we hold our executive and full-time MBA applicants to the same high standards.
Third, what about the program’s schedule and overall learning environment? How well does it fit with your career needs at this time and your personal learning style?
Also, how big is the alumni network and what do the alumni do? That’s a gauge of the opportunities that your MBA will open for you and a measure of the value of the degree in the marketplace.
What about the class schedule?
Ask yourself whether the program fits your lifestyle and your schedule. Is it offered one day per week, every other weekend, during week-long sessions, or a combination? What kind of support structures are available during residency periods? What kind of group study and individual work are required and supported between class sessions? Are you looking for a local degree, or are you willing to travel farther for a program with a wide geographic reach, broad industry scope, and/or international reputation?
Be sure you consider your learning style as well. Some students find that if classes are too concentrated, it’s difficult for them to absorb the coursework or that they lose momentum if the gaps between sessions are very long. At Wharton, we’ve found that Friday and Saturday classes work best since it is more feasible for students to take the time out to attend. There’s less disruption and they can they see the impact of learning on their ongoing work, creating a better value for the student and employer.
What differentiates the curriculum of various EMBA programs?
Many are “lockstep” programs, in which all students take the same classes, at the same time, throughout the duration of the program. That’s fine when the entire class has exactly the same interests, but otherwise be sure that the electives you need are offered and that courses can be tailored to your career advancement goals. At Wharton, 45 percent of the classes are electives, and each class has the opportunity during the first year to select the electives offered to them in the second year.
If you are interested in senior management roles, make sure the program you choose focuses on helping you improve your leadership style. What kinds of leadership courses does it offer, and how effective are they?
And don’t forget the basics – how many hours will be spent in class? Who teaches the courses? What is the core curriculum and how is it structured?
What other qualities add value to an EMBA?
Many executive programs have differentiators, but be sure what is unique about a program is both relevant to your goals and integrated within the program’s philosophy. Make sure that the international aspect of the program you choose is substantive and carried out in the rest of the curriculum. Ask whether the class has an opportunity to choose the location for the overseas project or residency. Team projects and experiential learning opportunities can also add value, giving students a chance to learn organizational dynamics and leadership while putting the lessons they learn into immediate play.
What about funding?
Funding is often a critical part of the decision-making process, and you will have to weigh your goals for your career, the value of the degree in the job market, and the availability of financial resources, including sponsorship and loans. Many employers are willing to sponsor students in executive MBA programs either fully or partially, and many schools offer loan programs to support students who are not fully sponsored.
Check to see whether the school requires sponsorship, whether admission is contingent upon a student’s receiving employer funding, and what loan opportunities are available for EMBA students. The Wharton MBA Program for Executives does not require financial sponsorship, except for Fellows candidates. Loans are available for qualified self-sponsored students.