America’s first business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is also one of the best business schools in the world, consistently ranked in one of the top three spots on Financial Times‘ ranking of Global MBA programs. Students from the Wharton School are CEOs of American Airlines, UPS, Johnson & Johnson, Paypal, and Time, Inc. Among the most famous alumni of Wharton are Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk.
Admissions are understandably competitive. Out of 6,408 applicants, only 837 students were accepted into the class of 2014, giving Wharton an acceptance rate of 13.1%. Of those, 42% were women, and 37% were international students. For the class of 2014, students scored from 560 to 790 on the GMAT, with the median score being 720. In addition to fantastic test scores, Wharton students, on average, have extensive work experience, with 5 years being the median and only 19% having 3 years or fewer of work experience.
These 837 qualified students come from all sorts of different undergraduate majors and fields of industry. A surprising 44% of accepted students majored in a humanities or social science field, which is way more than the 27% who majored in business in their undergraduate programs. Out of the remaining 29%, 24% majored in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field, and 5% majored in some other program. After receiving their bachelor’s degrees, most accepted students spent around 5 years earning industry experience, with the greatest percentage working in consulting. Other notable fields of industry are private equity/venture capital, consumer products, and investment banking.
However, one prohibitive aspect of attending Wharton is the tuition and living expenses such a decision entails. Tuition alone is $59,736, and with living costs, Wharton projects total expenses of $97,080 for its standard MBA program. For their MBA/MA Lauder Program (detailed below), total expenses sum to around $136,630. Financial aid and fellowships are available, but most students finance their Wharton experience through loans.
The curriculum of the Wharton Full-time MBA program is built around a core of 6 classes that are fundamental to all business management. There are two options for this core, the fixed core and the flexible core. The fixed core offers more structure around the six classes of teamwork and leadership, marketing, operations, microeconomics, regression analysis, and advanced topics in managerial economics. The flexible core allows for choices in content, timing, and format. The 18 different majors and 200+ electives revolve around the core curriculum. In addition to these choices, Wharton students can also choose to take classes at UPenn’s 11 other professional schools.
Wharton not only offers flexibility in its MBA curriculum, but also provides something called the Wharton Executive Coaching Feedback Program. This program allows students to receive 1-on-1 coaching and mentorship all year long. Another innovative program that Wharton offers is its international exchange program with business schools around the world. In an effort to give students insight into global business and finance, Wharton partners with schools such as London Business School in the U.K., Keio University’s Graduate School of Business in Japan, Guanghua School of Management in China, and INSEAD in France.
In addition to their standard MBA program with international opportunities, Wharton also offers the Lauder Program for students fluent in a foreign language. The MBA/MA – Lauder Program awards an MBA as well as an MA in international studies. Furthermore, there is a integrated three-year MBA/JD program that grants an MBA and a law degree from Penn Law. Wharton also partners with Penn School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to offer an MBA/MB in Biotechnology, as well as offering an MBA in Health Care Management.
As one of the world’s best and oldest institutions, Wharton School of Business provides innumerable opportunities and connections for those who are admitted. Wharton’s MBA is not only very prestigious but also very flexible, allowing for students to pursue a variety of interests in fields from biotechnology to law.