Category Archives: Wharton

Wharton GPA Impact on MBA Acceptance Rate

I posted an updated Wharton acceptance rate analysis which is more accurate than this article. It shows how GPA and GMAT affect your odds of admissions.

Wharton GPA MBA Admissions Acceptance Business School

When applying to a top MBA program, GMAT and GPA are important parts of the application. As one would expect from a top MBA program, at Wharton GPA has a large impact on your chances of admission. The question is how much does your undergraduate GPA affect your chance of admission. I analyzed the acceptance data from the past two and half years at GMAT Club to see how much GPA impacts acceptance rate. Unlike Harvard where there is little benefit from GPA until 3.8 or higher, at Wharton the acceptance rate generally increases as the undergraduate GPA rises.

At Wharton GPA Increases Chance of Admission

Wharton GPA vs. Acceptance rate MBA Business School You can clearly see that acceptance rate is lowest below 3.0 and highest in the 3.8 to 4.0 range. There is a slight dip in the 3.6 to 3.79 GPA range. I took a closer look and it appears to be because more applicants in this GPA range worked in industries that Wharton does not value. There are more applicants in the 3.6 to 3.79 range that work in Government and Mutual Funds and fewer in Military and Venture Capital, which are industries that Wharton seems to prefer.

Higher GPA does appear to increase the chance of an applicant being admitted to Wharton, but the slope is not as steep as I would have expected. Unfortunately for some, GPA is stuck in stone. Applicants who hope to increase their chance of admissions need to focus on GMAT to increase their odds. Luckily, data suggests that very high GMAT scores significantly increase the odds that Wharton will accept an applicant. If an applicant studies hard for the GMAT, then a high GMAT score is highly likely achievable. There are many companies that offer GMAT preparation which will increase your chance of admission.

Wharton does not publish statistics on GPA for us to analyze. However, we can look at what the average GPA is in my data set. The mean GPA for accepts at Wharton in my dataset is 3.61 GPA with a middle 80% GPA in the range of 3.23 to 3.94. The mean Wharton GPA of 3.61 is lower than the mean Harvard GPA of 3.66.

Wharton Interview Preparation Guide

wharton interview preparation guide MBA business schoolCheck out my updated Wharton MBA Interview Questions and preparation guide for the most up to date list of questions.

Now that I have been invited to a Wharton interview, I am spending as much time as I can prepping for interview. In the spirit of teamwork and cooperation, I’ll share with you the most common Wharton interview questions I found on Clear Admit. I only included questions from interviews that happened in the past two years, since the Wharton interview format changed. I don’t think that the older interviews are relevant anymore. If questions were asked to more than one person on a Clear Admit interview report then I put the number of times in parentheses.

Wharton Interview Questions:

1)    Describe your views of the Team Based Discussion. (7)

2)    Do you have any questions for me? (6)

3)    Do you have any updated to your application? (4)

4)    What extracurricular at Wharton? (4)

5)    Was your behavior in the Team Based Discussion representative of the way you typically act in a group setting? (4)

6)    Walk me through your resume. (4)

7)    Why MBA? (2)

8)    What could you have done differently as a team? (2)

9)    Why Wharton? (2)

10) Tell me about a time you had to persuade others. (2)

11) What are your post MBA goals? (2)

12) What specific quality or qualities do you hope to hone at Wharton?

13) Tell me about one time you had to overcome an obstacle working in a group and what you would do differently if you had to do it again?

14) Tell me about a time you failed and what you learned.

15) What are the 3 top qualities you think a leader should have?

16) What are 3 qualities you look for in a business school, especially our school

17) Why now?

18) What do you do in free time?

19) Tell me about a time you faced a leadership challenge.

20) Tell me about a time when you worked in a group in which everyone did not agree and how did your team resolve the situation?

21) What do you think worked well in the Team Based Discussion?

It seems that pretty much everyone is asked how they thought the team based discussion went and everyone is given the chance to ask questions at the end. Beyond that there are four other questions that are asked frequently, which you should prepare for. Good luck in your Wharton interview! Check out my MBA Interview Preparation Guide for more tips.

Acceptance Rate by GMAT for Wharton

An MBA applicant’s GMAT score impacts their acceptance rate at business schools such as Wharton. During the application process, GMAT is one of the few metrics that the applicant has any control over. Undergraduate GPA is already set in stone, work experience can’t be changed and recommendations are written by someone else. The only control a student has is their GMAT, resume and essays, so it isn’t surprising that applicants stress over their score. Today I am going to quantify exactly how much the GMAT impacts you chance of admission into Wharton.

The first piece of information to look at is the distribution of GMAT scores for Wharton applicants. The graph below shows how many students who applied had each score. For the GMAT overall, students who receive a 760 or higher are in the 99th percentile, yet 20% of Wharton applicants have a 760 or higher. I think this data is somewhat skewed by the fact that it comes from the GMAT Club website, where I imagine applicants score higher on average. Surprisingly, the distribution is actually relatively flat between 710 and 760.

Wharton GMAT Distribution

Wharton Applicant GMAT Distribution MBANext I created a scatter plot of acceptance rate verses Wharton GMAT score. You can see that there is definitely a strong correlation between GMAT and chance of admission, with an R squared of 75%. Unexpectedly, the acceptance rate for applicants with scores below 700 was actually higher than the acceptance rate for applicants with a 710 or 720. Actually 720 had the lowest acceptance rate even though it is the average score for the Wharton class of 2015.

Wharton GMAT Acceptance Rate Scatter Plot

GMAT Acceptance Admissions MBA BusinessI used a polynomial trend line for the scatter-plot because it had the highest R-squared. The polynomial actually creates a slight curve up at the low end for people with GMAT scores below 700. I don’t think this actually means that your chance of getting into Wharton is higher with a 690 vs. 720. I expect that this phenomenon is due to reporting bias for the GMAT Club data. Someone who gets into Wharton with a low GMAT score is more likely to report it than a person with a high score. I also think that someone with a low GMAT is less likely to even put their GMAT score in their profile because it is highly visible on the website.

Wharton Acceptance Rate by GMAT

GMAT Acceptance MBA Wharton Business School Admissions

In the graph above, I smoothed out the acceptance rate by GMAT score and adjusted it up. In the GMAT Club data, not everyone updates their profile with the ultimate decision, so the acceptance rate needs to be adjusted up slightly. In the end GMAT score did not affect acceptance as much as I expected. However, probability of admissions is roughly twice as high for applicants with a 770 or higher compared to an applicant with a score of 700.

On a personal note, today I was invited by Wharton to interview for a spot in the class of 2016. I am extremely excited to be interviewed and will be concentrating on preparing for my interview over the next few weeks.


Acceptance Rate by Wharton GMAT

Wharton Accecptance Rate by GMAT Upenn MBA AdmissionsThis original analysis did not take into account several additional factors which impact acceptance, such as GPA, years of work experience and the industry the applicant worked in. The graph above is the result of a regression model I built that takes into account all of the other factors. Once GPA, country of origin, work experience are taken into account, the curve below 700 disappears. For more detail, check out the updated analysis of Wharton acceptance rate by GMAT and the disadvantage of applying from India.

How Much Does Your Industry Affect Your Acceptance Rate at Wharton

If you have any doubt that the industry you are in and what company you work at affect your acceptance rate at top MBA schools, then I have wonderful bridge I can sell you for a bargain. I know, my joke is lame, I should stick to the numbers.

We all know that your industry has a big impact on your acceptance rate, but which industries are the best to work in if you want to get into  a top MBA program like Wharton. First, lets take a look at the distribution of applicants at Wharton by industry. I removed all industries with fewer than 20 applicants over the 3 years I analyzed.

Wharton Industry Distribution MBA Applicants Business School

As you can see, the greatest number of applicants came from consulting and investment banking. I removed the “Other” category from this graph because it was too large in comparison to each individual industry. There were 883 “Other” applicants.

Now what you all are waiting for, which industries are best for getting into Wharton? The answer shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, it is Venture Capital. The biggest surprise for me was that military and defense came in second by a wide margin. I guess risking your life for your country may pay off for some lucky soldiers. I expected consulting acceptance rate to be pretty high, but it was only slightly above average. If you work in manufacturing or mutual funds, then you might want to give up your dream of going to Wharton, my magic eight ball says “Outlook not so good”.

Wharton Acceptance Rate Industry Admissions MBA Business School

If you are really passionate about applying to Wharton, then you have probably already noticed that the average acceptance rate in my graph is only 13% and not the actual acceptance rate of 20%. This is because I get my data from GMAT Club, and not everyone updates their profile with the final decision. I considered scaling all of the numbers up 63% to account for this but the venture capital acceptance rate got a little crazy up at 54%. My theory is that venture capitalists are a lot more likely than your average candidate to update their profile on GMAT Club when they get it.

What is going on with the investment bankers having a below average acceptance rate? Perhaps they come across as too aggressive and arrogant in their interview, or maybe they are too busy working 100 hour weeks to update their profile once they are accepted.

Harvard vs. Wharton: How Does Age Affect Acceptance Rates

Admissions consultants often claim that Harvard prefers younger applicants, so I decided to take a look at how age impacts Harvard acceptance rate compared to Wharton. I have heard that Harvard will ding you for waiting too long to apply. I used GMAT Club data for this analysis.

Below is a graph showing the GMAT by age. You can see that for both schools, 25-year-olds score the highest on the GMAT, then the score consistently drops from there.  Both schools have relatively similar scores, but Harvard is higher for the 27 to 29 age range.

Harvard Wharton Age GMATGiven just the GMAT information one would think that younger applicants would have the highest acceptance rate. This is not the case because top MBA programs value leadership and work experience so that students add value to the classroom.

I combined some age ranges because the accept/denied data was a little thin after I removed everyone who didn’t include their age. Wharton has a relatively flat acceptance rate, with a dip in the 29 to 30 age range. Harvard on the other hand had a large spike in the 27 to 28 age range, roughly 50% higher than any other age range. It seems that Harvard prefers applicants who are roughly 5 to 6 years out of school significantly more.

Wharton Harvard MBA Acceptance by Age Business SchoolSurprisingly, applicants who are older than 30 did pretty well. I have heard that the older you are the more difficult it is to be accepted. The over 30 group also has the lowest GMAT, so clearly the longer you are out of your undergraduate program, the less schools care about GMAT. I took a quick look at which industries had the lowest and highest application age. It wasn’t surprising to find that consultants generally applied younger, and military veterans and lawyers generally applied when they were older.



How Important is the GMAT to Wharton

I posted an updated Wharton acceptance rate analysis which is more accurate than this article. It shows how GPA and GMAT affect your odds of admissions.

Continuing the series on GMAT vs. GPA, here is the article on how much Wharton values the GMAT. Wharton is the 3rd ranked school according to US News and World Report.

Over the past year, both the director of MBA admissions Ankur Kumar and dean Dean Thomas S. Robertson have left Wharton. Many people have suggested that the quality of a Wharton MBA is declining due to dropping application numbers and prominent staff quitting. I personally think that Wharton is just as strong as it has ever been, and that it has just had an unlucky streak of staff quitting.

Some experts have suggested that because Wharton has seen a drop in applications and has had high level staff quit recently, Wharton will have a very conservative year for admissions and will focus on raising the measurable statistics such as GPA and GMAT. Lets see how recent events have shaped Wharton’s weighting for the GMAT.

The first graph was created using the admissions data from the past three years. The slope is .0036 for accepts. This means that over the past 3 years Wharton values 10 GPAT points the same as it values .036 GPA points. An application with an 800 and 3.00 would be viewed similarly to a 700 and 3.36.

Wharton MBA GMAT vs. GPA Admissions StatisticsThe interesting question is how have recent events shaped Wharton’s admissions decisions. In the graph below you can see that slope of the accepted students has increased from .0036 to .0061, suggesting that this recruiting cycle Wharton has been weighting GMAT more heavily than GPA compared to previous years. The slope is now .0061, which means that 10 GMAT points are considered similarly to .061 GPA points.  An application with an 800 and 3.00 would be viewed similarly to a 700 and 3.61.

Wharton GMAT vs. GPA Admissions MBAAlthough recent data suggests that Wharton has decided to weight GMAT as more important than GPA, this conclusion is premature. This recent data is very thin (it is based on only 14 accepts) and should not be considered completely accurate.

Methodology: The scatterplot represents the 50% of applicants who are accepted with the lowest GMAT and GPA. It isn’t helpful to look at the top 50% of applicants because those are not the marginal candidates who barely got in. I occasionally will remove very low outliers because those candidates may have been admitted due to very strong connections that most applicants don’t have. I never remove more than 5% of the total accepted students as outliers. The slope of the scatterplot demonstrates the point at which the school is indifferent to GMAT vs. GPA.