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New: Wharton’s 2018-2019 Essays + Deadlines for Yale, Kellogg, Ross, Tuck & More

Wharton just announced a new MBA essay question for its 2018-2019 application.

Meanwhile Yale SOM, Kellogg, Tuck, Ross and UCLA Anderson announced admissions deadlines for the class of 2021 (See all deadlines for top b-schools in the chart at end.)

The timing of Wharton’s essay release is terrific for anyone looking to get a head start now on their applications, so let’s talk admissions strategy. As Wharton’s former head of Admissions, I’ll corroborate that its new essay question is a great one – not just for the Admissions Committee but for candidates themselves. Here’s why, along with my top tips for how to tackle this new essay for a standout application. First, here’s a little context.

First, Wharton really means it when it emphasizes in the intro of its essay section, “The Admissions Committee wants get to know you on both a professional and personal level.” The first essay question is the same as past years, asking “What do you hope to gain professionally from the Wharton MBA?” (500 words). This is your chance to connect your coherent and powerful career vision to how the Wharton MBA – in particular – will position you for success. In essence, Wharton wants to know what you’ll get out of being there.

The new second question is an opportunity to offer up something more personal. It’s an invitation reflect, and share additional insights and information that don’t show up anywhere else in your application:

“Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application. How will you use what you learned through that experience to contribute to the Wharton community?” (400 words)


If the first question, then, is asking what Wharton will give you, the second question is getting at this: What will you give Wharton in return? This is the bottom line for the admissions committee. They want to know what you’ve learned from your life experience, and how shape your contribution to the Wharton community and the classroom. The art of this type of combination question is to convey an example from your past experience and connect it directly to your future experience at Wharton (and beyond). And the challenge is to do so in less than 400 words, which requires both deep understanding of the community you’re hoping to join and deep self-awareness. This question isn’t just about what happened or how, but what you took away from the event, the ways it shaped your awareness and why it matters to you.

Prepare for crafting a great response with these three tips:

1. Don’t waste valuable real estate with lengthy storytelling.
Rather, frame your story and leave ample space to articulate the valuable lessons learned. The emphasis should be less about the example you choose – although it should be compelling and salient – and more about what you took from the experience, and how this awareness impacts your potential contribution to the Wharton community. Be sincerely reflective as well as discerning about your key learnings and their meaning, both for you and the future community you hope to join. As I’m sure you’ve realized by venturing to draft other essays, keep in mind that 400 words goes fast.

2. Demonstrate your understanding of the program as you answer the question.
This means writing from a deep understanding of Wharton’s culture and values. With more than 860 students in its incoming class, Wharton is not only team-based, but deeply community based. You’ll be entering a much larger organism than your cohort or your learning team, so be discerning about how your unique experiences stand to influence the experience of your fellow students, the program and the school writ large.

3. Share details.
Don’t fizzle out your essay with generic platitudes about how you gleaned ‘better communication skills,’ or how your experience will ‘continue to build your teamwork skill.’ Instead, show your reader how the experience prompted you to grow, and get specific. The Admissions Committee wants details. What specific insights are you bringing and how might they impact the community? Be clear about specific interactions, classes or experiences that will allow you to bring your self- knowledge to the campus.

The bottom line: Don’t fall into the storytelling trap, and remember, with 400 words, queue up your essay to emphasize the take away, and the impact of the experience on you, and, by extension, on Wharton.


First Round Deadlines for the 2018/2019 admissions season

Deadline School Decision
September 5, 2018 – R1 Harvard Business School  December 11, 2018
January 4, 2019 – R2 Harvard Business School  March 26, 2019
October 3, 2018 – early action Columbia Business School
January 4, 2019 – rolling admissions Columbia Business School
April 10, 2019 – final deadline Columbia Business School
September 18, 2018 – R1 Wharton December 13, 2018
January 3, 2019 – R2 Wharton March 21, 2019
April 2, 2019 – R3 Wharton May 9, 2019
September 12, 2018 – R1 Yale SOM December 5, 2018
January 7, 2019 – R2 Yale SOM April 2, 2019
Apr. 16, 2019 – R3 Yale SOM May 21, 2019
September 19, 2018 – R1 Kellogg Dec. 12, 2018
January 9, 2019 – R2 Kellogg April 12, 2019
April 10, 2019 Kellogg May 15, 2019
September 24, 2018 – R1 Dartmouth Tuck December 6, 2018
January 7, 2019 – R2 Dartmouth Tuck March 14, 2019
April 1, 2019 – R3 Dartmouth Tuck May 9, 2019
September 12, 2018 – (early action) Duke Fuqua October 19, 2018
October 10, 2018 – R1 Duke Fuqua December 13, 2018
January 3, 2019 – R2 Duke Fuqua March 18, 2019
March 20, 2018 – R3 Duke Fuqua April 29, 2019
Oct. 1, 2018 – R1 Michigan Ross December 21, 2019
January 7, 2019 – R2 Michigan Ross March 15, 2019
March 18, 2019 – R3 Michigan Ross May 10, 2019
October 2, 2018 – R1 UCLA Anderson December 18, 2018
January 8, 2019 – R2 UCLA Anderson March 26, 2019
April 16, 2019 – R3 UCLA Anderson May 21, 2019
September 18, 2018 – R1 Stanford GSB December 13, 2018
January 10, 2019 – R2 Stanford GSB March 28, 2019
April 3, 2019 – R3 Stanford GSB May 16, 2019
September 27, 2018 – R1 Chicago Booth December 6, 2018
January 3, 2019 – R2 Chicago Booth March 21, 2019
April 4, 2019 – R3 Chicago Booth May 16, 2019

Deadlines for the 
2018/2019 admissions season: European Schools


Deadline School Decision
Sept 19, 2018 – R1 (Sept. 2019 intake) INSEAD November 23, 2018
November 14, 2018 – R2 INSEAD January 25, 2019
January 9, 2019 – R3 INSEAD March 15, 2019
March 6, 2019 – R4 INSEAD May 10, 2019
May 1, 2018 (rolling) HEC Paris June 8, 2018
June 1, 2018 HEC Paris July 6, 2018
July 1, 2018 HEC Paris July 27, 2018
August 15, 2018 HEC Paris September 21, 2018
September 15, 2018 HEC Paris October 19, 2018
October 15, 2018 HEC Paris November 16, 2018
November 15, 2018 HEC Paris December 14, 2018


Stay tuned to Fortuna Admissions for updates as more admissions deadlines are announced in the coming weeks. For the most essential facts and stats on each program, check out Fortuna’s Business School Profiles.

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