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The Lauder Institute Essay Guidelines

Wharton’s Lauder MBA/MA offers a unique opportunity for globally minded professionals seeking deep international experience to earn a master’s degree in international studies jointly with their business degree.

Not surprisingly, the dual degree program comes with some additions to the application. The Lauder Institute requires its own interview in addition to Wharton’s, a form where you indicate your Program of Concentration and target language within Lauder, and an oral proficiency interview.

Lauder also requires a detailed and specific essay of up to 800 words. At a glance, it looks complex and intimidating but I’ve broken it down into simple steps to help you master this requirement.


The Lauder Essay Question

Discuss why you are applying to the Lauder Institute, detailing specific reasons, experiences, and background for choosing your Program of Concentration, as well as your interest in further study in that program. Applicants to Programs of Concentration involving language study (Africa-French; East and Southeast Asia; Europe; Latin America; South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa) should also discuss what they hope to gain from advanced language and cultural education, as well as describe how they have learned the language they will study (e.g. undergraduate courses, undergraduate major, etc.). Finally, please describe how you see yourself benefiting from, and contributing to, the Lauder community. (800 words)


Considering Your Essay Content

First, start by considered the points you will make in your essay. There is some essential ground I recommend you cover:

  • Lauder Mission: Review and reflect on the Lauder Mission – how it applies to you, your experience, what you want to get out of the program and how Lauder will help you in your career. Incorporate language from the mission and reflections on how you fit into this mission and how it relates to you into your essays.


The Lauder Institute develops outstanding business leaders who look globally, engage locally, and act responsibly to have powerful impact in the world.


  • Why Add Lauder to a Wharton MBA: The Wharton MBA offers significant global resources and opportunities. Your essay should create a compelling case for why you should seek to complete the Lauder degree as well.
  • Global Mindset and Career Aspirations: Your essay should demonstrate your global mindset and how it is fundamental component of your post-Lauder/Wharton career aspirations.


Above all, when crafting your essay, make sure it embodies three key attributes (the three C’s):

  • Compelling: Use compelling examples to support your points; you are creating an argument for why you should be admitted.
  • Clear: Remember your audience has a lot of essays to read.
  • Complete: Answer all parts of the question; especially important with a long essay.


Three Steps to Structure Your Essay

The Lauder Essay is long – 800 words – with multiple components, so some structure and focus is necessary.

Step 1 – Break it into sections: We suggest first breaking the essay down into the following sections when you first develop the content:

  • Discuss why you are applying to the Lauder Institute.
  • Discuss your interest in further academic study at Lauder.
  • Explain how you see yourself benefiting from, and contributing to, the Lauder community. 
  • Applicants to Programs of Concentration involving language study should also:
    • Discuss what you hope to gain from advanced language and cultural education.
    • Describe how you have learned the language you will study.


Step 2 – Put it together and review: Make sure that the essay, as a whole, flows and is complete. Does it give a strong sense of why this is the right program for you and how you see yourself contributing to and benefitting from it?

Step 3 – Get external input: Have your Fortuna Coach review and/or someone who knows you and whose input and judgement you value.

Additional Considerations for the Lauder Essay

Consider the following points as you create and refine your Lauder Essays:

  • Speak with students and alumni: Complement online research with conversations with Lauder students and alumni. Ask questions about the program, why they chose Lauder and how the program fits into their short- and long-term goals. Use this knowledge in your essays to demonstrate a deep understanding of the program.
  • Coordinate your Lauder & Wharton: Essays and your entire application are read by both the Wharton and Lauder admissions committees. Make sure that your Lauder and Wharton are in sync and complement each other to create a comprehensive and compelling whole. Essays should be seamless, coordinated and make sense for both committees.
  • Your “Voice” is in Your Essays: As you create and review your essays, try to make sure that what you say and how you say it shares who you are, what is important to you and that your answers are authentic – Admissions readers at Lauder want to get to know you with essays being a critical way of learning about you.


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