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How to Approach the 2020-2021 Wharton EMBA Essays


If you are considering an Executive MBA, Wharton’s program is among the top EMBA programs in the world. With campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco, the program offers working professionals the option to choose the location that best meets their needs.

The Wharton EMBA program lasts 24 months. During this time, students have access to career coaching, workshops and resources through Wharton’s MBA Executive Career Advancement Team. Students also can take part in optional Global Modular Courses led by Wharton faculty across the globe.

Want to know if the Wharton EMBA program is the right fit for you? Take a look at the class of 2022 profile. On average, students have 12 years of work experience, and their employers often sponsor them.

Below, please find this year’s 2020-2021 application deadlines along with Personal MBA Coach’s advice on how to tackle the Wharton EMBA application essays.

Wharton Upcoming EMBA Application Deadlines:

Round 1: December 2, 2020

Round 2: February 10, 2021

Wharton 2020-2021 EMBA Application Essays:

Essay 1: What are your career objectives and how will the Wharton MBA Program for Executives contribute to your attainment of this objective? (750 words maximum)

Essay 2: During the spring of 2020, Wharton Professor Mauro Guillen created and taught the course “The Impact of Coronavirus.” As part of this course, Prof. Guillen interviewed Prof. Sigal Barsade on the concept of emotional contagion and its impact on leadership. Please review this interview and then respond to the question below:

Profs. Mauro Guillen & Sigal Barsade discuss Emotional Contagion What have you learned about yourself during the Coronavirus pandemic? Please share special examples about how these times have impacted you personally and professionally. (750 words maximum)

Essay 3: Given your already demanding job and the desire to remain committed to important family and personal obligations, how do you plan to handle the additional demands on your time once you enroll? (500 words maximum)

Essay 4 (Optional): If necessary, you may use this optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware. (300 words maximum)


Personal MBA Coach’s Tips:

Essay 1: What are your career objectives and how will the Wharton MBA Program for Executives contribute to your attainment of this objective? (750 words maximum)

For this first question, we recommend a straightforward response. State your goals clearly and provide some brief perspective on how you arrived at these aspirations. In most cases, candidates should include both a short-term and a long-term goal.

This question does not require you to walk through your entire resume. Instead, focus on your past just enough to establish your key skills as well as how and why you will succeed in the future.

Be specific about how Wharton will help you close your skill gaps and what opportunities you plan to take advantage of on campus. Avoid vague statements and do your research to determine what Wharton specifically will offer you. While you should not include a laundry list, think about classes you are particularly interested in or perhaps professors you are looking to study with. Be sure to show your understanding of Wharton’s culture here as well.

Essay 2: During the spring of 2020, Wharton Professor Mauro Guillen created and taught the course “The Impact of Coronavirus.” As part of this course, Prof. Guillen interviewed Prof. Sigal Barsade on the concept of emotional contagion and its impact on leadership. Please review this interview and then respond to the question below:

Profs. Mauro Guillen & Sigal Barsade discuss Emotional Contagion What have you learned about yourself during the Coronavirus pandemic? Please share special examples about how these times have impacted you personally and professionally. (750 words maximum)

This second essay question is clearly new this year. Begin by watching the video linked above. As you think about what you have learned about yourself and your leadership style during the pandemic, consider how you have demonstrated the leadership traits mentioned in the video. While the question is open-ended in terms of asking what you have learned about yourself, these learnings ideally will center on the leadership qualities discussed by Professor Sigal Barsade.

Consider introducing broad learnings about your leadership strengths and opportunity areas. Then, incorporate specific examples of your leadership in action, ideally including at least one professional example. This essay should clearly communicate your leadership style to the reader. While the question does not explicitly ask for this, you also may want to touch upon how you will bring these learnings to Wharton.



Essay 3: Given your already demanding job and the desire to remain committed to important family and personal obligations, how do you plan to handle the additional demands on your time once you enroll? (500 words maximum)

This response is extremely straightforward. The readers want to see that you have thoroughly considered the demands and that you have the time. Along with talking about work and the people on your team, mention family and friends or other support networks that you have. Nothing is too personal here.

Essay 4 (Optional): If necessary, you may use this optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware. (300 words maximum)

The fourth optional essay question should be answered only by those with extenuating circumstances. Read more on our approach to optional essays here.

Need help with your EMBA applications? Personal MBA Coach is here to guide you!

Founded by a Wharton and MIT graduate, we regularly help applicants navigate their applications each year. We also conduct mock interviews with former M7 interviewers on our team.

Personal MBA Coach has been helping candidates through all aspects of the MBA application process for 13 years with a 96% success rate. Call us today at +1 617-645-2424 or email scott@personalmbacoach.com for a free consultation on your profile along with how we can help make your MBA dreams a reality!

You also may be interested in the following blog posts:

2020-2021 Executive MBA Programs: Details, Deadlines & Requirements

Interview with Personal MBA Coach Founder, Scott Edinburgh

Personal MBA Coach’s Essay Writing Tips

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