Established in 1881, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania was the first business school in the U.S.

Wharton also boasts the world’s largest faculty with 261 standing and associate members across 11 academic departments and 19 research centers.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect about the school is the graduates it produces. The school’s alumni enjoy a well-deserved reputation for being smart, working hard, and putting politics aside and looking out for the best interests of their organizations.

Below is the three-page transcript of our interview with Alex Brown, Senior Associate Director of Admissions.

Describe how the MBA program at Wharton is evolving?

The program goes through an evolutionary pdiscrocess each year as a consequence of our faculty’s understanding of how the realm of business is shifting.  As a result, new electives come into the offering while others may be dropped.  There are about 200 electives, which is quite a large selection for the students to choose from.  The core curriculum also undergoes a review in terms of what is appropriate and how the courses are best presented.  Outside of the academics, there are always new clubs and activities which are student generated. There are a lot of feedback loops in place to assess and evaluate what we are doing which gives us guidance and direction to go forward in a meaningful way.

How does this year’s class compare to classes from previous years?

The application volume dropped significantly this year, similar to the experience of other schools.  However, with regards to those we have admitted, the quality of our students has held strong and at least as strong as the last couple of years.  Just measuring GPAs, GMATs, and work experience, they would suggest that this incoming class is as strong as we have seen in recent years.

What general advice would you like applicants considering Wharton’s MBA to know?

In general, applicants need to understand how intense the application process is.  You can’t put a reasonable application together in a week or two.  This definitely takes a lot of time, a lot of analysis, introspection, and a lot of self discovery.  In terms of selecting schools, you’ve got to do the research so you can apply to the right schools.  Over the years the candidates are sending applications to less schools as a result of doing more research before applying.

When do you encourage applicants to apply?

We have three rounds.  I think a myth exists that you have to apply early.  The reality is to try not to apply late.  Avoid the third round, if you can.  Apply in round one and two.  It’s really a question of when your application is ready.  The only advantage of applying in round one is that the candidate will get a decision before winter break and the round two deadlines come around.

Are there specific characteristics that you target in an application to help you identify a “best fit” candidate?

That is a tough one to answer because I think a lot of schools look for the same sort of characteristics.  We want candidates who have demonstrated leadership, are well-rounded, who are successful at work and have open personalities.  We also like to see team players who have strong value systems.  This is a community that believes that sharing and helping each other is better than going it alone and doing your own thing.  So we want candidates that fit in with that kind of culture.

Page 1 2 3