Wharton - Admissions & Profile

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Quick Facts

Successful Applicant Profile

More than perhaps any other top business school, Wharton looks for well-established leaders capable of thriving in the areas of finance or consulting. Although Wharton graduates work in many different fields, approximately 40-50% of the students in the two-year MBA program enter finance-related fields, more than at almost any other top MBA program. Wharton looks for a considerable number of students capable of succeeding in the competitive and demanding area of finance. This necessitates the school's selecting students with proven ambition, strong quantitative skills, and exceptional analytical faculties. A little less than half of the students enter the school with an undergraduate major in the fields of business or economics. In recent years, the school increased its emphasis on composing a diverse student body. Consequently, approximately 50-60% of students are either internationals or U.S. minorities. Similarly, the school also increased the importance of a potential student's "fit" with the Wharton community.

  • GMAT Score: 700+
  • Work Experience: 4-7 years
  • Undergraduate Education: Tier 1 University
  • Future Career Path: Finance (most common path), Consulting

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Reputation & Job Prospects

See the rankings page for the school's rank in various publications.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is the oldest business school in the country and among the most elite in the world. With what is widely considered the best undergraduate general business program in the country and quite possibly the top MBA program in the country for students pursuing finance, Wharton is an instant credibility builder on any resume.

For a good number of years, between 40% and 50% of two-year MBA graduates entered finance-related fields (particularly, investment banking and brokerage services). Nonetheless, approximately 25% of the graduating class entered consulting and considerably smaller portions of the student body entered consumer goods, health care, and real-estate. As is the case with graduates of other top MBA programs, Wharton graduates earn a median base salary upon graduation of at least $100,000 and most students experience relatively little difficulty in finding a job.

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Notable Faculty

As a leader in finance and economics, Wharton is recognized as a school with a top-notch faculty.

  • Simon Kuznets - Taught economics and won a Nobel Prize in 1971 for his work in developing a means to measure GNP. Professor Kuznets created statistical data such as output, prices, investment, and capital stock--all components of GNP--to measure GNP.
  • Lawrence Klein - Taught economics and won a Nobel Prize in 1980 for his work creating computer-based models to derive the relationship between events such as oil shocks and macro economics. A pioneer in the area of econometrics, Dr. Klein used vast amounts of data to test theories and predict macro economic trends.
  • Edward C. Prescott - Taught economics and won a Nobel Prize in 2004 for work in the area of dynamic macroeconomics. Dr. Prescott's work represented significant developments in the area of monetary policy.

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School History

In 1881, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania opened in College Hall and became the first collegiate business school in the United States. (Wharton was not the first institution to establish a MBA program as Harvard claimed this distinction in 1908). At the urging of Philadelphia entrepreneur Joseph Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania opened The Wharton School to provide business education in a time of immense economic change at the hands of industrialization and a post-Civil War environment. In 1884, Wharton awarded degrees to its first graduating class, which consisted of five students who earned Bachelor of Finance degrees. During the U.S. economic boom of the early 20th century, Wharton extended its areas of study to provide greater coverage in accounting, marketing, industrial management, transportation, and business law.

In 1915 in an episode that did not mark one of Wharton's finer hours, the institution fired Professor Scott Nearing over his ardent advocacy on behalf of the prohibition of child labor and the adoption of progressive social reforms. In 1921 (13 years after Harvard established its MBA program), Wharton launched its MBA program with an emphasis on specialization. Contrary to Harvard's case study method, Wharton's pedagogical method for its new MBA program called upon students to undertake research and writing in pursuit of additional business acumen. In 1931, Wharton conferred its first MBA upon a woman, nearly 30 years before Harvard awarded its first MBA to a woman.

Already a well-recognized school in the field of finance, Wharton strengthened its position as a leader in this field when it established The Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research in 1969. Today, this center is the oldest of its kind in the country (although this distinction depends somewhat on one's definition of a financial research center). Wharton continued expanding its academic research by opening the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center in 1973. As the first full-scale and fully-integrated entrepreneurial center at a major business school, the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center represented Wharton's commitment to a broad educational curriculum. In 2000, Wharton expanded its research centers by launching the Center for Health Management and Economics. With the wide variety of educational offerings yet a reputation as perhaps the best MBA finance degree in the world, Wharton earned a place in the top-tier of business schools. For an entire decade from 1998-2008, the Financial times ranked Wharton as the number one MBA program.

Source: The Wharton School, Interviews, Lippincott Library

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With tens of thousands of alums from Wharton's undergraduate business school, two-year MBA program, and executive MBA program well placed in many of the premier business institutions in the world, the Wharton School has earned a reputation for producing successful businessmen in varying fields (especially finance). The following list includes graduates of all Wharton programs.

Business: Finance

  • Adler, Michael - served as CFO of Expedia
  • Bloch, Henry W. - served as founder and CEO of H&R Block
  • Bloch, Richard A. - served as founder and CEO of H&R Block
  • Cohen, Steven A. - served as founder of SAC Capital Partners
  • Hill, Vernon - served as founder, chairman and CEO of Commerce Bank
  • Lynch, Peter - served as vice chairman of Fidelity
  • Miller, Bill - served as CEO of Legg Mason Capital Management
  • Neff, John - served as chairman of Wellington Management
  • Wolf, Robert - served as president and CEO of UBS Investment Bank Americas

Business: Other

  • Ambani, Anil - served as chairman of ADAG
  • Bosack, Len - served as co-founder of Cisco Systems
  • Castellini, Robert - owned Cincinnati Reds baseball team
  • Catz, Safra - served as president and CFO of Oracle Corporation
  • Collins, Arthur D. Jr - served as chairman and CEO of Medtronic
  • Crandall, Robert - served as chairman and CEO of American Airlines
  • Eskew, Mike - served as chairman and CEO of UPS
  • Fain, Richard - served as chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
  • Huntsman, Jon Sr. - served as founder, chairman and CEO of Huntsman Corporation
  • Kleisterlee, Gerard - served as CEO and President of Philips
  • Kobayashi, Yotaro - served as chairman and co-CEO of Fuji Xerox
  • Leahy, Terry - served as CEO of Tesco
  • Mittal, Aditya - served as president and CFO of Mittal Steel Company
  • Musk, Elon - served as founder and CEO of Paypal
  • Nelson, Ben - served as CEO of Snapfish
  • Pangilinan, Manuel V. - served as president and CEO of Philippine Telephone Company
  • Perelman, Ronald O. - served as chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes Group
  • Platt, Lewis E. - served as chairman and CEO of Boeing
  • Pratt, Edmund T. Jr. - served as chairman and CEO of Pfizer
  • Roberts, Brian L. - served as chairman and CEO of Comcast
  • Sculley, John - served as CEO of Pepsi
  • Tisch, James S. - served as CEO of Loews Corporation
  • Trump, Donald - served as founder and CEO of Trump Organization
  • Waghray, Ajay - served as CIO of Verizon Wireles
  • Lieberfarb, Warren - served as president and CEO of Warner Home Video
  • Wilson, Gary L. - served as chairman and CEO of Northwest Airlines

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