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Wharton MBA Essay 2: 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)

The first line of the question is a hint on what you should highlight in Essay 2.

“Describe an impactful experience or accomplishment that is not reflected elsewhere in your application.”


By application, the admission team means the essays and the short answer that are part of the online application. Any impactful experience worth mentioning should be part of your resume.

Once you shortlist the experience, here is how you structure the essay

1) Start with a personal story

The professional gains essay is a reverse advertisement of the Wharton MBA curriculum, learning environment, and networking opportunities. As we had mentioned in other school essay tips, plain vanilla description of the program has low recall when the admission team is reading over 6000 application. To stand out, you must understand what Wharton values.

1) History of Learning and Growing

The school’s insistence of accepting the majority of students with a GMAT score above 700 is from the expectations of a quant-heavy program like Wharton MBA. Since 2012, when the school changed its curriculum in favor of an analytics-heavy core and elective, Wharton has been seeking applicants, who have a history of learning aggressively, growing meteorically and solving complex industry and functional problems.

The learning starts at your Academics. If you don’t have a 3.5+ GPA on a 4.0 scale or an 80% or a B+ grade, the next data point that the admission team has is your work experience.

Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 words)

Based on the 9 leadership qualities we have highlighted, you can find the one person who had the most impact in your life, someone who has inspired you or changed the trajectory of your life.

If you are mentioning a public figure, answering this essay becomes tricky as there are multiple ups and downs in their life that might not all translate to an interesting narrative for the essay.

For the first example, we have used Elon Musk as the leader we admire. With a career spanning over 25 years, capturing Elon without getting lost in the details of his entrepreneurial maneuvers at Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity would be a challenge. We were forced to focus on one venture – Tesla to meet the word limit and capture the ‘essence of his leadership’.

For the fictitious profile, we focus on an applicant from a Business family, who finds leadership synonymous with Entrepreneurship. Instead of narrating Elon’s entrepreneurial journey, the applicant chooses to start with an event in 2003 when GM became the first car manufacturer to pioneer Electrical Vehicle to mass market and the first to crush it down to disbandment when the benefits of the California pollution regulation expired.

The second Sample Essay is of a fictitious profile – a Valuation Analyst working in the Healthcare industry.

The applicant strategically mentions Family Business (Restaurant) to highlight his work ethics and offers the background story of how his interest veered away from valuation to consulting.

Strategy: Starting the story with the restaurant business and declining an offer to work on the family business strategically highlight the applicant’s passion for healthcare and reducing the cost of the services. The immigrant story is incorporated to demonstrate the plight of millions of Americans and the inefficient healthcare system.

Value from Columbia MBA

• Career-focused path in Healthcare and Pharma Management
• New Venture Creation with the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center
• Lead the Healthcare Industry Association (HCIA)
• Organize the annual Columbia Healthcare Conference

Post-MBA Goal (Short-term): Finance to Consulting

Post-MBA Goal (Long-term): Start a Consulting firm offering end-to-end service for the Healthcare industry in deal valuation, efficiency planning, technology integration, and operations.

Columbia MBA Essay 2: Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 words)

The approach that we are suggesting is based on profiles of clients who received admission to the Columbia MBA program. The most obvious way to answer the essay is to write 3-4 unique selling points of the program and say that you would be a good fit based on your post-MBA job function/industry and the goals. But since in the goals’ essay, we have mentioned at least 2-3 values from Columbia MBA, the fit essay should capture one unique advantage of the program. The uniqueness should be obvious. It can’t be general statements about experiential learning, global immersion programs, or curriculum - three areas that are quoted the most.

We would suggest that you reverse the question and answer it.

Why do you feel that you would be a good fit for Columbia Business School?

This is for two reasons.

Experience: Columbia Business School doesn’t accept one type of candidate. The entry criteria are stringent, but that doesn’t mean the admission team is not seeking diversity within the highly academic candidate pool. The experience becomes the uniqueness through which the academic and experienced profiles are separated. Narrating an event that is tied closely to your biggest achievement and connecting it to one of the unique advantages of the Columbia MBA program is a template that works for the ‘fit’ essay.




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