Wharton MBA - Class Profile, Curriculum, Salary & Cost

Wharton MBA CurriculumThe Philadelphia campus hosts the 24-month Wharton Full-time MBA program with the latest class enrolling 850 students. The focus of the Full-time program is to make the students better decision makers, encourage them to take risks, test their Entrepreneurial skills, and give them the opportunity to work with diverse groups in Global communities.

Wharton MBA Class Profile

Although not as popular as Harvard, Wharton ranks among the top five popular MBA programs in the world with the Class of 2016 receiving 6111 applications, enrolling only 859 students - a 14% acceptance rate. The mean GMAT for the class is 728 with 80% of the class scoring in the 710 to 750 range. 31% of the class was international students. Interestingly, minority students had a wider representation this year with 30% of the Americans in the class represented by a minority group (African-American, Asian-American, Native American, and other multiethnic backgrounds).

The Wharton MBA program has a similar class profile to Stanford MBA program with the Humanities/Social Science/Economics group taking the maximum representation in the class (45%). For students with Business background, Wharton is a better option, finding 27% representation, followed by the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at 23% representation. The vicinity to Washington DC might be one factor that has attracted 13% of the class from Government/Non-profit and Military background. The leading representation in the class is from consulting background (20%) with the third place shared between Private Equity/Venture Capital, and Consumer Products/Retail/Health Care/Energy (12%).

Wharton MBA Tuition

For a single MBA student, the total cost is approximately $195,084, if you exclude the International travel (as part of the Global Immersion Programs and other International exchange programs). If you are joining the program with your partner, the cost can go up to $253609, excluding the Health Insurance. The tuition Fee for the 2014-15 Academic year was at $68,210 with room and boarding taking up the second costliest component of the expense at $20,626 per year.

Wharton MBA Salary

Wharton MBA Class of 2014 students earned an annual median Base Salary of $125,000 with 15% of the employed receiving a guaranteed median year-end bonus of $27,000. 50% of the class who reported their salary earned a $10,000 median relocation fund, and 65% earned a median sign-on Bonus of $25,000.  Interestingly 18.4% of the class was not seeking employment at the time of the report.

The best paying industry was professional services with Wharton MBAs earning a median salary of $168,000, followed by consulting ($135,000) and Manufacturing ($125,000). As expected, the lowest paid industry was non-profit with a median salary of $83,000. Technology, Investment Banking, and Private Equity industries have made a comeback with 13.9%, 15.4% and 9.1% representation respectively.

Wharton MBA Curriculum

Wharton offers a flexible core curriculum with students required to attend only the core part of the curriculum. What makes it even more interesting is that only 3.5 credits is awarded to the fixed core part and 5.5 for the flexible part. This means students can choose their focus early in the course from Entrepreneurial, Marketing, Consulting, Retail, Real Estate, and Financial Services specializations.

Fixed Core Course (3.5 Credits)

Despite the option for the students to start the specialization, early at the core courses itself, a few fundamental courses are essential for building the foundation in Management.

LEADERSHIP: Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership

One key element of Management is Leadership, especially while working with a diverse team with conflicting interests and personalities. The simulation games in this course offer students the opportunity to work efficiently with the learning team, and learn about their strengths and weaknesses as a leader.

MARKETING: Marketing Management

Students get their first hands-on experience in using the marketing tools, and apply their analytical skills to reach niche markets. They will learn to use the concepts in marketing to segment the audience, target with the right marketing message, use branding and distribution strategies, and learn the art of pricing in this course.

OPERATIONS: Operations Management

A must attend course in almost all top MBA programs, Operations Management teaches Wharton MBAs to measure the inefficiency in a process by monitoring lead time, and capacity, and guides them with the steps to improve process efficiency by removing bottlenecks, restructuring the process or with better delegation.

MICROECONOMICS: Microeconomic Foundation

By familiarizing students with the concept of consumer behavior, production, cost, market prices, simple monopoly pricing, bundling, and other interesting theories in Microeconomics, the core course acts as the Foundation for students entering marketing and retail industry.

ECONOMICS: Advanced Topics in Managerial Economics

Once students are familiar with the theories in Microeconomics, they will learn to apply microeconomics in decision making from a firm’s point of view. Students dabble in a wide array of topics in managing under uncertainty, strategies for dealing with competitor firms, and pricing policies.

STATISTICS: Regression Analysis for Managers

Although some experts might question the need for Statistics in the fixed core curriculum, the course focuses on two key concepts: regression analysis and experimentation. By mastering tests and confidence interval, correlation and autocorrelation, and randomization, Wharton MBAs will be equipped to make better decisions with conclusive data and probabilistic estimates.


A key skill of CEOs or a Business leader is persuasive communication. To master the skill, Wharton MBA has developed a course that prepares students to speak confidently, answer Q&A, and address media shyness. The Speaking and Writing course is spread across fall and spring with advanced courses in Speaking planned for the spring schedule. If speaking is a key element of defining Business leadership, persuasive writing is a daily task that leaders have to master. With the Fall writing course, students have to master effective writing. It is a pass/fail course required for graduation.

Flexible Core Courses (5.5 Credits)

With a large part of the credits allocated to the flexible courses, Wharton MBAs can choose courses in Operations, Marketing, Accounting, Corporate Finance, Macroeconomics, Management & Legal Studies & Business Ethics. The flexibility is not limited to course selection. The core courses can be customized according to content and timing.

Majors & Electives

For Wharton MBAs looking for a career change, the Majors offer a great opportunity to select electives according to post-MBA functional and industry goals. Nearly 5% of the class opts for electives. The popular majors in Wharton MBA program are: Accounting, Business Economics and Public Policy, Entrepreneurial Management, Environmental and Risk Management, Finance, Health Care Management, Information: Strategy and Economics, Insurance and Risk Management,  Management,  Marketing,  Marketing and Operations Management (Joint Major), Multinational Management, Operations and Information Management, Organizational Effectiveness, Real Estate, Statistics, and Strategic Management.

Students have the option to choose from around 200 courses distributed across 10 departments, and for specialists, Penn’s 11 top schools: Law, Medicine, Arts & Science, Dental Medicine, Design, Nursing, Engineering, and Applied Science, Social Policy & Practice & Veterinary Medicine, offer an even diverse option. Year Two curriculum gives the students the option to select nine electives, and if they choose to major in one, they can select 5 electives in the same specialization.

After the 2012 revamp of Wharton MBA curriculum, the new electives included in the course are Advanced Corporate Finance, Advanced Real Estate Investment and Analysis, Competitive Strategy

Consumer Behavior, Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation, Fixed Income Securities, Health Care Field Application Project, Information: Industry Structure and Competitive Strategy, Innovation, Change, and Entrepreneurship, and International Development Strategy.

Global Modular Courses

Depending on the course that the Wharton MBA students choose, they are required to travel to the corresponding country as part of the hands-on learning experience. For example, the Global Supply Chain Management in China will be conducted by Professors Marshall Fisher and Edwin Keh in three Cities in China - Shanghai, Shenzhen & Hong Kong from Mar 8 to Mar 14th 2015. Other Global Modular Courses will give the students the opportunity to travel to Bangalore, Rwanda, Tel-Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Mumbai, London, Beijing, Milan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Tokyo as per the 2014-15 Course Schedule.

Global Immersion Program

This elective course is designed for students who want to take the Global Module courses to the next level. With the four-week program, students will meet Business leaders, Govt. Officials, and Alumni in the host country, and learn about their culture, and unique Business problems in each market. The bonding and cultural learning has been quoted as the most valuable part of the Wharton MBA Experience. Do note that there are no credits for the program. It is a pass/fail program with the members selected through a lottery system. The 2014 Fall and 2015 Spring break schedule include travel to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra, Bangalore, Jakarta, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Amman, Istanbul, Shanghai, Chengdu, Beijing, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Lima.

Global Consulting Practicum (GCP)

Those who are interesting in pursuing a career in consulting can avail this elective where the students will get the chance to work on a real Business problem and solve it to gain experiential learning experience, and develop contact through the experience. GCP had been a pre-cursor to several internship opportunities, and eventual employment for Wharton MBAs. The consulting experience is facilitated through partner schools in India, China, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Israel, and Spain.

International Exchange Program

For Wharton MBAs who want to experience another country, the International exchange program offers semester-long programs in 17 partner schools spread across Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand. The schools included in the

Exchange programs are:

• Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM)
• University of New South Wales
• China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)
• Guanghua School of Management, Peking University
• INSEAD, France
• HEC Paris
• Indian School of Business (ISB)
• Arison School of Business, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Herzliya, Israel
• SDA Bocconi School of Managment
• Keio University's Graduate School of Business and Commerce
• Rotterdam School of Management
• Asian Institute of Management (AIM)
• INSEAD, Singapore
• IESE Business School
• Stockholm School of Economics
• Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration
• London Business School

Dual Degree

Those who don’t want to limit their career with Management can opt for a Dual Degree program with the popular MBA/MA Lauder program conducted by Wharton & Penn's Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, or specialize in Public Administration with the MBA/MPA-ID  hosted by Wharton & Harvard Kennedy School, or complete MBA/MA conducted by Wharton and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University.

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