The Wharton School – Acceptance Rate, Ranking, and More

Widely considered one of the very best business schools worldwide, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League powerhouse, having graduated some of today’s most prominent CEOs, executives, and politicians.

With over $1 billion in its endowment, Wharton is not only prestigious but incredibly well-funded for a business school. Alumni of the Wharton School include SpaceX founder Elon Musk, former President Donald Trump, and even the most successful living investor, Warren Buffett.

Wharton’s domination of most business school rankings lists hardly comes as a surprise, considering the school’s proclivity towards accepting only the most accomplished students in the world. 

Not to mention UPenn itself is located in one of the most prominent cities in the United States; Philadelphia is a commerce center and a great place for students to network with like-minded business owners. 

UPenn Wharton is both an undergraduate and graduate business school, awarding both Bachelor’s degrees and MBAs. Additionally, graduates of UPenn Wharton have some of the highest starting salaries in the country at nearly $160,000 a year!

Today, we dive into what makes UPenn Wharton one of the most exciting and exceptional colleges in the world. We will discuss factors such as acceptance rates, alumni, requirements for admission, its ranking in significant publications, and more.

Let’s dive in – here is a comprehensive overview of the Wharton School.

UPenn Wharton Acceptance Rate

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

UPenn Wharton’s acceptance rate for undergraduate students is approximately 9%

This is actually the same percentage as the admitted class of 2024 at the entire University of Pennsylvania, showing that UPenn Wharton’s acceptance rate is roughly the same as that of the whole school. 

Depending on the year, the acceptance rate may fluctuate significantly. However, it rarely increases beyond 10% overall.

If UPenn Wharton is your top choice school, there is a method to increase your acceptance rate significantly. This method is applying via early decision.

Early decision is when a student applies to the school as a firm commitment – if accepted, an early decision applicant MUST enroll at the school.

Because of this extra layer of demonstrated interest and commitment, the University of Pennsylvania as a whole accepts nearly 1 in 5 early decision applicants. Wharton’s numbers are similar, where early decision applicants have a significantly better chance of acceptance into the program.

In the class of 2023, the acceptance rate was a little higher than usual. While 7,338 prospects applied, 897 ultimately enrolled in the school

However, more than 897 were accepted because the concept of yield means that schools get more students than they believe will commit. Overall, the University of Pennsylvania yield is about 70%, meaning 70% of the accepted students commit to attending UPenn.

UPenn Wharton Tuition

An education at the Wharton School is expensive.

For the student pursuing an MBA degree, the tuition & fees each year is a staggering $83,230!

All costs considered, the total estimated cost for an MBA at Wharton is $115,464 per year.

While this may seem expensive, this is actually comparable to MBAs at most top schools. Other Ivy League MBAs, such as Harvard and Columbia, cost a similar amount to UPenn.

An undergraduate degree at Wharton costs considerably less, with tuition and fees coming in at about $61,000 per year

That said, there are opportunities for tuition savings. At the MBA level, Wharton does offer many fellowships for some of the accepted applicants. 

One of these fellowships includes the Joseph Wharton Fellowship, awarded to students who showcase excellent academic and professional accomplishments. Another award, the Emerging Economies Fellowship, is bequeathed to students who come from an emerging economy. For the latter award, this extends to international cities and countries.

Undoubtedly, an MBA at UPenn Wharton or any other school is expensive; scholarships and fellowships are a must-have for some students. 

We recommend applying to a large number of MBA programs and scoring as highly as possible on the GMAT exam. By casting a wide net and scoring highly on the business school exam, the chance of getting a high scholarship increase dramatically.

UPenn Wharton Requirements

University of Pennsylvania
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, there are some requirements that UPenn Wharton may expect of a candidate.

On its website, Wharton gives some general advice, including demonstrating both leadership as well as interest in business.

It is true that, unlike in attending medical school, the requirements for business schools, in general, are more open. There are no required undergraduate classes, for example, that a student must complete to get accepted into UPenn Wharton.

That said, there are certainly some expectations an undergraduate or MBA applicant must meet.

As an Ivy League school, grades are critical when it comes to admission. The average GPA for an entering undergraduate student at UPenn Wharton is 3.9.

Additionally, the average SAT score for an entering student is between 1470 – 1550, and the ACT is between 34-36. For context, a 36 on the ACT is a perfect score.

The average GPA for an MBA candidate is 3.5. Additionally, the GMAT score average is 733, which is considered very high and comparable to other top MBA programs.

On top of the GMAT, students applying will also have to take the GRE, an abbreviation for the Graduate Record Exam. The average score for the GRE at UPenn Wharton is 162.

Besides test scores, another essential requirement is essays.

The UPenn Wharton MBA applicant has to compose two essays for consideration in the school. Both essays are short, meaning every single word and sentence counts tremendously.

The first prompt asks what a Wharton MBA will do for your future professional career. The second prompt asks how you will contribute to the Wharton community.

Combined, these essays are less than 1,000 total words, or about 3-4 double-spaced pages. 

UPenn Wharton Notable Alumni

There may be no other business school in the world as impressive as UPenn Wharton in terms of graduated alumni. We’ve already mentioned business luminaries Elon Musk and Warren Buffett as two of the most influential graduates.

However, this only begins the list.

Other prominent alumni include household names in the world of business, technology, and commerce. Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google, is a graduate of UPenn Wharton.

Speaking of Google, the current CFO of Alphabet Inc., Ruth Porat, is also a UPenn alum.  

Media proprietor Mortimer Zuckerman, who is worth nearly 3 billion dollars according to Forbes Magazine, is a graduate of Wharton. He went on to own several important publications, including The Atlantic as well as the New York Daily News.  

The former president of Pepsi, and former CEO of Apple, went to UPenn Wharton. Now into his 80s, John Sculley is one of the most important and influential businessmen of the 20th century.

Fund manager Peter Lynch additionally attended UPenn Wharton. He went on to manage the Magellan Fund at Fidelity Investments, which averaged a 29.2% annual return between 1977 and 1990. This is considerably larger than even the most reliable index funds, such as the S&P 500. 

Other alumni include past and present CEOs of major companies, including General Electric, Oracle, and Comcast.

UPenn Wharton Ranking

The definitive ranking of MBAs is currently none other than US News, the most widely read publication globally for college rankings.

US News currently slates UPenn Wharton as the #2 best MBA in the entire country. Taking the number one spot is actually Stanford University, a university enormously benefitted by its location in Silicon Valley alongside the world’s most profitable companies.

Another major ranking publication, the QS Top Universities, places Wharton #2 in the entire world. You may ask, who takes the #1 spot on the QS Top Universities list? It is, indeed, Stanford yet again.

However, UPenn Wharton is ahead of many of the most important schools worldwide, including MIT, Harvard, and the London Business School.

Unlike US News and QS, which are publications centered on college education, a business-first magazine has also published a list of the best MBA programs.

The publication, Fortune Magazine, ranks Wharton as the #3 MBA in the country, just behind Harvard and Stanford. 

Should You Attend UPenn Wharton?

University of Pennsylvania
Bryan Y.W. Shin, Upper Quad Gate in the fall, CC BY-SA 3.0

The opportunity to attend Wharton is undoubtedly once-in-a-lifetime.

Getting accepted into this prestigious university takes incredible skill, grades, and academic ability. 

At the undergraduate level, having an exceptional GPA is not nearly enough. Also, scoring exceptionally high on standardized tests is a must for admission.

And, many applicants who have the grades and test scores still don’t get accepted!

The other aspects of an application are also crucial, notably the essays, difficulty of courses selected, and the demonstration of leadership.

Not to mention, at the undergraduate level, it is much more likely to be accepted via early decision than regular decision.

Requirements aside, the track record for alumni speaks for itself. These are some of the world’s highest-paid minds, capable of leading organizations of all sizes.

If you are interested in attending business school in one of the nation’s great cosmopolitan centers, the City of Brotherly Love nevertheless, Wharton is absolutely a must on your list. 

Students are awarded an economics degree at the undergraduate level, and at the graduate level, they are awarded MBAs.

Whether you are interested in understanding the science of the economy or being awarded one of the highest paying MBAs in the world, you can’t go wrong with UPenn Wharton.

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