Wharton MBA Recommendation Letter Questions Revamped for 2017-2018

by on June 18th, 2017

Maryellen Reilly, the deputy vice dean of MBA admissions, financial aid, and career management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, recently announced changes to the letter of recommendation for the Wharton MBA application in a post on the MBA Program website. According to Reilly, the changes are designed “to get a deeper understanding of a candidate’s personal characteristics and their impact on others throughout their career.”

In recent years, many top MBA programs have taken steps to simplify the recommendation letter process, both for recommenders and for the applicants who must ask for them. Streamlined, more uniform recommendation forms now typically include questions about a candidate’s performance relative to their peers, constructive criticism the recommender may have given to the applicant, and an open-ended request for any other relevant information about the applicant.

The changes to Wharton’s Letter of Recommendation form come in response to a survey of more than 1,200 recommendation writers about their experience with Wharton’s process, Reilly shares. Wharton also sought input from writers at various companies as well as other Wharton stakeholders, she adds.

She went on to describe the new Letter of Recommendation component of the MBA application in detail:

“The new Letter of Recommendation component of our application will be broken into two sections:

  • A selection of positive personality characteristics. Recommenders will be asked to choose three characteristics from a list of ten that best describe the candidate they are recommending.
  • Two free-form questions:
    • Question 1: Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success in the Wharton MBA classroom. (Word count: 300)
    • Question 2: Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (Word count: 300)”

As you set out to tackle Wharton’s new Letter of Recommendation format, remember that the Clear Admit Recommendation Guide can serve as a valuable resource.

The Wharton MBA application will be live in early July.

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