The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton is the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States. It was established in 1881 through a donation of Joseph Wharton.
Alone and in conjunction with the other schools and colleges of the university, Wharton grants B.S. and MBA degrees, offers a Ph.D. program, and houses or co-sponsors several diploma programs. With the most electives of any business school, Wharton’s MBA program offers concentrations in accounting, business and public policy, entrepreneurial management, environmental management, finance, health care systems, human resource and organizational management, insurance and risk management, legal studies and business ethics, management, marketing, multinational management, operations and information management, real estate, retailing, statistics and strategic management.
The school currently has 278 faculty members, translating to a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school’s faculty are the world’s most published and most cited among business schools.Research published in the peer-reviewed Academy of Management Journal ranked Wharton as the top institution in the simultaneous pursuit of scholarly achievements and excellence in teaching. Most recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education rated Wharton’s Marketing and Management departments as the first and second in the world for research productivity, respectively.
The admissions process at Wharton is highly selective; it is one of the most competitive business schools in the United States. A high GPA, high GMAT score, and very strong non-quantitative credentials are typically required for admission.
The school publishes an on-line journal, Knowledge@Wharton, that is “the envy of every other school” according to The Economist, and has a newly established publishing house Wharton School Publishing. Wharton maintains the world’s largest financial, economics, management, marketing, and public policy data warehouses accessible through state-of-the-art web-based data management services, called WRDS.
Prospective Wharton candidates apply in their senior year of high school either through the early decision (ED) process or regular decision (RD) process. Unlike many other undergraduate business programs where students transfer in after their freshman or sophomore year (University of Virginia’s McIntire, Emory’s Goizueta, UC Berkeley’s Haas), Wharton applicants apply specifically for Wharton during their senior year of high school. These candidates are then grouped with a pool of applicants separate from those applying to University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), or School of Nursing. Though some of the admissions criteria for admissions into Wharton, CAS, and SEAS overlap, the admissions committee, when selecting Wharton students, also looks for qualities that fit with the business school’s unique undergraduate culture.
The admissions process for Wharton’s undergraduate program is extremely competitive. Wharton’s acceptance rate in 2009 was 9%. Wharton’s yield, or the percent of students who matriculate after being accepted, is about 77%, a number matched only by Harvard (76%). Princeton’s yield in 2009 was 60% and Yale 69%. Through its selective admissions process and consistently strong performance, Wharton has maintained its position as the top undergraduate business program in U.S. News & World Report, the most widely used undergraduate ranking table in the United States, since the ranking’s inception.
Students in the other three undergraduates schools who satisfy certain prerequisites may transfer into Wharton after their freshman year. The transfer process is objective: students with the necessary coursework are ordered by GPA and admitted from highest to lowest until all spots are filled. Conversely, Wharton students may also transfer out of the business program into CAS or SEAS.
Over 50% of Wharton’s typical undergraduate class of 500 students go into investment banking with the majority employed at a bulge bracket firm earning a typical base salary of $70,000, a typical signing bonus of $10,000, and a year-end bonus for first year analysts as high as $100,000.The next most common industry after investment banking is consulting, with firms like McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company and many other firms hiring approximately 30% of the students. A number of students also enter the buy-side with offers from top hedge funds such as Citadel Investment Group or private equity firms such as Silver Lake Partners or Blackstone Group.