How To Get Into An Elite EMBA Program

An artist's rendering of one of the new Wharton classrooms in San Francisco

An artist’s rendering of one of the new Wharton classrooms in San Francisco

Do I Have a Shot at Wharton?

Q:I’m starting the application process for EMBA programs and I wanted to get a sense of my likelihood of admission. I’m very interested in Wharton’s EMBA program. I’ve been working for about 10 years and currently I’m a senior manager of finance at a fast growing/hyped startup. I report into the CFO. During my career, I’ve worked in both finance and analytics (web/business analytics) at Fortune 500s. I went to an Ivy for undergrad, but my GPA isn’t great. I haven’t taken the GMAT yet, but I’m hitting the mid 600s on my practice tests. Also, I’m a woman and an underrepresented minority…How can I best position myself to increase my odds of admission?

A: It sounds like you should be competitive at Wharton. Your GMAT is solid (698 is their average, so you are in the range), and your undergrad GPA is much less important than your career pace, which as a senior manager seems to be par for the course for Wharton. It would be helpful to know how much responsibility you have in terms of direct reports, P&L authority etc. and whether you have leadership in your community outside of work. But there’s no doubt that being an underrepresented minority woman will help you a great deal at Wharton. Two numbers that should encourage you: almost half of all applicants are admitted to Wharton’s EMBA program and only 17% of Wharton’s EMBA class is female.

As a Foreign Student, Will an Executive MBA Help Me Get a Job in the United States?

Q: I am Canadian Citizen originally from China. I have 7 years work experience as Accounting Supervisor. I am working in Canada right now. I came to Canada from China for better life 7 years ago. I completed an accounting designation from China as well as from Canada [and am] looking for better challenges… I am 43 years old…Do you think it makes sense to shell out $150,000 at this age with no guarantee of clear return in investment and a good job in US? Will US companies recruit from campus after the completion of EMBA? Can I get green card and settle down in US?

A: The placement process at top EMBA programs differs from the full-time MBA’s on-campus recruiting model (which you seem to be alluding to). This is partly because students at most EMBA programs stay in their current roles and most return to it after the degree. Networking and a self-directed job search will therefore be important factors in your placement success, and there are no “guarantees,” especially if you will also be seeking a post-EMBA employer who will be willing to sponsor your green card.

So your question is really two questions: do you have the quality of career progression, responsibility/managerial level, and “branding” to get admitted to a top-tier EMBA, and if you do will that EMBA assure you of a job in the US? To the first question, your age and 7 years of supervisory experience are in range, but I would need to know more. To the second, the answer is “probably, yes” but again “assure” means “high probability,” not “guarantee.”

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