Wharton Round One Decisions

By Kyle Watkins (last updated: October 15, 2019)

Having helped a number of first round applicants prepare for their Wharton interview, we are excited about the school’s round one decision notifications on Thursday, December 15, 2016.

Notification time

Admitted students usually receive a phone call by 5pm EST, and although there is no explicit rule, the school tends to start calling applicants from APAC first, then Europe / Africa, then East Coast / Latin America, and finally West Coast. In the past, Wharton made an effort to call almost every admitted students.

Post-interview admissions rate

A key difference with HBS (a school we cover extensively on this blog) is that Wharton is said to extend admissions offers to less than half of its interviewees. Although no precise numbers exist, we estimate that post interview admissions chances at Wharton stand between 40% and 50%. Candidates who prepared well, and contributed positively to their team discussion during the group interview, should receive positive news on decision day (although keep in mind that Wharton takes a holistic view at your application, and your interview performance alone doesn’t determine whether you will be admitted to the program).

I’ve received an offer, now what?

First, congratulations! This is an amazing accomplishment. When you are able to calm down, have a look at Wharton’s admitted students portal. It will allow you to request to join the school’s class of 2019 FB group, get information about financial aid from the Wharton MBA Financial Aid Office, and get started with your prematriculation checklist.

Round 1 admits will have more than 8 months to get ready for their Wharton journey, and their main challenges going forward will be to stay focused at work, and plan their attendance at the Wharton’s Winter Welcome in Philadelphia (January 27 to 29, 2017). Here is a video that you probably need to watch if you’re debating between Wharton and other programs:

The background check process

As most other business schools, Wharton performs a background check (via Kroll) of all admitted applicants, which may generate stress for some applicants. For example admitted students sometimes realize that their business title differs from their HR job description (a not so uncommon occurrence). Assuming that these discrepancies are minor and aren’t intentional misrepresentations, the employment and academic verifications should be very smooth however. Try not to obsess about this process, but feel free to contact us should you want to discuss any concerns you may have.

Waitlisted candidates

Having dealt with the waitlist process at a top B-School myself (although not Wharton), I vividly remember the emotional roller coaster I went through in the days following the decision notification. Having received strong words of encouragement from my interviewer at the end of our conversation, I felt pretty confident that I would receive a offer from that particular program. I was thus puzzled by the school’s decision to put me on their waitlist, and was unsure of what to do to end up getting a spot in their next class.

In order to help candidates who receive a waitlist notification, our co-founder, Kyle Watkins, wrote a post about dealing with the waitlist decision, and we dedicated one of our 10-step guides to “navigating the wailtlist process“. Although waitlisted candidates should follow instructions provided by Wharton, in some cases there might be steps that can be taken to maximize your chances (Wharton however clearly states that they “are (…) unable to accept additional materials for inclusion in a waitlisted applicant’s file“).

We will try to centralize information from the school’s admissions team about the process along with anecdotes from other waitlisted applicants, so check our blog regularly for updates.


Months of effort and hopes will be torn into pieces for applicants who receive a ding notification from Wharton. But it is important to quickly move on should the outcome of your application be negative. Try to understand what happened. In the past, Wharton has offered to provide feedback to applicants who received a ding after their interview. Do not let that opportunity pass (assuming the admissions team is still accepting calls from unlucky interviewees this year). The feedback you’ll receive will be pretty useful should you decide to apply to other programs in round 2, or reapply to Wharton in the future (we will write a dedicated post about reapplying after a ding within a few weeks, so stay tuned).

In any case, stay positive. Wharton decided to invite you to an interview. This means that you have what it takes to get into a top MBA program with maybe just a few tweaks to your application.

Next steps

If you have just received an admissions offer from Wharton, congratulations! You are about to go on an amazing journey that will bring countless opportunities. Should you want to discuss the background check process and more generally how to best prepare for Wharton, we will be happy to work with you.

For waitlisted candidates, we can guide you through the waitlist process, and answer any questions you may have about the steps you can take to increase your chances. Keep in mind however that there is actually very little you can do in the case of Wharton. You may find valuable content in some of our past posts.

Finally, we have provided ding reports to several candidates in the past, and have helped them secure interviews or admissions offers at other top 10 programs.

Just reach out to us should you be interested in any of these services.

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