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Wharton Moelis Advance Access Deferred MBA Program: What You Need to Know

An overview of Wharton's deferred enrollment MBA program, including who Wharton is looking for, how hard it is to get in, application details, and more.

Posted May 17, 2023

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If you are in your final year in an undergraduate or advanced degree program and are thinking about a deferred MBA, you’ve likely run into the wide variety of programs available and may feel lost in the magnitude of options. Knowing where you want to go, and how to get there, can be an intimidating and tiring process. Read this guide to learn more about the University of Pennsylvania’s deferred enrollment MBA program.

Here at Leland, we provide you with the expertise and opportunity you need to succeed as an MBA applicant, and beyond.

What is Advance Access?

The Moelis Advance Access Program is the deferred enrollment program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. It provides an opportunity for students to go through the application process as college seniors and obtain a guaranteed seat in the MBA Program. It was launched in 2019 by Ken and Julie Moelis because they understood that the standardized track of MBA admissions could act as a barrier to students eager to make their impact on the world.

For two to four years, accepted students are encouraged to pursue less traditional full-time work experiences, such as joining a non-profit or start-up, or starting a business. Moelis Advanced Access provides an avenue for those students to take the risks they otherwise wouldn’t have if they were trying to put together the “perfect” MBA application.

Why Should I Apply?

The Wharton School of Business is internationally recognized as one of the top programs in the world. Its finance department receives constant accolades in addition to the entrepreneurship and technology programs. Applying to the Moelis Program specifically would give you the opportunity to pursue your unique goals and passions, without worrying about what’s next. It also allows you to pursue those first few years of work experience with increased confidence and risk tolerance.

One of the most distinguishable aspects of the Moelis Program is what happens during the deferment period. After acceptance, Moelis Fellows have access to a web-based and mobile-friendly platform where they are able to engage with Wharton, have access to Wharton resources and connect with alumni. Within that platform, there is also an online community limited to just the Wharton Moelis Advance Access Program where fellows can interact and support one another.

Read our full Wharton guide for an in-depth dive into the MBA program: The Wharton School—MBA Program and Application Overview.

Who is Moelis Looking For?

Wharton’s deferred MBA Program is looking for students “who see themselves being the leaders of organizations, innovating within industries, or creating their own companies sometime in the future,” from all disciplines and educational backgrounds. They want applicants who have done well academically in college, which doesn’t necessarily mean the highest GPA. Rather, someone who has learned a lot and is already seeking to apply that knowledge and skill in the real world.

In addition, the MBA admissions office is looking for a symbiotic relationship with its students. It is equally as interested in how Wharton will benefit its students, as to how its students will benefit Wharton. This is reflected in the two essay questions which ask how the program will help you achieve your goals, as well as how you plan to make meaningful contributions to the Wharton community.

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How Hard Is It To Get In?

While neither Wharton nor Moelis publish their admissions statistics, both are among the top MBA programs in the world for a reason- they accept the most competitive applicants who have a proven track record of success. That being said, Moelis, like any MBA program, is attainable with the right motivation and support.

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity within its student population and previous class cohorts have included individuals from liberal arts backgrounds, engineering schools, nursing schools, business programs, and more. The 2020 Moelis cohort included 173 commits, 53% of whom were female, from 73 different institutions across six continents. The GMAT scores ranged from 590-790 with an average of 741. The average GPA was 3.79 with a range of 3.34-4.00. The average GRE verbal was 161.7 and the average GRE quant was 163.6.

Application Details

The application to the Moelis Advance Access Program is very similar to the general Wharton MBA application; however, deferred admission applicants are only evaluated relative to peers also applying for the Moelis Program. The next application deadline is April 26, 2023, and decisions are announced on June 29, 2023. There is an application fee of $100 but depending on the military status or financial status, it can be waived with proper documentation. Before applying you will also need an unofficial copy of college transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, a current resume, two letters of recommendation, and two essays.

After acceptance, deferred students must pay a split deposit of $1000 before the deposit deadline on August 2, 2022, and another $1000 due in the year of matriculation.

Where Can I Start?

Interested in applying to the Moelis Program? Great! We are here to help you get started.

Above all, the most important thing you can do is make yourself stand out by highlighting what makes you unique. Wharton’s goal in establishing this program was to provide a different path to an MBA. With that in mind, your goal is to show how you will make an impact in the world, whatever kind of impact you would like that to be. In your application, emphasize the passions, goals, and ideas that make you different from the other applicants.

Next, take advantage of the resources that Leland has available to give yourself the best chance of getting in. We’re here to support you at every step along the way.

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