The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania helps students accelerate their careers, whether they are staying in the military, planning a future transition, or working in the private sector through its MBA Program for Executives.
The program delivers the “undiluted Wharton MBA to working professionals,” with programs in both Philadelphia and San Francisco that work around a full-time work schedule and offer many benefits for military and veteran students.
Application Fee Waiver and Financial Aid
As a small token of our appreciation, we waive the application fee for all U.S. military applicants. To request a waiver, contact the admissions team of the program to which you’re applying before submitting your application.
Also, if you qualify for all military financial aid programs, it is possible to bring your total out-of-pocket expenses for this program to less than $12,000. We’ve included some resources for additional information about financial aid below.
Both active duty service members and veterans are eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill. The GI Bill amount is $23,671.94 per year for the 2018–19 academic year. This amount generally increases by a small percentage every year so check the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website at gibill.va.gov for the most up-to-date information.
The VA defines the academic year as August 1–July 31. Because our program starts in May every year, our students qualify for three payments of up to $23,671.94 (up to $68,416), based on eligibility percentage as determined by the military.
Yellow Ribbon Program
In addition to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, veterans who are eligible for 100 percent of the GI Bill and retired at the start of the summer term can qualify for the Yellow Ribbon Program. Wharton has an unlimited number of Yellow Ribbon spots for the full-time and executive MBA Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program awards $12,500 per fall and spring semesters, for a total of $50,000.
Applying for the Yellow Ribbon Program is not difficult—once accepted, students submit their certificate of eligibility to the Student Financial Services Office (executivemba.wharton.upenn.edu/emba-tuition-financial-aid/).
Basic Allowance for Housing
To calculate your estimated benefits, enter your own personal information using the GI Bill Comparison Tool at va.gov/gi-bill-comparison-tool/.
Additional Financial Aid Resources
Military students may qualify for additional scholarships, including the FRA Education Foundation and AT&T Veterans. Wharton’s EMBA program also awards a few merit-based scholarships each year. These scholarships are based on the individual applicant and the applicant pool. Consideration is automatic, and awards are granted as part of the admissions offer.
Wharton’s Military Network
We recognize that our military applicants are faced with unique circumstances and we welcome the opportunity to assist you in any way possible. We have a very tight network of military students, and we would be happy to connect you up with any of them so that they can share their personal perspectives and experiences.
Wharton Veterans Club
The Wharton Veterans Club is committed to assisting transitioning service members and veterans who are interested in pursuing an MBA. There are more than 80 veterans and active military members in the club, and they take great pride in their military service and are extremely proud to be a part of the Wharton community.
They host Wharton MBA military visit days throughout the year, provide support and mentorship through the application process, and connect applicants with military alumni.
Test Pilot, U.S. Navy
EMBA, 2019, Wharton Philadelphia campus
Prior education: Cornell University, B.S., chemical engineering
Military experience: “I joined the Navy in college to be part of something bigger than myself and to serve my country. I’ve always done things that challenge me because I believe you grow when you go outside your comfort zone, so I chose to become a pilot and headed to flight school. I opted to fly helicopters because I was passionate about the helicopter missions, which often involve hurricane relief and search and rescue, and I wanted to fly with a crew. I did a few deployments around the world, and then I was selected and attended the U.S Naval Test Pilot School. Now, I work as a test pilot where my job is to help develop and test new technology and equipment for Navy helicopters before those products are deployed to helicopter units around the world.”
Getting an MBA: “When my commitment to the military is up in the summer of 2019, I plan to separate from the military and get into business. I believe companies have incredible opportunities to tackle some of the problems facing society today, and I want to be on the leading-edge of the technologies being developed to solve those problems. I want an MBA to learn how to leverage my military background and gain new business knowledge to transition into the private sector.”
Military students: “One of the great things about this program is that it brings people with all sorts of backgrounds together. Even so, sometimes I find there can be a stark divide between veterans and civilians – we speak a different language and it’s sometimes hard for each side to understand what the other does for their job. This program has helped me bridge that divide. It has also allowed me to better understand my opportunities in the private sector as well as explain how my military background adds value.”
Value of Wharton for military students: “The Wharton network is an incredible benefit. I’ve sent cold emails to alumni with an almost 100% response rate. Alumni are willing to get on the phone and talk about their jobs, which is something I didn’t expect when I came here. I’ve also learned a lot from my fellow classmates. And, of course, the academics are phenomenal. I am getting the business knowledge necessary to make a smooth transition to the private sector.”
Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill.”
F/A-18 Instructor Pilot, U.S. Marine Corps
Position after graduation: Investment Banker, Goldman Sachs
EMBA, 2019, Wharton San Francisco campus
Prior education: Boston College, B.A., economics and political science
Military experience: “I joined the Marines as an undergraduate student to serve something greater than myself. I served on two deployments, including one to the Western Pacific and one to the Middle East. More recently, I’ve served as an instructor pilot teaching newly winged aviators to fly the F/A-18. This year, I’m transitioning off active duty to the Reserves and will continue to serve as a flight instructor.”
Getting an MBA: “I knew I would be transitioning out of the military to the private sector and getting an MBA was a way to accelerate that transition. I wanted to gain high-level, relevant knowledge about different facets of business and learn alongside an experienced cohort from different industries. I needed a program for executives because as a full-time active duty officer with four kids, going back to school full-time was not an option. I explored some other EMBA programs, but they didn’t compare to Wharton.”
Military students: “Coming from the military, I wasn’t aware of all of the opportunities the private sector has to offer or the paths to those careers. This program has a dedicated career director, who also has military experience, who provides one-on-one career coaching and is a great resource for students wanting to make a transition. After graduation, I will be joining Goldman Sachs.” [Wharton EMBA career directors are Steve Hernandez in San Francisco and Dr. Dawn Graham in Philadelphia.]
Value of Wharton for military students: “Military students bring such intangible leadership qualities as having presence in a room and being able to cut through things quickly, which is valued in team settings. We also are good at time management. I’m always the guy who wants to begin meetings on time. On the other hand, we also tend to speak more bluntly. My peers have helped coach me about cultural norms in the private sector, which has served me well as I go through my transition process.”
Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. As I transition off active duty, I plan to use the Yellow Ribbon Program and the part of the GI Bill that provides a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH). I also received some scholarship funds from Wharton.”
Management Consulting Manager, Accenture
Previously U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer
EMBA, 2020, Wharton Philadelphia campus
Prior education: Vanderbilt University, B.S., communication studies
Military experience: “After college, I served in the U.S. Navy for five years because I wanted to give back and do something service oriented. After getting out of the military, I wanted to continue working to support our defense and intelligence communities. I did that through consulting and joined Accenture’s federal practice. I work with law enforcement, intelligence and defense agencies to improve technology and processes. My service to the country is continuing, but I have a broader impact in this role and it is very rewarding.”
Getting an MBA: “I wanted to continue learning about business, and sometimes you have to step away from your day-to-day and learn in a classroom surrounded by people doing different things. I learn a lot from my classmates and the professors – more than I could learn on the job.”
Military students: “We bring a unique perspective to the classroom because we have led teams, often under life and death circumstances. Those high stakes teach a person how to filter out the noise in decision-making and how to focus on what really matters. One critical factor is building and empowering a team you trust.”
Value of Wharton for military students: “Military people have great leadership experience that makes us good generalists, but we tend to come out of the service with knowledge gaps. While we know how to lead teams, we may not know how to read a balance sheet or build a marketing plan. Wharton helps us develop these skills, while also broadening our network outside of the military.”
Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students, the Yellow Ribbon Program, and the GI Bill.”
Manager, Strategic Account Operations, Nike and Navy SEAL Commander, U.S. Navy Reserve
Previously U.S. Navy SEAL
EMBA, 2015, Wharton San Francisco campus
Prior education: U.S. Naval Academy, B.S., ocean engineering
Military experience: “I grew up watching Top Gun and went to the Naval Academy to be a fighter pilot, but eventually discovered the SEAL Teams. During my senior year, 9/11 occurred and that had a big impact on my trajectory. I was fortunate to earn an opportunity to enter the Navy SEAL selection and training program and even more fortunate to make it through the arduous program. I then went on to spend the next decade as a SEAL officer, deploying overseas six times. I transitioned off active duty in the Wharton EMBA program and continue to serve in the Navy Reserves while growing my new career at Nike.”
Getting an MBA: “Towards the end of my time on active duty, I decided I wanted to be home more for my wife and kids. I decided to take advantage of the GI Bill to get my MBA and help transition to the private sector. In the Navy, the things that mattered most to me were the amazing people I worked with, the impact of culture on an organization, and the ability to maintain an active lifestyle. At Wharton, I explored possible career paths with those factors in mind. Wharton EMBA Career Director Steve Hernandez coached me as I narrowed my search to various sports and outdoor companies. When I dove into the deep end to pursue a career at Nike, both the veterans’ and Wharton networks were instrumental in helping me land a role at the Swoosh.”
Military students: “We bring a different leadership experience having led teams in high-risk critical situations. As a result, we know that every midterm and final is just one piece of the entire puzzle. It’s important, but no one’s life is on the line. We have a unique perspective on the big picture, which can be helpful for our classmates, because we know the stakes are less in the classroom than they are on the battlefield.”
Value of Wharton for military students: “This program helps shore up any lack of business experience for military students. The knowledge, brand, and network from Wharton are priceless. Employers know you have a solid business foundation and understanding of the levers that are pivotal to a company. Just as important, you learn from and how to work with your classmates who come from a variety of backgrounds outside of the military. They are your first and most important network you’ll grow outside of the military.”
Military benefits: “I used the application fee waiver for military students and the GI Bill. In my second year, I used the Yellow Ribbon Program and Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH).”