From the classroom to the boardroom, writing well enables individuals to add value to their teams and to differentiate themselves from their peers. To ensure that MBA students are proficient in this essential communication skill, Wharton has instituted an MBA Writing Requirement. Students satisfy the requirement by either passing the Writing Waiver Exam or completing WHCP 6210: Clear and Persuasive Business Writing.


Writing Waiver Exam:

During the summer before their first year, all incoming students will be required to complete a two-hour writing waiver exam. To give students the flexibility to complete the exam in the manner most conducive to their success, students may take the online exam at the time and place of their choosing. Students will be notified of their waiver results in mid-August.

Writing Waiver Exam Preparation and Evaluation:

The waiver exam will ask students to draw on a relatively simple data set to write a persuasive memo of approximately 300-500 words in which they recommend a particular course of action. By choosing from prompts across a range of industries, student may select the prompt that most closely aligns with their interests and experience.

Students’ submissions will be evaluated independently by two reviewers from the Communication Program using a rubric that includes the following four criteria: Organization & Formatting, Argument & Development, Style (Clarity & Concision), and Grammar & Usage.

To help students prepare for the exam, the Communication Program will make instructional content available on the waiver exam’s Canvas site.

WHCP 6210: Clear and Persuasive Business Writing:

Students who are determined by the Communication Program to need additional writing support will be required to complete WHCP 6210: Clear and Persuasive Business Writing in the fall of their first year. This 0cu, pass/fail, course is designed to help students become effective business writers.

To support students’ diverse needs, we will offer separate sections of WHCP 6210 for native English speakers and for students who are less confident in their mastery of English. For the latter group, the Communication Program has partnered with Penn’s English Language Programs, the university’s experts in ESL education, to better support students as they hone their business writing skills in English. Please note that the content for the native English speaker and ESL sections of this course is fundamentally the same; the ESL sections simply offer more support tailored to the needs of writers for whom English is a second, third, or seventh language.

If you have any questions regarding the Writing Requirement, contact Brennan Maier.