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 621, Foundations of Business Writing.
Please note that this year’s writing requirement, which was revised in response to feedback from students, alumni, and employers, differs significantly from that of previous years.
Writing Waiver Exam:
During the month of July, all students will be required to schedule and complete a two-hour, virtual, writing waiver exam. To give students the flexibility to complete the exam in the manner most conducive to their success, students may take the exam at the time and place of their choosing during the one-month exam window.
Students who score in the lowest tenth percentile on that exam will not waive the writing requirement, and instead will be required to complete WHCP 621, Foundations of Business Writing, in the fall of their first year. Students will be notified of their waiver results in early August.
Writing Waiver Exam Preparation and Evaluation:
The two-hour, virtually proctored, 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, Development & Support, 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. The Communication Program will notify students when this Canvas site is ready in June.
WHCP 621–Foundations of Business Writing:
Students who score in the lowest tenth percentile on the waiver exam, and therefore do not waive the writing requirement, will be required to complete WHCP 621, Foundations of Business Writing, in the fall of their first year. This 0cu, pass/fail, classroom-based writing course is designed to support students as they master the fundamentals of business writing.
To support students’ diverse needs, we will offer separate sections of Foundations of Business Writing 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.
To support students as they complete the Writing Requirement, each incoming MBA student will be assigned a writing coach. Writing coaches include senior editors and journalists from: