Wharton Connect

Academic Honors

Class of 2015

  • First-Year Academic Awards
    • Ford Fellowships:
      Edward Nie
      Emma Spagnuolo
      Himanshu Sharma
    • Isik Inselbag Scholarship: Pamela Geist
    • William McGowan Fellow: Julianne Bruno

Class of 2016


The MBA Program recognizes outstanding academic performance in several different ways. Academic honors are determined on the basis of the Grade Point Average (GPA) during the fall and spring semesters (summer courses are excluded from consideration for honors, with the exception of those Wharton summer classes taken by Lauder or 3-year JD/MBA students as part of their programs). The GPA is determined by assigning the following numerical weights to the letter grades received in Wharton MBA courses*: A=4 points, B=3 points, C=2 points, D=1 point, and F=0 points, with +(plus) increasing the full grade value by .33 and - (minus) decreasing the full grade value by .33. A+'s carry a 4.0 point value, a University of Pennsylvania policy. See below for honors eligibility.

1. Director's List: The Director's List is compiled and published each semester to recognize superior academic performance in that semester and is awarded to students who rank in the top 10% of their class based on their GPA for the semester. Eligibility for Director's List requires that the student take at least 4.5 credit units in the first semester and at least 4 credit units in each subsequent semester, 3 cu of which must be from Wharton courses taken for credit on a graded basis.

2. First-Year Honors: Students ranking in the top 20% of their class at the conclusion of the first-year will be awarded First- Year Honors. The ranking for First-Year Honors is based on the cumulative GPA during the first year and requires that students take at least 9 credit units during the fall and spring semesters.

3. Isik Inselbag Scholarship: To be eligible for the Isik Inselbag Scholarship, a grant of $7,500, a student must have a firstyear GPA that places him or her among the top students in the class. In addition, the Inselbag Scholar must exemplify the spirit of Wharton through leadership, teamwork, scholarship, and service, as determined by the Vice Dean of the Graduate Division with inputs from the faculty and Graduate Division directors. Professor Inselbag, for whom the scholarship is named, served as Vice Dean and Director of the Graduate Division during 1992-95 and taught in the Finance Department for over twenty years.

4. William G. McGowan Fellow: Wharton selects one rising second-year student as a McGowan Fellow each year. This student must have achieved an academic standing in the top five percent of his or her first-year class and exemplified leadership in current or former activities. Students must apply and complete an essay provided by the McGowan Fund. Financial need is a factor. The nominee receives one full year's tuition, attends the annual conference for McGowan Fellows and Alumni, and is assigned a respected business leader as a mentor.

5. Ford Fellowship: The student (or students, in the case of a tie) who achieves the highest academic performance during the first-year of the MBA program is awarded the Ford Fellowship, a grant of $10,000. Academic performance for the Ford Fellowship is measured by the GPA during the first year and requires that the student take at least nine 9 credit units during the first year.

6. Graduation with Honors: Students who rank in the top 20% of their class at graduation are awarded Graduation with Honors. The ranking for Graduation with Honors is based on the cumulative GPA earned during the program.

7. Palmer Scholars: Students graduating in the top 5% percent of the class are designated Palmer Scholars. Class rank is based on the student's cumulative GPA earned during their two years at Wharton.

*Courses outside the Wharton MBA program are not included in the GPA computation. Courses taken on a Pass/ Fail basis are not included in the GPA calculations unless a Fail grade is earned. Thus, the GPA reflected on the transcript may not be the one used to compute academic honors as the transcript GPA reflects all coursework taken at the University of Pennsylvania. To be eligible for academic honors, the student may not have any grades of Fail (For the Director's List, this applies only to the semester under consideration.) All academic honors are noted on the student's academic transcript.

  WG'05 WG'06 WG'07 WG'08 WG'09 WG'10 WG'11 WG'12 WG'13 WG'14 WG'15
First Year Honors
(top 20%)
3.08 3.024 3.139 3.615 3.61 3.62 3.62 3.59 3.625 3.634 3.64
Graduation with Honors
(top 20%)
3.05 3.012 3.141 3.59 3.61 3.61 3.61 3.593 3.605 3.6  
Palmer Scholars
(top 5% at graduation)
3.55 3.556 3.569 3.82 3.83 3.82 3.85 3.847 3.84 3.82  

Note: The Class of 2008 onwards were graded on an A-F scale; previous classes were graded on a DS, HP, P scale.