DEFINITION of Whartonite

A Whartonite is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Whartonite is a nickname that is most typically applied to the students who receive their MBA from the prestigious business school.


As a nickname, Whartonite is often used in a derogatory manner to describe the perceived character of Wharton graduates. Graduates may be considered arrogant or to possess a superiority complex, often stemming from the prestige associated with the school.

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania

The Wharton School was established in 1881 and offers both bachelor and graduate level business degrees. It was founded by industrialist Joseph Wharton as the first collegiate school of business at the university. The Wharton School awards Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees at the undergraduate level and Master of Business Administration degrees at the postgraduate level, both of which require the selection of a major. Wharton also offers a doctoral program and houses, or co-sponsors, several diploma programs either alone or in conjunction with the other schools at the university. Core classes include finance, marketing and strategy.

After the first semester the student has the opportunity to pursue more specialized coursework. Students may choose to focus on courses pertaining to marketing, retail, consulting, real estate, financial services, as well as entrepreneurship. Students are also encouraged to participate in networking activities, interdisciplinary studies and internship programs.

Many graduates of the Wharton School wind up working in financial services, including private equity, venture capital, and hedge funds. In recent years, 35-40% of graduates worked in finance. This percentage has declined in recent years as Whartonites work for companies in more diverse industries, though the average pay for those industries is typically lower than in financial services.

Because a large portion of MBA program graduates work for financial service companies, including those on Wall Street, Whartonites are also associated with the largesse and pitfalls associated with the stock market and investment banking.

Wharton School Rankings

Wharton is widely regarded as one of the world's top institutions for business education. In 2014–2015, as well as 2017-2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Wharton's undergraduate program first in the U.S., MBA program tied for first in the U.S., and executive MBA program also first. The undergraduate program at the Wharton School has been ranked number one by U.S. News & World Report every single year since inception.

Notable graduates include Warren Buffett, Laurence Tisch and Steven Cohen.