AHHHHH, I’m at Wharton!!!! I want to scream out loud with joy. I’m thrilled, excited, and a bit nervous to be here. We’ve just reached the one-week mark in Pre-Term and I’ve already shifted into high gear. My adrenaline is pumping, my mind is racing, and my sleep is lacking. Things move quickly here!
Pre-Term has been jam-packed with information sessions, networking opportunities, social events, and orientation activities crafted to make us feel comfortable in Philly, our new home. Some students are also preparing for waiver exams, to opt out of classes they have extensive experience in. It’s been great (and essential) to have time to prepare for the school year before officially kicking off the semester. Everyone is buzzing with excitement, but it comes at a cost. We’re all sleep-deprived, already.
A glorious Learning Team Retreat capped off the week. On Saturday, we spent the day meeting and working with our Learning Team – a group of five or six peers who complete group assignments together the first year. Teams are intentionally diverse in all ways imaginable. My group is no exception. We have a Chinese entrepreneur with CPG experience, a Floridian entrepreneur with operations experience, a Russian consultant with global management experience, and a Dominican American bond trader with finance experience. Then there’s me, a New Yorker with digital advertising experience. Given the hype that Wharton is chock-full of investment bankers and consultants, we quickly disprove that theory. We’re an eclectic bunch, and have aptly named ourselves “The Motley Crew.”
The Motley Crew has chemistry. We clicked immediately upon meeting. Already, one teammate is making a strong case for us to vacation to the Dominican Republic together. Another classmate has circulated pictures of his bulldog, who I’m hoping to dog sit for. I’m planning an intimate dinner for our group at my apartment this week. We were strangers two days ago, but opened up to each other very quickly – at lightning speed in fact. As I said earlier, things move quickly at Wharton.
One of the most exciting things I’ve noticed since arrival is the school’s emphasis on self-discovery. This past week, almost every faculty speech touched on the topic. They’re serious about this stuff. Dr. Kembrel Jones, the most amazing dean of student life that ever lived, spoke to us about developing a personal brand: what we stand for as individuals (and therefore promise to deliver on). Jonah Berger, an award-winning marketing professor [and James G. Campbell Assistant Professor of Marketing], spoke to us about the importance of setting unique goals and writing them down. Given our hectic schedule, I haven’t had time to properly think about my personal brand or my goals. But there’s no better place to do this than at Wharton, where the most talented people in the world are essentially taking a break from real life to improve themselves. I feel incredibly privileged and humbled to be here … Let the journey begin!
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on the Wharton MBA Program’s Student Diarist blog on Aug. 27, 2012. Find photos of Wharton MBA pre-term activities on the Wharton Flickr stream.