Stepping away from the sultry heat of Philadelphia and into the air conditioning of Huntsman Hall, Wharton’s MBA Class of 2014 was welcomed with messages that exude inspiration … and expectations.

“Knowledge is the muscle of business,” read banners floating above Baker Forum. “Let’s create economic and social value around the world.”

On August 12, 840 students joined the Wharton community, leaving jobs, relocating families and embarking on a new journey of learning. They represent the brightest minds from a broad range of experiences and industries—hand-selected from a pool of more than 6,400. Indicative of the global nature of business, 37 percent of the class of 2014 is international. Early admissions statistics also show that 42 percent of the new MBA class is female, and the median amount of time spent in the workforce is five years.

A colorful array of new banners welcomes the Class of 2014 in Baker Forum

The first weeks of preterm introduce students to the intensity and rigor that they can expect during the next two years.

Students participate in a variety of programs designed to immerse them in the Wharton culture and acclimate them to the fast-paced MBA lifestyle. They are introduced to their cluster and cohort members, connect through retreats, attend Convocation and begin leadership coursework.

After Labor Day, students will dive into academics full time—the first Wharton class to be fully immersed in the new MBA curriculum, which promises more flexibility in class selection and a greater number of elective options.

Along with long hours of studying come co-curriculars, extra-curriculars and events—Wharton Leadership Ventures, Follies, student groups, MBA Pub, Iron Prof, internships, conferences, opportunities to study and work internationally, guest lectures, dinners with alumni—a seemingly endless list of opportunities to apply classroom knowledge in different ways and to become more deeply rooted in Wharton culture.

In just two years, they will become the new generation of Wharton graduates, joining the largest, most powerful alumni network in the world. The will join companies in the U.S. and abroad. They will build businesses. They will innovate. They will influence a variety of industries. They may not remember the expectations set upon them their first days at Wharton—“Let’s create economic and social value around the world”—though rest assured they will exceed them.

Editor’s note: More photos from the MBAs’ arrival, their first Pub, Convocation and the new branded welcoming banners can be found at Wharton’s Flickr stream.