Being a Wharton Ambassador is my favorite extracurricular activity at Wharton. As an organization sponsored by the Wharton Undergraduate Division, Wharton Ambassadors is a group of undergraduate students responsible for giving daily information sessions to prospective students and their families, conducting events for admitted students and organizing high school outreach activities. With more than 60 members, Wharton Ambassadors is a dynamic community consisting of students from all over the globe and all four classes. Known as the “face of the Wharton Undergraduate Program,” students in the group uphold and represent the Wharton brand.
This year, I have had the opportunity to serve as the vice president of information sessions for Wharton Ambassadors. In this position, I schedule daily information sessions, update the presentation slide deck and implement initiatives to improve the visitor experience. My favorite part of this board position is witnessing the direct effect that my work has on prospective students, whether it is adding a tour of Huntsman Hall to our information session or creating a survey for visitors to provide us with feedback. In addition to hosting events for prospective students, I enjoy working with the Wharton Ambassadors board to help plan events for our fellow members.
Last month, I worked with our vice president of recruitment, Matt DeGagne, to organize a presentation workshop to help our members improve their public speaking skills. We invited Arthur Benedict, a successful communications coach and public speaking and speechwriting instructor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government, to lead our workshop. He was recently nominated for Penn’s Provost’s Award for Teaching Excellence by Non-Standing Faculty.
At the beginning of the workshop, Mr. Benedict helped us learn what makes a memorable presentation by showing videos of world-renowned speeches, including Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch and Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture. He then filmed each ambassador presenting a few slides from our slide deck and then played back every mini-presentation to offer feedback. Watching ourselves on film was the most insightful exercise of the day. It helped us experience the presentation from the perspective of our audience members and allowed us to make simple, but noticeably effective, changes to our public speaking practices. Mr. Benedict’s presentation workshop was fun and informative for our members and we look forward to working with him again in the future.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a Wharton Ambassador, and I am excited to help the organization continue to grow.
Editor’s note: This post first appeared on the Wharton Undergraduate’s Student Voices blog on April 5, 2013.