Wharton alumni have been sending us their Wharton Effect stories ever since we first launched the idea at the start of 2015. That idea put simply is—how has Wharton transformed your career and your life? We’ve actually gotten more submissions on the topic than we can keep up with, yet still … we keep asking for more!
In our Fall 2015 Wharton Magazine, for instance, we called for submissions and offered to randomly select two of them to win $100 gift certificates at the Wharton Store. And the winners were … Kate Pohl WG80 and Jenifer Kramer W94. Congrats to them!
Please read their Wharton Effect submissions below and remember: We are interested in your story too. In fact, we are running the same promotion again for the Winter 2016 magazine. From all submissions that we receive in February and March, we will randomly select two authors to receive the Wharton Store gift certificate. All submitted stories will be considered for publication online and/or in print.[well]
How to Submit Your Wharton Effect Story
Wharton Magazine is still collecting tales of the School’s profound impact on alumni’s lives. Have a story to share? Want to have it appear online or in the pages of the magazine? We are looking for people willing to be interviewed, share their story in first person or even submit a video of themselves explaining Wharton’s transformational power in their lives. So submit here![/well]
Now, on to Kate’s and Jenifer’s stories …
When I first graduated from Wharton, all I wanted was a career in advertising. However, upon landing an entry-level job at a midsize agency I found that it didn’t really suit my personality. I contacted a recruiter that I had worked with in the past, and she sent me on an interview at Hearst Magazines in their brand development department. Upon learning more about the position, I discovered that it met all the criteria for what I was seeking—it required creativity, strong people skills, a can-do attitude, intelligence and organizational prowess. While interviewing up through the department ranks, I learned that the head of the department was also a Wharton graduate, and due to our shared alma mater, I believe he favored me over other candidates. I got the job, launching a 20-year career in licensing and promotions. Three years ago, I launched my own business (Jenerosity Marketing) and currently represent such reputable and popular brands as Crayola and Pokémon. Had it not been for my Wharton education, I am not sure I would be where I am today!
—Jenifer Kramer W94
You could say, that in many ways, Wharton both changed and transformed my life—perhaps more for me than for most. My undergraduate—and originally graduate—studies were in the humanities. I received my BA in German language and literature at UC Riverside. In 1975, I was working on my MA in German literature and teaching German 1-4 at Penn as a TA. I literally woke up one day and realized I didn’t want to be a teacher when I finished my education. I wanted something else. I decided it had to be something fast paced, something challenging, something demanding. I decided I needed a career in business.
I began the “next phase” by talking with companies in the the tri-state area, asking them what they looked for in their college graduate hires. I quickly realized I needed the education, training and the credentials that a MBA could give me. I needed the Wharton Effect!
Happily, I was already at Penn, so I started working at the Wharton School to get to know … everyone. Through the work-study program I was employed in Wharton Admissions and Alumni Affairs (as it was called in those days). For someone who had stopped taking math (who needs it?) after the ninth grade, had never had economics, and to whom a balance sheet and P&L were true mysteries, I was taking on a challenge indeed.
Despite my excellent grades and recommendations, I had never worked in industry, so there is no doubt that I was very lucky when Wharton took a leap of faith and admitted me in 1978. I will always be truly, truly grateful for that support and trust. (Btw I did take calculus and trigonometry in the summer of 1977 to prove I could do the math!) In the end I did quite well academically and was chosen to spend my last semester at Wharton in the Netherlands. I took courses at the University in Delft and worked as an intern at the Amro Bank in Amsterdam. This opportunity to study abroad would later become a part of the Lauder Program.
Over 35 years ago—after concentrating in international finance and combining that with my marketing and sales know-how and language skills—I went out into the world of industry with no less than seven excellent job offers! The Wharton Effect was a tangible and strong advantage. I began my career as a banker at the Irving Trust Company in NYC in June 1980. I have had a wonderful ride ever since working continually for some of the world’s great financial institutions.
I have been privileged to have had both interesting and rewarding positions ever since I began. I have spent most of my career in Europe, both in the Netherlands and Germany. What started out as a three-year assignment abroad turned out to be the last 27 years of my life. Love kept me in Europe after marrying a man with six (yes, six) children. Next year, we will celebrate our silver wedding anniversary and I am still going strong in the banking world.
Today, I work as a managing director in Frankfurt for ING Bank responsible for transaction services sales in Germany and Austria. Our now seven children are grown, with the youngest finishing college in Boston next May. Jonathan is a very talented performer—musical theater—but is also interested in possibly earning an MBA down the road. At Wharton, of course.
I remain terribly proud of my MBA, and when I tell people where I earned it, I can see the Wharton Effect is still going strong!
—Kate Pohl WG80