For Scott Kosch WG98, his 25th MBA Reunion Weekend in 2023 was more than a good time. The conversations he had with his classmates during the weekend’s festivities — a class dinner, a Cohort D-E-F meeting, and a celebration at Plough & the Stars — made him realize he wanted to spend more time with them, and not just for recreation. “We have to work together,” Kosch thought. “How can we make that happen?” Reconnecting with his class planted a seed.

“We recognized how much we love and respect each other,” Kosch says. “The idea of starting a company together evolved in phases.”

The first phase unfolded when Kosch and Adrienne Liss Peres WG98 served as Reunion Ambassadors, which meant they were responsible for personally reaching out to their classmates and encouraging them to attend their 25th Reunion. Their outreach prompted a record-breaking turnout from the Class of 1998, with nearly 300 attendees. “There was an energy as I walked through Huntsman Hall and saw so many familiar faces,” Peres says. “It reminded me of the special times we had at Wharton.”

Valerie Gill VanDerzee and Scott Kosch sitting next to each other looking at a laptop screen

WG98 classmates Valerie Gill VanDerzee and Scott Kosch are both senior partners at NextAccess.

A few months after that 2023 Reunion Weekend, Kosch coordinated a potential angel investment in an AI startup focused on outbound sales automations. Naturally, Kosch says, he reached out to former classmates for their insight. Even though he ultimately passed on that investment, the enthusiastic responses from fellow alumni proved the door was open to working with them — and he was determined to make it a reality.

Kosch, Peres, and some of their former classmates began to flesh out the vision. Kosch invited more members of their class to participate, and before he knew it, they were launching a new venture. NextAccess is a team of senior operators with a collective 350 years of experience in running organizations and implementing go-to-market strategies. NextAccess partners bring operating expertise across functions and industries, Peres says, by advising clients about AI-enabled strategies and tactics that improve their growth and earnings. NextAccess partners’ experience spans many B2B and B2C industries.

In addition to this plethora of experience, Peres, who’s a senior partner, is proud of NextAccess’s gender parity. “As the NextAccess team came together after Reunion, we organically arrived at a partnership that is 50 percent women,” she says. “The corporate culture we are building is amazing.”

“It feels like Reunion every day,” says Scott Kosch WG98.

This corporate culture is elevated by the long-lasting, close-knit friendships of the NextAccess senior partners — and vice versa. Scott Greenberg WG98 says being a part of NextAccess has taken the connections he has within his class to the next level. “It’s an opportunity to leverage our collective knowledge, skills, and networks to create something more meaningful and impactful than any of us could do on our own,” he adds.

Valerie Gill VanDerzee WG98, another NextAccess senior partner, says her team owes its one-of-a-kind dynamic to the Wharton School. “Being able to build on those relationships in a professional setting is really special,” she notes. “The trust and respect we have for each other thanks to our Wharton days powers our success as a team.” That’s why VanDerzee urges Wharton alumni to attend their Reunions: “Reunion is all about supporting each other, not about professional successes,” she says. “It’s all about how we can make the next decades truly count.”

Peres says she’s attended all of her Reunions — and always will. She hopes those who are attending Reunion for the first time are fortunate enough to find business partners in their former classmates, just as she has with Kosch, Greenberg, VanDerzee, and the others. But she also has some words of wisdom ahead of Reunion: “Bring your full self. And get a lot of sleep in advance, because those nights closing down Bonner’s at 2 a.m. get tougher as you become more seasoned.”

Thanks to their 25th Reunion, these members of the Class of 1998 don’t have to save their stories and jokes until the next time they reunite on campus. “Twelve of our founding partners are Wharton classmates,” Kosch says, “so it feels like Reunion every day.”