First-year Wharton MBAs are always amazed at the myriad backgrounds of their classmates. After years of interacting with MBA alumni, I am now usually not surprised to hear that an alum’s pre-Wharton days included a stint as a backup dancer in Bollywood or as a professional tennis player. But until a few days ago, I had yet to meet a Buddhist monk.
Originally from New York, Andrew Scheffer, WG’01, studied philosophy at Johns Hopkins University and during that time got acquainted with a Buddhist monk. Scheffer then spent the next eight years travelling the world—in part as a Buddhist monk himself—with his base of meditation primarily being his teacher’s home in Burma.
While Andrew regularly returns to Burma to study with his teacher, most days he can now be found in Singapore, advising high-net-worth individuals from Thailand, Vietnam and South East Asia as a private banking team lead at the Bank of Singapore. While this may sound like quite a leap, his clients appreciate the manner in which Andrew looks after their well-being in a very holistic way, providing a level of service that would be incomparable if he were only concerned with their financial health.
Andrew was able to bridge the business and religious world as a student at Wharton by launching the Wharton Yogis Meditation group, teaching mindfulness meditation to his fellow MBA classmates on Sunday afternoons and starting a self-awareness leadership venture.
As an alumnus, he has returned each year to host meditation sessions during the MBA leadership orientation program in the Poconos and is always happy to share his experience with alumni and students interested in learning more about mindfulness and mediation.
Meditation and spiritual endeavors are still very much at the forefront of his mind, and Andrew is currently working to establish a New York-based meditation center, which will be staffed full time by a monk trained in the tradition he studied. Find more information about Andrew’s initiative and meditation in general at www.insightmeditation.info and www.panditarama.net.