Upon being admitted into Wharton, I received an invitation to the Joseph Wharton Scholars (JWS) program. I was pretty surprised, seeing as I had never heard about the JWS program before. After reading the description, I was still confused as to what exactly the program entailed, but I did grasp the fact that the program consisted of honors courses both inside of Wharton and outside of it. (JWS students take honors non-business seminars through the Benjamin Franklin Scholars program, which is a Penn-wide program). Another component is a requirement to do research during my senior year.
I hesitated to accept my invitation to JWS. I questioned myself and whether I’d be able to handle a seemingly rigorous program on top of already being at a school with a rigorous curriculum. And research? What could I possibly conduct research on?
But after giving it some thought, I realized that I should accept the invitation. What did I have to lose? And just as in high school, I enjoyed having the option to take honors courses and decided I should seize the opportunity to do so again.
Fast-forward to now, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the JWS program. The required honors course for first-semester freshmen is Finance 103, a course in business economics. My professor is Dr. Martin Asher, who is also the director of the entire JWS program and other Wharton research programs and an adjunct finance professor. Not only is he a brilliant guy with so much experience in the finance/economics world, but also he is such a nice man and a great teacher.
As expected, the curriculum is rigorous, and Dr. Asher’s exams are certainly intense. But I am truly learning an incredible amount from the course, and I find everything we learn super interesting. We are currently studying macroeconomics and, specifically, looking at the different ways to calculate GDP and examining what exactly goes into the measurement of GDP.
Another great aspect of the JWS program is the sense of community it gives you. It’s been great getting to know my 30 other classmates, both inside and outside of the classroom. In fact, this past Friday was the JWS Annual Fall Alumni Dinner. We spent the evening in New York, mingling and eating dinner amongst alumni from the program. It was great to hear about their experiences in the program, as well as the valuable advice they gave us in regards to Wharton, Penn and just life in general.
In conclusion, I love the JWS program so far and can’t wait to see what other experiences and opportunities it brings. And as a word of advice, it doesn’t hurt to try something. When an awesome and beneficial opportunity presents itself, seize it!
Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared on the Wharton Undergraduate Program’s Student Voices blog on Nov. 25, 2013.