I graduated! I did it! My parents, in-laws, husband, brother and sister all came to Philadelphia to watch me get my diploma a couple of weekends ago. It felt like a huge celebration that I didn’t deserve since I had so much fun over the last couple of years—and the time flew by. I asked a friend what I should write about in my “graduation” blog entry, and she suggested paying homage to my time at b-school by giving some advice to the incoming class. So here are my top nine pieces of advice for future Wharton MBAs:
1) Take Sports Business. If you are at all a sports fan, you’ll appreciate this class. Professor Scott Rosner knows so much about every single sport that you’ll feel like you’re watching ESPN for the 3 hours/week class time. However, you’ll learn plenty as you complete a player’s salary negotiation exercise and discuss the very real business of sports leagues.
2) Don’t say “no” to new experiences during Pre–Term. Use the month before classes officially begin to explore Philadelphia and try new things. It will be tiring, but totally worth it when you discover how much you actually enjoy participating in a trading simulation, dim sum, salsa dancing, etc… Once classes start you’ll need to prioritize what you want to do anyway, so why not use this month to find new things you love?
3) Make a friend from every continent. I can’t take credit for this one—it was recommended to me by Yin L. Yin,WG’06. You’re likely to make friends who are similar to you, but stretch yourself/try to make friends from all over the world. You might have some pretty awesome trips to take during and post-MBA.
4) Talk to your professors about their research. The professors do some really great and cool research, and many are interested in getting to know and helping students with their own ventures. Take advantage of the Professor Lunch programs. You can also TA classes as an easy way to spend some time with professors (and make extra money).
5) Go to lectures. Yes, going to classes helps, but I mean more than that. Wharton has amazing speakers every week. Andre Agassi and Alvaro Uribe were just two of the speakers we had this last year. And a lot of times, you can sign up to have cocktails with these folks after the talk.
6) Do at least one Wharton trip. GIPs, Treks, Ventures―the list is endless. Someone else does the planning and you get to travel stress-free with new friends. Most of these trips are student-planned and led, but are so professionally done, you’ll be constantly amazed at the quality of the activities you get to participate in. These trips are truly an experience unlike any other.
7) Realize it can be stressful (finding a new job, finding new friends, realizing you’re in debt). Own it, and it will be a little stressful.
8) Realize it’s all worth it because you’re in school again. Don’t take yourself too seriously, it’s just school and it’s totally okay to try something and fail.
9) Bring costumes. Trust me on this one.