They POPed in Atlanta. Beijing. London. New York. Paris. And São Paulo. In the summer of 2012, MBA students who had migrated from campus to complete internships in cities around the globe took advantage of a new way to leverage the Wharton alumni network, build relationships with fellow students and meet incoming classmates—Pub Outside Penn (POP).
POP is designed to keep the Wharton MBA culture alive in cities worldwide. During the school year, Wharton’s rigorous programming is balanced by initiatives that enable students to form bonds and make connections socially, including the popular Thursday evening pastime MBA Pub. True to its name, POP takes that program outside of the Philadelphia region. In 2012, more than 350 WG ’13s attended more than 30 events hosted in more than 20 cities globally. Each event was run by students, with some support from Wharton staff and Wharton alumni clubs. Admitted students and recent MBA graduates were also invited to attend POP events.
“POP is a great way for classmates living and interning in one city, or sometimes one region of the world, to stay connected,” says second-year Ann Lee, one of two executive directors for alumni affairs within the Wharton Graduate Student Association.
Lee says that the success of the POP experience can be credited to nearly 60 members of the Class of 2013 who volunteered to be POP City Captains and organized the happy hours, dinners and events.
Fellow WG ’13er Danu Wicaksana was among these student leaders. He organized two events in Jakarta—and took POP networking to a new level. Because there is not a large student population in Jakarta, Wicaksana established a combined event that included peers from Stanford and Harvard. The resulting evening included about 25 Wharton alumni and students and about 25 individuals from Harvard and Stanford. He held a second event later in the summer that enabled 10 Wharton students and alumni to form deeper relationships.
“Benefits to students were, obviously, being able to meet and connect with Wharton alumni in a less formal way—either for networking or even job searching,” he says. “For alumni, it’s a venue to identify top talent to be recruited after graduation and also for them to talk about the Wharton experience.”
POP events also enabled future Wharton students, particularly those who haven’t had the opportunity to visit Philadelphia, to put a face to the School and be welcomed into the Wharton community. In 2012, about 100 incoming MBAs attended POP events.
“The benefits of POP reach far more than the current students,” emphasizes Lee. “I will, of course, plan to participate in POP events after I graduate. POP is a great way to stay connected and stay engaged in the Wharton community, even after students leave Wharton.”
Variations of POP events have cropped up around the country since the program’s inception, and are expected to continue through the summer of 2013 and beyond.
—By Susan McDonnell