I had to use WebCafe to sign up for a conference. It was, without a doubt, among the most confusing 10-minute-periods of my life. As a result, I have newfound appreciation for the Program Office’s weekly email admonitions to club leaders: “limit [your] use of WebCafé to officers and second-year MBA students.” It’s as if they are saying, “Club Leaders! We know you know how to navigate this scary world of eRooms and Dashboards, but please, please don’t scare the children with it.” Program Office, I think I speak for all of WG ‘14 when I say: thank you for protecting us.
Mercifully, the good folks of the WGA were well aware of WebCafé’s shortcomings. Through a partnership with the MBA Program Office and Wharton Computing, the WGA will soon be unveiling a new system called “CampusGroups.” CampusGroups was founded by a business school student at NYU, who understood the unique needs of a business school platform. MBA students need places to post our resumes for professional conferences, to share complicated workplans for our community consulting projects, and to enroll in professional treks. Equally important, we need places to sign up for boozy brunches and figure out our flag football lineup (Cluster 3 for the win!). CampusGroups does all this and more. Sarah Spaulding, IT Director for Wharton Computing, explains,“we didn’t want to roll something out that wasn’t right for the clubs. We see this as a cool opportunity to work together and make sure they have what they need in an integrated way.”
As forward-thinking technology enthusiasts, the Tech Club has been steadily piloting CampusGroups since the start of the school year. Mary Wehner (WG ‘14) and Yun Wu (WG ‘14), who support the Tech Club’s internal and external marketing efforts, respectively, said, “The Tech Club sees CampusGroups as…a ‘one stop shop’ for all club functionality…While we believe there is still significant development work needed, we have seen other schools, like Haas Berkley, reap the benefits of this technology platform.”
But, like a certain escalator in September, CampusGroups is not ready for prime time yet. Until then, you’ve always got Google Docs (assuming you know how to make it accessible for Wharton email addresses, which seems to be knowledge owned and carefully guarded by about half the student body).
The second major technology initiative debuting this year is Wharton Buzz, originally introduced by the WGA. According to WGA Info Systems Executive Director Jean Tsong (WG ’13), Wharton Buzz is an “online platform that allows students’ feedback and suggestions to be heard by the administration in a coordinated way.” Basically, it’s a way to categorize and suggest solutions to your Wharton pet peeves. Some of them are genuinely irritating too. Please enjoy this sample of recent buzzes:
“There is such limited leadership workshop capacity each semester, with huge demand.”
“I miss ABP! The new cafes are sub-par…”
“Doctor’s Note? What am I, in junior high?”
“Please turn off AC and turn on heat – it is getting cold out now, summer is over!”
“Lippincott Library’s online user interface belongs in the 90s.”
“Everything is broken.” (for the record, this one has equal numbers of likes and dislikes… maybe not everything is broken.)
Jean Tsong explains that the administration actually reads Wharton Buzz. In fact, they sometimes even reply on Wharton Buzz (see “Leadership Workshop Capacity” or “Spider Phones in GSRs”). So if you too are freezing in Huntsman or angry about the writing requirement, buzz your thoughts. Don’t worry, it’s a totally different username and password than all of your other ones, so I’m sure you’ll remember it.
Speaking of multiple passwords, Wharton Computing informed the Info Systems Cluster Reps that they have heard the frustrations of dealing with multiple passwords and are exploring potential single-sign-on solutions. Like many of you, I fantasize about this glorious day. Maybe I’ll even be able to delete that super-secure Googledoc (you know… the one creatively titled “All of my Passwords Ever”). Wharton Computing also recently adjusted Wharton system (for example, Spike) password length and character requirements so they align with PennKey’s password requirements. But if you want to speed it up, maybe start some buzz.
To spearhead the future of Wharton technology, Wharton Computing just announced its new Chief Information Officer, Dan Alig. Dan, a former Wharton Computing senior director, has been a part of the Wharton team for several years and brings a wide breadth of experiences to this role. Under Dan’s leadership, Wharton Computing may consider following the University’s School of Arts and Sciences and the College of Liberal and Professional Studies in implementing Google Apps for Education (for example, Gmail, Calendar, Drive). Sarah Spaulding explained “the evaluation process is just kicking off and we expect this to take quite some time. We will host a series of pilots, engage with the student body to gather feedback on what services might benefit them, and prioritize which services to bring forward, if any at all.”
Sarah Spaulding also noted that the annual Wharton technology feedback survey will be sent to all MBAs in late November. So for all you career-switchers desperately seeking something technology-related to discuss during your tech interviews (or, you just feel like your Buzz hasn’t gotten enough “likes” from the student body), this will be your big moment.