San Francisco was the place to be this past weekend – whether for witnessing the euphoria surrounding the Giants’ World Series win, or the crazy costumes gracing the streets for Halloween, the city was not short of any excitement. As a Cohort, we’ve been fortunate to have several groups of visitors from Philadelphia – we not only had 24 come down as part of the Wharton West Trek, but also another 20 of our 2nd year classmates visit informally.
Zina Gelman Bash (WG’13), one of the attendees was amongst the visitors: “Wharton West attracted such a solid group of some of our favorite friends that we had to plan a visit. They all seemed to be loving it and getting precisely what they went there for…I hope our visit reminded them that there’s plenty to look forward to back in Philly, so they’ll be a little less disappointed about having to leave that beautiful campus (and city).” Margaret Johnson Barry (WG’13) echoed these comments: “It was great to see the SF Cohort and while we can’t wait to have them back in Philly, it was incredible to see how much progress they’ve made on their business ideas and going ‘native’ into the tech, entrepreneurship, and VC ecosystem.” As part of this visit, the group rented a party bus and headed to some of the best vineyards in Napa; attended big group dinners; and partied the night away at San Francisco’s hottest nightspots.
The first ever Wharton Unconference was a great success, with a mixture of Wharton 1st years, 2nd years, and Executive MBA’s in attendance. The Unconference’s format was different to that of traditional conferences, with a focus on active participation from the audience. Session topics included best practices to assemble a startup team, trends in emerging market entrepreneurship, the future of mobile, the sharing economy and online fashion as well as best practices for b2b companies. Neha Bhargava (WG’ 13) notes “A personal highlight was connecting with people I had never met before and quickly finding out that our career interests overlap. I’m even scheduling coffee with four of these people to discuss and get help on our own startup work”.
Students attending Wharton West Fest visited six companies over the course of an afternoon with members of the Semester in San Francisco Cohort. Our hosts ranged from startups like Hipmunk and PocketGems to major corporations like Google and Intel. Visitors from Philadelphia, mostly First Years, got to check out several companies in the area and had a chance to experience what makes the San Francisco tech and startup ecosystem so unique.
In other news, our Cohort has been very active in making the most of our location in California and doing day trips outside of SF city. Our group trip to Yosemite National Park was a blast. Organized by our fearless leader, Tommy Fu (or ToFu as we lovingly call him), the overnight trip started on a fine Saturday morning from the glorious Wharton San Francisco campus. Just 10 minutes into the trip, Gabriel Gaspar was already bragging about his Brazilian meat (not joking). He claims to be a fabulous cook and we take his word for it! Elena Sedova, who is definitely not an ex-KGB Russian spy, provided much needed entertainment by grilling Gabe like the meat he claims he knows how to cook.
Upon arriving at the glamping site (see glamping: “glamorous camping”) 6 short hours later (with an appropriate stop for beer), we went on a half-day Tiltill Valley hike, which made us appreciate our fancy tents with 8 inch mattresses and fluffy pillows. The following morning was centered on watching the sunrise at Half Dome, which is where we ran out of gas, until Alice Zhang and Peter Gajdos rescued us fools. With a bit of adventure, black bears (the best of all bears), beers, and s’mores, the Yosemite trip was a big success.
By Chirag Chotalia, Mariya Nikiforova, Satya Tammareddy: (WG ’13)