“Understanding your own story is a powerful way to think about the future. It becomes about the next chapter in your story and not the next rung on the ladder that others expect you to climb.” – Professor Richard Shell
A few lucky students know exactly what they want to do post-MBA. We are not these students. We came to business school because we wanted to buy ourselves two extra years to dedicate to discovering what it is that we are meant to do. Don’t get me wrong- we have ideas of what we like and don’t like. But we want, and need, a meaningful, directed and structured way to explore our career paths further, in a way that isn’t hokey or endlessly self-indulgent.
In Spring 2013, Professor Richard Shell and MBA student Katie Farrell (WG ’13) recruited a group of students to help edit and revise Shell’s book Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success (published this August). Students working in these focus groups, and Professor Shell himself, were surprised when the groups quickly turned into something much more personal and meaningful. “Some students liked the book better than others,” Shell commented, “but the topics and exercises provided everyone with a great way to have genuine conversations about their longer-term goals and values. It was a dialogue they had missed elsewhere in their MBA experience.”
Around the same time Andrew Towne (WG ’15) had formed a similar group with his friends to discuss their own goals. Explains Towne: “I came to Wharton as a career switcher, and was looking for opportunities early on to reflect on my past and my goals. I brought together a few people to have regular discussions about these topics and more. We learned a ton from each other and became good friends.”
When a group of students from the Springboard focus groups connected with Towne, they reached out to the Leadership Office and Career Management, and the idea for P3 was born.
P3 stands for Purpose, Passion, and Principles. It is a student-led initiative, supported by faculty (led by Professor Shell), the Leadership Office, and MBA Career Management (MBACM), with the aim of further developing the content for these groups and bringing them to scale for more MBA students to enjoy. The pilot version of this program will launch on October 14th, with 8 groups of 5-8 students meeting on a weekly basis. Session content ranges from excerpts from Professor Stew Friedman’s Total Leadership and Paul Graham’s “How to do what you love” to chapters from Shell’s Springboard. P3 compliments existing Wharton initiatives such as Career Leader and the Executive Coaching program, by providing an opportunity for students to gain a deeper understanding of their own definitions of success and happiness and how this relates to their professional goals. Students in the program will take a holistic approach to thinking about what makes them happy, what they excel at, how they define success as a product of their backgrounds, and more.
Shell says he is excited to be helping students organize the P3 experience this year “so more MBA students can try this out. We want to fit P3 into the Wharton culture so it sticks – and that means making it flexible and responsive to each group’s needs. I hope everyone who is working through uncertainties about what they want their life to look like ten years out will feel comfortable about joining up.”
Towne’s favorite part of P3? “The energy of the students, staff and faculty on our team is incredible. This reflects both the generosity of folks at Wharton and the latent demand for a program like this. P3 has the potential to help a lot of students reach some meaningful decisions about their life, and we’re lucky to be partnering with folks like Professors Shell and Friedman, and the Leadership Office and MBACM.”
P3 Information Sessions Enrollment
If you are interested in participating in this pilot, look for information sessions next week and the enrollment/application process October 1. Feel free to reach out to any of the founders and peer facilitators in the meantime with questions: