Greetings, Whartoners. I’m writing a warm hello as one of more than fifty international students completing an exchange semester at Wharton. While most of us are visiting from INSEAD, some students come from LBS, HEC and Bocconi, and a few even hail from more exotic destinations such as Stockholm School of Economics and Keio University.
We’ve experienced a few initial impressions in our first three weeks here. First, why are these graduate students so young…wait, those are undergrads roaming the halls? WTF undergrad pajama man?? Second, there are clubs dedicated to chocolate, beer, whisky and wine? Is this business school heaven??? Third, is ordering a drink at a bar party meant to keep you sober? Thank you, Alex Blair for your sage advice – show up hammered and the party is already started. Fourth, people here are incredibly nice – we are super grateful to our volunteer ‘Wharton Buddies’ who took the time to show us the ropes. To those who didn’t respond…ahem – you know who you are. Lastly, why so many inside jokes and personal shout outs? Bastien Berthon is single and could use a US passport to stay a little longer. Yeah, that felt pretty good.
While I have the floor, I’d like to debunk and affirm a few stereotypes. Stereotype 1: everyone from INSEAD is French. False. In fact, France is one of 86 represented countries and makes up less than 10% of INSEAD students. Admittedly, the French influence does seep into both the Singapore and Fontainebleau campuses where section awards are all champagne based. Stereotype 2: Wharton Follies’ ‘MBAs Assemble a Malm Bed from IKEA’ is a strikingly honest depiction of European MBAers . True. No sense hiding our affinity for dark clothes, sunglasses, and house music. You may have even seen some of these skills on display while we sweated and fist pumped the night away with you at the White Party. A few words of caution: you ain’t seen nothing yet. Bryan Bloom – it’s like the United Nations version of FOMO but with skinny jeans and the guy from the Old Spice commercial.
Why did we come? Some came for glory, others for autumn weather. We all came to travel a bit – Miami, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, New York — as we can’t deny that the United States is as vast as it is beautiful. Last but not least: like you, we are also soul-searching industry changes and sleuthing for jobs. What IS the meaning of life after business school?
What’s in it for you? Are you planning on exchanging at any of our schools? Come pick our brain and get the inside scoop . Hint: go to a Bunga Bunga chateau party or the epic three-day MBA Tournament (MBAT). In addition to boosting the perspective of Wharton’s 35% international population, we come from varied backgrounds….parents, lawyers, scientists, jugglers and of course some posers. So reach out to us – we are very easy to spot with our clunky white nametags and sexy accents. Chances are, we have an opinion.
Sadly, most of us bid farewell to you at the end of the quarter. We plan to drown our sorrows with many Wine Club evenings and plunge headfirst into the quintessential Wharton experience. So find us ruggers at Hog Fest and the others squashing or beer ponging. Come nosh with us at Restaurant Week as we explore Philly or help us determine food choices at the MBA café.
We may seem shy and preoccupied dodging undergrad bros up the escalators, but we all secretly want for you to say hi. Hi.