Two weeks ago, Stephan Dieckmann, Deputy Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, sent out a congratulatory email regarding the Class of 2014 academic awards. The decision process for these awards is often quite difficult due to the large pool of qualified candidates. The honors not only recognize academic excellence, but they also commend students for being active leaders and contributors to their communities. In alignment with the new curriculum and the new vision of the MBA Program Office, the awards serve to bolster academic engagement. Below are brief profiles on the amazing students who won these academic awards.
Ford Fellowship – Adam Katz
Before I met the smartest person at Wharton, I had all sorts of wild conjectures in my head as to what he would be like. But Adam surprised me by being calm, humble and down-to-earth. Not your typical JD/MBA, Adam was in economic consulting prior to law school at UCLA, which he left to work for the Philadelphia Eagles for two years before arriving at Wharton. He had a great experience interning with the Boston Consulting Group this summer and will be returning full time next year. Not only has Adam excelled academically, but he is also very involved in extracurricular activities. He is a Nonprofit Board Fellow, Co-president of the Wine Club and Co-President of the Penn Association of Law and Business. When asked about the secret to his success, Adam emphasized rigorous discipline and being able to say no. We all know how overwhelming Wharton can be, so the key is to find the Wharton experience that you want and stick to that. Before you throw your name in the hat for a new experience or club, try to have a good reason for why you want to do it and what you hope to extract from the activity. Don’t just sign up because it’s cool, and don’t give into FOMO.
Isik Inselbag Scholarship – Mrinalini Chandra
Named after Professor Isik Inselbag who once served as Vice Dean and Director of the Graduate Division, the scholarship emphasizes leadership, service and teamwork in addition to outstanding academic performance (top 5 %). Mrinalini embodies these three pillars through her experiences before and during Wharton. After investment banking at Merrill Lynch, Mrinalini joined her family business in India, working on solar power and clean tech and was heavily involved in volunteer activities. At Wharton, Mrinalini is equally invested in a wide range of organizations. She is an Admissions Fellow, is a TA for Management 101, has served on the Wharton Women In Business board, has helped to coordinate the GIP to India and is very active in the Wharton Social Venture Fund as part of the Clean Tech team and Director for International Projects. Her advice is to be clear and focused on what you want to achieve. Prioritize effectively and make sure that you devote quality time to the things that matter most to you.
William McGowan Fellow – Jackson Dunlap
Awarded to one student per school every year across the top business schools worldwide, the William McGowan Fellowship strives to find the next generation of leaders. In addition to top grades and leadership credentials prior to and during Wharton, Fellows are required to write an essay addressing a significant challenge for business leaders. Many of you are already familiar with this year’s winner – Jackson Dunlap, who serves as the President of the WGA, a Student Life Fellow and Cluster 1 President last year. His pre-Wharton experience was an unconventional journey that led him from a wireless tech startup to working abroad to Krispy Kreme and the Philadelphia Center for Community Partnership with Public Schools. Jackson gave some choice tips on how to get the most out of your Wharton experience. First is quality over quantity. Although there are a million cool things that you want to do, you will probably get more out of doing a few things really well than doing many things haphazardly. Also recognize that stress is self-induced, and it is necessary to put things in perspective outside the Wharton bubble. Most importantly, try to focus on building real relationships and push beyond the superficial interactions. Years after you leave Philadelphia, the things that you will remember are the experiences that you shared and the friends you made.