In mid-December, right in the middle of finals and days before the semester ended, we got the list of Round 1 Lauder Class of 2016 admits. We are very excited to welcome them all, and each admit has a “language buddy” among the current students who reached out with personal calls and e-mails within a few short days. We’re here to help the admits through their transition in the coming months before Lauder’s next class starts in May. I think back to where I was at this point last year—trying to figure out how I was going to wrap up my job, pack my entire life into suitcases, and move across the planet from Israel to start school in Philadelphia in a matter of weeks—and I especially appreciate the Lauder students who took the time to speak with me, now that I’m on the other side and see that they reached out during one of the most stressful periods of their first semester. This personal willingness to help made a tremendous difference for me, and showed me from the beginning the warmth and cohesiveness of the Lauder community. My first days in Lauder last May were not too long ago, and I’m really excited for how much the next class has to look forward to – I wish I could experience it all over again!
This year, in addition to the usual outreach we wanted to add our own “welcome committee” twist: a video of us from our winter break travels around the globe sending our Lauder love to the admits. The bravest among us sought thrills in physical and mental challenges on Wharton ventures, while others pursued cross-cultural immersions and treks, and some of us went chasing sunshine on exotic vacations. We sent back snippets of ourselves from the farthest corners of the world, mounting to the top of Cotopaxi brandishing ice picks and frozen hair, chasing kangaroos in Australia, singing with a group of children in Rwanda, ringing in the New Year in Antarctica (which turned out to be warmer than much of the US!), experiencing the Taj Mahal in India, and more.
Now that we’re back in Philadelphia getting ready to meet next year’s class in Welcome Weekend, our clips are being compiled into a video welcoming the class of 2016 in multiple languages from multiple places to show the truly global face of Lauder. Despite being far apart on our vastly different winter break adventures, we sent back the same smiles and warm spirit of welcoming the admits to our extended family. Lauder has been an incredibly significant part of our Wharton experience in pushing us to think about business from a global perspective and consistently challenge ourselves to be comfortable with what is “foreign”—which simply means unknown. Through the Lauder lens, we’re able to see the varied faces of the world and bring these experiences back with us to shape our ongoing educational and professional experiences at Wharton and beyond. Most importantly, we are part of a close-knit community that grows each year. We’re really excited to meet the Lauder class of 2016 and can’t wait for them to start their own amazing two-year ride.