Part 1: Class of 2015 Academic Award Winners

by Poorvi Shirvastav WG’15

Recently, Stephen Dieckmann, Deputy Vide Dean of Academic Affairs, announced Academic Awards for the Class of 2015. These honors recognize academic excellence, strong leadership skills and exceptional community involvement. If you were one of those who were trying to identify the secretive formula for academic success at Wharton – Worry Not! The Wharton Journal brings to you the insider interviews of these outstanding individuals.

This week, we caught up with Himanshu Sharma WG ’15 and Edward Nie WG’15, who were both named Ford Fellows (along with Emma Spagnuolo) for achieving the highest academic performance (measured by GPA) during the first-year at Wharton. We’ll catch up with other award winners (Julie Bruno WG’15, Pam Geist WG’15 and Emma Spagnuolo WG’15 next week.


 “I became the poster boy for sleeping during classes” – Himanshu Sharma, Ford Fellow 2015.

WJ: Tell us a bit about yourself and what you did this summer?

Himanshu: Before Wharton, I did consulting for a while and subsequently shifted to real estate PE at Morgan Stanley. This summer, I was at T. Rowe Price and liked the experience. More Independent and self-driven than I had expected.

WJ: How did you become this smart?

Himanshu: I feel quite fortunate because Wharton has a lot of smart and hardworking folks. In my case I think I was lucky to have a near perfect learning team (if Michael Hong chose to hang out with us more often, we would be totally perfect). So much of your grade is determined by the learning team – and if they are motivated, easy to work with and have complementary skills it makes your life easy. That worked for us.

WJ: Can you advice the first years on how we should approach Wharton – we are kind of lost?

Himanshu: I think people at Wharton are very mature and everyone finds feet sooner than later. But a few things can help – do a few things with complete passion than trying to do ten activities but half-heartedly. Always work towards what you want to be and not towards what job you want to get- helps to keep your mind clear.


Edward Nie

“The longest I can spell without googling is Indecisiveness” – Edward Nie, Ford Fellow 2015

WJ: How was life before Wharton and what did you do this summer?

Eddie: I grew up in Severna Park, MD, a suburb dominated by lacrosse and attended Penn for undergrad (finance and chemical engineering dual major). I worked for a boutique investment bank after college in Baltimore focused on education companies, and spent the past summer working for a private equity firm in D.C. Both experiences were amazing – I have come to realize that one of the most important aspect of any job is the people. If you work for good people who care about your well-being and growth, you will have an awesome experience anywhere.

WJ: What was your most embarrassing moment at Wharton?

Eddie: Being in Follies for falling asleep at bars was pretty bad.

WJ: Do you like board games?

Eddie: Both sports and board games – I’m very competitive and like winning, so I like anything that is a game. Rock Paper Scissors? Done.

WJ: Do you have any advice for first years?

Eddie: RELAX! Take a minute and evaluate what is truly important to you and what you want out of the Wharton experience. Are you trying to get an ‘A’ in every class? Are you trying to meet as many people as possible? Are you trying to get a job? If you take a minute and decide what is most important to you (I promise you that MKTG 611 case will not be the death of you and you will NOT fail out of school), then you should focus your energy pursuing that goal. To complete the water analogy – putting some direction in your first year at Wharton will help guide you out of the riptides and back to land.



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