Since Alana, Ted, Jackie and I came into office last spring, we have focused on making sure that you are getting the most out of the (many, many) dollars you’re investing in clubs, conferences, and your Wharton experience. As good b-school students know, money rules the world. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how the WGA finances work and how you can get the most out of your clubs and conferences:
Let’s start with the basics and break down some facts you may not know about the WGA and our finances.
1) WGA is everywhere: Every time you pay club dues, buy an event or conference ticket on CampusGroups, or submit a club reimbursement, you’re using the WGA’s finance infrastructure. We’re only slightly behind “the collective desire for Yemi to put a shirt on” in the competition for most ubiquitous things at Wharton.
2) By revenue and people, we are the largest b-school student government association: Every year the WGA brings in $4 million of revenue from dues, events, sponsorships, and merchandise.
3) The WGA is a independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization: We don’t report to Dean Garret, Mary Ellen Lamb, or Kembrel. We also don’t pay unnecessary fees to UPenn. That means more programming, clubs, and direct benefits for your Wharton experience.
This year, we’ve taken great strides to bring the cost of your Wharton down, including:
- The WGA Conference Team coordinated dates and negotiated with venues on behalf of our 23 conferences with increased bargaining power. We also took internal steps, like negotiating $6k off of our WGA third party audit fee.
- The WGA created a new Business Development Director role to help coordinate between clubs for corporate sponsorships, and negotiate preferred vendor rates.
- The WGA enforces a $50pp maximum for all board only events, so more club funds go toward all members, not just the board.
- $7 for Halloween was just the beginning – look out for cheap prom tickets and other discounts in the spring.
Since students manage the funds for our 106 clubs and 23 conferences, we’ve put together some pro-tips for you:
- WGA can pay vendors directly, so students don’t have to pay out-of-pocket for that $2k bar tab or $10k block of hotel rooms (unless you really want those points!). Typically, with two to three weeks notice we can arrange direct payment.
- We can pay in lots of ways: check, credit card, Paypal, wire, and we regularly make payments to national and international vendors.
- Our team approves ~100 reimbursements/invoices per week to meet our two-week turnaround. The two weeks starts when your Treasurer submits to the WGA (not when you submit to your Treasurer).
- The Investment Management Club manages some of the WGA’s money – very effectively too, beating the market by 5.3% on average over the last 20 years.
- Looking for good examples to follow? Philippe Burq (WHALASA) and Rachel Friedstein (WWIB) submit perfect reimbursements, help their clubs pay for high-value events for their membership, and display an admirable mindset of service in performing their club duties.