This is it. It’s time to pack up our country club casual and our tutus. It’s time to say goodbye to 3-day weekends and 30-day winter breaks. It’s time to tear up our cheat sheets and uninstall the Canvas app. We are apparently now “Masters” of Business Administration! As we labored (read as: drank heavily) through the last two years, we have all learned several crucial things about business, that rightfully earn us this title.
I’ve learned not to let the gender gap hold me back and to use it to my advantage instead – specifically at the Duke Rugby World Tournament where there are eight men’s rugby teams to one women’s team! I’ve learned to be calm in tense situations and most importantly to remember everything I learned in MGEC about the Prisoners Dilemma; this knowledge came handy when I was flagged as a Tier 1 security threat with my Middle Eastern-stamp heavy passport on the Israel trek (Thanks Oded Porath for allowing yourself to be cross-examined in isolation as they corroborated our stories in Jerusalem).
Without further ado, allow me to share some more business-y lessons I’ve learned here at Wharton.
Be a team player – Don’t shy away from occasionally carrying your team’s load
Leadership ventures take this carrying your teammates “load” thing way too literally. Last year, I went to Antarctica. I have never been camping or trekking before and I suddenly found myself on an uninhabited continent cut off from all outside contact. While there, I tethered to 6 other people, climbed glaciers, built igloos and melted snow for water, all while carrying a common team poop tube! Scary? Yes. But also life-changing.
My first day I wanted to be airlifted out of there, but I grew to love the experience and the people I was with. Matt Bruce, who in his infinite military wisdom, sat in the cold snow and duct-taped my blistered feet for me. Ben Dean for keeping me laughing throughout and for his sizeable contributions to the poop tube. And Juan Carlos for singing ‘99 bottles of fireball on the wall’ on the top of his voice without missing a beat to keep us going! I learned that real obstacles are in the mind, and that it’s completely okay to depend on other people to carry you through tough times – it’s what makes us stronger.
Do something. Fail at it. Try again. Repeat.
Apparently 90% of startups fail. In Entrepreneurship class, we learned that the key to a successful business can be knowing when to pivot your strategy when failing and to try again. I applied this to my real life with the White Party. As a first year, I pre-gamed too hard and didn’t remember much else of the night. Of course, I woke up covered in black stuff (thank you Voyeur) and pieced my night together the next morning at Saxby’s with my trusting besties (thank you, BFC) while shrugging away the potential loss of my personal brand.
White Party: Take 2. As a second year, I was so much smarter. I chugged beers all year in preparation, improved my liver capacity, masterfully hydrated in between Fireball shots at Voyeur, and ended the night at McDonalds. I remember everything! Win. I’d also like to take this moment to take complete credit for Manasa and Nimish’s relationship. Without having to walk a drunk ‘ol me home together after that first White Party, they never would have found love here at Wharton. In all seriousness, life post Wharton for me feels like a second take – not just to try again with a brand new career in advertising, but with a brand new perspective on life itself and I have Wharton to thank for both.
An organization is only as good as it’s people
The last two years would have meant nothing without the people here. I have truly found the kind of people here that I know will be my friends for life. #MyWharton. My Wharton is the person that stayed up all night with me teaching me a semesters worth of accounting the day before the final, the people I celebrated all birthdays at midnight with, the person I could cry to when things felt too overwhelming, the people I giggle with over ramen reunions at Nom Nom, the person whose side I didn’t want to leave when she hit her head outside Woodys (I won’t name names, Divya Narayan), and even the person that ‘tried’ to stop me from eating someone’s leftover fries at Little Petes because “Herpes is for life, Mansi!”.
So yes, while I’ve learned a few lessons in business over the last two years here at Wharton, I’ve also had some lessons about life and people. So, I’m not sad to graduate. I’m excited to start anew again. I’m excited for my second take. Its time to embrace the new things life will teach us. It’s time to remember to continue to stretch ourselves. It’s time to continue to allow ourselves to transform in ways we didn’t think possible outside of b-school. So maybe, just maybe this isn’t quite it.
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