My Wharton MBA – A Sparknotes Edition

Jake Gorelov WG'15 with fellow LFs / good friends in Myanmar on winter break

Jake Gorelov WG’15 with fellow LFs / good friends in Myanmar on winter break

I’ve had a very special two years at Wharton. Below is a compilation of some of the best advice I’ve received while here—I wish I would have picked it up earlier in life but am grateful for learning it here. Apologize in advance for the stream of consciousness and likely trite learnings. Please proceed from here at the risk of wasting 2 minutes of your life.

    1. With friends, prioritize a handful of deep relationships over a large network of loose acquaintances. Thank you to Sam Altman.
    2. Surround yourself with people who push you, make you better, and give you honest feedback. Special thanks to my co-editor of The Journal, Ramie Abu-Zahra WG’15 from whom I learned how to not back down from those difficult conversations with each other as we figured out how to chart the path of the paper. And thank you to Julie Bruno WG’15 and Abhay Nayak WG’15 (my Leadership Fellow cos) who taught me the true meaning of teamwork – figuring out how to balance our strengths and weaknesses into a high performing unit.
    3. There is no one archetype for leadership. Introverts make great leaders by inspiring others to run with their ideas and being incredibly persistent. Thank you Adam Grant and The LF community for teaching me that.
    4. Give with no expectation of receiving. Few things are more gratifying. Thank you again Adam Grant.
    5. Respond to e-mails within 24 hours. Thank you Adam Grant.
    6. Fake it till you make it in areas where you lack confidence.
    7. Let your guard down once in a while. Vulnerability will help you forge bonds quickly. Thanks Jeff Klein.
    8. When giving feedback, balance every constructive criticism with a couple of points of praise.
    9. Adults learn by being out of their comfort zone and by doing, not by being in a classroom. Stretch yourself and fail with frequency. Thank You Jeff Klein.
    10. Treasure your personal brand. It can get tarnished with one bad decision. Thanks Kembrel.
    11. Take the most respectful interpretation of any slight / potential offense. Walking up the ladder of inference (ie drawing conclusions quickly) will bite you in the butt.
    12. You can never make everyone happy and need to accept that.
    13. Business school & life is like drinking from a fire hose. Pick carefully and only do the things you want to do. Learn to say no. Life is too short for bullshit.
    14. If you are fortunate enough, travel, and travel with a small group of close friends; the world is an interesting place.
    15. Pinot is a gateway drug. Thank you Ryan Moreland WG’15, Seema Gunda WG’15, and Aditi Nim WG’15 (Wharton Wine Club Presidents).
    16. While life is full of solitary endeavors, great work emerges in the space between people. Thank you David Carr.
    17. Journalism is alive and well. Newspapers are meant to create dialogue and bring the community together and forward. Thank you to The Wharton Journal team for reaffirming that.
    18. Do something meaningful with your life. And whatever you do, make sure you are the best at it. Thank you Andre Agassi, David Fajgenbaum WG’15 (who I have never met but was touched by during his Peer Perspectives), and the many other inspiring members of the Class of 2015.
    19. Set goals and plan. But when you see an unanticipated opportunity that has potential, jump on it at a moment’s notice. Thank you to the Wharton alums (e.g. Chris Ahearn W’ 89) in media who unanimously dropped this advice on me when interviewed for my final paper for Professor Bidwell’s career class.
    20. The traditional customer life time value formula used by most companies is garbage. It doesn’t take into account heterogeneity, or cohort-specific differences. Thank you Professor Fader.
    21. Advocate for the women in your life (e.g. Liz Bacon WG’15) and that are around you, especially when you see gender inequity taking shape. Thank you 22s.
    22. “You gotta connect” and stay connected with the Wharton family. Thank you Americus Reed.
    23. Be grateful. Thank you Wharton for a memorable two years.

Check out other WG’15 reflections below in The Wharton Journal, and like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter:

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