It was sometime between reviewing the seventh and eighth budget coming across my desk this summer that I realized that this whole Wharton thing was for real. The budgets weren’t for my internship, though. They were for WGA and they proposed big things, like a Napa Valley Takeover in December and leadership coaching for student groups. We’ve been busy.
You guys have been, too. You wrapped up work and moved to Philly (maybe taking the scenic route through the Mediterranean or South America). Like drunk infants, swaddled in the diapers of Drinkers’ bar tabs and eating the Gerbers of small group dinners, you’ve crawled (literally crawled?) from Little Pete’s to bed to JMHH with not nearly enough sleep in between. You may actually be at the point where you’ve discovered what too much fun feels like.
The narrative around business school is that it’s two years of partying. (Guilty.) But it’s so much more than that.
As you go through this year, you’ll attend Wharton conferences, discovering that the same friends sitting beside you in 610 will run nationally renowned events such as AAMBAA’s Whitney M. Young Conference.
You’ll sign up for travel experiences such as Japan Trek and watch how a handful of your peers mastermind the logistics of moving 150 drungover students across Tokyo and Kyoto so perfectly that the only snag happens when Japan’s Bullet Train is off-schedule.
You’ll even be at your fifteenth Learning Team dinner sometime in the spring and discover how much you’ve helped your teammates make career and personal decisions, and how much they’ve helped you as well.
Real things happen, even in the so-called “Wharton bubble.” This year, as part of Wharton clubs, conferences, and WGA, Wharton students – yes, students – will make the call on how to spend nearly $5 million. That’s you. If it feels like you’ve only just got to campus and you’re waiting to settle into your routine before trying stuff out – don’t hold your breath. Wharton is about pushing yourself to be uncomfortable. Put yourself out there – take on a Club Board position. Organize a weekend retreat for your Cohort. Do something in a way that no one has done before.
Wharton moves so fast that “failure” is forgotten instantly, but success is remembered for a long time. We don’t have time to dwell on what didn’t work. But if something does work – like Japan Trek, like Whitney M. Young – we pick up the baton and make it better with each new try.
More importantly, you’ll be supported no matter what you do. This past year, I’ve seen the countless ways in which we show solidarity for each other’s ideas: from attending a documentary screening and Q&A about rape victims in India to cheering on our teams in business plan competitions.
As WGA, we’ve been busy this summer, including Zach making more stump speeches than Donald Trump. (I also think the Wharton MBA interns at Google may have orchestrated Sundar Pichai’s recent promotion.) We couldn’t be more excited for what our class has already gotten up and running.
You’ll find out this year just how easy – and important – it is for you to do the same. Wharton isn’t a two-year escape. Through our conferences, clubs, and relationships with each other, we not only can make a difference, but we’re expected to. And your ability to do so is entirely proportionate to how much you put yourselves out there.