It’s been a quarter at Wharton, and among all the people we have gotten to know, the ones we have spent a substantial amount of time with are members of our learning team. Trying to understanding the experience of learning teams, beyond my own, I interviewed members of a learning team from Cohort D to ask their views on the learning team model at Wharton. In a group interview, here is what the team had to say:
- One word that describes your learning team experience?
Emily: “Keep it Simple, Stupiddz,” which is also our team motto.
- Were there any courses where you thought the learning team model did not work?
Brian: Great for marketing case studies, but limited time to think about the cases ahead of time and then discuss fully and thoroughly with the group.
Abhay: No. I always had something new to learn from my team, which is part of the reason why I came to Wharton.
Sneha: A course like Stats would be very easy for someone from a quant/ analytical background and the others tend to be left out from the group.
Chris: I’ve only had one course with them and it worked.
Yana: No – even for courses like MGEC and OPIM where there is less group work it is nice to have your learning team around for completing problem sets!
- What do you enjoy the most about being a member of your learning team?
Emily: Diversity of team members bring in wide variety of experiences or backgrounds, which enriches our discussions.
Brian: Everyone’s got a unique role to play and a unique joke to tell.
Abhay: We always end each meeting with – “we crushed that!”
Sneha: We actually never hang out in a social setting (drinking or partying together – because half of our team doesn’t drink/ has family commitments on weekends). Even then, the friendship feels natural and different from other friend groups at Wharton.
Chris: We are a really diverse team and everyone genuinely gets along so it creates a great atmosphere.
Yana: Spending quality time with 5 interesting, smart and driven people.
- What about the learning team model gets to you sometimes?
Emily: Too many rounds of formal or written feedback; seems too artificial.
Brian: Not enough time to really give it the effort it deserves.
Abhay: Scheduling meetings. It’s always an exercise finding a time that works for everyone.
Sneha: It is a little frustrating when one slot works for everyone except one person and the conflict that this person has doesn’t seem important to you.
Chris: So hard to schedule times to meet!
Yana: Group work taking up more time than necessary. If we find ourselves deliberating on a minor point for too long, we consciously tell ourselves tomake a decision and move on.
- Who’s the rockstar in your team?
Emily: Chris Shelton – so nice and humble. He has a family and makes us feel like an extended part of his family.
Brian: Emily – she balances an efficient workstyle with a great sense of humor…plus she speaks 43 languages.
Abhay: Each person on my team is a rockstar. We come from such different backgrounds which make the interactions so rich.
Sneha: Chris Shelton – Super super mature for his age and a role model for most of us, his life is what we aspire to live (Balanced life with 3 kids and a proper house!)
Yana: My team mates are all rock stars in their own way. Abhay – the math genius, no one gets it quicker than Abhay… Sneha – can explain MGEC concepts in a digestible manner in a quarter of lecture time Emily – entrepreneur in the making Brian – our in-house consultant, also has a creative mind Chris – finance extraordinaire (also the father figure of the group).
- Would you call yourself a freerider?
Brian: Freerider seems a bit harsh…how about Dzsocial loaferdz.
Abhay: I’d like to think not but I’ve definitely been in marketing case sessions where I’ve had very little to contribute. That’s when I end up being the scribe.
Sneha: Nope. Nobody in the team is.
Chris: In MGEC.
Yana: So far we have all put in equal effort. We all have different but complementary strengths and skills.
- Your fondest memory with your learning team so far?
Emily: Homemade dinner at Chris Shelton’s house. This allowed us to get to know each other much better.
Brian: Our consistent overconfidence in our performance…we always pat ourselves on the back (often way too early!).
Abhay: Learning team retreat – Writing lyrics to backstreets back. I think we have an alternate career as a band if life after Wharton doesn’t work out.
Sneha: Yana laughing so much at our conversations that she started crying by the end of it.
Chris: We killed it at the leadership retreat.
Yana: Winning two group activities at the learning team retreat. Who knew that we were so could at skiing on planks of wood across the fields?!
- Should the learning team be continued into the second year?
Emily: No; makes less sense since we’re taking different courses, but am sure that our team will get together monthly for catch ups.
Brian: I like the learning team dynamic in case work, so maybe for classes that are taught using the case method.
Abhay: Didn’t realize it was only for the first year. This is the dream team. I’d always pick them.
Sneha: Yes. I have been lucky with the folks in my learning team and would definitely want to work together again.
Chris: Yes, if we have classes together.
Yana: Only if I get to work with my current learning team there’s never been a dull moment.
- What would be your sales pitch to recruit a new person into your learning team be?
Emily: Be part of the most chill and friendly team — we’re like a family and often chill at each other’s houses
Brian: Smart people! Six of them!
Abhay: Don’t think we need one. We’d ask them why they want to join us – and ask them to submit a 100 word statement of interest in true Wharton form.
Sneha: We are so perfect. We dont need anyone else!
Chris: We are super collaborative with no egos and have a lot of fun.
Yana: Our learning team name is K.I.S.S based on our motto – Keep it simple stupid! If you associate with that motto then you’ll fit right in!