Explaining business school to my parents has been a major challenge. I’ll never forget calling them after the first week of Pre-Term, and hearing all of their excited questions about Wharton: “Do you have a major? Have you picked your classes yet? Have you met Jeremy Siegel?” My reply of “Not exactly, but I did compete in a school-wide field day, acquire at least five pieces of orange tiger clothing, and toss rubber chickens around a golf course for a day” didn’t exactly thrill Mom.
And though I do now have a major and will, most likely, graduate (pending that post-Beach Week final Monday morning), when I think back on Wharton I’ll remember all of that craziness as possibly the most valuable part of my MBA experience.
We do have amazing faculty here, and have had the chance to learn a ton of skills that will help us in the future. We’ve also been able to develop our leadership skills, by leading a club, going on a venture expedition, or starting a business. And of course, we’ve had a lot of fun. But what I’ll remember most about Wharton is the sense of community we have. I’ll remember the whole school coming out to support their nervous classmates truly stretching themselves at things like Dance Studio, Follies, and Storytellers, and I’ll remember classmates rallying around each other to support a good friend in tough times. We support each other like that because in two short years we’ve developed lasting friendships and bonds that will last a lifetime. Our costume parties, lions and tigers and bees and dragons, and Cluster Cups can make this place feel like a Hogwarts Summer Camp, but all of these seemingly ridiculous activities that we do here really have brought us together, into a real, meaningful community.
I recently stumbled upon my Wharton application. I had wrote about being excited to round out my business toolkit, acquire treasured soft skills, and be a part of the vaunted “network.” But the one thing I didn’t at all expect to find at business school was a community that I loved and felt passionate about, and that’s been the most valuable thing about this experience. For that I’m thankful for Wharton and so thankful to everyone in the class of 2016. Congrats on graduating and let’s celebrate!