Getting into Wharton is not the most impressive thing you will ever achieve. However, it is a key step in our lives and an incredible opportunity, so take advantage of it.
Empathy and People are the most important subjects: Focus on meeting as many people as possible. The number of life stories intertwined here at Wharton is truly amazing. Ask friends about their hobbies as a child, who their grandparents were, and what they’d change about their lives. This teaches you empathy, the most underrated and needed skill in the world we live in today.
Be open and honest if you’re going to suck at something: If you signed up for something and can’t contribute the way you expected, or if you make a mistake that affects others, you must own up to it. Otherwise, it will affect your reputation and brand equity. Last year, I accidentally covered more than a hundred friends in my cluster in what turned out to be toxic green paint prior to White Party. As soon as I realized this, I owned up to it – which is good, because otherwise I would have been known as someone who poisoned my classmates. Don’t poison your classmates figuratively or literally.
Men, advocate for women: I had never worked directly with a women in my career until this past summer, even though I worked at large companies. Understand the challenges women face in the workplace and in society and support them. You aren’t in high school or college anymore – no one worth caring about will make fun of you for supporting gender diversity.
Understand drinking: I’m telling you this based on my experiences in consulting, banking, private equity, and most recently tech. While not drinking yourself is completely fine, being able to navigate situations in which your peers, clients, and managers drink alcohol and sometimes behave illogically is a norm of business. But as Littlefinger says, chaos is a ladder – people will remember the person who gave them the water that helped them unblack out.
Goals change: You came to Wharton with a plan. We all did. Priorities change. Our lives are dynamic. But do take a step back and make sure you are doing things that make you happy.
Get good at giving high fives: You’ll have lots of reasons to be happy and excited while at Wharton (and beyond). Having a solid high five game is pretty key. Happy to give lessons.
Welcome to Wharton Class of 2019! I’ve had a blast getting to know some of you so far. You clearly are a group of excited, enthusiastic, curious and interesting individuals. We’re thrilled you’re here!
It’s hard to believe that we were in your shoes just last year. I remember feeling overwhelmed, nervous, panicked, confused and excited all at the same time. I can’t promise any of those will go away, but I can try to share some advice:
Be Yourself. Each of you was selected to come to Wharton because of the unique experiences, ideas and personalities you bring to this community. Share that with your classmates and you’ll meet people that will expand your way of thinking and become some of your closest friends.
Don’t Suffer in Silence. If something doesn’t feel right and you’re confused/questioning/worried, remember that someone else here also feels that. I encourage you to seek advice and support from the 2Ys, faculty and administration, your own classmates and the resources here at the University of Pennsylvania. Take care of yourself so you can take advantage of everything this experience has to offer.
Be Open. My rule of thumb is simple (and adapted from some wise 2Ys before me): If it sounds remotely interesting, go! Don’t worry about who’s going, whether they’ll be Snapchatting about it or what else could pop up. While you can’t do everything here, follow your gut, It’s what got you to choose Wharton in the first place!
Here’s to the start of a great year at Wharton – I can’t wait to get to know you!