Five Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Miss Out on the Wharton Human Capital Club

Five Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Miss Out on the Wharton Human Capital Club

Last Updated: July 28, 2019

The Wharton Human Capital Club (WHCC) is excited to kick off yet another year of discussions, workshops, and events focused on every organization’s most important asset: its people. So, if you’re a person who plans to work with people, or a person who is interested in learning more about the field, this club is for you! In fact, here are a few reasons why we think you can’t afford to miss out on joining WHCC this year.

  1. It’s free to join!

The Wharton Human Capital Club is one of the few clubs that won’t cost you a dime to join.

When this club was first created in 2017, its founding members maintained the need to keep the resources, events, and experiences it offered open and accessible to all Wharton students. As such, we invite you to become a member of our community! Membership gives you access to a large network of “people people,” (i.e. people who are passionate about and interested in becoming better people managers, leaders, and teammates) as well as a growing number of  resources.

  1. You might have more interest in human capital than you think! 

“Human capital” is a term used to refer to all business activities and initiatives related to the people in an organization. This includes topics such as: people analytics, talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion, performance management, learning and professional development, compensation and benefits, leadership, and organizational design.

In short, human capital is relevant to a diverse group of stakeholders. Whether you’re an entrepreneur building out a new team, a business school student seeking a better way to provide feedback to a colleague, or a club leader trying to think of the best way to recruit new board members, this human capital club has something for you.

  1. We have a great lineup of speakers, events with other clubs, and dinners planned

Last year, we hosted various events and dinners. We welcomed Chief Human Resources Officers for discussions with professors, facilitated panels with entrepreneurs seeking to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning in their people operations. We hosted dinners with consultants working on human capital cases and with alumni passionate about diversity and inclusion.

This year, we plan to increase the number and quality of those engagements in order to make the club even more of a community and resource than it’s been in the past. We would love to have you join in on the fun!

 

  1. We’re always thinking about new ways to help you grow your leadership and team management skills. 

This is a space that’s growing for us because we know everyone can benefit from further developing their leadership and team management skills. In partnership with other clubs, we hope to expand our club offerings through workshops, conferences, and other opportunities to grow your skills. Have ideas? We welcome them! In fact, if you’d like to get hands on experience, consider joining our 1Y board! More details coming soon.

  1. Interested in recruiting for human capital roles? We’ve got you covered. 

We have an energized careers team, ready to help make your professional human capital dreams come true. In fact, our VPs of Careers, Timka Lockheart and Kate Goldenberg, have been working all summer to make sure we have a full roster of employers and alumni to connect with and leverage throughout the year.

Additionally, we partner with Wharton’s MBA Career Management Office to make sure our members get up-to-date lists of human capital roles (internship and full time), as well as the interview prep and moral support they need to be successful through the recruitment process.

Do you think you still might have questions? Don’t worry! Our entire 2Y board has had experience working in human capital and we’re all willing to chat with anyone who may be curious about the work we’ve engaged in. Read more about the type of projects the 2Y board worked on during their summer internships below.

By now we hope it’s clear that you can’t afford to miss out on The Wharton Human Capital Club. However, if you still need convincing or if you just want to learn more about how to get involved, come find us at Club Pub on September 5th and/or join us for free on CampusGroups! 

Meet the 2Y board and learn about our summer internships! 

Feel free to reach out to any of us if you’re interested in learning more about our summer internships, our experience recruiting for human capital roles, or about the club in general!

Name & Role: Natalia Villarman, President

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Human Capital Summer Associate at Deloitte Consulting. My project focused on creating a learning and development digital platform used to upskill professionals working in human resources as they strive to be more strategic and responsive in their roles.

Name: Kate Goldenberg, VP of Careers

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Workplace Analytics MBA Intern at Microsoft. My project focused on quantifying collaboration practices, workload, networks, and manager behavior and correlating results with performance data to identify patterns and to develop a targeted set of value-oriented interventions to enhance manager performance.

Name: Timka Lockheart, VP of Careers

Hometown: Stone Mountain, GA

Summer Internship: This summer I was an HR MBA Manager Intern at American Express. My project focused on exploring benefits offerings related to student loan debt. I sought to answer the question: “How can American Express create a sustainable rollout of projects helping all generations of its employee base with issues related to student loans?”

Name: Olivia Moore, VP of Community

Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma

Summer Internship: This summer I was a Summer Associate at McKinsey & Company on their People Analytics team. My project focused on creating a digital platform that will make large organizational transformations a more personalized experience for employees.

The Adam Smith Society: Free Markets, Free Minds, and Free Membership

Welcome (back) to Wharton. The Adam Smith Society, or SmithSoc for short, is a chapter-based network of MBA students across the globe who work to promote debate and discussion about the moral, social, and economic benefits of free markets. It is important to stress the words debate and discussion – we are not aligned with any one political party, we do not agree on all policy solutions, and we are not (entirely) funded by the Koch Brothers. Rather, our members are united by the idea that entrepreneurs, like you and me, will solve today’s social and economic problems with ingenious solutions – incubated in a free enterprise system. We invite all of Wharton to attend our lectures and debates, regardless of personal leanings.

Returning 2Ys may remember some of the lunch-and-learn events hosted by last year’s SmithSoc. These included lectures from experts on topics including net neutrality, the future of rideshare, payday loans, and the gender wage gap. This coming academic year, our leadership team intends to bring renowned speakers that will touch on topics including private prisons, highway safety policy, trends in corporate lobbying, universal basic income, corporate stock buybacks, and more. Furthermore, we are planning a one-of-a-kind social competition called BeerX, which is a simulation of a beer market complete with buy and sell orders, real-time pricing, and plenty of hoppy IPAs.

And the best part: club membership is free, just like our favorite type of markets. Please join via Wharton Groups and by visiting http://www.adamsmithsociety.com/membership. An extra $10 will buy you access to the many national SmithSoc events all across the US. From all of us at the SmithSoc board, welcome to Wharton and we sincerely look forward to engaging in thoughtful debate and discussion with you this year.

 

 

#OurWharton Podcast

Sadia Dhorat (WG’20) and I (Anush Vinod – WG’20) are co-hosting the #OurWharton podcast this year! We’re excited to continue Nicolette Omoile Gangitano’s (WG’19) important work in creating a space for Wharton students whose extraordinary life experiences and passionate visions for the world go unheard.

Her founding vision left an indelible mark on us, and we believe the podcast can leave an imprint on so many others at Wharton. It represents an extension of what our school aspires to tirelessly achieve: an environment of inclusion and openness, a playground to challenge one another with tough conversations on the affairs of the day. It’s an opportunity to highlight our greatest assets ~ our people ~ the students, their families, our professors, alumni, admin and staff that make up our collective Wharton family.

We have some incredible content planned for the year: interactive discussions ranging from career-oriented topics like “the power of entrepreneurship”, “alternative leadership paths” to politically-minded ones that review the state of affairs in Latin America. We’ve also proud of the episodes we’ve recorded so far, including one of our favorites: an interview with Pro Nurmohamed on power and politics in organizations (and how he feels about Kanye!)

Sadia and I hope the podcast can:

 

  1. Shed light on valuable resources for 1Ys (and 2Ys!) to leverage early on
  2. Offer the podcast as a valuable and convenient resource to help 1Ys settle
  3. Create a platform for 1Ys to share their own unique stories and experiences with the school as early as they feel comfortable.

 

So, here are our calls to action. Let us know…

– …if you’d like to be interviewed for the podcast, to share your unique history or perspective on one of our topics

– …if you’d like to help out with the podcast, in terms of marketing, managing the social media page, helping us record / edit the podcasts and curate content

– …if you have discussion topics / ideas or people (admin, students, profs) you think would be worthwhile interviewing

We’re really excited to deliver great content this year and hope we can use this platform to encourage challenging, and fun conversations!

 

Sadia Dhorat (WG’20): sdhorat@wharton.upenn.edu

Anush Vinod (WG’20): avinod@wharton.upenn.edu

Instagram: @ourwharton_podcast

SoundCloudhttps://soundcloud.com/user-45977264

Nurmo Episodehttps://soundcloud.com/user-45977264

 

Our Climate Change Opportunity

Wharton is a special place.  It really is.

 

I vividly remember the first few days of Pre-Term. It’s a special feeling to know you’re on the cusp of what promises to be a transformative experience. With each day, I became more and more excited about the opportunities that lay ahead. Though I have to be honest: at times, the choice paralysis and FOMO overwhelmed me. If you’re a 2Y reading this, you know exactly what I mean. To you incoming 1Ys, don’t stress too hard. This too shall pass. I assure you that everything will work itself out.

It did for me. I spent most of the school year experimenting with different paths. I was absolutely certain, however, about wanting to work on something where I could make a big impact on a challenging issue.  After many coffee chats with second years and phone calls with alums, I discovered that my sweet spot blended finance, entrepreneurship, technology, and policy.

It wasn’t until spring break that I found my home in the renewable energy and cleantech space.  I attribute my good fortune to taking several classes in the spring with some of Wharton’s best professors. These included Sarah Light and Arthur van Benthem, who teach Environmental Management and Energy Markets, respectively. They challenged me to think critically about how I could leverage my MBA education to directly address the climate crisis. So at semester’s end, I applied for a student grant from Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy. In exchange for writing a blog post (well… two, actually), they funded my visit to the National Renewable Energy Lab’s investor forum in Colorado, There, I connected with the industry’s leading investors and entrepreneurs, and got to see breakthrough innovations first-hand.

Climate change is the most important challenge we as MBAs will face over the course of our professional lives. It increasingly strikes at the very heart of business strategy and affects nearly every industry in which we will work: finance, technology, real estate, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, food and agriculture, consumer packaged goods, and of course, energy. In the U.S. alone, climate change projects to cause $360 billion of economic losses, property damage, and healthcare costs over each of the next 10 years. Yeah, it’s pretty daunting.

There is a silver lining though. A massive one. Climate change also represents one of the greatest economic opportunities of our generation. Bold action between now and 2030 could yield an economic gain of $26 trillion and creation of 65 million new low-carbon jobs, relative to business as usual. I see climate change as the 21st century version of the Apollo program, where the mission to put man on the moon galvanized America towards one of the greatest achievements in human history and inspired a nation to dream.

Wharton gave me the confidence to pursue a moonshot summer internship. It was a journey of persistence, but on May 14th, my patience was rewarded. I received and accepted my offer from Breakthrough Energy Ventures.  Breakthrough is a $1 billion venture capital fund launched by Bill Gates in December 2016. It is backed by many of the world’s top business leaders, including Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, Ray Dalio, Masayoshi Son, Jack Ma, and Muskesh Ambani. The fund’s mission is to invest in cutting-edge innovations that significantly reduce our carbon footprint across electricity, transportation, buildings, manufacturing, and agriculture. I got to work alongside leading investors and technologists who are dedicating their careers to solving the climate crisis. Breakthrough provided me with an incredible summer experience, and I learned so much over my 12 weeks.

As I reflect on my return to campus, I believe we as Wharton MBAs are uniquely positioned to step up. That starts with me doing my part. As an officer with Wharton’s Sustainable Business Coalition, we are planning a Captain Planet-themed “Planet Week,” set for the week of February 10th (and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, launched 50 years ago in Philadelphia). I also serve on the boards of the Energy Club and Wharton Energy Conference. For the latter, I’m organizing a panel that will feature corporations that are taking bold action on climate change in ways that are strategic for their core businesses.

Wharton explicitly states on its alumni fundraising campaign site that it wants to lead in defining the Future of Finance, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Analytics. Indeed, solving climate change will be capital-intensive, call for new ventures scaling revolutionary technologies, and require sound, data-driven decisions. Our school has taken encouraging early steps, such as the recent creation of the Business, Energy, Environment, and Sustainability “BEES” major.  But more is needed. And quickly. Climate change requires urgent action within the next 12 years to avoid catastrophic damage to the natural systems that underpin human civilization, let alone the modern economy.

Outside of the Wharton bubble, I’ve been encouraged by the momentum across Penn. The University has made Driving Energy Solutions a top priority for its $4.1 billion Power of Penn capital campaign. Alumni and major donors have responded, committing record gifts of $30 million to the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and $50 million to the Vagelos Institute for Energy Science and Technology. As MBAs, we can and should do a better job collaborating with other schools at Penn. After all, isn’t business school about stretch experiences?

Wharton is a school that grows leaders who act decisively to meet tomorrow’s biggest challenges.  The biggest challenge of them all is climate change. Now is ripe for action.

Here are three things you can do to act on climate change:

  1. SIGN OUR PETITION that asks Wharton to step its game on climate change. We’ve already gotten over 200 Wharton MBAs to sign. Your signature will go a long way towards helping us demonstrate widespread student interest. Sign the petition.
  2. JOIN OUR COMMUNITY of students across Penn’s graduate schools where we are building a movement to apply our education towards building climate change solutions. Join our group.
  3. READ UP on this primer for MBA students, “Climate Change and Business: What Every MBA Student Needs to Know.” It does a terrific job breaking down the economic risks and opportunities of climate change. Read the paper.

And if you have more specific ideas or just want to learn more, feel free to drop me a line at sidrad@wharton.upenn.edu.  I’m more than happy to find time to chat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latin America’s Growing Fintech Ecosystem

I would like to begin by clarifying that I am, by no means, an expert in this topic. However, after dedicating most of my summer at FinTech Collective to gaining familiarity with it, including a trip to three countries in the region, I have a few observations that I would like to share.

In a region that, despite macroeconomic complications, is currently energized by a surging middle class and a high degree of mobile penetration, fintech has emerged as a powerful tool of deepening financial inclusion and access to basic services. Brazil remains king – both in VC dollars captured and addressable market size. Its entrepreneurial ecosystem is yielding PayPal style “mafias” of accomplished entrepreneurs moving into other ventures after successful exits, and it consistently grabs headlines –as well as SoftBank’s attention – via massive funding rounds (think Creditas or Nubank this summer). Its local funds (including KaszeK or Monashees, among others) are becoming increasingly active in other Latin American countries, addressing funding needs particularly evident in the Series A/B space. Meanwhile, the Central Bank consistently speaks of lowering prices and increasing competition.

Nevertheless, positive signs are also clear in other countries. Mexico’s government is in the process of fully enacting a Fintech Law which, despite arguably raising barriers to entry in certain sub verticals, embraces the power of these new solutions. Its local funds are growing and gaining prestige, with fintech interest palpably increasing among Ignia, Dalus or ALLVP, among others. As the second biggest market behind Brazil, it is the chosen expansion target for most startups in the region, in part due to cultural and linguistic similarities. Simultaneously, the number of fintech startups in Colombia has nearly doubled in the past twelve months. Helped by agile regulatory changes – including the creation of a startup sandbox – improving conditions have granted the Andean country status as the third biggest fintech market in LatAm, ahead of the likes of Argentina or Chile. Nevertheless, for as long as family offices effectively act as the primary source of seed capital, the need for more robust local institutional options grows more pressing.

Sector wise, banking/lending/payments has generated the most noise to date. As the vertical has grown crowded, startups face the lower end of the pyramid frontier, which poses distribution challenges that will be hard to overcome. Insure tech has emerged as a promising space, as the need for such products parallels rising middle class affluence. Reg tech opportunities should also materialize as legislation settles and regulatory burdens require out sourced assistance. Lastly, as high fraud prevalence remains an endemic regional problem, integrated solutions in the digital identity space will be attractive. As corporates prove inflexible, these startups might even prefer API-ready peers to legacy customers, in terms of clientele.

In summary, an abundant supply of talent is finally meeting the necessary conditions to become more realized. After decades of insufficient product offerings from traditional banks and prohibitively high rates, a different light shines on customers in one of the most urbanized regions of the world. Vibrant communities are emerging around fintech ecosystems, drawing inspiration perhaps not only from the United States, but more so from East and Southeast Asia.

First Year Three Pearls of Wisdom

Dear Wharton MBA Class of 2021,

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS on being admitted into the best business school in the world!  Acknowledge the privilege that comes with being a part of this institution.  As I reflect on my first year at Wharton, I thought I’d share some advice on what to do to make the most out of your first year.

  1. Be selective and strategic about the clubs (both personally and professionally) that you choose to join.  Consider the clubs that you are genuinely interested in, intend to be an active member of, and perhaps desire to take on a leadership role in.  I watched so many classmates get overzealous when signing up for clubs all to never show up to one boxing class the entire year.  Do yourself a favor and save your coins!
  2. Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Seek out all of the resources available to you so that you can perform at your best academically during your time at Wharton.  As someone who has struggled personally with test taking environments in the past, I found that requesting the additional support that I needed via Wharton’s academic advisors, study groups, and tutorial services was essential to getting me through my first year.
  3. Explore new travel destinations.  I had the opportunity to go on three wonderful student led treks last year: the Israel, Japan, and West Africa treks.  One of my most memorable first year experiences was an intimate gathering with the sixth director of Mossad (equivalent of the CIA) who is the grandfather of one of my learning team members.  He and his wife opened up their home for an informal discussion as a learning opportunity for a few of us who were on the trek.

This is simply a snapshot of my first-year journey.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you want to further discuss my experience.

Good luck!

Talisha

 

 

 

 

We Want You to Write for the Wharton Journal!

WG’21 Welcome to Wharton!  As the Editor-in-Chief of the school’s newspaper I want to tell you that we need writers, content managers, and marketers. Our goal is to be the voice of the school’s student-body.  Launching a start-up?  We’ll give you some free publicity.  Having a cool event?  We’ll tell people about it.  Have a thoughtful opinion?  We’ll get it out to the school.  We’re here for you!

In order for us to succeed in our mission, we need people who are committed to the journal and will produce content.  The journal was once a weekly newspaper, and my goal is to get it back to that periodicity.  To do that, we need people to write for us, and marketers to get us advertisers (producing the journal is not cheap).  We’re going to have an organizational meeting early in the school year so please stay tuned for an announcement.

In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact us at whartonjournal@gmail.com  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@whartonjournal) and on Facebook (The Wharton Journal).  We also publish online at www.whartonjournal.com

Welcome from the WGA President

Class of 2021,

Welcome to Wharton!

It’s a refrain you’ll hear several times a day, every day, for the next month – and every single person will mean it. We are truly so thrilled you’re here.

I’m excited to welcome you as the 2019-20 WGA President. The Wharton Graduate Association (WGA) exists for you. We are a non-profit organization that oversees all Wharton student clubs and conferences; hosts school-wide events and programming; and advocates for student interests to administration. You’ll see our name on everything from Halloween and Winter Formal to Iron Professor and more. The WGA calendar for this year is on its way to you now!

As much as I’m looking forward to this year’s events (Top Golf, anyone?), what excites me most about the WGA is our mission: to represent the student body, improve our Wharton experience, and build an inclusive MBA community.

This community – the one you are now a part of – is incredible. It’s vibrant, diverse, and energizing. It’s a community that will support you, challenge you, and force you to grow not just as a professional, but also as a human being. This community is exactly why I joined WGA in the first place.

After all, I had no plans to join student government when I arrived here. In my laundry list of activities I wanted to try, WGA was nowhere to be found. But after meeting people and learning about their ideas and passions, I realized that what I really wanted was to channel our student body’s energy into lasting, positive change for the community. Ultimately, that’s what the WGA does.

As you embark on the MBA journey, you’ll encounter a million different choices on how to spend your time. Just remember: there is no one right way to navigate the next two years of your life. You will curate your own unique Wharton experience, and it will be just right for you.

To wrap up, I wanted to leave you with a few pieces of advice from the smartest people I know – my WGA executive team. Here are their learnings from the past year:

“Be patient with yourself. Something at Wharton will be hard for you – for everyone. Give yourself the grace necessary to make this transition.” – Ben Onukwube, EVP of Student Leadership & Engagement

“Your most valuable resource at business school is time – knowing where to allocate it and why. This is the best way to maximize your business school experience.” – Sergio Giralt, Chief Financial Officer 

“Be authentic, put yourself out there, and try new things. You’ll undoubtedly be met with the amazing support of the Wharton community.” – Macie Whatley, EVP of Student Affairs

Thank you for choosing Wharton, thank you for giving us your time and talents, and thank you for leaving your own mark on this community.

We are so excited to meet you. Welcome home.

 

How to Survive Losing a Loved One While You’re At Wharton

This article is meant to serve as a guide for Wharton students who may lose a loved one while pursuing their MBA, and for their friends and classmates

When I started at Wharton last Summer, I was both overwhelmed and excited by the challenges that lay ahead of me.  I was concerned with making the grade academically, landing an internship, and with getting back on the rugby pitch following an ACL tear.  Little did I know that my greatest challenge was one I had no idea that was coming: dealing with the unexpected death of my father.

Like most of my classmates, I had a very busy Fall filled with recruiting and club events.  I planned a trip to Italy over Thanksgiving break to decompress.  Since I was skipping the holiday with my family, I decided to take a trip home to Washington D.C. to visit my parents in early November.  Everything seemed like it was going according to plan when my mom picked me up at the train station.  We were looking forward to a nice family dinner and a weekend together.  When we arrived home, my dad was out of the house, but we thought nothing of it.  I went up to my bedroom and started working on some internship applications.  After about half-an-hour my mom began to worry, so she called his cell phone.  He did not answer.  I figured he had left it in his car, so I did not worry about it.  However, my complacency was shattered a few minutes later when my mom’s phone rang.

The person on the other end informed her that my dad had been involved in an accident and she had to come to the local hospital immediately.  We rushed out together and the 20-minute drive felt like an eternity.  I’ll never forget the drizzle of rain smearing the windshield as we wound our way to the hospital.  When we arrived, we were greeted by a paramedic who informed us that a park ranger had found my dad unconscious on a hiking trail.  “He’s going to be ok, right!?”  I remember shouting.  The paramedic did not answer and told us to wait for the doctor to arrive.

We learned that my dad’s chances of recovery were slim, and that they would do all they could to resuscitate him, but we should not get our hopes up.  At that moment, all my fears about LT’ing MGEC or not getting an offer from my first choice of firms evaporated.  My wife rushed down from Philadelphia to join us, and we spent the rest of the night with him huddled around, praying that he would pull through.  It was to no avail.  He passed from this world early the next morning.

As an only child, I knew it was my responsibility to get my mom through this experience, so I walked her to the car, and drove her home.  Exhausted and numb after a sleepless night, I collapsed into bed entertaining the faint notion that this was just a bad dream.  When I woke up, I realized this was not the case.  Here is how I handled this crisis from that point:

1) I made sure I closed out any outside commitments and let people know what had happened so I could focus on my family.  After cancelling my trip to Italy, I let my professors, academic advisor, and learning team know what was happening and that I would be out of class for a few weeks to help my family through this crisis.  Everyone at Wharton was extremely understanding and bent over backwards to help me out.  This allowed me to focus on my first priority: helping my family through the crisis by executing my dad’s will, taking care of his memorial, and closing out his financial affairs.  In hindsight, I was so busy taking care of these items that my mind was occupied and the fact that I no longer had my dad with me did not even really sink in.

2) Once everything at home had been taken care of, I went back to Wharton.  Since I had missed so much school, my teachers and academic advisor were willing to let me drop a class without penalty and delay some finals.  The school was so helpful and accommodating, I felt instantly at ease knowing my academic career would not be derailed.  My dad was a very stoic man who was proud of all I had accomplished.  He would have been disappointed had I not hardened my resolve and finished out the Semester on time.  I did just that with less than spectacular results.  However, I passed all of my classes and did not end up on academic probation, so I considered that a win.

3) I got help.  I have never sought out counseling in any form, but my wife pushed me hard to talk to a professional.  I am so glad I did.  Penn has grief counseling resources, and I went to the Cohen Clinic for several counseling sessions.  If you ever lose a loved one, I cannot recommend getting professional help enough.  I draw a direct parallel to my ACL surgery and recovery.  After tearing my ACL and getting it repaired surgically, I could have technically started walking again with no help, but I would have had a life-long limp.  However, I went to a physical therapist who had seen numerous people with my injury.  We went through a time-tested recovery regime that restored my full range of motion and function.  The same holds true for mental health.  If you endure a traumatic event, you must seek out professional help if you hope to recover fully.  My counselor and I discussed my feelings of sadness and guilt and rationalized the experience.  She provided me with mental exercises I could perform to help me through this difficult time which proved extremely helpful.  Although it will be some time until I fully recover from the loss of my dad, this counseling has set me on that road.

From the bottom of my heart, I hope no one reading this article loses a loved one while you are at Wharton.  However, if that tragic event should happen.  I hope you take something from my experience that will help you through the experience.

There is no “right way” to grieve and everyone will deal with this experience in his or her own way.  In my case, I felt immediate grief, followed by a numbness that helped me through the first few weeks.  Friends of mine stated that they thought I was “taking it well.” I now recognize that I was in shock.  Then, slowly but surely, deep sadness crept over me.  I felt better on some days than others, and that is something many people who are grieving will experience.

There is no time limit on how long anyone will grieve.  I’m still working my way through it, but I’m doing fine thanks to the love and support of my friends and family.  If someone you know loses a loved one, sending him or her a simple message to let them know you’re thinking of them and are available to talk means more than you will know.  I can’t thank my classmates and Wharton faculty enough for their support.  I’m a resource too, so, please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you need someone to help you through a tough time.

In closing I would like to leave you with one final thought: Wharton will overwhelm you with opportunities.  However, although school, jobs, and travel may seem like the most important things at times; I learned that they pale in comparison to the relationship you have with your loved ones.  Although you may be tempted to spend every break traveling the globe with your MBA friends or taking classes in exotic locations, I encourage you to take time to spend with your loved ones.  Even a simple call home while you’re walking back from class is a great way to connect.  You’ll have your whole life to travel.  You’ll never regret spending a few weeks a year with those who mean the most to you.

This article is dedicated to the memory of my father, Fred Emmert.  I would not be here at Wharton had it not been for his love and sacrifice.  Until we meet again.

 

 

 

Hacking Health and Wharton

Business school is a great time to set habits consistent with a successful, happy life. The Wharton curriculum certainly takes care of a significant portion of that; however, many aspects of setting these behaviors are yours to pursue or not.

According to Jeff Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General, achieving a happy life requires pursuing physical and mental health with the same rigor one applies to the traditional pursuit of professional success.

Sachs, in a recent podcast, said, “We have the paradox that income per person rises in the United States, but happiness does not. And it’s not that that’s because humans are humans. It’s because the U.S. is falling behind other countries, because we are not pursuing dimensions of happiness that are extremely important: our physical health, the mental health in our community… And this is weighing down American well-being.”

Further, we know that long-term happiness, something most of us are (or should be) ultimately after, is predicated in part on the quality and depth of our relationships. “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” That’s according to Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the most comprehensive studies of well-being in history.

Most of us inherently know these concepts to be true but find acting on them to be nearly impossible. How can ambitious people balance course load, professional development, group projects, and the myriad other responsibilities of a 1Y at Wharton while maintaining healthy and balanced lives?

I struggled with a similar question during my first week in my Naval Aviation squadron after joining them on deployment aboard the USS George Washington. My first week as a fully qualified Naval Flight Officer at sea was grueling, disorienting, and, by the end of the week, starting to take a toll. There was so much to do and learn, I felt, that I had no time to eat, sleep, exercise, or think.

Over Midnight Rations (MIDRATS), a mentor revealed a maxim to me that I try my best, often unsuccessfully, to live by. He said, “You need to take care of yourself or you are worthless to us out here. We need you well rested, well fed, and in shape. Those things are priority one for you. Sort that out and the rest will come.”

Taking care of your health does not require an MBA from Wharton, but will not happen by accident; it will require some effort and planning. I’ve outlined the following tips and tricks for implementing some of these things into your life that otherwise might fall out for the competing priorities at school. Take and apply what works for you, disregard what doesn’t.

This list is by no means exhaustive – there are plenty of other techniques and tactics that are just as good, if not better than, what’s included here. Whether you take this advice or come up with your own game plan, I’d just recommend making a plan. With the academic year and recruiting right around the corner, things are about to start moving pretty fast…

Nutrition

Make a plan to be healthy. Consider getting your grocery shopping done and knocking out meal preparation on Sunday. You’ll be psyched by mid-week when you don’t have time to cook, have a problem set due in the morning, and you’re hungry.

If cooking isn’t your thing, consider a meal delivery service like Snapkitchen or Kettlebell kitchen. These services will deliver some or all of your meals for the week to your doorstep. You can choose the specific meals, set some guidelines for what you like, or live dangerously and go with their recommendations. Either way, a service like this will help keep you eating healthy…most of the time.

If you do nothing else, decrease your sugar & processed food intake and drink more water. These simple hacks will improve your mental clarity, decrease inflammation, and help you avoid energy crashes.

With all that said, definitely crush a cheesesteak at Reading Terminal, a late burger at Monk’s, and as many of those Greek Lady gyros as you can get your hands on. They’re good and life is too short. Just try to make those the exception and not the rule.

Vitamins & Supplements

Philadelphia is great and all, but it’s not known for its abundance of sunlight in January so maybe a Vitamin D supplement could be a good call. You don’t need a cabinet full of vitamins, but a few important additions to your daily diet can make a big difference. I’ve found the products below to be super helpful.

As a disclaimer, I am not a doctor and I’d be bummed out if you sued me. The below recommendations come from personal research and should be vetted by a professional before use.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) is probably the biggest bang for the buck you’ll find.  Fish oil provides improved cardiovascular health and function, improved lipid profiles (lower triglycerides), improved brain function and mental acuity, and powerful anti-inflammatory properties without harmful side effects like over the counter products.

B-Vitamins increase energy production and are neurotransmitter cofactors so they help improve our mood, and they help us detoxify. Take this supplement in the morning as the B-12 will keep you awake.

Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight. It helps reduce inflammation and the risk of colon and breast cancer, while improving mood and upper respiratory health by aiding the fight against infections from viruses and other pathogens. It also allows the brain to release melatonin so we can fall asleep easier.

CBD possesses myriad medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-depressant qualities according to a 2013 review published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. I have been experimenting with CBD for both general wellness and help with sleep for the last year and have seen great results.

The daily formulation I use is a compound of CBD and other ingredients including B-Complex, ginseng, and selected terpenes that are beneficial for general health, inflammation, pain, focus and overall well-being. The other formulation I use is similar, but with ingredients meant to target stress and sleep.

Exercise

I won’t belabor this point – we all know exercise is an important aspect of our physical and mental health. Exercise helps manage stress, sleep, and many other aspects of a healthy life. Most folks know they should do it, but making it happen is easier said than done. The competing priorities at Wharton can make this especially tough. The following techniques have helped me to maintain a decent exercise routine while balancing my priorities at school.

Schedule it! When I sit down to plan my week, I set a goal of a work out ≥ 4x per week. If you count the weekend, this should be doable. The most important piece of building near daily exercise into your routine is to make it non-negotiable. Do what you need to do to achieve that ≥ 4x or whatever your goal number is. If you make it a priority you’ll feel better and be ready for the grind. Even just 30 minutes is better than nothing!

Pay ahead! Loss aversion is a key tenet of behavioral economics. The idea is that we disproportionately weight losses relative to gains; once we have something, the idea of losing it is painful.  You can use this fancy idea to help you get into the gym – pay in advance for your spin, yoga, CrossFit class or whatever it is you choose to do to stay in shape. You’ll find yourself skipping less and making good on your goals.

Sleep

A good night’s sleep is probably the most important aspect of feeling good on a daily basis. Again, most people know this, but fail to act on it. Between the academic, professional, extra-curricular, and social commitments at Wharton, you’ll struggle to make decent sleep a part of your routine. A few all-nighters will happen, but, again, making these the exception to the rule will pay dividends.

If you have trouble sleeping, consider developing a nightly routine including black out blinds, a drop-dead-screens-off time, and a CBD or magnesium supplement. If you need help with this drop me a line and I’ll help you figure this out.

Relationships

The data are clear that good relationships help fortify our bodies and brains against the stressors of everyday life. Additionally, they just make you happier. Which is good.

If you are here with a partner or you have a partner elsewhere, make the time during the week to include them in this experience. Wharton can be an all-encompassing bubble (in the best way) if you let it. Make the time to crack a beer, put down the MGEC problem set, and just enjoy your time at Wharton with your partner.

Make time for dinner with your friends, to call your parents, to connect with your pre-Wharton friends, and to make new friends over a citywide special (if you don’t know – ask). These relationships are important pieces of your long-term happiness, sense of success, and for all you utilitarian’s, likely the source of a job, recommendation, or investment in the future. At least once a week, make the time to go out to lunch or dinner with a friend and get to know them more deeply. You’ll be glad you did.

Bottom Line

To wrap this thing up, I’m passionate about health and wellness because I’ve messed it up a lot! I’ve made all of the mistakes, but done my best to learn as much as I can and to make a commitment to living a healthy and happy life. I’m not there yet, but I’m getting there.

You are all incredible people. You’ll feel better and be better if you use part of your time at school to set positive patterns you can carry for the rest of your life. I’ve heard things don’t slow down after graduation…

If I can help you sort any of this out – let me know. I enjoy talking about this stuff and would love to help.

Finally, if you see me polishing off a second cheeseburger, out late at Bonner’s, or otherwise not practicing what I preach – leave me alone…I’m taking a mental health break.