MBA Leadership Ventures & Experiential Learning

Develop your personal leadership capacities within Wharton’s distinctive blend of leadership coursework, coaching, experiential learning, and wide range of student-run activities.

Our mission is to develop leaders who act with a deeper understanding of themselves, their organizations, and their communities, and contribute positively to the growth of each. The McNulty Leadership Program at Wharton offers one of the largest set of options to develop your leadership style by analyzing and building on your strengths. Supporting leadership development, Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management brings new understanding to developing organizational leadership and stimulating practical applications of this knowledge. Discover how Wharton leadership ventures, learning teams and other programs can help you forge your future path as a leader.

Learning Teams

The Learning Team model, first developed by Wharton and now emulated by other schools, is central to Wharton’s MBA leadership experience. The Learning Team model is based on the business world in which employees work together in teams that depend on persuasive rather than positional leadership. Your Learning Team serves as a living laboratory for cultivating these skills.

Teams, which consist of five or six people you’ll get to know really well, form in Pre-Term and continue working Management 6100. Since the team is not self-selected, each group includes a juxtaposition of diverse careers, interests, and international backgrounds. Interaction in small groups with a remarkable and diverse set of peers encourages trial and error, risk taking, and collaborative idea generation, and will fundamentally change your perspective and deepen your learning.

Highlights of the experience

  • Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership: The first core course in the MBA curriculum, MGMT 610 combines analytic and expe­riential learning. Utilizing an interactive pedagogy, Learning Teams play the role of a company’s senior management team, experiencing first hand the skills of teamwork and leadership. A highly interactive simulation allows students to experience the core concepts they learn in class.
  • A Team-Building Retreat: The retreat, which caps Pre-Term, allows you to meet your Learning Team members for the first time and explore the team dynamics that will shape your first year. This is one MBA extracurricular that enables students to combine leisure and learning.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Each learning team is assigned a Leadership Fellow, a second-year student who mentors, facilitates quarterly feedback sessions amongst team members, and helps solve team conflicts. Leadership Fellows also coach first-year students in their leadership development. Mentors help students navigate MBA activities, courses, and more.

Cohorts and Clusters

During Pre-Term, you and your classmates will be divided into a Cohort of 70 students (which includes your Learning Team) and a Cluster of about 210. You’ll move through the first semester in your cohort, and take your fixed core courses together

Cohorts and Clusters are built from the ground up to ensure a distribution of gender, nationality, and work experience. They remain constant, so you can easily forge close bonds within the community.

Coaching and Feedback Program

A one-on-one executive coaching program open to all first year students, the Executive Coaching and Feedback Program (ECFP) links together the many aspects of students’ Wharton experiences throughout their two years. Using an online platform, students incorporate feedback and detailed 360-degree self-assessments from their peers and former coworkers. Based on your individual assessment, your executive coach helps you build your skills through self-directed, individualized leadership development with regularly scheduled coaching support.

Co-curricular and Extracurricular Leadership Opportunities

Leadership Ventures – Expeditions, Intensives, Workshops

Through Wharton Leadership Venturesparticipants are able to step out of their comfort zone, exceed personal limitations, and experience leadership firsthand. There are three type of Leadership Ventures:


Expeditions are stretch experiences take you out of your comfort zone and test your leadership skills. These outdoor, experiential programs span the globe and range from 6 – 10 days. Expeditions tend to be high in physical intensity.

Antarctica TrekkingWinter BreakBackpacking, Mountaineering, Glacier Travel, Winter Tent Camping
Atacama DesertSpring BreakMulti-disciplinary, Backpacking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Summit Attempt
Andes MountaineeringWinter Break & Spring BreakHigh-altitude Mountaineering, Backpacking,Glacier/Snow Travel
Isla NavarinoWinter BreakMulti-disciplinary, Backcountry Trekking
Patagonia TrekkingSpring BreakBackcountry Trekking, Raft-building
Tall Ships SailingWinter BreakDeep Ocean Sailing
Utah CanyoneeringSpring BreakBackcountry Trekking, Canyoneering
Small Crew SailingSpring BreakCaribbean Ocean Sailing


Intensive leadership ventures are consolidated and immersive group based experiences ranging from 1-3 days and provide genuine environments of uncertainty and challenge.


Experiential learning at the Wharton MBA program doesn’t just mean huge treks and adventures — workshops are one-to-three day programs that highlight alternative leadership methodologies. For those who want to stay closer to home, workshops are a great way to gain hands-on learning experience while doing so.

Fellowship Opportunities

Fellows participate in service roles and experience intensive, year-long development through action and reflection. Wharton MBA Leadership Fellows act as coaches and mentors for the incoming class. Venture Fellows are second-year MBA students who create an environment for individual and team leadership development on a specific Leadership Venture. Lipman Fellows help with analysis and review of global organizations for the Lipman Prize. Nonprofit Board Fellows serve as “Visiting Board Members” gaining valuable board experience while supporting the mission of the partner organization. All fellows are an important part of the Wharton leadership program and comprise an essential element of the Wharton MBA’s experiential learning offerings.

Authors @ Wharton Speaker Series

Through the Authors@Wharton Speaker Series, world-renowned authors come to campus and share their ideas on topics ranging from management to the social sciences to gender in the workplace.

Conferences, Clubs & More

Wharton supports students’ active involvement through the Wharton Graduate Association (WGA), which manages more than 70 clubs. Running one of the 15+ industry-level conferences organized by students each year, managing the high-octane production of Follies, or leading career treks in countries around the world are a few of the many ways students extend their leadership capabilities.