Lessons from Pre-Term/Quarter 1

Wow. It seems like just yesterday that my husband and I packed up our small one bedroom apartment in Chicago, drove a Uhaul across the treacherous Pennsylvania turnpike (seriously, who puts a stop sign at an on-ramp?!?), and unpacked into our even-smaller one bedroom apartment in Center City. The past few weeks have flown by, and I am 100% certain that I made the right choice to come to Wharton.

Here’s a few things that I’ve learned so far:

(1) Networking 101: Get used to introducing yourself – over and over again. Many times to the same people. And just as you have trouble remembering 845 peoples’ names, they will have trouble remembering yours. So don’t feel bad about asking twice, they’re probably thinking the same thing. And hey, that’s why we have name cards!

(2) Stretch Experiences 101: Try something new, any chance you get. So far I have: danced in front of the entire class during the Cluster Olympics Opening Ceremonies, participated (and failed) at a bench press competition, competed in a hot dog eating contest at Japan Night (fail again), crawled in the dirt and hid behind bushes during an epic paintball match, paid my deposit for the Leadership Venture Trek to Antarctica this winter break, gone to my first boxing class, and become a board member in the Travel & Hospitality club (of which I have no experience) – to name a few.

The best thing about Wharton, and business school in general, is that it’s the best opportunity to try something new. There’s nothing on the line and if you fail, it’s okay. And through these events/clubs/peer-pressure situations, I’ve expanded my network of friends to new people every day. Which means more friendly faces in the sea of students at Huntsman. So step outside of your comfort zone (social circle) and put yourself out there!

(3) Time Management 101: At Wharton, you can spend your time on four activities. You can:

  • Get good grades.
  • Get that killer internship. (Hello to my PE friends!)
  • Have fun. / Meet and Network with your amazing classmates.
  • Sleep.

You can only do 3 of the 4 at any given time. And since recruiting season hasn’t started yet, I’m still enjoying 7-8 hours of sleep. But I imagine that will be the first to go, despite Wharton’s beloved grade non-disclosure policy. Let me be clear, I’m not aiming to land on Director’s List (the top 10% of the class based on GPA). But like most of my classmates, I believe that if you’re going to do something, you should do it well. If I didn’t think that, well, I probably wouldn’t be at Wharton!

Overall, Wharton has been great. The experience has been all that I hoped it would be and more. I’m looking forward to more networking, more stretch experiences, and, yes, a little less sleep.

A small town girl with big city ambitions, Sara comes to Wharton via the Windy City of Chicago, where she once ran the Pasta Department of the nation’s only Rice-a-Roni plant. Later she used approximately 1.3 semesters worth of her engineering background to develop snacks, cereals, and other treats for the Quaker Oats brand. It was there that she discovered her love for focus groups, consumers, and their seemingly erratic behavior. When not at Huntsman or 2401, Sara can be found jogging along the Schuylkill Banks or enjoying AMC dramas (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc.) with her husband Dustin.