The Spirit that is Wharton

You will read a lot about the events, ventures, treks, and courses that make Wharton a truly amazing place to be. I will devote this post to what I feel is Wharton’s biggest asset – the students.

All through pre-term, I continued to be amazed at the different perspectives, the knowledge, and most of all, the willingness to share and learn together. I guess perhaps I expected some arrogance with so many accomplished individuals in one class. But I am happy to report that I was wrong.

Pre-term offers opportunities through several events to showcase different facets of people. I’d like to talk about some of the events during which I realized what an amazing group of people I am spending these two years with.

The Big Idea Challenge – This year, the challenge required us to come up with a business idea to address the problem of climate change. After several lectures and talks by faculty about climate change – its challenges, causes and effects – we were asked to provide our solution to the global issue. This was our first opportunity to work with the learning team. As we discussed the ideas from each member, I was amazed at how talented each individual was. We had ideas as diverse as a sustainability-rating agency from a former investment manager, to an investment company that works with banks to invest in green practices. We also had the expertise to evaluate these ventures from the eyes of a VC investor! This experience really gave me a preview of the diversity of knowledge surrounding me at Wharton.

60-Second Lectures – These are voluntary speeches given by students in the community building sessions for clusters in pre-term. After two days of being in school, when our Director of Student Life announced that people are free to give 60-second lectures, I thought that perhaps no one would volunteer. Again, I was pleasantly surprised. My classmates spoke about how to deal with difficult situations – one spoke about how he overcame a learning disability. Another spoke about how he went through a major natural disaster, and gave out his cell phone number to a group of 200 students to call him if they were having a rough day. That day, I felt not only a part of my class, but part of a larger culture of sharing and learning at Wharton.

Cluster Dance Challenge – During pre-term, we had our first cluster challenge – a dance challenge where the four clusters compete against each other. In addition to choreographing and teaching the dance team, our entire cluster of 200 took the initiative to learn the dance steps! Being on stage dancing and having the entire cluster dance with us from the auditorium seats was definitely a special moment.

Cluster Olympics – This pre-term event provided another opportunity to compete amongst clusters and to get to know our classmates better. It was thrilling to see the entire cluster come and cheer for the teams. But what intrigued me more is how teams were formed and how we played. Teams were formed to allow people to have stretch experiences – some students volunteered for sports they had never played before instead of what they were good at! The team captains ensured that everyone got a chance to play, even though that sometimes meant losing the title. This spirit was for me, the best part of pre-term.

I would encourage everyone to see Wharton not only as a step towards a long term goal, but also as a learning experience. Just by being around such wonderful people I believe I have already learned a lot each day – about consulting, about finance, but most importantly, about being human.