Student Life

Student life is incredibly rich at Wharton. We have a renewed focus on community so you build strong friendships and networks while maintaining the vast resources of a large, world-class university in the vibrant city of Philadelphia.

Innovative Approach to Student Life

It starts with getting to know you and your goals. With so many opportunities to follow your personal path available at Wharton, the Student Life team recommends courses, clubs, leadership opportunities, or other chances for personal growth.

From Day One, we assign you a Student Life Associate Director. Think of these associate directors as personal experience advisors. Along with a hand-picked team of second year Student Life Fellows (SLFs), they will help you maximize your time here. SLFs provide advice and encouragement on student life activities, create opportunities for building social and professional networks, and assist in fostering school spirit.

These roles are part of a larger “board of directors,” a team dedicated to supporting you in every way. In addition to Student Life, you will have point persons for Academics, Career, and Leadership.

Cluster System

A cluster is a group of about 210 students and is comprised of three cohorts (each cohort consists of about 70 students). This is your community, which helps you create close friendships and connections within the larger school. You will get to know members of your cohort through classes and broaden this community through your assigned cluster.

We have developed programming to help you strengthen your ties to the cluster, including:


Your Wharton journey begins with Pre-Term, in which you start to create the community that will define your class. Your Associate Director of Student Life (See “See Innovative Approach to Student Life” above) will lead you through icebreakers and other activities designed to help you get to know each other. Many graduates reflect on Pre-Term as one of their most memorable experiences at Wharton. The Student Life portion of Pre-Term culminates in the Cluster Olympics.

Cluster Olympics

American or European football anyone? Or, how about a game of chess? Put your skills to the test in the Cluster Olympics — or simply cheer on your classmates — as you bond with others in active competition. The Olympics serves as the first taste of a yearlong event called the Cluster Cup.

Cluster Cup

The Cluster Cup is similar to the Cluster Olympics, but spans the entire year and incorporates areas, such as Academic Achievement and Social Responsibility. Win points for your cluster by nabbing a coveted spot on the Director’s List (top 10% of the class), conquering Quizzo (a popular Philadelphia quiz game) or dominating a dance-off. It’s all about the Cup.

Cluster Suppers

Get a square meal while rounding out your social circle. Suppers are quickly becoming a time-honored tradition at Wharton. Enjoy a delicious meal, relax, and catch up with friends at a monthly cluster supper.


Imagine what you could do with mentors, workshops, office space, awards, prize money, and more. Venture Lab at the University of Pennsylvania is one of the most influential hubs of entrepreneurship in the world — an entrepreneurial ecosystem where you can grow your idea into a successful business.

Social Impact

From funded summer internships to direct work with social enterprises, you’ll find the support you need to make an impact while here at Wharton. Wharton’s Social Impact Initiative (WSII), a hub for all activities, brings Wharton’s expertise, entrepreneurial spirit, and vast network to the complex intersection of business and social impact. Wharton students and WSCII furthers the commitment to make Wharton a “force for social good.”

Events and Traditions

January Winter Welcome Weekend Three-day showcase of life at Wharton designed to welcome first-round admits.
April Spring Welcome Weekend Three-day showcase of life at Wharton designed to welcome first-and second-round admits.
June A Day at Wharton Summary program designed to outline the highlights of the Wharton experience for admits who could not attend either Welcome Weekend.
July Admit Mixers Unique social events held around the world designed to introduce admits to the robust Wharton global network.
August Cluster Olympics Celebration of the unique talents of the incoming class through competition and sport.
Learning Team Retreat Off-campus team-building activities that culminate in the introduction of learning teams.
Convocation Formal introduction to Wharton’s renowned faculty, followed by a cocktail party with the incoming MBA class.
September Second-Year Welcome Festivities designed to welcome second-year students back to Wharton.
WGA Red and Blue Ball The first WGA social event is formal and is held at a distinguished location in Center City.
WGA Club Fair Students are exposed to the wide range of extracurricular organizations available through this expo.
October First-Year Q1 Salute At the end of the last Q1 exam, first-year students come together to celebrate the completion of their first quarter.
Iron Prof A student-organized, student-run, and student-judged event during which Wharton professors compete for the title of “Iron Prof” by presenting their research to students and fellow faculty members in five minutes or less.
November Thanksgiving Clusters share a traditional Thanksgiving meal in celebration of this American holiday.
December Cohort Holiday Celebration Cohorts revel in ugly sweaters, egg nog, and other joys of the season.
February Wharton Follies Theatrical parody of the Wharton MBA experience through the eyes of current students.
March Dance Studio Student dance performance group whose efforts culminate in a show presenting various forms of dance.
April Charity Fashion Show Partnering with various world-class designers, Wharton students walk the runway to raise money for a local nonprofit organization.
Battle of the Bands A professional venue hosts pop-up student bands that compete for the title across a variety of musical genres.
Spring Gala Yearly formal celebrating the culmination of the year at Wharton.
First Year Brunch Final class-wide social gathering of the year and an opportunity to highlight first-year students for their contributions to the community.
June Internship Mixers Social events held in various cities that seek to bring current students into contact with the Wharton global network during their summer internship period.
Ongoing Power Dinners A program designed to make meaningful connections between current students and high-profile alumni from a wide range of industries. Small-format dinners are held throughout the year.
Cluster Suppers During the academic year, clusters come together over supper to share stories and thoughts about their experience.
Cluster Cup Multi-dimensional competition between clusters. Events range from academic to athletic, and include coordinated volunteer events.
Ongoing Lifelong Learning Online and offline programming designed to extend the classroom experience beyond the MBA and into the lives of Wharton’s alumni.
Pub Outside Philadelphia Social events designed to extend the MBA Pub tradition and prompt interaction between admits, interns and alumni in cities around the world.
Reunions Milestone celebrations with alumni classes that provide social, networking, and educational opportunities. One-Year reunions are held in cities with a significant alumni presence, while the five-year reunion is held on campus.