Ambassadors and Role Models Abound

On the escalator in Huntsman, you might overhear one student say to another, "“How’s your startup coming along?”

On the escalator in Huntsman, you might overhear one student say to another, ““How’s your startup coming along?”

After only one semester, I can already say that one of the things I love the most about Wharton is the incredible entrepreneurial spirit that is promoted by students, administration, and a number of programs and initiatives.

Going into college, I set the goal of obtaining an internship for the summer of 2014. I knew that this would take some serious determination and perseverance since it had always seemed to me that mostly rising juniors and seniors were able to obtain internships. After attending a couple of career fairs, I became slightly discouraged, realizing that corporations did not have that much to offer in regards to career opportunities for freshmen.

However, I regained hope when I found out that there are a number of Wharton programs that help underclassman succeed with internships while working to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship. In particular, I first learned about the Wharton Entrepreneurship Intern Fellowship program in November after talking to my friend and mentor, junior Katlyn Grasso, who is a current “ambassador of entrepreneurship.” Ambassadors of entrepreneurship are students who were previously awarded fellowships, and in return they are responsible for speaking about their experiences once the following school year begins and working with Wharton Entrepreneurship to promote entrepreneurial career paths.

I found it incredible that Wharton not only awards qualified applicants fellowships in order to work at startups over the summer but also offers this opportunity to all Penn undergraduate students (rising sophomores through seniors) and Wharton second-year MBAs, not just upperclassmen. I realized that there were opportunities right in front of me to help me develop my entrepreneurial skills through real-life experience.

Friend, mentor and junior Katlyn Grasso

Friend, mentor, junior and ambassador of entrepreneurship Katlyn Grasso

Not only are Penn students fostering Wharton’s entrepreneurial spirit by working for companies across the globe, but they are also doing so by creating their own businesses and organizations, proudly becoming their own bosses.

Walking through the halls of Huntsman, I have gotten used to overhearing snippets of conversations like, “How’s your company coming along?” And, “I’m meeting with a couple VCs within the next few weeks.”

In fact, it took much less than a semester to realize that the students around me were just like the people I had admired since I first became interested in business. I realized that my peers were risk-takers, innovators and creators, just like Larry Page and Bill Gates. Wharton students are true entrepreneurs and have become one of my sources of inspiration for developing my own entrepreneurial goals.

As a freshman, I can already see how much students pride themselves in being able to take what they are learning at Wharton and apply it in the business world, giving life to the phrase “Knowledge for Action.” I find this entrepreneurial spirit absolutely motivating, and I look forward to finding my own entrepreneurial path during my time at Wharton. In fact, I am in the process of seeking an internship and applying to the Wharton Entrepreneurship Intern Fellowship program for this coming summer, in hopes of being awarded a fellowship and becoming an ambassador of entrepreneurship.

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