Another Successful Bay Area Startup

The Philadelphia MBA students will have the pleasure of a semester at the new Wharton | San Francisco campus in the historic Hills Brothers Plaza at the base of the Bay Bridge.

When I stopped getting paychecks and started getting emails about textbooks and class preparation, I knew that the beginning of the semester was upon us. And this time, I’m beginning my semester on the other side of the country. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Semester in San Francisco pilot program, and this is the first of many posts where I’ll share my reflections.

I see the pilot as a startup that the Wharton community is building together. We kicked off the program bright and early yesterday, complete with a tour of the sparkling new Wharton | San Francisco facility; basic introductions to faculty, staff and fellow students—oh, and six consecutive hours of class, which happened to include a guest speaker from Flurry, Peter Farago, WG’03, who gave a great presentation on the growing importance of mobile apps and how they are changing the way we interface with customers and spend our advertising dollars.

His presentation was one in a series of many that are included in our weekly Regional Seminar, which will include guest speakers sharing advice on everything from teambuilding to social media marketing to the basics of venture funding, as well as a VC workshop and field trips to local startups and incubators.

To say I’m excited would be an understatement—this series of stellar guests and events was crowd-sourced from all of us and brought to fruition by faculty, career management, staff, alumni and students, and I’m so grateful that it’s happening. If Peter’s talk was any indication of what’s in store for us, then we’re a very lucky bunch.

I imagine that my classmates are equally thrilled, as there seem to be a lot of entrepreneurial-minded bones in our bodies. There really isn’t a much better audience for the launch of this program. We’re an eclectic and passionate group, and many of us have aspirations to start our own businesses someday, if we haven’t started them already. I’m excited to be a part of this diverse and talented student body—the very first semester in a San Francisco cohort—and I am confident that we will establish a strong foundation for the future of the program.

Yesterday, I managed to plow through our full 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. day on five hours of sleep with minimal caffeine intake and a healthy level of engagement, which I suppose is a good sign. For the record, I plan to sleep more moving forward, though it won’t be hard to fill my waking hours with interesting projects, forays into the local startup scene and quality time with classmates.

To those in Philadelphia, it must be said that I will miss you, and, rest assured, I’m still getting all of your emails about the various color-themed parties and all the great opportunities in every single club known to man.

To my fellow techie, entrepreneur and California-loving classmates in the pilot, I hope that you’re all ready to dive in with an open mind. And I hope that things aren’t perfect so that we can wrestle with the challenge of novelty and change. I’m confident that in doing so, we’ll emerge better leaders, equipped to navigate unexpected bumps in the road as we start our own companies now and in the future.

Editor’s note: This post first appeared on the Wharton MBA Program’s Student Diarist blog on Sept. 6, 2012. We will continue to feature updates from Jennifer and her classmates, who are the first full-time Wharton MBAs to spend a semester at Wharton | San Francisco.

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