The Wharton Undergrad Experience: ‘A Unique Way of Thinking’

As we wrap up our admissions cycle for the Class of 2015, we have a lot of families that pose this question: “Why should my son/daughter get an undergraduate business education at Wharton when he/she can get a broad liberal arts degree elsewhere?”

As a parent, I identify with concerns that our children get the best possible college education. However, business education is often misunderstood and portrayed as limiting, which is unfortunate given the amazing opportunities that our students have at Wharton.

Our undergraduate education is a special blend of business and liberal arts study that fosters a unique way of thinking. It not only imparts the critical thinking skills of the liberal arts, but also builds a strong foundation of applied learning that is immediately applicable upon graduation. Our current students have said their Wharton education gives them a special lens through which to view the world—broadening the way they think about governments, corporations, international affairs or even the neighborhood sandwich shop. They start to understand the behind-the-scenes dynamics that dictate decisions in all kinds of businesses, from nonprofits to hedge funds.

This understanding comes from the consistent application of business theory to many disciplines. From day one, our students are working with real clients on real business challenges in our Management 100 course. Over their next four years, students continue to apply theory to real-world issues through case studies, online simulations and case competitions. All the while they delve into a strong liberal arts component of studying science, humanities and the arts. By the time our students graduate, they have the wisdom to apply their knowledge to many, if not all, of the situations they will face in their careers.

Our students stretch themselves and their intellectual curiosity through a diverse curriculum that embraces everything from marketing and finance to music and history. So for those out there who doubt the benefits of a Wharton undergraduate education, I challenge you to find students from any institution who are better prepared for life success than ours.

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