Wharton First-Years: Onward and Upward!

Dean Thomas S. Robertson speaks at the 2013 Wharton MBA Convocation. Photo credit: Alyssa Cwanger.

Dean Thomas S. Robertson speaks at the 2013 Wharton MBA Convocation. Photo credit: Alyssa Cwanger.

Wharton Convocation probably seems like millennia ago for Wharton’s new MBA students. Indeed, it might be inappropriate to call them “new” at this point, being as they have been on campus for more than a month. Yet while they might have their bearings within their clusters and learning groups, they are still working towards perhaps their biggest challenge: making sure they get the most out of their Wharton MBA experience.

Expectations are high. The words of the Convocation speakers surely still ring in their ears.

Stephan Dieckmann, deputy vice dean of Academic Affairs at the Wharton MBA Program and an adjunct professor of finance, told the 837 or so freshly enrolled faces to remember that the M in MBA stood for “master” —as in, the students are expected to master the curriculum.

Associate Professor Joseph Simmons, giving the faculty address at Convocation, said that the MBA students should not be surprised if in one year they look back on their 2013 selves and are embarrassed. The right mindset entering into the program is perfectionism, to constantly strive for improvement. Such great gains can be made in a year at Wharton that second-year MBA students might have trouble recognizing their former first-year selves.

Wharton’s MBA Class of 2015 ought to be up for the challenge. As Howard Kaufold, vice dean of the Wharton MBA Program and adjunct professor of finance, said, the going trend in business schools is to recruit more green, young students. Wharton bucks that trend. Employers like more mature graduates, for one, and the more mature and experienced students on campus can better take advantage of the “state of the art level of knowledge” offered by faculty.

“We’ve been hearing what a great class you are,” Dean Thomas S. Robertson told the Convocation attendees. “I hope your time here will be truly transformative.”

No pressure.

Editor’s note: Watch members of Wharton’s Class of 2015 talk about their expectations coming into Wharton, and where they hope to go with their Wharton knowledge, in our video above. 

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