Young Alums Offer Advice to New MBAs

A fresh crop of MBA students now busies themselves on campus. We wish them the best of luck!

Campus is already bustling with a fresh crop of MBA students. We wish them the best of luck!

The fresh crop of Wharton MBA students has been on campus for nearly three weeks now. With Pre-Term and Management 610, they have come to know just how intense their lives will be at Wharton, and of the tremendous and unique opportunities that await on campus. Wharton Convocation today makes it official though. They are welcomed into the Wharton community.

Individual MBA students make their own path during their 21 months at the School, of course. But perhaps we could share with them some advice on how to make the most of their time. Who better to offer it than those who just completed the journey?

For Gwendolyn McDay, WG’13, the message she wants to pass along to Wharton’s newest MBAs is one of connections.

“Now is a special time where you can make so many connections across so many different areas,” she says. “They’re going to serve you for life.”

Hey, we already know that such networking is a prime benefit of Wharton, but where McDay’s advice is special is that she recommends “going deep with some people.”

As a student, she became a part of an impromptu, small group of classmates. McDay recalls that a fellow classmate started the group during their first August. Every week, they met for two hours. She really got to know them—know their histories, their aspirations—and then invested in helping them achieve success.

What's the best way to the make the most of all that campus offers?

What’s the best way to the make the most of all that campus offers?

“That group has been such a phenomenal learning experience to bounce ideas off of, to learn what others are doing,” says McDay, who has since joined the rotational management development program in the Philadelphia office at Brazilian-based chemical firm Braskem.

Kathleen Fleming’s advice is: focus. For Fleming, WG’13, every day at Wharton was a “choose your own adventure,” especially with the amazing amount of dynamism and variety to campus life. But such eclectic opportunity and only 24 hours in a day equal a certain risk. Her mitigation strategy: Know what makes you happy and what your aims are—now, first-years.

“It is really beneficial to come into Wharton knowing who you are and what your goals are for your experience and your career,” says Fleming, who now works at Bain in Boston. “Think very intentionally about that coming in.”

Do you have advice for these new Wharton MBAs? Share it below in our comments section, or email it to us.

Editor’s note: Both McDay and Fleming were profiled in the Summer 2013 issue of Wharton Magazine. Read more about them and the rest of their classmates in our story, “Diverse, Resilient, Ready: The Class of 2013.”

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