An essential part of the business-school experience is your cohort and classmates and the networking opportunities that arise from those relationships.

I wanted to attend an undiluted, challenging program in which I could immerse myself and be surrounded by people who shared similar interests and career aspirations. Based upon my research Wharton’s curriculum offered the perfect blend of opportunities to expand upon my professional toolset by offering more formal training in finance and building my strategic management skills.

My classmates have helped me broaden my thought-processes in terms of what is out there. Wharton helps us build strong relationships — they facilitate an atmosphere of togetherness and the notion that you should help your fellow classmates in their academic pursuits. Our classmates have given me depth and breadth that I couldn’t get elsewhere.

We have a diverse cohort professionally, ranging from insurance to private equity to health care. We get to dive into each other’s experiences on a daily basis — but you don’t get to do that unless you develop strong relationships with people. I learn from the students as much as from the professors — who are excellent.

While my interests have definitely deepened in pursuing a finance role after graduation, the program has really highlighted my passion.

I want to be a leader within my company and take an active role in growing the business and adding value. Wharton creates an atmosphere in which students can talk about their interests, gain momentum around them, and work together to pursue them. We have a regular speaker series that brings national and international leaders to talk about their experiences, how they got to where they are today, and the risks that they took. These speakers are helpful because you learn that their success is a combination of luck and an unending drive to pursue your passion.

The Wharton program also focuses a lot on entrepreneurship. They dedicate specific people to help us formulate ideas, work through business plans and get funding. A lot of us have great ideas but are unsure of the road ahead. Wharton encourages us to pursue our interests, offering us structure and mentorship.

The schedule itself, although rigorous and demanding, is also flexible.

It’s not every day; it’s not at night. It’s on weekends, so we can better arrange our schedules and be more flexible with our calendars. That is something that’s attractive in my book. Plus, the program is only two years, which is manageable and realistic. In terms of course structure, the first three terms really ground you with the fundamentals—accounting, finance, marketing and operations—which whets your appetite and helps you identify what you want to explore further in your elective year.

An essential part of the business-school experience is your cohort and classmates and the networking opportunities that arise from those relationships. I looked at a couple of other programs that didn’t have the residency requirement and was put off by them. The experience has changed me in that I’ve been able to develop lifelong friendships and get to know people on a deeper personal level, as opposed to simply getting to know each other on a superficial level when you’re only working on projects together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Wharton is a demanding schedule, and I transitioned to a new job when I started.

At work, I’ve been forced to learn how to delegate more. As a result, I’ve really had to focus on developing my team members and preparing them to handle the daily challenges that arise and keep projects moving forward while I’m at Wharton. While I do have urges to jump in and help, I’ve needed to trust in them that they have the ability to get the job done without me.

It was challenging trying to be a full-time father, full-time student and full-time employee. I’ve been a little better on the work front than on the personal front.

I’ve been married a couple of years now, and when I started the program, I had a 5-month-old. I really owe a debt of gratitude to my wife. It took a lot of commitment from her; it’s the same amount of commitment for her as it is for me. Communication has been really important. We need to talk about schedules—that’s probably the most tactical thing—and talk about how we’re feeling with respect to the program.

We’ve had to improve upon being honest with each other. What I found to be helpful has been to merge these domains together so she has an interest in what I’m doing at school and vice versa. I involve her with some of the things I’m learning. She’s in health care, so I’m able to discuss with her some of the things I’ve learned, and bring back to the classroom things I learn from her. I’ve tried to integrate those two worlds as much as possible.

Posted: March 15, 2016

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