A World of Opportunity at Wharton:

by on March 14th, 2013

It is incredibly gratifying to finally be busy in a way that is fun and enriching (prepping for school, prepping for Philly, networking, planning etc.) rather than oppressive and numbing (GMAT, essays, interviews, waiting for results, et. al) as it relates to this whole MBA deal. Lately, I’ve been cyber stalking events such as the UPenn Startup Unconference (for startup collaboration between business and tech) and various meetups for The General Assembly (another great resource for tech entrepreneurs) that I plan to tackle with all my 215lbs once I get to the east coast.

Being Published at Wharton???

One reason that I cited both in my admissions essays and in my admissions decision post for choosing Wharton was the Wharton Customer Analytics Institute (WCAI), the world’s leading academic institute of its kind.  Since last November,  I’ve had the opportunity to engage professor Peter Fader, one of the WCAI’s directors, in multiple conversations around our mutual interest in customer data.

During the interview phase, I sent him a 260 or so page book that I had written on small business marketing. I had never gotten a chance to market the book because I began studying for the GMAT right after I completed the process of getting it published and up on Amazon.com.  Since that time, I have also bought and read Professor Fader’s book as well.

The mutual understanding of our two perspective on business and information management created a huge realm of possibility for collaboration that I must admit is pretty friggin exciting to even think about. Seeing how I’d love to build a company around the use of analytics to provide actionable insights for businesses, I could not imagine a better group of thought leaders than the WCAI faculty to glean as much knowledge as possible from.

I consider Professor Fader’s friendship to be probably the most unexpected value add that I’ve experienced thus far in this journey–and I have yet to get to campus. I honestly did not expect for my ideas and potential contributions to be so enthusiastically received by such a well-regarded Ivy League professor who didn’t know me from Adam–and has yet to meet me in person, by the way.

The proverbial ante was raised this past weekend when Fader brought up the possibility of us publishing a book as a team  during my time at Wharton. While I haven’t doubted my decision to choose Wharton over MIT and Chicago for even a moment, it feels great to get such a strong confirmation about said choice.

My Shameless Evangelical Pitch for the WCAI

While the WCAI has been rigorous in its research around the study and business application customer analytics, Prof. Fader is working to increase the institute’s resources, activities and opportunities that directly benefit Wharton students.

I’ve already made a verbal commitment to join the effort to work toward critical mass in that area and would implore any current Wharton student, alum or c/o ’2015 admit who has ANY interest in data–whether it be marketing, strategy, entrepreneurship or otherwise to reach out to me between now and when fall term starts. We’re putting together a grass roots team of individuals who have a passionate, vested interest in seeing more student-facing, student-benefiting activity coming from the WCAI.

Our goal is to lay some organizational and resource-oriented groundwork that will allow us to scale this effort rather quickly once things get under way. It’s going to be a fun ride. Jump on.

My Lame Duck Term

Despite the fact that my brain, my imagination and the whole of my creative energies are already en route to Philadelphia, I’ve been able to keep up a surprisingly respectable level of productivity at work during my lame duck phase. I do not, however, have much to say at meetings anymore.

In about 3 weeks, we will begin seeking out my replacement. I’ve promised my boss and my boss’ boss (both of whom wrote my recommendations) that we could plan a 1-week overlap period during which I would quickly get my successor up to speed on the most pertinent items of business and operational processes.

My primary goals right now tend to center around making sure that the wiki for my department is updated, making sure that our processes are as refined as they can be and expending whatever political clout and capital I have left to get a few pet projects pushed through before I pack up my things and bail late in June.

Diving into The Wharton Network

Thus far, the Los Angeles Wharton admit group has been pretty proactive in creating excuses to commune, dish on work and trade hopes, fantasies and perhaps willful delusions on how great we expect full time MBA life to be. Just before admit weekend, a group of about 5-6 of us met up for happy hour after work in Santa Monica.

This past weekend, that same group plus a few new faces met at a bar at the intersection of West LA/Beverly Hills/Hollywood/West Hollywood to down pizza and beers and continue to get to know each other. We were also joined by two first years who were enjoying spring break in LA to get a break from the snow back east and a fellow classmate who was just passing through (LA is his hometown) on his way to Bangkok after bidding farewell to his finance gig in NYC; must.be.nice!

About 3 weeks from now, right after our round 2 classmates are selected, the entire Southern California contingent (San Diego/LA/OC) of Wharton’s c/o 2015 has planned to converge on Orange County to welcome the R2′s in a drunken (but respectable) shindig. If you’re a R2 Wharton candidate who follows this blog, definitely be on the lookout for that as well as the link to our (currently hidden) LinkedIn group.

Speaking of which, I finally got to meet the classmate who took the initiative to start the LinkedIn group this past weekend. He’s a military guy who was up for the weekend from San Diego. We worked as a team to get that group moving with him setting everything up and getting all the initial discussions going while I played Pied Piper on the Facebook group to get converts. We also enlisted the admissions staff, who now verifies each request to join to make sure that they are actually a part of our class. To date, we have in excess of 230 members to that group; not bad.

Good Luck to Round 2 Wharton Hopefuls

In about two weeks, the largest chunk of c/o 2015 Whartonites will be notified of their acceptances. Good luck to all who are waiting on the news. Hopefully, you will have options and will choose the best program for you. If that choice is Wharton, then I’ll see you at pre-term. If that choice is Wharton and you’re in Southern California, then I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. We all will be in fantastic company.

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