Sorebrek's Musings and Ramblings

In search of the holy grail of an MBA (class of 2008 hopeful), this space will hopefully chronicle the search and my other quixotic pursuits.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The W Reception

Here is the skinny on the Wharton reception in San Fran:

After I did a few rounds of the block and finally decided to plunk down the $5 for parking, it was a short walk to 101 Howard St. The thing that struck me as amazing was that Wharton had professional, block-cut signage at the reception. Later on I realized that this was where the Wharton West Exec MBA classes were held; so much for my skills of deduction. Walking into the reception area, I found the usual MBA reception groupies, this time huddled together five to six each at several tables scattered around the reception area. Food and drinks were plentiful; no holding back in this department. After about 15 minutes past the scheduled time, we were herded into circular class-room that could fit about 70. Latecomers lined the walls; all in all about 100 people including the alumni. The adcomm wasted no time diving into the presentation. No fireworks there. I am fairly confident I can put a three-digit number to the times she has done this before. In fact I had ran into this very same adcomm at the World MBA tour. Now what is the word I am looking for in trying to describe her? 'Edgy' comes to mind, which is probably unfair; but you get the idea. The usual 'Why MBA', 'Why Wharton' litany was followed by what Wharton stood for:
  • Honesty & Integrity (I didn't exactly fall off my chair hearing that one)
  • Leading with Integrity (this will go on until Enronitis is supplanted by something more newsworthy)
  • Culture of Learning (I would expect nothing less for the gazillion dollahs that students have to come up with)
  • Global Environment (Wharton and a thousand other schools)
  • Leadership (yes, the Harvard patent on that one expired a long time ago)
  • Collaborative Community (note the evolution of the hackneyed word teamwork)
So what should a W aspirant do to walk the hallways of Huntsman Hall?
  • Self-assessment (by the time I am done with the essays next year, I would probably be so self-aware that I might as well give up all material possessions and head up to camp Dalai Lama and spend the rest of my days contemplating the hopelessness of human condition)
  • Research the program
  • Allow sufficient preparation time (I think this one is under-rated, but even the most disciplined of applicants seem to be struggling with this one)
  • Plan ahead financially and set life-style expectations (a.k.a case study by day, drunken debauchery until the wee hours and sleep deprivation)
The best part of the whole evening was the alumni. There were 16 in all; the highest alumni-to-attendee ratio I have seen so far at any B-school reception. Couple of old-timers too. By the time they got to the last one, they didn't have enough time for introductions, much less questions. But questions there were; some good, some bad, some toe-curlers. Diverse bunch of alumni - real estate, wine retailing, one tech entrepreneur, one CFO ... While the alums talked about their Wharton experience, I noticed clear stage-fright in quite a few of them. Nowhere close to the great communicators that the Harvard kids were. But all-in-all they seem to have done well for themselves relative to what they were doing before they went to W. For those of you who got this far, it is obvious that I am tiring of this reception thing to the point of being downright cynical and obnoxious about it. Don't get me wrong: Wharton is a great school. It is probably me and my black dog. I passed up the Tuck reception for brain-dead TV this evening. I intend to give a wide berth to the UCLA Anderson one tomorrow. I would've liked to go to the Columbia one in Menlo Park on Friday, but I have a schedule clash. So it is curtains as far as receptions are concerned. I will be at the Chicago GSB Fall Preview on campus (10/15 & 16). I will also be dropping in to say hello at the Kellogg campus on 10/14. Until then ...


  • At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You didn't miss much at the Columbia presentation. It wasn't very well planned. The lady, who was the admissions officer, was a real strong personality that was kind of a turn off.

    The Columbia presentation was probably a lot like the Wharton one, where there wasn't enough time for all the alum to speak.

    Too bad we couldn't just hear the alumni speak instead of going through all the admissions stuff that can be found on the website.

  • At 1:57 AM, Blogger britchick said…

    I think the thing with preparation time is that life has a nasty habit of getting in the way. The job makes demands, we get ill, a personal crisis happens etc.etc. But the earlier you start, the more chance you have of still making the deadlines.

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