Thus far, I’d have to say that the single most rewarding–and painful–experience that I’ve had thus far has been as a member of the Wharton Wharthogs Rugby team. The team is mix of guys like me who had never touched a Rugby ball prior to arriving at Penn and experienced guys who either played domestically in undergrad or are from places such as Ireland, Australia, the UK, France and Argentina where rugby is a way of life in the same way that American football is here.
The Wharthogs are definitely the tightest-knit group at Wharton. Prior to joining, I was especially impressed with the fact that it has a very active alumni association that helps the team with sponsorship for tournaments and gear as well as jobs. I’ve gotten several emails requesting responses from hogs that are interested in working at McKinsey and the like via our list serve. I respect when organizations take care of their own.
We also have a large number of veterans among the hogs. I have a great deal of respect for our men and women who’ve served in the military and I enjoy hearing about their experiences. The modesty of these guys is astounding, especially when you learn of some of the life-or-death missions that most of them have been on. There is also an ex member of the Australian special forces on the team.
Some of the things that every hog looks forward to are our trips. Each year we play in a big international rugby tournament and several domestic tournaments. Last spring break, the team traveled to South Africa to play and sight see there. This year, it will be Argentina and I cannot wait. This fall, however, we’ll be travelling to a tourney in Bermuda and will also go out to Stanford’s tournament.
Just this past weekend, we hosted our own annual tournament–Hogfest–here in Philly. We welcomed CBS, Columbia Med School, Cornell, Yale, Duke and NYU for a two day tournament. We served roasted BBQ’d hog, had the paramedics on deck and Out4Biz served as our DJ’s. A few hundred Wharton students came out to support and everyone just had a great time. Even better, we won the tournament, which we haven’t lost in a number of years. I have a lot of respect for the other teams, though.
Columbia is always a force and the Cornell team gave our B team (mostly newbies along with a few experienced 2nd years for leadership) a smacking in the opening round. Our A team steamrolled over pretty much everyone and even the B team pulled it together in the end for a decisive victory over Yale to win that bracket. Our women’s rugby team, The Wildabeasts, won their bracket as well.
All in all, about 8 people ended up at the hospital between all the teams; but I don’t think anyone’s injury warranted an overnight stay. As usual, my body needed about 5 days to recover from the beating. Playing tackle with a bunch of 180-220 lb guys with no pads for protection is no joke; but I freaking love this sport. I probably spend more time on YouTube watching the New Zealand All Blacks than I do watching Monday night or even college football these days.
Another Wharton tradition that I’ve gotten to take part in recently was Walnut Walk. Each fall, about 800-1000 students from the program bum rush downtown Philadelphia wearing “business on top; party on the bottom”. For guys, this generally means boxers but it can also mean a kilt, a too-too or Louis Vuitton tights depending on the interpretation of “party”. For ladies, it means similarly silly getups, not to exclude leggings, short shorts or even a pamper.
It was pretty hilarious seeing hundreds of people crawling bars dressed like this as if everything was normal. The most fun for me, however, was the walk home. I live a few blocks east of “The Wharton Bubble” in Center City Philadelphia, so at some point I was the only person for hundreds of yards walking around looking like a bozo. I did my best to keep a straight face as if nothing was wrong and just observe people’s reactions; but I ended up getting stopped by 2 or 3 groups of people who asked me to explain. I obliged.
Prospectives Visiting Wharton
Just as I was lamenting the amount of work that had been piled upon me last week, I walked into one of my management classes about 40 minutes early and walked right into the middle of some prospective students visiting campus. I was so glad to no longer be on that side of this equation. Good luck to all of you who are applying. I remember what that felt like and it wasn’t fun.
I also got a chance to meet up with 1 or 2 of my admissions consulting clients, which was great as well.
Things go really quickly once you get into business school; in fact, they begin speeding up from the moment you get accepted and start being invited to admit weekends. You spend the better part of a year in suspense about something that is going to happen. Then once it happens, things move so quickly that you hardly have time to think.
Each semester at Wharton is broken up into two quarters, and next week marks the end of this quarter, which means final exams for quarter-long classes and midterms for full semester classes. While I”m not obsessing over grades too much, I’ll be deep in the books all week just making sure that I can keep up and walk away with a good grasp of the material. It’s hard to believe, but 1/8th of this experience is already over. That’s crazy to even think about.
Global Immersion at Wharton
This is the time of year when international opportunities begin popping up. There was student–led trek to China that filled up so fast that the spots had been taken before I could even respond to the email. I found out last week that I won the lottery for a spot on the India Global Immersion Trip that will occur during the winter break after Christmas. In typical Wharton fashion, the students who ended up on the wait list for that have simply decided to organize their own trip and tail gate us. There’ll be another GIP group visiting Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Jordan on a middle east tour. This spring there will be GIP’s to South America and China. Perhaps I’ll be able to swing one without giving up Argentina. Then there’s a trek to Kenya that I have my eyes on. Words of wisdon: if you’re coming to b-school, save, save, save!
MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something member of the Wharton MBA Class of 2015 and majors in Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing with an emphasis in Customer Data & Analytics. He blogs at MBAOver30.com. Previous posts on Poets&Quants: