2016 Best MBAs: Steve Weiner, Wharton

Steve Weiner Wharton

Steve Weiner

 
The Wharton School

“Since 18, I’ve worn a uniform to school or work every single day. When I got to school, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe and choose what I wanted to wear. Believe me when I say, it took a lot of adjustment.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Setauket, New York

Education: United States Naval Academy, BS Economics

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

US Navy Nuclear Submarine Officer

Goldman Sachs

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Google, Electronic Payments Team, Mountain View, CA

Where will you be working after graduation? Expa, Operator in Residence

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School 

  • Co-founder, Wharton FinTech (the first student-led FinTech initiative). Coming off performing the first Bitcoin market diligence at Goldman Sachs, I wanted to get more involved with FinTech on campus. When I began school, I realized that more needed to be done to make FinTech synonymous with Wharton. Together with my colleagues, we built Wharton FinTech into a significant academic voice in the industry. We publish original content on our blog, host industry leaders every week, and I’ve had the honor to speak internationally on FinTech and millennial consumer preferences for financial services.
  • Partner, Dorm Room Fund (student-led venture capital firm backed by First Round Capital). Led social-media and content marketing initiatives. Performed diligence and participated in investments in student founders.
  • Consultant, Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee. Works on Penn-Wharton China Center Implementation project and Wharton Entrepreneurship program redesign project.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Co-founded VetTechTrek, a 501c3 veteran service organization. VetTechTrek works with industry leaders to provide a baseline for veterans transitioning to technology. Together with my roommate and best friend from the Naval Academy, we partnered with 50+ leading tech companies to host high-impact, immersive recruiting and networking events for 150+ military veterans and spouses. We recently launched Project Standard to build a digital library of educational content geared toward military transitions and has been referred to as the “Khan Academy for Veterans.”

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Mission Officer of the Deck on submarine deployments. As tactical strategist and ship navigator, I led my team on secret submarine missions in the Arctic and Pacific Oceans. We broke through the polar ice cap, surfaced at the North Pole, and conducted vital national security missions.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Stephen Sammut, Management Department, Venture Capital and Entrepreneurial Management MGMT804. Prof. Sammut cares deeply about educating students and having an impact on their careers. We have spoken many times about venture ideas I’d been thinking about and he’s coached me through a lot of decision points through life. His class is the reason I want to be in and around early stage ventures for my career.

Favorite MBA Courses? Venture Capital and Entrepreneurial Management MGMT 804, Capital Markets FNCE 738, Venture Formation and Initiation MGMT 806

Why did you choose this business school? The hardest decision I ever made was to leave the military because I could continue to have global impact while serving my country. When I met the members of the Wharton Veterans Club on my admissions visits, I saw that they shared my same vision. That’s how I knew Wharton was right for me.

What did you enjoy most about business school? Wharton gave me time to think.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? No matter your background, business school offers students the time, resources, and credibility to set your aims high and achieve your goals.

What was the most surprising thing about business school? Coming from the military, everything was new and shiny for me at business school and I explored a lot of different career paths before I found my niche. I was surprised at how focused many of my classmates were returning to their previous industry rather than pursuing something along a different vector.

What was the hardest part of business school? Since 18, I’ve worn a uniform to school or work every single day. When I got to school, I had to buy a whole new wardrobe and choose what I wanted to wear. Believe me when I say, it took a lot of adjustment.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Business school isn’t an automatic rocket ship that takes graduates to the moon. It’s more like the fuel inside the rocket. It still requires a spark to ignite… and that comes from you.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I started to daydream about problems I wanted to solve outside the Navy, but didn’t know where to start.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…underwater, driving a submarine.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? One entrepreneur I admire is Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO of Salesforce, who has made decisions to pull back Salesforce business in US states that do not support equal rights for its citizens.

What are your long-term professional goals? I want to ensure every military veteran has the information and tools needed to find and pursue the career and life path they are most passionate about.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My father has been self-employed for almost his whole professional career. His reputation is built on hustle and measurable results. Whether he intended to or not, I believe his work ethic and commitment to providing for his family on his own is why I want to start and grow my own businesses.

Fun fact about yourself: I completed two marathons in one week because I made a scheduling error.

Favorite book: Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Favorite movie: The Big Lebowski

Favorite musical performer: Phish

Favorite television show: Seinfeld

Favorite vacation spot: Hawaii

Hobbies? I am an avid (albeit amateur) yogi.

What made Steve such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“During his 6 years as a nuclear engineer in the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force, Steve Weiner gained plenty of experience growing and leading diverse and highly technical teams in ambiguous environments. He caught the FinTech bug as an intern at Goldman Sachs and saw an opportunity to put his unique skill set to use.

Steve has continued to expertly navigate uncharted waters as a Wharton MBA, cofounding the first-ever student-led FinTech initiative and funding student ventures on Penn’s campus as a partner with Dorm Room Fund. Most impressively, Steve has managed to impact thousands of fellow veterans in making the move from the military to the tech industry – all while excelling in our full-time MBA program. Last year, he cofounded VetTechTrek, a nonprofit that provides service members with career transition resources, guidance, and opportunities to network with some of the top tech companies and startups.

Steve is not only making a difference on a personal level – he’s helping to make major strides on a national level. He has been pulled into policy discussions in Washington on diversifying the tech sector and expanding the GI Bill to be able to apply funds to start a business and is helping policymakers to re-imagine the way veterans transition when they return to the workforce.”

Howard Kaufold
Vice Dean of the MBA Program
The Wharton School

DON’T MISS: CLASS OF 2016: THE BEST & BRIGHTEST GRADUATING MBAS