THE TRADEOFFS OF DOING A SEMESTER AWAY FROM THE MOTHERSHIP
Wharton, moreover, encourages students to fully explore the area. “In Philly, you tend to stay in Philly,” says Halpern. “But here they are on campus but taking advantage of everything the city and the valley has to offer.” This latest cohort went to TechCrunch Disrupt and the Vanity Fair Summit, for example, events that drew some of the Bay Area’s superstar entrepreneurs, including Tesla founder Elon Musk and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
Of course, being away from the main campus in Philadelphia requires some sacrifice. For one thing, students must ante up an additional $5,000 program fee and are responsible for their own transportation and housing, the latter of which causes some initial shock over the Bay Area’s sky high cost of living. .
For another, the San Francisco option understandably lacks the full range of student clubs and organizations available in Philadelphia. Still, Rose insists it’s worth it. “We’re not taking ourselves out. We’re zooming in. There are obviously things on campus we don’t get,” she adds, citing Professor Adam Grant’s author’s seminars and the myriad social parties. Yet, there also are organizations, such as the storyteller’s club, that have been duplicated out west.
‘I’VE BEEN ABLE TO MEET PEOPLE IN GREATER DEPTH OUT HERE’
The small size of the San Francisco program, moreover, allows for deeper connections and bonds. Baik says it was like being in an entirely new cohort of students. “I knew only five out of 65 people when I came out here so I had 60 more people to get to know,” says Baik. “I’ve been able to meet people in greater depth out here.”
Corporate recruiters come by for on-site interviews with students, and Wharton produces a separate resume book with bios of every San Francisco-based student for would-be employers. “From a recruiting perspective, the majority of people out here want to work in the Bay Area so they actually have a leg up,” says Halpern. “They are able to connect face to face with companies and network with alumni and employees at tech companies. Isn’t it better to interview at Google than on campus in Philadelphia?”
Halpern says that about 50% of last year’s group landed jobs with tech companies, while another 20% of the class accepted positions with consulting firms. The tech embrace among the San Francisco cohort understandably outdistances the overall 12.8% employment rate with tech firms for the entire Class of 2016. San Francisco students, after all, are in a perfect position to convert their internships in the area into full-time job offers, and they have done summer gigs with a wide range of Bay Area companies and offices, including Frog Smart Design, Tesla, Uber, Amgen, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
One thing’s for sure. For those who come westward, there are no regrets. “The community here is very special,” says Gonzalez. “We all have a similar mindset. We are very much interested in entrepreneurship, innovation, technology and venture capital. It comes across as a good way of bonding with your classmates.”
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