Meet The Wharton School’s MBA Class Of 2023

Aerial view of Wharton’s Huntsman Hall

P&Q: Wharton is one of the largest business schools in the world, including a San Francisco campus and the highest-ranked undergraduate business program in the United States. What types of advantages does Wharton’s scale give to MBAs?

Kaufold: “Wharton’s size and scale positions our MBA students to be part of the largest business school network of more than 100,000 alumni. This network provides unparalleled access to resources, career opportunities, speakers, mentoring, and the deep affinity that defines Wharton pride.

Our scale means we can offer our students an array of options in terms of courses and faculty, employers and industries, clubs and conferences, leadership development programming, and networking opportunities. MBA students can select from 19 majors and several dual degree programs from within Penn and with external partner institutions.”

P&Q: Wharton has become increasingly known as an entrepreneurial powerhouse. What types of programming and support does Wharton offer in this area that enables it to stand out?

Mannix: “Students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship take advantage the resources offered through Venture Lab to turn their ideas into scalable and sustainable businesses. Resources available to students include 36 funds, contests, incubators, accelerators, access to experts, and over $600,000 in non-dilutive funding.

Wharton recently opened its doors to the new home for entrepreneurship, Tangen Hall.  The new 70,000 square foot state-of-the-art building features a food innovation lab, street-level storefront popup retail spaces for student retail ventures, a virtual reality environment, digital media lab, maker studios, and plenty of open work space. Tangen Hall introduces a new partnership by the Wharton School, Penn Engineering, and the Stuart Weitzman School of Design to consolidate Penn’s startup ecosystem and to provide multidisciplinary experiential learning to all Penn students.”

Blair Mannix of Wharton: Wharton photo

P&Q: What is your most popular course among MBAs? What makes it so unique and so attractive to MBAs?

Mannix: “Our top 3 popular courses are Strategy and Competitive Advantage, Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation, and Scaling Operations.

Strategy and Competitive Advantage gives students the opportunity to learn how firms can create and sustain a competitive advantage. An important feature of the course is a term-length project in which groups of students work on firm analyses that require the application of the course concepts.

Venture Capital and the Finance of Innovation allows students to learn about the finance of technological innovation with an emphasis on the quantitative methods useful for venture capital investing. It’s especially popular among students pursuing careers in venture capital or R&D-intensive companies in health care or information technology.

Scaling Operations is attractive to those students who plan to join rapidly growing ventures, who are preparing to scale their own ventures, or who plan to evaluate such endeavors through the lens of investors or consultants. The course adopts the perspective of the CEO and functional leaders in growing ventures and organizations and explores issues that leaders and managers encounter after a firm achieves product-market fit.”


1) All Around Greatness: “Since my academic background and work experience before Wharton was mostly in economics, accounting, and finance, I was looking for a business school that would help me develop a more well-rounded business acumen. One key attraction for me was that Wharton is an all-around great business school with strengths in different areas including marketing, analytics, management, and operations. The combination of fixed and flexible core curriculum helps me tailor my MBA education to specific areas where I want to develop my strengths.”
Phyo Shwe Yee Win (’23)

2) San Francisco Campus: “I was really intrigued by Wharton’s Semester in San Francisco program. Not many schools offer the opportunity to attend school on both the East and West Coasts, and I valued the opportunity to spend time at both locations and explore the career opportunities that both offer.”
Grace Eun Ko (’23)

3) Healthcare Expertise: “During the MBA application process, every student and alumnus I connected with spoke reverently of the depth and impact that the healthcare management course at Wharton had upon each of their lives. Coming from a clinical and entrepreneurial background, I wanted to immerse myself amongst a cohort of individuals also passionate about healthcare, but spread across the industry: consulting, banking, PE, VC, biotech etc. The underlying idea was that each encounter with my classmates would then facilitate an overall exponential learning experience — ultimately providing me with a greater holistic understanding of global healthcare provision. Similarly, I also wanted to provide my insights and share my experiences of healthcare across the UK, China, Japan and Kenya.”
Samuel Bennett (’23)

A Wharton team-based discussion in action

A Wharton team-based discussion in action

4) Fun Events: The Cluster Olympics! This was a part of our three-week orientation where all four clusters of ~210 students each competed in a variety of games and activities to see who had the most school spirit (It felt like a high school pep rally). I was fortunate to be one of the co-choreographers for our dance competition, which was really special. It allowed me to return to my roots as a trained dancer, as well as meet one of my favorite people at Wharton.”
Ayanna Kennedy (’21)

“During winter break of my first year, I did a Culture Quest (CQ) in Oman with a group of 50 Wharton/Lauder students. Think of CQ as an Amazing Race in teams of 5 over a 4-5 day journey in a foreign country. Challenges ranged from volunteering at a school for an afternoon to finding the best bargain for a local Omani dress. Our team ended up swimming through wadis, sleeping under the stars with Bedouins, and praying at the Grand Mosque. This CQ tradition really reflects the students’ desire for a global perspective and appetite for stretch experiences.”
Teddy Shih (’21)

5) Global Immersion Program: “There are several global leadership and learning programs that I’m really excited to partake in. The Global Immersion Program (GIP) is one such elective course that immerses students in a certain geography by connecting students with local business leaders, government, and alumni. During the multi-week course, students gain insight into the business economy, culture, and geo-political drivers of the region. In addition, there are MBA Leadership Ventures hosted around the world by the McNulty Leadership Program. These expeditions and intensives are outdoor, experiential learning treks in places like the Antarctica, Atacama Desert, and Andes Mountains that build leadership skills by placing students in extreme conditions.”
Rehan Ayrton (’21)

Lauder Institute Classroom


“Conventional wisdom suggests that during the application process, the focus should be on first studying for the standardized tests, then filling out each school’s specific application, and finally writing the personal statement. I completely reversed this process and found that writing my essays first helped confirm my application timing, as well figure out which schools were the right fit. Closely researching schools and speaking with current students and alumni during the essay writing process helped narrow down my application list. It also saved me money on application fees!”
Clinton Francis (’21)

“Be confident. There’s not much you can do about the things you have or haven’t done up to this point to include on your resume. Your confidence is one of the few things you have some control over during the admissions process, and it has a big impact. I encourage you to take the time to reflect on the things you have accomplished, your strengths, and what you know you can bring to the table. Boosting your confidence will hopefully make the process less miserable for you, mentally and emotionally, but also translate into an application and interview that leave a strong impression.”
Grace Eun Ko (’23)

“Approach the application season as an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. In many ways, it is the start of your MBA journey towards self-transformation. Be thoughtful and authentic about your interests, passions, strengths and weaknesses. Invest the time upfront for introspection as it will pay dividends down the line when you get to campus. Wharton is a jungle gym of choices so the admissions team wants to see that you have the vision and conviction to navigate it, while also staying flexible and open to unexpected opportunities that might present themselves. Carpe diem!”
Katya Johns  (’23)

MBA Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Rehan Ayrton Dubai, UAE University of Pennsylvania McKinsey & Company
Troye Bullock Jr. Washington, D.C. Georgetown University GOODProjects Inc.
Sukrit Chadha New Delhi, India Delhi Technological University Clinton Health Access Initiative
Mariama Diallo Conakry Guinea University of Louisville Goldman Sachs
Grace Eun Ko Falls Church, VA University of Virginia U.S. Government
Katya Johns New York City, NY Harvard University Endeavor Global
Samantha Klitzman Weston, FL Columbia University Actress
Arie Kouandjio Beltsville, MD University of Alabama NGP Capital
Natasha Ramanujam Fremont, CA Northwestern University Carrot Fertility
Phyo Shwe Yee Win Yangon, Myanmar Rice University NERA Economic Consulting
Chauneice Davis Yeagley Colorado Springs, CO Spelman College United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania for Honorable Petrese B. Tucker
Samuel Bennett London, UK University of Birmingham UK National Health Service

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