Wharton EMBA Student Reflects on First Two Months of School

Sameer Mangalvedhe, WG’23, pointed to time management lessons, new friends, and application of classroom knowledge as key benefits.

Sameer and his family

What’s it like to be a Wharton EMBA student? After two months in the program, there is already quite a lot to reflect upon. A mix of excitement and anxiety gripped me, as I started the first week of the program. That’s when the gravity of things hit me. As much as my world was changing, life outside of school with work and family would continue at its own fast pace. 

My first reflection was on making choices. After all, choosing what to do and what not to do is part of “strategy” by definition. Drawing an analogy to the GMAT, one of the best things the GMAT teaches is to make choices. You don’t necessarily invest in every problem the test throws at you; rather you pick your battles. Deciding to attend an EMBA program is similar, but in a much more complex setting of choosing work, school, and life activities.

Eventually, everyone finds their limit and balance. By making choices about how I spent my time, I managed the whirlwind and determined my priorities. I quickly learned how to focus on things that mattered most to me.

Making choices is half the story; the other half is planning sacrifices. Whether you are preparing for the program — or in the program — there are always several competing demands, which will pull you in multiple dimensions. You won’t be able to do everything. It’s best to clearly decide upfront what can be sacrificed. Managing the time to balance the “whole” becomes far more critical than perfecting the individual strings that make up the whole.

I also saw how I’m not alone in needing to find balance and make sacrifices. I have two young kids, my wife and I have demanding jobs with family overseas. And I commute to Wharton from Michigan. However, everyone in my cohort is juggling a lot. Hearing their stories and accomplishments as we build friendships is humbling and provides a built-in support system. This mutual respect with classmates reaffirms my decision to come to Wharton.

I also saw how finding balance and making sacrifices is worth it because of the immediate applications of class knowledge. At first, I wondered how one can really learn the course content so fast and apply it the next day. But even during the first week, I saw that this is really the case. This is probably one of the biggest benefits of the program’s format: the insights are relevant and directly applicable to your job. Even if it’s not immediately transformative, it will make you look at things differently and start changing your perspectives

It has only been a few months of the two-year program, but it’s already incredible to look back and reflect upon the experience. There is so much more to explore, and I look forward to the rest of this journey with my amazing cohort.

— By Sameer Mangalvedhe

Sameer Mangalvedhe, WG’23


Manager, Supply Chain Process Improvements, Steelcase

Based In

Grand Rapids, MI

Wharton Campus


Prior Education

  • Visvesvaraya Technological University, B.S. Mechanical Engineering
  • Oklahoma State University, MS Supply Chain and Operations Research