West Goes East: Wharton | San Francisco EMBA Students Talk about their Visit to Philadelphia

Many Wharton l San Francisco EMBA students had a bit of a different commute the other week. Instead of heading to San Francisco as usual, the entire first-year class flew to Wharton’s campus in Philadelphia to attend classes and meet their East Coast classmates.

The Philadelphia trip is a highlight every year for West Coast executive MBA students, providing opportunities for bonding and networking. This year, the weekend kicked off with a speed networking session, which paired students from different coasts by job sector and interests. The groups also came together for a talk by Wharton alumnus Jay Fishman, CEO of The Travelers Companies, Inc. as well as meals and evening social activities.

First-year student Casey Wendelberg, who attends the East Coast program and is director of business development for CSM Companies in Houston, says that a big benefit of the weekend was the networking. “The weekend confirmed my opinion that we have a broad, diverse group of students in so many areas from startups to people who work at Intel and a wide range in between. I met someone who works at an HR software management company and my company has been looking into that so we are now considering using his services. It was great timing and a great experience,” he says.

Fellow East Coast executive MBA student Lauren Huneke, an associate at Jones Lang LaSalle in Washington, D.C., says that the speed networking event was a lot of fun. “A lot of us almost lost our voices by the end of the night,” she says. “Our program is so intense that there is a lot of camaraderie among the classes and it was really nice to meet more people going through the exact same thing, but on a different coast – there was an immediate connection and hopefully we’ll reconnect with them later.”

Wharton|San Francisco first-year student Jonathan Ben-Horin, a senior associate at Caltius Equity Partners in Los Angeles, says that in addition to meeting lots of East Coast students, he liked being on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. “It was really nice to become more connected with the home campus and see that we are part of the Penn community,” he says. “And having a background in finance, it was great to mingle with East Coast students in my field. I really doubled the size of my business school network in one weekend.”

Ben-Horin adds that the trip also provided a chance to get to know his fellow West Coast students better. “Most people flew in on Wednesday night and stayed until Sunday so I had more time to spend with my classmates and really made an effort to meet people that I don’t normally get a chance to talk to with all of the social activities. The trip definitely enriched our program experience quite significantly.”