Wharton | San Francisco EMBA Students Build Bonds while Rafting

Whether it’s through teamwork in classes, late-night study sessions, social activities or the international trip, the bonds built among Wharton EMBA students are deep and strong.   The process starts pretty much as soon as students arrive and continues until graduation.

A recent example is the rafting and camping trip that a group of Wharton | San Francisco students participated in last month. We asked the trip leader, first-year EMBA student Zack McGahey, who is a senior manager of manufacturing at Revance Therapeutics in Newark, Calif. and co-owner of River and Rock Adventures, to tell us about the experience. Here’s what he had to say:

“As an owner of a whitewater rafting company, I wanted to put a trip together for team-camaraderie building. Our location was the South Fork of the American River, which is about a two-hour drive from San Francisco in the El Dorado foothills. We ended up with 16 Wharton students plus some family members, bringing us to a total of 27 people going down the river in five boats. One of the things that was particularly cool about the trip was that one student and his wife came all the way from Las Vegas on a non-school weekend to attend. And two other students flew up from Los Angeles.

“Our group met on a Saturday morning to begin our day of rafting, with a lunch along the way that was made in camp by our guides. There were actually two Wharton guides on the water:  my classmate James Kilpatrick, who was a guide on the South Fork for a couple of years while he was an undergraduate student, and me. The other three guides were my business partner in the company, and two other guys who work for my company.

“That afternoon, we came back to camp and most of the group stayed at our campsite by the river that night. We had a barbeque dinner that was prepped by my classmate Lisa Osterling. Many of the other students contributed snacks and drinks for dinner so it was a team effort, although Lisa deserves a special shout out for her hard work. Vivi Lynch and I helped cook dinner, and afterward we watched a fun slideshow in camp of the 260+ photos of our rafting experience. Then, I joined our staff members in making a pineapple upside-down cake in a Dutch oven for dessert. I don’t think anyone on the trip had ever seen Dutch oven cooking before, so that was fun.

“Later, our staff stoked up the campfire, and we spent most of the rest of the night enjoying each other’s company around the campfire. One of the kids – the 9-year-old daughter of my classmate  Satchi Panda — was lucky enough to stay up late enough for the s’mores. James and another guide entertained everyone by playing songs on the guitar.

“The next morning, we all went out for breakfast at one of the local diners before packing up camp and heading home. It was really fun experience and I think everyone had a great time. The whole group included: Ric Smith (and his fiancé Andrea), James Kilpatrick (and his fiancé Mandy), Charles MacCullough, Lisa Osterling, Lisa Pataki, Vivi Lynch, Simon Rycraft, Brian McNeil, Manmeet Dhillon (plus his wife Tiruna and their two kids), Alessio Lisi, Neelima Nane (plus her family totaling six), Richelle Deveau, Gavin Whitely (plus his wife Kate), Tahir Paroo and Satchi Panda (plus their daughter).”

To read a related blog about WEMBA student bonding, click here.

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