This time two years ago, I was cramming and preparing for an unknown journey that we call WEMBA (Wharton’s EMBA Program). I thought that I was prepared for a two-year experience that only affected me two days every two weeks. But this program gave me more than I asked for.
About halfway through the program I decided with my family that, as much as I loved what I did in my role as an Infantry Officer, it was time for me to focus on my family. After taking the Total Leadership Class with Prof. Stewart Friedman, I discovered that all the soldiers I had led in combat, the missions I had been on, and the skills I acquired to protect the nation were just career accomplishments. It didn’t make me a true leader. I was missing the bigger picture of being a leader in all the different circles of my life. At that point, I realized that I could take everything that I had learned and apply it to so much more.
As I prepare for graduation, pack boxes to move, and warm bottles for our four-month-old daughter, I can only reflect in amazement on the chaotic, yet rewarding time that I had during this experience. These past two years have given me not just the tools to succeed and lead in an ever-changing global dynamic, but have opened up relationships that will last a lifetime.
Some say you develop strong bonds with those that you serve with in combat and that you won’t find it anywhere else. However, the bonds that you build with classmates over two years at WEMBA are ones that will last a lifetime. It’s not just an MBA, it’s a life-changing experience.
Jon Lum is second-year Wharton EMBA student concentrating in management and marketing operations management. He currently serves in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer who has led organizations at the Platoon, Company, and Battalion levels in global combat operations.