Friday, July 16, 2004

Wharton Event 

I spent last night in a hotel bed in a room that was rather too warm, so sleep was lacking in both quality and quantity. It's 9.30am and I'm already on my fourth cup of coffee - I think I'm going to be pretty much running on caffeine today.
Last night's information event was in Kaplan's centre in central London, just off Leicester Square. There were about 80 prospective applicants, some current students interning in London, a couple of just-graduated students, an alumnus from 2002 and someone joining the class of 2006. The room wasn't really big enough for all of us, so we were rather squashed and it wasn't that easy to see the presentation. Lack of amplification, coupled with a constant stream of latecomers, the two recent graduates talking constantly in the row behind me, and fans and a/c working hard to stop us all melting, meant it was quite a challenge to hear as well.
The formal presentation gave a  basic overview of Wharton and the application process and then all the various Whartonites introduced themselves and the floor was opened to questions. There was rather a preponderance of bankers - not surprising considering we were in London, but it certainly stimulated questions from the floor about the financial bias of the school and the mix of backgrounds of students. Other questions included fairly basic information on the course, possibilities for waiving core courses, how to make yourself stand out from the crowd in you application, and advantages of two year courses over one year ones. One fairly billigerant person wanted to know what was being done to encourage female applicants. I was somewhat suspicious of the claim of one of the curent students that Wharton had the highest percentage of female students of any business school, but even less convinved by the questioner's line of reasoning, which seemed to be that the fact that she knew female applicants who'd been turned down by whartton meant that there was some sort of discrimnation in action.
The presentation and questions were OK, but I'm not sure that I really learnt much new from them. I can see that for people in the early stages of the research process it would be useful though. I was planning to stay for the informal session afterwards, but the sight of  an even smaller room crammed with people disuaded me. I decided that talking to students when I visit would be more beneficial than trying to fight my way through the masses.
For anyone interested in similar Wharton events, look here.


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