Wharts and All: Blogging the Full-Time MBA Program at the Wharton School

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Where Are You Going to School this Fall?

I have trouble answering a very simple question. When people ask me where I'm going to be going to school this fall, which of the following is an appropriate answer?

  • Look down bashfully and toe the carpet, "Going to study business in Philly" (This is an attempt to be self effacing in front of people who have a bug up their asses about all things Ivy and would prefer not to have their inferiority complexes tweaked.)
  • With nose held high in air say through clenched teeth, "I'm going to Whahhhhhton." I tend not to make this response unless I'm dealing with someone who loves drawing out the syllables when they explain that they've gone to or are going to Haahhvahd Business School.
  • "Wharton." A simple response, but not an appropriate one for all occasions.
    • CASE ONE: As discussed ad nauseum on the Business Week forums, the average deli counter worker with three days' stubble doesn't necessarily understand that this name is huge. Wharton is not a name you drop in order to impress waitresses or pool boys. Why I've got the inexplicable urge to impress these people is fodder for another attempt at amateur psychoanalysis. What do I want? Do I really want the shoe-shine man to stop whisking his rag in surprise, emit a low whistle, and look up at me with a wink and a "you gonna make lots of money den, heh heh" response? Why do I crave respect from service personnel? Why is that important to me (and to most of the credentalist dogs that I run with?)
    • CASE TWO: The interrogator responds, "Good school, congrats. What major?" This is the response I'd prefer to hear all the time because it embarrasses me least. It doesn't require me to explain what Wharton is. It doesn't require me to brush aside the idea that I'm only in it for the money. It doesn't require me to make a lame joke about being the admission's mistake. It doesn't require me to respond that I think NYU part time is a great program too; and that I'm not going to learn anything you yourself won't learn at NYU; and that yes, I do think that the admissions game is just a big old crapshoot; and no, I don't know if those Wharton adcom GMAT whores rejected you because of your GMAT score; and no, I hadn't heard that story about Philly's drug scene; and oh, I think I've got a meeting to run to but good talking with you.
    • CASE THREE: My partner in conversation stares back blankly and blinks a few times.

      "What's Wharton?"

      "It's UPenn's business school," I say, and still getting no response, continue, "for my MBA."

      "What's an MBA good for?"

      "Good question."

    • CASE FOUR: Squeals of delight, then, "Upenn's my alma mater! Let's be best friends!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another to add to your list:
bskewl: I'm going to Wharton
Where's Wharton?
bskewl: It's Penn's business school
Too bad you didn't go a few years ago when their football team was better. I don't know if Joe Paterno should still be coaching.

My favorite response was from my Outward Bound instructor the summer before I was leaving for my ivy league undergrad. He asked what I was doing in the fall and I told him that I was going to ivy league school X. He thought for a while and then asked me, "School X, hmm, Is that a community college or is that a 4 year school?"

That was my favorite reaction.


2/08/2005 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger bskewl said...

That's great stuff. I need to remember to come back to this post and update it when I get a funny reaction.

Maybe I'll tell people who don't know any better that Wharton's got a tremendous indoor agriculture program and give them the universal smoke-up hand signal.

2/08/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

What's great is here in Philadelphia when you tell someone you go to Wharton and they ask what it is :-)

2/25/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, what total a total snobbish and racist post.

enjoy your mba, when you're fired at 40 for being an ass,come back to this post.

i implore you to read your post carefully and do metaanalysis. You're on the wrong thinking track

3/03/2005 06:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, what a total snobbish and racist post.

enjoy your mba, when you're fired at 40 for being an ass,come back to this post.

i implore you to read your post carefully and do metaanalysis. You're on the wrong thinking track

3/03/2005 06:47:00 AM  
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