Since 2001, the Wharton Asia Exchange (WAX) club has served as a pre-professional community for undergraduate students who have an interest in the Asian business landscape.

What is Wharton Asia Exchange’s mission?

WAX’s primary mission is to provide opportunities for our students to explore and engage in the dynamic Asian business community, which ultimately contributes towards our goal of fostering Asian representation in business by facilitating the personal and professional development of our members.

Twenty-three years ago, our founders established a unique vision for the club: to bridge the gap between the university community and the Asian business environment. Ever since, WAX has been one of the largest on-campus organizations that focuses on celebrating Asian identity through professional development.

WAX has around 250 active committee members as well as a General Body Membership program. We have a diverse group of members ranging from international students from Asia, members of the Asian American community, and those who do not identify with the Asian community but are intellectually and professionally curious about the Asian business landscape.

How does WAX engage with the university community and beyond?

We believe that engagement with the broader university community and beyond is an integral part of our work.

Through our Global Strategy team, we offer pro bono consulting services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the local Philadelphian and Asian communities. Students are assigned to a project group and collaborate throughout the semester to achieve and cater to our clients’ goals. The Global Strategy team allows students to get a hands-on taste of the consulting industry while accomplishing meaningful goals for our clients across a diverse range of industries.

Our Alumni Relations team maintains extensive connections with Wharton alumni, organizing a variety of events each semester such as alumni dinners and speaker events. These events offer students invaluable professional and industry insights while developing a long-term relationship with our alumni. Our alumni speakers are among our most popular events. Recently, for instance, we hosted alumni Todd Horst, Partner at McKinsey & Company, and Ee-Ping Ong, Managing Director and Head of China of American Securities, who provided their wealth of expertise in the Management Consulting and the Asian Private Equity industries to our aspiring students interested in a career in these prospective landscapes.

What are some signature club events and initiatives?

The Wharton Asia Speaker Series (WASS) takes place every fall and focuses on a particular topic each year.  Last fall, we centered around the theme of “The Digitalized Era” and we welcomed speakers from leading technology companies such as TikTok and Rockstar Games, providing students with first-hand insights into the ups and downs, life changes, and stories of Asian-American business leaders across the tech industry.

WAX publishes a magazine every semester revolving around an Asian-centric theme. The journal committee hosts a launch party at the end of each semester to recognize and present the hard work of their writers in a casual and fun setting. This semester, our journal delved into the theme of “Asian Security and Diplomacy” that explored the diplomatic and political challenges faced by Asian countries.

In the aim of embracing our Asian identities, WAX hosts a wealth of social events with an emphasis on celebrating Asian cultures. Our semesterly mochi-making social is a favorite among our members as we gather for an afternoon to relax and create deliciousness. The Hawaiian-inspired butter mochi and traditional Japanese strawberry mochi are our favorites to make!

How does WAX foster professional growth and industry knowledge among its members?

Wharton Asia Investments (WAI) has been the most popular branch of WAX for students interested in a career in finance. WAI partners with Asian hedge funds and organizes a stock pitch competition every semester. Throughout the semester, upper-level members host personalized workshops to teach junior members various skill sets such as financial analysis, modeling, and stock-pitching basics. We are proud to have equipped many of our members with invaluable financial knowledge that they took with them to their internships and prospective careers.

WAX’s Global Strategy’s pro bono consulting services span across the healthcare tech, education tech, retail, beauty, and automotive industries. Our students are placed into collaborative project groups that advise organizations on how to tackle their most pressing issues. Similar to WAI, upper-level members in Global Strategy host workshops throughout the semester that teach students industry knowledge and frameworks to apply on their projects. Students receive hands-on, real-life consulting experience through Global Strategy while establishing meaningful change across a diverse range of Asian business communities.

WAX also hosts a variety of events focused on professional development. These include alumni mentorship programs, résumé-building workshops, and internship panels where seniors offer their authentic experience and advice for our members navigating the job-search and recruiting process.

What advice would current members give to students considering joining the club?

We know how hard and intimidating it can be to find your starting point in the business world. WAX is an amazing community to begin the journey with as we have an incredibly supportive network of upper-level students and alumni.

—Sara Hoover

Posted: May 3, 2024

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