Student Perspective: Wharton 101

Jillian Li, W’19, discusses Wharton 101, the first course in the Leadership Journey, with Haley Tiller, W’21

JL: Wharton 101: Business and You was developed and launched in 2017 as the first course in Wharton’s new “Leadership Journey.” As a TA for the class, the main value-add of the program is evident: Leadership cannot be encompassed in a single class, but rather should manifest itself as a journey of growth and development throughout time. The Leadership Journey, consisting of four half-credit courses with one half-credit taken each school year, was designed with this in mind. Beginning in freshman year, students are exposed to a range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities in addition to strengths and leadership training. In the following years, courses cover written and oral business communication and teamwork and interpersonal dynamics before presenting students with a highly experiential and application-based capstone project during senior year.

I recently interviewed Haley Tiller, a current freshman, about her experience in Wharton 101. Having recently taken the course, she was able to provide insight relevant to what incoming students can expect – see her answers below!

JL: How would you describe Wharton 101 in 5 sentences or less?

HT: Wharton 101 is a comprehensive introduction to the Wharton School’s undergraduate program. The class can be split into two sections: business and you.  The “business” section includes the lecture where different heads of departments give presentations concerning their respective disciplines—what it is, how to apply it, what you can do with it moving forward, classes to take, etc. The “you” section is very self-reflective, involving recitations in which students determine their strengths and weaknesses as leaders, learn how to improve upon their personal skills, and get support in the college adjustment process.

JL: What was your favorite part of Wharton 101?

HT: My favorite part has been gaining real client interaction experience.  I did not expect to already have these opportunities at the very start of my time at Wharton, however during the very first class we were introduced to an array of clients seeking our help and how we could use our skills to help solve their challenges.

JL: As part of the class, professors from different business subjects and concentrations speak to students about their respective disciplines. What has been your biggest takeaway after hearing these professors speak?

HT: The biggest takeaway has been learning about all of the avenues of business that are available. As a freshman coming in, we only hear quick summaries of what each department does, however this experience has given us a much more thorough grasp on the disciplines.  Through gaining a greater understanding of what each department does, I now have better direction in what I potentially want to study moving forward.

JL: Wharton 101 is the first course in the “leadership journey.” What elements of leadership have you learned or have been the most surprising to you?

HT: The most significant aspect of leadership I have learned has been how others view me as a leader.  We participated in the Hogan Career Report which assessed how our approach on leadership is perceived by others.  This has allowed me to look objectively at my leadership style and determine which areas can be improved in order for me to come across as a stronger leader.

JL: In what ways has Wharton 101 prepared you for the rest of Wharton/Penn and beyond?

HT: This course has given me a broad overview of all of the different opportunities I can pursue within Wharton, specifically in exploring the individual concentrations.  To add, the support and student panels included in the class have provided me with tools to know what to expect moving forward and how to adjust to the rigor and life of Penn.  Lastly, taking the class with my cohort has strengthened my relationships with other students.