Posted by Grayson Sessa
At some point during the year, a Wharton student’s attention is going to turn to the ultimate question: What am I going to spend the summer doing? Fixating on this question your first semester is not worth it, since there will be many opportunities to find something productive to do.
When second semester comes around, it is amazing how even the underclassmen are hit with the “buzz” of On-Campus Recruiting (“OCR”). You can definitely tell when OCR is beginning: the halls are filled with Wharton undergraduates walking around in suits, the upperclassmen are hopping from interview to info session to another interview, and signs advertising the companies are posted inside each Wharton classroom. It is really special when you realize how these impressive companies are choosing to come straight to Wharton for students and even holding first round interviews right on campus. Still, OCR is mostly for the upperclassmen, so do not worry about getting lost in the midst of all of the activity.
But there are definitely plenty of ways that Wharton and Penn help freshmen find plans for the summer. First off, the Career Services website keeps internship data for each class in Wharton, so that you can find out how recent students your age found employment, what they did, and even how much they earned on average. Also, take advantage of the events that Career Services puts on. Every Friday, David Ross, the Associate Director of Wharton’s personal Career Services department, sends out a “Friday Flash” newsletter that lets you know about upcoming events. From reading these, I have been able to attend a number of workshops, including ones about interviewing skills, drafting résumés and cover letters, and how to prepare for and be productive at a career fair.
When you are done prepping, you can head over to PennLink, a site just for Penn students where companies post job and internship listings—because they want Penn and Wharton students that much. At first, PennLink can be overwhelming, but Mr. Ross leads a few workshops to help freshmen work with it. And, once you learn how to whittle down the list of internships to the ones you are interested in, you realize how useful a tool is it. So enjoy your first semester and focus on adjusting to campus, but when you start to look towards the summer, feel comfortable that all of the support structures you could need and more are available for you.