This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Jenna Gebel, a second-year MBA student at Wharton.
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where are you currently in school and what year?
Jenna: Originally from New Jersey, I’ve been an east coast girl all of my life. I went to undergrad at University of Maryland where I focused on marketing and international business. Currently I’m getting my MBA at Wharton and am set to graduate in 2016.
Accepted: Why did you choose Wharton? How is it the best fit program for you?
Jenna: When I decided that I wanted to go to business school, I would have never guessed that I would end up at Wharton. I’m very interested in social enterprise so I looked at schools with strong programs in that area like Harvard, Kellogg and Duke. I was really surprised that when I went to visit these schools, none of them felt like the right fit.
Wharton was the best fit for me because I loved the amount of effort they were putting into their social impact initiatives. This has given me the chance to lead and develop new projects rather than simply participate. For example, I helped launch the school’s Women & Girls Initiative to explore business solutions that support females at the bottom of the pyramid. Plus, I find Wharton’s data-driven approach is balancing out my skillset since I am definitely a writer at heart.
Accepted: What’s your favorite class so far?
Jenna: I loved negotiations! No matter what I do in life, I know the lessons I learned in that class will be applicable. From negotiating my rent to pitching a new idea, I learned how to position my argument, understand others’ motivations and approach relationships with a shared value perspective.
Accepted: Can you tell us about your summer internship? What are you doing? What role did Wharton play in helping you secure this position?
Jenna: Currently I’m interning at the Office of Sustainability at Coca-Cola. It has been an amazing experience! This summer I am working on the EKOCENTER project, a Coca-Cola initiative that is empowering communities through social enterprise. EKOCENTERs are modularly designed kiosks that provide access to basic goods and services such as safe drinking water, solar power, health supplies and wireless connectivity.
Accepted: We hear you’re working on an interesting project with fellow Accepted interviewee Mary Patton Davis – we’d love some details! How can our blog readers help?
Jenna: Yes! Business school is a whirlwind of an experience. People often talk about all the amazing experiences that MBA students have, but the reality is that it’s altogether stressful, social, lonely, stimulating and exhausting! Mary Patton and I wanted to create space for our classmates to pause, reflect and gut check our goals and ambitions for our internships, final year of business school and beyond. And the Wharton Wrap Up was born!
The first retreat was such a success that we are expanding the experience to all Penn graduate students in the fall – but we have a much bigger vision. We want to help more students and young professionals take a break from their hectic lives to connect with likeminded people, learn mindfulness tactics and find time to align their passions with their actions.
Given that the readers of Accepted.com are our target audience, we would love to hear from you! Please fill out this quick survey and let us know your thoughts so we can create the most exciting and useful experience to fit your needs.
Accepted: Looking back at the MBA admissions process, what would you say was your greatest challenge? How would you advise others who may be facing a similar challenge?
Jenna: Throughout the MBA admissions process, you will get advice and perspective from countless people. Everyone will have an idea on the best place for you to be and why. At the end of the day, it’s your choice and you need to follow your gut.
Plus, I think it’s important to hit the road and visit all the schools you are considering. As soon as I got to Philadelphia, I got this overwhelming sense that it was the place where I belonged. Even though some of my family and friends thought it was a nontraditional choice for me, I had a strong feeling it was the best place for me – and looking back, I know I made the right choice since I really listened to my instincts.
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.
Thank you Jenna for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck! (Jenna also maintains a blog with her mom on adult mother-daughter relationships called “My Mother, My Daughter, My Friend.” – check it out!)