Karen Monraz ’16: My Summer at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Linda D’Arco and Karen Monraz
Karen Monraz ’16, from Culiacan, Mexico, shares her experiences in learning leadership, entrepreneurship and business this summer. 


1. Can you share some news about what you are doing this summer? 
“I am in a one-month summer program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. It is called Leadership in the Business World. As explained on the website “it is an intensive summer program for a select group of rising high school seniors who want an introduction to a top-notch undergraduate business education and the opportunity to hone their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.” It has been going on since 1999. We have lectures with Wharton faculty and guest speakers, and we visit business enterprises.

They separate the 140 students into teams of 10; where each of the teams has to generate their own idea. Then, by the end of the program they have completed a business plan for that idea. The faculty at the program will choose a winner.  Our idea is called Treeceipt. Through our company’s mobile application and website interface, storing receipts will be more convenient and streamlined for consumers and storeowners. By shifting the shopping industry’s paradigm of paper receipt printing, Treeceipt plans to address the needs of both consumers and retailers. Customers will be able to make an account with our program, in which all their store receipts will be sent upon purchasing an item, and stored onto a cloud system with store-specific folders.

We visited Alliance Bernstein, an asset management Company at New York City. There, we joined a panel with members from the company who graduated from the Wharton School. They also presented to us and explained what they do and the company’s future plans. After that event, we went around NYC: Times Square, museums and Central Park.

We have met with inspiring entrepreneurs who explained to us the steps of how they created their companies– those who succeeded and those who failed, too.

Other lectures are introductions to financing, marketing and investing. Additionally, guest speakers teach us how to prepare for an interview and presentation skills. There are also simulations. These are activities where we implement what we have learned in activities, such as a stock market simulation.”

2. Are you doing anything that reminds you of something you learned or experienced at WMS?
 
“Well, I am living in a dorm right now, with a new roomie. For some of the girls it is their first time and they are new to this lifestyle. In my case, I am already used to living in a dorm.

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We are 140 students at the summer program, and there are hundreds more students from other summer programs. We all live in the same area and go to the same dinning hall. It is during these times when I really miss WMS. Everyone knew each other and going to the dinning hall was all about meeting with friends. Here, it is hard to see familiar faces when you go inside to eat. The campus is huge, and in comparison to WMS, it is harder to encounter a friend on the way out. I realized how much impact the size of the WMS campus has on the community. It made us all feel closer to one another.

As at WMS, there is so much diversity in the group. We also have students from all over Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. You can’t count the number of languages that are spoken here.”

 

3. Do you have any new outlooks on learning or life that you’ll take back with you?
“Absolutely. I have learned so much about business– from financing to investing. Now I am even able to create my own business plan. There are so many smart young students here. Being young is not an impediment for them. They have already developed their own businesses nationally and internationally. I have learned from them, and hopefully it is the other way around, too.”

4. Any other details or things you’d like to share?
“Our RTA’s (Residential Teaching Assistants) are the ones in charge of the program. They are rising sophomores at Wharton School, and we also get to learn a lot from them. Just as we had advisors at WMS, the RTA’s are our advisors here. Each of the fourteen teams has an RTA in charge of it. Ryan, in my case, helps us with whatever issue presents when developing our business plan. He is also a great advisor and friend of all of the team members. We get to learn from their experiences at UPenn.

Apart from studying and attending lectures, we get to make great friendships in our outings. We go out to dinner in downtown Philly regularly. We went to a Phillies game; where we were on the big screen at the stadium. We have dances. We are going to Six Flags. We have formal dinners, just like community dinners at WMS. And we also walk around campus and to the various shops near by.”

Thank you, Karen, for sharing news of your summer program at Wharton! I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer vacation. 

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