Wharton Women in Business (WWIB) represents more than 650 students and partners in the Wharton School MBA program. Their mission is to further develop the voices of women as confident leaders. WWIB provides specialized resources to Wharton MBA women, fosters relationships with the alumni community, and organizes events like the Wharton Women’s Summit and the Female Founder Pitch Competition.
The group also holds WWIB Week annually during Women’s History Month. During WWIB week, women in business are celebrated with networking sessions, fireside chats, and an annual gala benefitting a local organization. Madeline Donoghue, WWIB’s vice president of admissions, and Krishna Shah, WWIB’s co-president, discuss how the group fosters relationships and community right from the start of students’ Wharton experience.
“A significant change that we made last year was to only organize events that we thought brought value to the student body, especially during pre-term,” says Shah. “We encouraged more informal ways for students to meet up at the beginning. We really wanted to establish a built-in network of other women to lean on during our time at Wharton. During pre-term we created informal touch points and then when we got back to school in September, we had a better sense of what people were really interested in. We wanted to create an opportunity to have deeper conversations.”
Donoghue reflects on being a woman in the Wharton community at large. “There are so many great opportunities at Wharton, especially for many of us working in male-dominated fields. There’s been a lot of learning, feeling comfortable, having a voice at the table, and continuing to get better at public speaking,” she says. “When I think of a Wharton woman, it’s someone who exudes confidence. This doesn’t mean you have to be the most extroverted, but someone who speaks very well and is introspective, thoughtful but kind at the same time.”
“I’ve found it’s been really refreshing to meet other women in the business field,” she adds. “Personally, coming from the Midwest, all my home friends tended to go into other industries, and it was lonely not having women to talk with. At Wharton it’s been amazing to find a community of women in business and know that I have it going forward. When tough situations arise, I have someone to talk to.”
This story is by Abby Behrends. Read more at Wharton Stories.