Whenever someone asks me what I want to do after the M&T Program, I say, “not sure, probably be a teacher for a while.” The puzzled look that follows has been one of the hallmarks of my experience in the M&T Program. The question that follows is always, “Then why do M&T?” For me, M&T is about building the skills that will enable me to tackle some of the most challenging problems affecting society today. Since high school, I’ve been deeply passionate about education reform. All over my county and my state, public schools have been failing students: test scores are lower than ever, and dropout rates (particularly for low-income students) are on the rise. So, as a high school senior, I wanted a college experience that would force me to think critically in as many different ways as possible – for me, M&T has been that experience.
Just two years in, I’ve already had the opportunity to work on such a broad array of problems. For example, in Management 100, a requirement for all Wharton freshmen, I was pushed to develop marketing strategy in order to increase the amount of local public schools enrolling in an online bullying-awareness program. During the same semester, I was spending three hours a week in a physics lab, using high-speed cameras and single-variable linear regression to determine friction due to air resistance. Fast-forward to sophomore year: all M&Ts take a discussion-driven management class based on analyzing trends in innovation. Each member brings in their perspectives and experiences from past internships and classes in order to make recommendations on innovation strategy in a wide breadth of industries. In four semesters, I’ve been pushed to think quantitatively, qualitatively, creatively, strategically; the many types of thinking is what M&T requires by default.
The best part, in my opinion, is combining these ways of thinking to pursue projects that I’m deeply passionate about. For example, this semester I began a research project examining the potential of Massively Open Online Courses in urban education reform. The sections of my paper will be broken up with sections such as industry overviews, statistical analyses, potential product designs – all of these draw from my experiences in previous M&T classes.
So here’s my advice: don’t choose a college for the name, the degrees, the prestige – think about the curriculum and the skills that you’ll build. Think about the projects you’ll be working on and what projects you’ll be able to accomplish once you graduate. Think about your broader life goals after M&T. Even if you have no idea what you want to do in the future, you can be sure that the M&T program will give you the foundation to do anything you want.