If you were near the Wharton School on the University of Pennsylvania campus in Philadelphia on Friday, April 22, you might have spotted a lively group of students taking selfies with the legendary Ben Franklin statue on a bench (Franklin founded Penn).
They could have easily been mistaken for picture-ready undergraduates, but in fact, they were high schoolers on a mission. Engaged in an app-powered scavenger hunt, students solved the clues to discover everything they could about Wharton’s past and present during the first Wharton Global High School Investment Competition Learning Day since 2019.
“So much good on the horizon”
The Learning Day was first launched in 2017 to enrich the experience for students and advisors who travel from around the world to campus each spring to participate in the Wharton Global High School Investment Competition. Its purpose – an extension of the competition’s primary mission – is to expose students to new knowledge and perspectives on business, communications and, of course, university life on the campus of a world leader in education. commercial.
While Learning Day was sidelined during the pandemic, this year it returned in person — and in great style.
Erika H. JamesDean of the Wharton School, helped kick off the day’s program by welcoming not only the Global Investing Competitors to campus, but also a group of Philadelphia high school students attending the Steppingstone Scholars Equity Summit 2022.
“I am honored to be in the company of so many of the thinkers and leaders of tomorrow,” James said, adding that she could understand big student decisions and opportunities by helping her own teenage daughter navigate in the college application process. “Whether exploring the ever-changing world of finance or examining how we are expanding equity-focused thinking, your forward-looking mindset is absolutely necessary. Your leadership and determination, coupled with your ideas and innovations are proof that there is so much good on the horizon. In a Q&A with the audience, Dean James shared everything from Wharton’s diversity strategies to her status as a licensed motorcycle enthusiast.
Learning Day 2022 embraced this theme of ideas and innovations. After the program launched, investment contest participants, parents and advisors headed to Penn’s Locust Walk to participate in a day of activities and education, including the scavenger hunt, a panel discussion with former investment competition participants who are now studying at Penn, and a presentation on college life by three students Wharton ambassadors.
The highlight of the afternoon was an interactive session led by Angela Duckworth, a Wharton and Penn psychology professor who is the founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit organization that advances scientific knowledge that helps children thrive. Dr. Duckworth is also the author of the book Grit: the power of passion and perseverance.
The Paramecium Parallel
During his exchange with the students, Dr. Duckworth shared key insights from his research on how to live a happier and more successful life. She framed some of the discussion around the keynote address she will deliver in a few weeks to a group of students from Wharton and Penn.
His best advice? Be like a paramecium, a single-celled organism that, despite having no brains, survives quite well through trial and error.
“You’re going to learn most of the things you learn in life through messy, ineffective trial and error,” Duckworth said. “The most successful people, including Nobel Prize-winning scientists and truly world-class athletes at the Olympic level, have historically in their lifetime done more sampling and exploration than people who are not as gifted. Give yourself time to try majors and activities, quit things, but try to quit after your commitment is over. More sampling now will help you succeed later in life.
As darkness fell on campus, global investment competitors gathered on the 8thand Floor of Wharton’s Jon M. Huntsman Hall for a “non-alcoholic hour” of networking. Within hours, they were meeting again in the same room to present their investment strategies to a panel of finance professionals for a chance to win the global final (Click here to learn more about the winners of this year).
But at first, they seemed content to reflect on all they had been through on Learning Day 2022. Earlier remarks by Eli Lesser, executive director of the Wharton Global Youth Program, echoed in the band.
“Each of us is on a journey of learning, something you started before you even started school and a journey that won’t end when you attend a graduation ceremony, whether it’s high school, college or even graduate school,” Lesser said. “As you begin to learn on a college campus today, the next step may take a few seconds to think about what it means. Look around you in this space, see who is sitting next to you, listen the ideas they share and think carefully about what you are being taught and whether or not you agree with it Use your voice to add to this conversation.