M&T grad Adya Aggarwal, W’22, EAS’22, shares impactful courses and opportunities from her time at Penn.

Why is M&T special?

The Jerome Fisher Management & Technology Program [a dual-degree program between Wharton and Penn Engineering] is a one-of-a-kind intersection of business and technology. The program provides education in the ability to be able to think like an operator and manager as well as understand the technical aspects of a company.

A Breadth of Options

Wharton gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best professors and professionals out there. There are so many different classes at Wharton to choose from. I took everything from distressed investing–spending time thinking about how to create value in distressed situation to negotiations—playing exciting games in class and seeing cases and negotiation techniques come to life.

Finance 4010: Advanced Topics in Private Equity

One of my favorite classes. Not only did we learn about every aspect of deal making but we also heard from some of the best private equity professionals and company operators. This is a theme shared by all other Wharton classes.

Operations, Information and Decisions 4150: Product Design

You get to make a product during the class held in Penn’s new Tangen Hall in the makerspace. I chose this class because it not only teaches you how to innovate and think about products but also learn about different techniques for making products, starting a startup from the very basic base point. We made a two-in-one liquid bandage and disinfectant, and we got to 3D print the whole prototype. You can use it on hikes or when you’re alone since it’s hard to put on a Band-Aid alone. We made this contraption which is a two-sided bottle with a dropper.

A Girl Who Invests in Herself

Sophomore year, I was a part of Girls Who Invest, which not only gave me an introduction to the world of investing but also introduced me to a cohort of like-minded, supportive women in the field. Girls Who Invest is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the number of women in portfolio management and executive leadership in the asset management industry. They bring together sophomore women for a monthlong training program at UCLA and then give you a six-week internship. My work at a decoding partner was fun because I got to intern at a cool firm as well as learn from industry professionals. You get connected with the entire network, and the GWI alumni are super willing to help people going through the program. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my experience. That this community of girls is there to support you every step of the way was super cool. What I learned was investing is so complex and fascinating and something that I wanted to dive deep into, which is what I’m doing, working in tech investing and tech private equity.

Theatre Arts 0120: Introduction to Acting

I took this class sophomore year during one of my busiest semesters, and it gave me perspective on a new art as well as helped me be aware of how to be present in the moment. Not many people would think that there’s a lot of transferable skills from Intro to Acting to life and business. However, it lets you hone your individuality while showing you how to work in a team.

A Girl Who Invests in Others

Management 3530: Financial Literacy Community Project

We were given the unique opportunity to go out at a high school in West Philadelphia and teach high schoolers principles of entrepreneurship and finance. This helped me develop not only my finance and entrepreneurship skills but also my teaching skills along with being given a chance to have an impact on the Philadelphia community. You help [the students] develop startups and  scale those startups. It was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had throughout my Penn career. It was a great, great way to not only explore entrepreneurship management and finance all in one, but also do something that made you feel good, felt fulfilling, and counted as a Business Breadth.

The ideas these kids came up with were surprising, interesting, very unique, from something small like an eyelash business to something big like opening a restaurant. It was encouraging ideas and teaching them business fundamentals, like how can you think about the risks to your business, competition for your business, stuff like that. The eyelash business actually won $1,000 from Wharton, and I was the student’s mentor for that.

How I became an RA & PA

Talking to upper-class students and alumni taught me a lot about how to navigate the Penn experience and helped prepare me for life beyond Penn. I really value the mentors in my life, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today, so a huge shoutout to anyone who helped mentor me and shape my life! This is why serving as a mentor myself is a role I take very seriously. I was a Wharton peer advisor and a residential advisor to first-year communities on campus for this reason.

The motivation behind being an RA, especially in first-year housing, was to get to know people who are just starting out at Penn, and hopefully I could influence their experience in a good way. I wanted to meet people outside of my Wharton and M&T experience, and I think being an RA was a great way to do that.

Sara Hoover

Posted: November 14, 2022

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