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Real Humans of the Wharton MBA Class of 2020

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Erik Alexander Lorig, Wharton MBA Class of 2020

Age: 31

Hometown: Rolling Hills, CA

Undergraduate Institution and Major: Stanford University, B.A. public policy; M.A., communication

Pre-MBA Work Experience: 6 years, starting NFL player; 1 year, private equity analyst

Why business school? Why now? After retiring from a successful and fulfilling NFL career, I spent a year at a middle market PE firm where I began to explore new analytical skill sets and frameworks of thinking. Learning more about business school from friends and colleagues, I determined it was a perfect setting to continue honing new skills and exploring career interests. Shifting into a new career after having ended another, I’m at a crossroads in my career trajectory. I felt strongly that now would be the ideal time for me to experience Wharton by developing quantitative reasoning skills and exploring new passions through engagement with fellow classmates in in-depth discussions.

Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? Wharton is known for its quantitative focus and academic rigor, which aligned with what I was searching for in a graduate school program. When I started visiting the Philadelphia campus, calling alums, and speaking with current students, I learned quickly about the global

Erik Alexander Lorig, Wharton MBA Class of 2020

diversity and interesting types of students Wharton was attracting.

I figured out that Wharton was one of the rare schools that was committed to quantitative-based reasoning and course curriculum, yet with a global perspective. It was this unique combination that drew me in further to the program. For example, the Team Based Discussion topic featured in the interview process was structured around developing a detailed GMC curriculum in another country—that was so exciting to me!

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the class of 2020? Maintaining an NFL career required a great deal of commitment, teamwork, focus, and performance. It is thanks to this skill set that I was successful throughout my six-year career as well as in identifying areas where I could give back along the way. Throughout my NFL career, I helped to run a non-profit called American Football Without Barriers. AFWB is an organization that brings NFL players to third world countries.

We organize camps and outreach programs in developing countries where American football has an emerging presence and playing population. Being able to spread football across the globe has been a fulfilling and incredible learning experience. My differentiating contribution to the 2020 class is my experience—not only operating at a high level while being full committed to a team, but also using passion for football to spread awareness and help others where I know I can have the most impact.

Fun fact that didn’t get contributed in your application? While college and NFL football eventually became my career objective, my first sport was actually surfing. I learned when I was six years old! Had I spent as much time working on my surfing skills as I did on football as a teenager, I likely would have become a professional surfer. I maintained surfing in my off time, both in California and even around the world as I grew up, went to college, and as a working professional. I’ve surfed in many different countries, chasing great waves. Surfing is a passion and lifestyle for me.

Advice to current and prospective applicants: My advice to prospective students would be to begin reaching out to current students and visiting admissions departments to answer any questions you have. Asking them hard questions about the culture of the institution. This information can be so valuable as you’re making a decision on the business school that might be the best fit for you.

Moreover, instead of trying to complete the entire application and testing in a few months, plan out the application requirements eight to 12 months in advance to be safe. You don’t want to feel stressed for time during the process given you’re going to want to spend time critically thinking about each institution you’re considering.

What is your initial impression of Wharton’s students/culture/community? Not only are students globally and professionally diverse, they have a varying set of future interests. I was not expecting so many of my fellow students to be pursuing their own ideas or for as many to be open to entering new career paths. I find the emergence of new ideas to be incredibly refreshing. Overwhelmingly, Wharton students are optimistic about their ideas and future career goals, which makes the culture and community unique.

One thing you have learned about Wharton that has surprised you? The number of program exchanges and partnerships with international business schools around the world—not to mention the internal Wharton programs you can be involved—opens the door to so many differing opportunities and experiences. There are many different program types, it’s a matter of finding the one that aligns with what you’re looking for.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? I’m anxious about managing the recruiting process, remaining committed to my courses, and getting everything I can out of the material. I don’t want to sacrifice either, so I’m anxious about the balance between the two.

Things you are most excited about in your first year? I’m most excited about engaging with recruiting and career specialists while learning from the professors as I begin a new career journey. The prospect of working with specialized professionals and learning how I can apply their knowledge to my goals will be highly beneficial as I navigate prospective next steps.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.