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Real Humans of the Wharton MBA Class of 2020

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Sadia Dhorat, Wharton MBA Class of 2020

Age: 26

Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa

Undergraduate institution & major: University of Cape Town, business science: finance & accounting

Pre-MBA work experience: After completing my undergrad I went directly into management consulting with Bain and have spent the past 3.5 years in the Johannesburg & Dubai offices.

Why business school? Why now? Having grown up in family of entrepreneurs I have from a young age always had aspirations of being an independent entrepreneur in the long term. After spending 3.5 years at Bain, I felt like I had gained some of the hard and soft skills I set out to learn and was ready to take the next step in my hopeful journey to being an entrepreneur.

Coming to business school made the most sense to very tactically fill the gaps in knowledge I had identified in myself. It also promised to serve as an ideal platform for me to accelerate my thinking, access to resources, and exposure to some of the most established entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? There were three key criteria I looked for in the schools I applied to and, ultimately, in deciding to come to Wharton: An established and continuously improving entrepreneurial ecosystem, increasing representation of African students (this is an important network for me), and a culture that I felt I could resonate with and wanted to be a part of (hard working, humble, and fun both inside and outside of the classroom). Wharton strongly met all of these and became an obvious choice for me.

Sadia Dhorat, Wharton MBA Class of 2020

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2020? Having a complex and multifaceted identity and set of lived experiences both in Africa and the Middle East allows me to bring a unique perspective to the classes and teams I am a part of. Being from Africa, I am able to offer my peers a point of view on the realities of business and life in a part of the world that many might never have been exposed to or who may be misinformed about.

Post MBA career interests? To explore an entrepreneurial path either through pursuing my own business ideas or joining an early-stage startup

Advice to current prospective students:

 –One thing you would absolutely do again during your application process? Make sure you get enough people of diverse profiles and experiences to read your essays to ensure that there is a consistent understanding of the messages and themes you are trying to highlight.

 –One thing you would change or do differently? Build in more time for your recommenders to write your letters and iterate on them (especially if you are applying in Round 2 over the holiday period).

 –Part you would have skipped if you could and what helped you get through it? GMAT! Working long hours every week and spending every weekend studying was not fun. Being sure about why you want to do the MBA and staying focused on the value add it will bring to your life helps to stay motivated and push through!

What is your initial impression of Wharton’s students/culture/community? I was incredibly surprised and very impressed by the fun, humble, and inclusive culture emphasized by Wharton faculty and so naturally practiced by new incoming and current Wharton students.

One thing you have learned about Wharton that has surprised you? The emphasis and people’s willingness to share so openly on very personal stories and experiences with a group of strangers (in organized and formalized groups) in a sincere effort to build meaningful relationships and bonds with people early and quickly.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? Being able to continuously prioritize what I know is important to me and being able to say no to experiences and opportunities that everyone else is doing but may not be aligned with what is right for me.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year? There are so many things I cannot wait for! The top things which come to mind are finally being able to learn for the sake of learning and genuine curiosity with dynamic professors and other curious classmates. Being fully immersed in the things I feel passionately about and am the most interested in. Following through on the stretch experiences I have identified for myself and reflecting on my own personal and professional growth and development over the course of the year!

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.