Real Humans of The Wharton School’s MBA Class of 2021
Anita Oh, Wharton’s JD/MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Stamford, CT
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Pennsylvania State University | Schreyer Honors College; Broadcast Journalism
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years as a reporter/anchor for CBS News
Why business school? Why now?
I chose to pursue my MBA as well because I am passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, and I wanted to continue building the skills and network to best position myself to do that. I also wanted to supplement my law curriculum, and for me, the three-year Carey JD/MBA was a no-brainer.
The primary driver of my decision to go to law school was my coverage of both of Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trials, the first of which ended in a mistrial. I wanted to do more than just talk about the law; I wanted to be able to practice it. Moving forward, I intend to fuse my interests in law, technology, fashion, and social impact.
Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
For me, there was no better fit than Wharton. I had been eyeing Penn’s JD/MBA for a couple of years before deciding to apply. The alternative was continuing to advance in my career as a broadcast journalist with the goal of reporting and anchoring at the network level.
First, I chose Penn because of its cross-disciplinary approach to education. The school encourages students to take courses in other disciplines, and I believe well-rounded students are more equipped to become future leaders of the world.
Second, I chose Penn because it is committed to collegiality. I knew I wanted an environment in which my colleagues are incredibly bright, driven, and goals-oriented — but also one in which there isn’t a scarcity mindset around success. Your success is my success, and I’ve found this mentality to be true here.
Third, I chose Penn because I have spent the past three years of my career in Philadelphia, my family is close by, and I have been able to put down meaningful roots here. Now that I’m on the other side of the application process, I can wholeheartedly say I made the right decision.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
My career as a journalist allowed me the honor of sharing the stories of people from all different cultures, religions, political beliefs, professions, and geographies. To me, everyone has a valuable story, one that can perhaps shape our own perspective in a different way if only we take the time to truly hear it. I strongly believe that EQ is as valuable as IQ, and my goal every day is to ensure that those around me feel truly heard and seen.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I launched a style and travel blog as an extension of my interests several years ago, and it’s taken on a form I didn’t expect but am so grateful for. It’s given me many opportunities to partner with brands I’m passionate about and leverage my platform for social good, such as organizing book drives for literacy programs in Philadelphia and hosting panels about inclusion and diversity in the fashion industry. I also won a ghost pepper hot wing challenge once. 12 wings in 15 minutes, with another 15 minutes of “simmering.” No napkins, no water, and no crying!
Post-MBA career interests?
I plan to start my career as a corporate attorney in New York and later pivot to working with emerging companies and launching one (or more!) myself.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Sit in on classes, visit, and talk to as many current students and alumni as possible.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would apply in Round 1 rather than Round 2 — just for my own sanity.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Taking the required exams while also studying for law school finals! I just stayed positive and kept the perspective that it is a privilege to be able to be in law school and to be in a position in which I can even consider applying to one of the best business schools in the country.
What is your initial impression of Wharton’s students/culture/community?
It is incredible to always be the least interesting person in the room at all times. Every person here has such a fascinating, unique path — from former Navy SEALs to policy advisors to entrepreneurs and beyond — and it’s incredible how many people have moved across the country and world just to be here.
We all seem to have an appreciation for the fact that we were all intentionally chosen and placed together for a reason. Everyone I’ve met has been super supportive, kind, and collaborative. It’s also hard to ever have a dull moment at Wharton.
One thing you have learned about Wharton that has surprised you?
How accommodating Wharton is. I’m used to a cutthroat, fast-paced environment in which any sort of accommodation is a luxury or something that doesn’t even cross your mind. But here, it’s clear that from the top down, the school wants to provide us with the tools and resources that will best position us for success.
That includes career services and meetings with advisors to ensure you’re on the right track when it comes to choosing coursework and a course load. That includes other students, especially second years, who are happy to pay it forward and mentor you. That includes the Partners Club, which is especially integrated within the Wharton community to ensure that the experience is not just fulfilling for the Wharton student — but also for the person who loves him/her.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
It’s hard to strike a balance because I want to try and do everything here — not only between school and social activities, but also between my law school life and my business school life. It’s also been a challenge to stay ahead in quant-heavy courses, such as microeconomics.
As a journalism major, I have a pretty non-existent quantitative background. However, I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone in all areas at Wharton, and it’s been rewarding to dig in to the material and see progress every day!
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m most excited about continued personal and professional growth and connecting with the amazing people within the Wharton community. Though we all come from varied backgrounds, we are all like-minded in that we are here to continue pushing to become the best versions of ourselves. I’m taking advantage of every opportunity to challenge and stretch myself; for example, I’ve joined the women’s rugby team (I’ve never played before but have really enjoyed it so far!).