Meet the MBA class of 2024: Taylor Clarke, Wharton School

“A Return Peace Corps volunteer working at the intersection of business and public policy.”

Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina

Fun fact about yourself: I compete in powerlifting with the American Powerlifting Federation.

Undergraduate School and Major: International Business, University of South Carolina

Most recent employer and job title: Senior Consultant at Guidehouse

What has been your first impression of the Wharton MBA students and alumni you have met so far. Tell us your best Wharton story so far. My experience with my Wharton classmates was exceptional. The breadth of achievement and knowledge of my peers, in addition to their welcoming personalities, has made my time here valuable. I felt a sense of real community. My favorite memory so far has to be the Talent Show we held during our first week of pre-term. There were skits, songs and even live musical performances!

Apart from your classmates, What was the key element of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? During an information session Wharton held before first-round applications, I overheard a current student say that Wharton is where you’ll be surrounded by the greatest diversity of thought you’ll ever see. . I’ve always tried to surround myself with people who think differently from me and who come from different backgrounds than mine, so that I can continue to challenge my worldview. Business school was no exception, and I realized after talking to Wharton alumni and going through our required courses, that Wharton would provide me with this opportunity.

What class, club or activity are you most passionate about at Wharton School? I’m interested in the Politics and Policy Club at Wharton. Coming from a background that is a mix of public and private sector work, I have seen the efficiency that comes with merging business acumen and public policy initiatives – and how this can lead to real change in the communities. I am excited to continue exploring this intersection with my peers.

When you think of the Wharton School, what’s the first word that comes to mind? Why? Inclusiveness. Wharton prides itself on having one of the largest student bodies of any business school and they make sure to fill it with a diversity of backgrounds. In my classes, we have people from the nonprofit sector, professional athletes, and successful entrepreneurs. This diversity also extends to a high percentage of international students.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: In my previous role at Guidehouse, I worked with senior management to develop the state and local government practice in the Southeastern United States. I managed COVID relief funds for over 80 cities, counties, and municipalities in South Carolina, providing localities with the funding they needed to prepare for and respond to the pandemic. As a South Carolina native from a rural part of the state, it meant so much to be able to support my home state in times of crisis.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? Although I did my undergraduate studies in business, I have spent most of my career so far in government and politics. I have found that the fusion of private sector efficiency and radical public sector change is something I really thrive on. I wanted to hone my effectiveness on the business side of the house to become a more determined leader in both areas. I plan to return to consulting after graduation.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched or listened to that you would highly recommend to future MBAs? Why? Smart people should build things by Andrew Yang. The book explains how the brightest individuals in our education system typically follow professional services, finance, or legal pathways, and examines the pros and cons that come with these pathways. It gave me additional perspective on how to envision my next career step after business school and what skills I really want to cultivate through my job.

What other MBA programs have you applied to? Duke, Yale, Northwestern and UChicago

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to the Wharton School MBA program? Be passionate and be your authentic self. There will be thousands of candidates whose goal is to pivot to X or Y higher paying careers. The way you really differentiate yourself is by diving deeper into your motivations and purpose. Application is not only a matter of Why you want an MBA, but who are you and what values ​​drive you. You need to ask yourself what you want to accomplish in your career and how an MBA can help you achieve that goal.

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