Jill Carty knew she wanted to study international relations and economics in college. She considered Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Columbia, among other schools. She wondered whether Wharton would be "too competitive" but didn't want to rule it out. When she went to the Huntsman informational session, she thought the program sounded fabulous.
As Jill reflects on the experience of living with Huntsman students in her freshman year, she observes, "I liked the idea that Penn is a huge school but KC3 is a small group. It was important to me that I didn't get lost in the crowd." And her favorite Huntsman experiences, she says, "have been listening to people talk ‘til 4 in the morning about what they think. All these kids studying for totally different reasons, and with very different goals from mine."
Jill sees two broad categories of Huntsman students: "kids who are all about Wharton, and others who would be liberal arts majors but think Wharton is useful. And that's me. Having both types of classes helps me figure out how to use them." Jill wants to use her Wharton education as a social entrepreneur to help people get out of poverty. She came to this insight as she listened to a speaker in an anthropology class. "I realized I don't need to wait ‘til some time in the future to do good. I can use my skills now."
Study Abroad in Cuba
When Jill first visited Penn for Huntsman Day, she remembers learning about the study abroad program in Cuba, and she confesses that the possibility of studying in Cuba was one of the things that attracted her to the Huntsman program. As a Spanish target, Jill had the option of studying abroad in several cities throughout Spain and Latin America. She chose Cuba instead, asking herself "When else am I going to get the chance to go to Cuba… and see it as it is now?"
The start of Jill's study abroad program was delayed for a week due to a major hurricane. "We missed the hurricane, but caught the resulting food shortages." Jill says that, though she tried to arrive in Cuba with no expectations, "my mind was still blown by everything."
While attending the Universidad de la Habana, Jill took classes alongside Cuban students. The government and the economic situation could not be more different in the U.S. and Cuba, but Jill found that the people "have so much in common!" Despite the tensions between their two governments, Jill was pleased to discover that Cubans and Americans "get along ridiculously well." She was also impressed by the optimism that characterized her new Cuban friends, despite the limited options available to them.
The experience had a major impact on Jill, as it confirmed for her just how important her Wharton education is. She sees business as a way of helping people achieve their dreams and feels that, despite its flaws, the market is the single most efficient tool available for people to communicate their needs and wants.
Jill adds that, though her time in Cuba was indeed a life-changing experience, she also had a lot of fun. "We went to cabaret shows, visited the beaches… We had a good time."
The Huntsman Experience
Jill has created an individualized Wharton concentration in "Social Enterprise." She was inspired by a course called "Societal Wealth Ventures," which dealt with the possibility of using private business solutions and entrepreneurial strategies to solve social problems. The class discussed the success of such approaches in Africa, where many aid programs had been deemed expensive and ineffective. Jill is also taking Finance courses even though she says "it's not my strong-suit," because she feels that she needs that knowledge "to make something happen."
Ultimately, Jill's goal is to use her business education to have an impact on people's lives, "to make a difference somehow." On campus, Jill is an active member of Penn International Business Volunteers, an undergraduate organization dedicated to providing business consulting services to NGOs in developing nations. However, she also feels that we could use more business know-how in nonprofits here in the United States. In the long-term, she'd like to start her own social enterprise, hopefully dealing with health care.
A summer internship at a consulting firm confirmed for her that Wharton had indeed taught her a lot and that consulting might work for her. She says that, after graduation, she will likely work in consulting for at least a few years, in order to learn as much about business as possible. Consulting offers exposure to many different industries and insight into what works and what doesn't. Jill hopes to take these lessons and use them to someday make her own enterprise successful.