The Whirlwind at Wharton!

My initial experience at Wharton consisted of hanging out in the back of the taxi cab parked at the entrance while the driver was reprimanded for the illegal U-turn he had just executed. Oops! After giggling to myself (he was let go with a stern warning), I took my luggage up to the front desk, checked in and proceeded to pinch myself a few times. 

I thought to myself—“this is what I have been waiting for, what I have worked so hard for, but not without the help of many, many supportive people”. The week ahead had much in store for me, I looked forward to collaborating with some of the brightest CU leaders and learning from some of the best business minds in the world. 

Class is in session!

The sessions flew by quicker than I had anticipated, and the amount of content, wisdom and advice shared with all of us was almost too much to write down. Keeping up with the note taking proved to be a chore!

Session topics included Scenario Planning, Strategic Segmentation, Core Competencies, Ethics and Leadership, Strategic Execution, Leadership & Decision Making, Strategic Influence & Persuasion, Innovation & Strategy, and a CU Simulation exercise. 

It was a very full week, and I’m still trying to process it all. 

All of the professors were well-spoken, intelligent, and genuine professionals who shared many of their own experiences through phenomenal story telling. They were the kind of professors you wished would have kept talking.

The CU Simulation was an amazing program that allowed teams to take a fictional credit union through a specific scenario and navigate sustainable growth over six years. Using what we learned in class and drawing on the experiences of each team member, we ran three scenarios and were scored on how well we increased and/or maintained ROA, Member Satisfaction, Capital Assets, and Total Assets. It was a very cool experience!

Two Take-Aways

The most impactful take-away stemmed from a comment and diagram one of the professors shared. 

The triangle below signifies a professional journey divided by tactical and strategic work. The summary of the comment was professionals only get so far in their career by doing tactical work. At some point, they need to become strategic thinkers/executers if they want to achieve more. For me, this was the light bulb that went off in my mind and gave me that A-ha! moment.

I do tactical really well, but have always noticed there was something missing. Voila! The professor’s words hit the nail on the head for me. She not only helped me realize the next level I need to take in my career, but I then shared with the class room that those who are struggling to attract and maintain younger talent should take a closer look at this model. I believe it’s important to give younger professionals in the CU industry projects that allow them to think and execute strategically because it grows their skills and ultimately their career.  

It all comes together…

Winning the NTCUE competition was a game changer in my career, and one week at Wharton followed suit. I was given so many additional books (written by the professors themselves) and handouts of information that it will take me quite some time to fully digest the material and figure out how to best apply what I’ve learned. 

I love education, professional development, and ever growing and evolving in my career. Thanks to CUES, Currency Marketing, and DDJ Myers for the NTCUE competition and for giving me this opportunity to study at Wharton. 

I can’t wait for years two and three!