Leadership and Teamwork

Wharton’s Learning Teams and cohorts provide a catalyst for new insights, collaboration, and the start of a lifelong network — and are a comprehensive support system to help you make the most of your MBA experience. Students bring individual expertise to the group, helping those with different experience and business backgrounds learn from each other. 


Learning Teams

The Learning Team model, first developed by Wharton and now emulated by other schools, is central to Wharton's MBA experience. The Learning Team model is based on the business world in which employees work together in teams that depend on persuasive rather than positional leadership. Your Learning Team serves as a living laboratory for cultivating these skills.

Teams, which consist of five or six people you’ll get to know really well, form in Pre-Term and continue working through the first semester. Since the team is not self-selected, each group includes a juxtaposition of diverse careers, interests, and international backgrounds. Interaction in small groups with a remarkable and diverse set of peers encourages trial and error, risk taking, and collaborative idea generation, and will fundamentally change your perspective and deepen your learning.

Highlights of the experience:

  • The Big Idea: Learning Teams collaborate to develop a unique, innovative solution to a complex problem facing the world of business. While working together on the Big Idea, team members are asked to articulate their values and to begin creating a vision and operating principles for their team, which serve as the foundation for their working relationships in the fall.
  • Foundations of Teamwork and Leadership: The first core course in the MBA curriculum, MGMT 610 combines analytic and expe­riential learning. Utilizing an interactive pedagogy, Learning Teams play the role of a company’s senior management team, experiencing first hand the skills of teamwork and leadership. A highly interactive simulation allows students to experience the core concepts they learn in class.
  • A Team-Building Retreat: The retreat, which caps Pre-Term, allows you to meet your Learning Team members for the first time and explore the team dynamics that will shape your first year.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Each learning team is assigned a Leadership Fellow, a second-year student who mentors, facilitates quarterly feedback sessions amongst team members, and helps solve team conflicts. Leadership Fellows also coach first-year students in their leadership development.


During Pre-Term, you and your classmates will be divided into a cohort of 70 students (which includes your Learning Team). You’ll move through the end of the first semester in this cohort, and take your fixed core courses together.

Cohorts are made at random to ensure a distribution of gender, nationality, and work experience. They remain constant, so you can easily forge close bonds within the community. 

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“My teammates told me that I was a leader of the team and an invaluable member, and that they would always want me on their team. That was a full circle moment. I thought, Wow, I did it. I reached my goal of being a leader and a team player."

Toronto, Canada

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