Marc Rodriguez, WG’20, came to Wharton for his career at the Federal Reserve Board, but says the friendships he’s formed are a “tremendous benefit.”

Marc Rodriguez, WG’20, began his career as a research assistant at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Over the years, he worked his way up to senior analyst and is now manager in the Stress Testing group in the Division of Supervision & Regulation. However, he knew the next phase of his career would require a graduate degree.

“The Board is a very academic place, where education is highly valued. There isn’t one track for success in Supervision, but most people have PhDs, JDs, or MBAs. I like the management aspect of my job and wanted to increase my technical skills in finance, so I decided to pursue an MBA,” he explained.

As he researched EMBA programs, his managers were fully supportive of his attending Wharton. Marc said, “Wharton is a top-ranked MBA school, and the rigor of the program is respected because EMBA students earn the full Wharton MBA.”

Marc added, “I knew I would learn the technical skills I needed at Wharton, but I also liked the diversity of the cohort. I work for the government, but I oversee private industry, so I wanted to have exposure to other perspectives in the private sector.”

On the train returning to DC after a Wharton weekend with classmates Max Kirschenbaum (left) and Lucas Pipes (center)

As he approaches graduation, Marc says that Wharton has been “very worthwhile.” He points to several aspects of the program as examples:

Knowledge – “I’ve gained the technical skills I wanted, and I was able to focus on finance, management, and leadership in my electives. My classes are helping me understand my day job better and become a better leader. These classes are so impactful that I’ve shared class learnings with my colleagues. Many of them have technical backgrounds, but they are very interested in learning more about my management and leadership classes.”

Career Impact – “I was promoted from an analyst role to manager in the Stress Testing group before graduation. It’s less common for managers not to have a secondary degree, but being in this program helped show I can rise in the organization.”

Friends – “Wharton brings people together who I would never have had the opportunity to meet without this program. It doesn’t get easier to make new friends as you get older, and this program has allowed me to meet a lot of smart, interesting, and motivated people. People don’t spend money on an MBA to make friends, but this aspect of the program really does add tremendous value.”

Embracing Learning Teams

At the summit of Mt. Fuji with classmate Josh Krieger (left) during the Japan Global Modular Course (GMC).

Marc credits his learning team with much of his success at Wharton. “Each person brings years of interesting and different experiences, and we learn from each other’s strengths. The team also provides an emotional support system. It’s hard to imagine not having this group of people to talk to. We have all become close friends.”

He advises new students to approach their learning teams with open minds. “Be open to the experience and to getting to know people. We shared a lot about ourselves at Orientation and that created a strong foundation for friendships. Try to focus on the relationships because they will last a lot longer than any feelings you may have about a single assignment. Keep a longer-term view of what you want to get out of the group because your teammates can become lifelong friends.”

Enjoying the Commute

Commuting from Washington, D.C. has become a fun part of the school experience. Marc explained, “I commute with a couple dozen other students on the train for class weekends. On the way to school, we all study and prepare for classes. But on the way home, we take over the café car and hang out.”

He added, “The Washington, D.C. crew is pretty close and provides another support system in addition to my learning team and other Wharton friends. We all came to Wharton for professional and academic reasons, but don’t discount the amount of personal fulfillment you can get from the friendships you form in this program.”

-By Meghan Laska

Posted: May 13, 2020

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