Manisha Gupta, a second-year student who is global head of products at eBay Commerce Network and cofounder of CharityDress in San Francisco, talks about the environment for women at Wharton.
Women’s events provide valuable opportunities for current students and alumnae to connect and build on the strength of the Wharton network.
A popular tradition at Wharton San Francisco is our annual Women of Wharton dinner, which was recently held on a joint class weekend when both first- and second-year students were on campus.
Manisha Gupta, a second-year student who is global head of products at eBay Commerce Network and cofounder of CharityDress in San Francisco, attended the dinner. We asked Manisha, the mom of two daughters, to tell us about the event and the environment for women at Wharton.
Here is what she said:

On the Women of Wharton Dinner

I went to the dinner to meet all the wonderful women at Wharton. There are 8,000+ Wharton alumni in the Bay Area and I try to take advantage of any chance I have to meet them.

A pleasant surprise was that the invitation had gone out to all Wharton alumnae in the area – not just alumnae of Wharton San Francisco – so I was able to meet women from prior East Coast EMBA classes who have relocated to the Bay Area. I met many great women at the dinner who are driving change at various levels and I plan to stay in touch with them.

On Coming to Wharton

I came to Wharton to fill in the remaining gaps in my skill set, to build a stronger network, and to be able to expect more from myself both personally and professionally. My career has been a journey of chasing the “whys” of value creation and value capture. I chose to acquire diverse experience across multiple functions, geographies, and domains, which has enabled me to speak multiple functional languages. With my Wharton education and network, I aspire to better connect these disparate dots and play at a different level in years to come.

As for why I chose Wharton, my criterion was to go to the best school possible without leaving my family or my job. Wharton’s EMBA program was the clear choice. It was the only school I applied to.

On Wharton’s Environment for Women

The representation of women at Wharton San Francisco has been steadily increasing with 30 percent in our cohort and 33 percent in the current first-year class. Overall, the environment is wonderful for everybody and offers the flexibility we occasionally need. We help each other, as we are all in the same boat. The staff is very supportive too.

As for the women in my class, we are a very close cohort. We try to get together as much as possible as a group and with our families. A group of us even rented a house in Palm Springs for a few days. Many of the women in my class have become like family and I know I am not the only student who feels this way.

On the Importance of Networking Events

Juggling work and school can be particularly challenging for women with kids. Societal pressures (or maybe self-inflicted pressures) are higher on women who are parents. While most men tend to network or hangout with peers during off-work hours, most women often rush back to their families. These women’s events give some of us a reason to step out of that pattern, and also make it easier for us to connect with likeminded women.

On Being a Parent in the Program

Manisha Gupta with her family
Manisha with her family

I had extensive discussions with my husband and daughters (who are 14 and 10) about what being in this program would mean to our family.

Women may be concerned that their kids will suffer if they do this program, but if you get them on board, they will be encouraging and supportive. They will even be inspired by you!

Make sure to set expectations beforehand that you will be away some weekends and will have homework. Most importantly, let them know that this is really important to you.

On Advice for Women Applicants

Take the leap of faith and join this program. The experience will change you at many personal and professional levels. It’s an amazing journey that will inspire you to expect more from yourself.

You will see your confidence, your network, your abilities, and your contributions soar high. I’ve heard from women in classes before me that this feeling only gets better and stronger with time.

Posted: January 4, 2016

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