I have always been a people person, but it wasn’t until I came to Wharton that I realized I could turn my passion for people into a career.
An organization’s human capital strategy is often overlooked and its value is underestimated, yet companies continually identify people as their greatest asset. At Wharton, I’ve looked for colleagues who are just as passionate about people as I am and who also want to make a difference in business by better understanding how human capital decisions can affect a company’s bottom line.
After several conversations with my peers, second-year students, and professors about my interest, I quickly found a group of people who shared my enthusiasm and passion. This core group of students became the founding board of the Wharton Human Capital Club (WHCC) last year, setting out to create a community of MBAs dedicated to understanding and building strategy around what many companies call their “most important asset.”
Laying the Groundwork
Starting a new student club on campus was exciting and rewarding, but it also had its challenges. In the first few months of our existence, we faced three hurdles that ultimately enabled WHCC to forge a stronger brand and mission:
- Gaining momentum for club membership: Spreading the word about the mission of our club was paramount to our club’s success. We were lucky to have an incredibly dedicated six-person board team, with a large diversity of extracurricular activities. Leveraging these networks allowed us to reach a broad base of students fairly quickly through coffee chats, a kick-off happy hour, speaker events, and partnerships with other clubs.
- Combatting the stereotypes that many students had about the human resources function: Informing students about how human capital differs from human resources was an incredibly difficult task. Human resources is certainly similar and has a high degree of overlap, but is a fundamentally separate discipline. HR focuses on the employee experience with respect to administrative functions (e.g. benefits, payroll, on-boarding, etc.) as opposed to the employee experience with respect to management and employee development. After students began to understand the differentiation, our relevancy to them and their future careers was much clearer.
- Branding our club as a general interest club, rather than a career club: We needed to emphasize that our club was for people who are interested in careers in human capital management, as well as anyone planning to manage others at some point in their career.
Becoming the “Best New Club”
Dedicated to educating and creating dialogue for future business leaders interested in human capital, WHCC provides access to ideas, thought leaders, and companies that are revolutionizing the space and facilitates a centralized discussion about hot topics in human capital. It’s a community for MBAs interested in exploring careers in human capital management, as well as anyone planning to manage or lead at some point in their career.
Just a few short months after founding the club, feedback from the student body was overwhelming and we were honored to win WGA’s prestigious Best New Club award in 2016. We are excited about building on this momentum and already have a number of exciting speaker events on the calendar for this semester. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish this year and hope to position the club to be a lasting part of the Wharton MBA community!
Posted: October 7, 2016