Wharton has one of the largest alumni networks of any business school, but students in the MBA Program for Executives have the added benefit of being part of a close-knit group of EMBA students and alumni. For Nick Lupisella, WG’17, leveraging those groups — combined with Executive Career Coaching in the EMBA program — was the key to successfully transitioning into a new role in the pharmaceutical industry.

We asked Nick to tell us more about using those benefits. This is what he said:

Executive Career Coaching (ECC) — “I reached out to Dr. Dawn Graham, the ECC director in Philadelphia. She helped me refine my job search strategy to align with my long-term goals. We made sure that my next steps would continue building toward those objectives.

She also provided feedback to ensure my prior experiences illustrated my interests and aspirations in a clear, logical, and compelling fashion. Your story needs to make sense to the person you are networking or interviewing with, so they understand how they can help you or why you would be a good fit. Knowing your individual story helps set you apart.”

Resume and LinkedIn Review — “The ECC staff reviewed my resume and LinkedIn profile, providing suggestions on the content to better highlight my experience and improve my visibility in searches.”

Network — “The ECC staff discussed leveraging connections both in my EMBA class and in the broader Wharton alumni community. I began by casting a wide net and talking to alumni who worked in several industries, including pharma and consulting. Through those conversations, my desire to move into the biopharmaceutical industry was solidified. Turning to my classmates, I knew that three of them worked for Merck — and two of them were in senior marketing positions.

Meeting with those classmates, I obtained a lot of helpful advice and feedback. We talked about the career paths of general managers at Merck as well as the interview process. One of my classmates even took my resume to the executive director of human resources, which led to informational meetings with many senior leaders in the business unit. When a position became available within the growing Biosimilars team, I was contacted for an interview, and I am now an associate director at Merck.

It is very challenging to join a company in a highly sought after strategic marketing role on a new brand and emerging business segment, but I was fortunate to have been given this opportunity. I believe it was a combination of getting to know Merck — and Merck getting to know me — and building trust during my unique interview experience. None of which would have been possible without my classmates, the ECC, and the Wharton EMBA program.”

Nick Lupisella (right) and Merck classmates
Nick Lupisella (right) and Merck classmates

4 Types of Career Impact

Nick breaks down the impact of Wharton’s EMBA program on his career in four ways:

“First, the program changes how you look at yourself. There is a level of confidence you get from going through the rigorous Wharton EMBA program. You believe in yourself no matter what challenge you face.

Second, it changes how others view you. Earning an MBA from Wharton gives you a level of credibility that you may have never experienced before. When you tell people that you want to run a large business unit or company, it no longer seems out of reach. High expectations for yourself are matched with high expectations from others.

The third aspect is the network. You have the entire Wharton network, which includes full-time MBA and undergraduate alumni, but you also have the community of the EMBA program. Graduates know what it takes to go through this program and are very supportive of each other. Every time I’ve reached out to a Wharton EMBA alum, they have gone above and beyond to help because of that connection.

Fourth is the career coaching available to EMBA students, which is extremely valuable. EMBA students have a wide-range of experiences and our own strategies for finding opportunities, so what we need is tailored coaching on specific issues or ways to make a connection. It’s great to have that support both as a student and an alumnus – you feel like your career aspirations are a mutual goal with the ECC and Wharton community always by your side.”

Meghan Laska

Posted: January 22, 2018

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