Students, Spend Your Time Wisely

By Emily Cieri, Managing Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Time: the most precious commodity of all. Especially to the entrepreneur, who is always looking to do more in the time he or she has (more research, more planning, more building, more testing, more thinking, more selling…).

If, at the beginning of the school year, I may presume to offer one piece of advice to our amazing, talented, and entrepreneurial students, it is this: spend your time wisely. You could argue that this holds true for all students, even all people, but I think it is critically important to those with entrepreneurial ambitions. Whether your focus is to start a business while in school, get involved with early stage companies, or simply dip your toe in the water by taking a few classes and attending some lectures or workshops, time is the key. All of these paths take dedicated focus and attention, and your limited time on campus can easily pass—and you could miss one of the best times of your life to engage in entrepreneurial activities.

Your time at Penn or Wharton is unlike any other in your adult life in that it is essentially ‘free’ on your resume. This makes it a great time to try something, anything, new: explore business opportunities, tinker in a space that you’re not familiar with, experiment with creating a new product or a new niche. You may be surprised where this leads. Who knows? You may have a thriving business by the time of graduation. Or the experience to turn a nascent idea into company soon after. I could tell countless stories of co-founders who met at Wharton.  We met while staffing the Entrepreneurship Conference registration table; we were introduced by fellow classmates who knew we were interested in the same space…

No matter what path you take, at graduation time you’ll be surprised by how fast your time at Penn has gone—and regret is the most bitter emotion. I’ve also heard too many student and alumni stories that begin, “I wish I’d gotten involved with Wharton Entrepreneurship while I was a student, but…” or “I always planned to work on my business idea, but other things got in the way…”.

Yes, this is the moment when I tell you how much Wharton Entrepreneurship can help you make the most of your time. If you want to be an entrepreneur—if you already are an entrepreneur—we can help you do more and go farther in the time you’ve got. Come to our Entrepreneurship Expo on September 11, 5-6 pm, in Hoover Lounge to learn more about the many programs we offer across campus and throughout the school year, and to hear current students talk about their entrepreneurial efforts.

It’s an hour of your time, but I think you’ll find it well spent.