At Wharton, I found myself taking lots of classes on behavioral economics and on data wrangling. There isn’t really a department that does both of these things, so I found myself somewhat at a loss for a major that encompassed these interests. Fortunately, Wharton lets MBA students declare their own majors – in fact, one out of twenty students do! So that’s what I did.
As my new major came up in conversation, a number of other students expressed interest in data and behavioral science topics. So many, in fact, that I led an initiative to get Wharton to officially recognize this major, and wrote an article about why we should do it (“Data is Sexy – let’s study it at Wharton”). Over 200 students signed a petition in support.
Hiring managers are increasingly looking for good data nerds, which is great for those of us who love this stuff. Hal Varian, Chief Economist at Google, has also said, “The sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians.” So, not only are students interested in this, but companies are, too. Getting the major approved as an official option is still in process, but when I left a few months ago, it looked pretty promising for the classes of 2016 and 2017.
I’m sharing this here as an overview, because a lot of prospective and current Wharton MBAs have asked me about it, and this post will serve as a starting point / primer, as well as a description of what I did. The best part about declaring a custom major is you can, well, customize it! And you should. Prospectives who are reading this, think creatively about how to make your area of study really your own.
This post has a couple of parts:
- Description of the major
- The initiative to get it on the docket at Wharton
- Some classes I recommend to Wharton students
- Some ways for students to get involved in data at Wharton
Description of the Major Continue reading