2021 Best & Brightest Business Major: Cristina Pogorevici, Wharton School

Cristina Pogorevici

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Curious, eager to learn, always planning the next experience outside of my comfort zone.”

Fun fact about yourself: My interest in entrepreneurship and development have taken me to Hong Kong, China, Uganda, Moldova, Transnistria (a frozen conflict zone) and Ukraine during my time at Wharton.

Hometown: Bucharest, Romania

High School: Colegiul National “Gheorghe Lazar”

Major: Business Analytics; Management (Entrepreneurship & Innovation specialization)

Minor: Urban Studies

Favorite Business Course: Management 238: Organizational Behavior taught by Prof. Adam Grant

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Wharton Council (Co-Chair, Resources Chair)

Managing a 24-person organization overseeing, funding and assisting all 40+ student clubs and liaising with the Wharton administration as well as planning large-scale events (e.g.,  Wharton 5K, Wharton Formal) for Wharton’s undergraduate student body (2,500+ students).

Junior-Senior Programming Advisory Board (JSAB) (Member)

One of 10 community leaders selected to express concerns and introduce new programs or initiatives for upperclassmen. As part of JSAB I helped organize community events as well as launched Givitas – a knowledge-sharing platform that drives generosity, gratitude, and trust.

Wharton Ambassadors (Member)

Holding weekly information sessions for prospective Wharton students. Reached over 1,000 visiting prospective students, encouraged and mentored international students in their application process.

Penn World Scholar

Part of a 4-year program that selects international students based on leadership potential, academic achievement, financial need, and career plans.

Where have you interned during your college career?

McKinsey & Company • Business Analyst Intern

May 2020 – August 2020 • Bucharest, Romania

Social Impact Projections – Good Company Ventures • Business Analyst Intern

January 2020 – May 2020 • Philadelphia, PA

Social Impact Research Fellowship • Independent Researcher

June – September 2019 • The Republic of Moldova

The Institute of Contemporary Art of Philadelphia • Visual Thinking Strategies Docent

October 2018 – May 2019 • Philadelphia, PA

AKO Capital • Research Intern

August 2018 • London, United Kingdom

RideEasy Snowsports • Strategy Intern

June – August 2018 • Hong Kong

The OPEN Classroom • Public Speaking Teacher

June – August 2018 • Hong Kong

Where will you be working after graduation? Schwarzman Scholar 2022, Master of Management Science in Global Affairs (Beijing, China)

Associate Consultant, Bain & Company (New York, USA)

What company do you admire most? For me it’s not about admiring the company as much as it is about admiring the people within the company, their values and the way they shape the culture. Upon graduation from the Schwarzman Program, I will be joining Bain & Company because of its culture of trust, in which employees feel valued and are inspired to bring their best, most authentic selves to work, while having a global impact.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Business is much more than accounting, finance, and marketing. Explore its depths in order to understand how business can improve the life of people. Do not be afraid to question the status quo and choose courses that challenge your thinking. Use this time to feed your curiosity and explore new paths.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Interdisciplinarity. At Wharton I had the opportunity and access to information and mentors across disciplines. Studying business within social, political, and historical contexts makes you a better agent of change. 30% of all the courses I took were outside of Wharton which allowed me to explore Urban Studies, International Relations, Healthcare, and (more recently) Chinese language.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? While I explored other areas of study, I wish I would have taken the risk to try learning a new language sooner. Until my last semester, I feared enrolling in a language course at Penn because in high school I had failed at learning German. I am currently finishing my first semester of Chinese and wish I took this step outside of my comfort zone sooner.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? The Social Impact Research Experience fellowship offered by the Wharton Undergraduate Division allowed me to fly to the Republic of Moldova on June 1st, 2019 in order to study the entrepreneurship environment there. Moldova is a country of 4 million people pained by corruption, migration (25% of the population is working abroad) and extreme poverty – and only a few hours away from where I grew up. The research project gave me the chance to step into Transnistria, a frozen conflict zone located between Moldova and Ukraine, where I interviewed female entrepreneurs. During my visit to the capital of Moldova, a coup overthrew the government. I kept visiting and writing my paper and in the end, my paper was published and distributed to officials and entrepreneurs in the region. This experience opened my eyes to a whole new path. I learned that I want to continue studying the role of entrepreneurial development in enabling economic prosperity.

Which classmate do you most admire? My former Wharton Council Co-Chair Charles Ross is one of the most empathetic, passionate and determined people I have ever met. Motivating others was hard when a year’s worth of events had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when within a few days everyone’s reality changed dramatically. Charlie brought Wharton Council together through a virtual semester and prioritized each member’s well-being while leading the development of the Centralized Application System for club recruitment. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work side by side with Charlie, and I look forward to continuing to learn from him even after graduation.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? Back in 2010, my mother took a 6-month job assignment in New York. Without the visit made by her during that period, I wouldn’t have dreamt about studying in the United States. I deeply thank her for teaching me resilience and always supporting me through challenges and tough decisions, and I hope that my achievements make her and my father proud.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Regardless of my professional path, I want to tackle critical social and political issues, employing both Western and Eastern leadership approaches. Specifically, I want to go back and be a catalyst for change in my home country, Romania.

What are your hobbies? I enjoy hiking, exploring new places, specialty coffee and contemporary art. The pandemic reminded me to take one day at a time, enjoy long walks and meaningful conversations with friends and family.

What made Cristina such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“I have been so impressed by Cristina Pogorevici and everything that she has been able to accomplish during her four years here at Wharton. She has exemplary leadership skills, and she is driven to make a positive impact on the undergraduate student community.

From day one on the Wharton Council, the umbrella organization for the Wharton undergraduate clubs, Cristina sought out ways to create a more equitable and inclusive student community. Cristina and her co-chair created a task force to come up with concrete ways to improve the culture of club recruitment. Leading the task force during the entire academic year, Cristina pursued various ways to create a more equitable club-recruitment process, including setting a standard application deadline and developing a centralized-application system for all Wharton student organizations. Cristina and her co-chair worked all summer with our computing office on the centralized-application system and on our virtual club fair. I was so impressed by her work ethic and her drive to complete all of these projects before the start of school while also balancing a full-time summer internship. Cristina has been a wonderful student leader, and she has made a significant and lasting impact on the Wharton undergraduate student community.”

Lee Kramer
Director of Student Life
Wharton Undergraduate Division

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