2019 Best & Brightest: Dipak Kumar, Wharton School

Dipak Kumar

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School

“A blue collar farmer and political junkie who likes white collar shirts and spreadsheets.”

Fun fact about yourself: I grew up on a walnut, pistachio, and almond farm in Central California

Hometown: Tulare, California

High School: Tulare Western Highschool

Major: B.S. Economics with dual-concentrations in Entrepreneurship and Operations


Favorite Business Course: Venture Capital

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Co-Chair of the Wharton Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board where I worked on academic issues including gender equality, career selection, and new class development
  • Writer for the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative where I had 5 articles published
  • Wharton Communication Fellow – where I was an assistant in Wharton public speaking classes for 2 years
  • Research assistant for New York Times Bestselling Author, Adam Grant
  • Awards
    • National Finalist for the Truman Scholarship, California
    • Penn Nominee for the Marshall Scholarship
    • Dean’s List Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior Year

Where have you interned during your college career? (List Companies, Locations and Roles)

  • Kaiser Associates, Washington D.C., Summer Associate Consultant
  • S. House of Representatives, Washington D.C., Congressional Intern
  • AGR Partners, Visalia CA, Summer Private Equity Analyst
  • California Future Farmers of America Association, Sacramento CA, State President

Where will you be working after graduation? Cove Hill Partners, Analyst

What did you enjoy most about your business school? At Wharton, I love that in more than 50% of our classes, we are required to work on teams. Learning individually is an important skill, but at Wharton, I learned with and from my brilliant peers whose perspectives and abilities made me better.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Business connects to all fields and can be a gateway to exploring any topic. If you are passionate about life sciences, entertainment, government, or building, etc. there is a place in the business world for you to pursue it and make a career out of it.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? It has surprised me that business has given me a framework to think. In other majors, people always talk about developing a “toolkit” like an engineer’s, or a liberal arts “toolkit,” but a business education has a similar reward. One learns to think about qualitative and quantitative evidence, about how to turn ideas into reality in a way that is sustainable, and how to utilize the talents of a team. I feel confident about the next phase of my life because I have a business toolkit.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Political Science and International Relations. I have always loved politics and global affairs and have a desire to help people in my future career. Making the choice to study political science and international relations would give me the ability to join the institutions that are solving some of the world’s biggest problems.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father is the one who influenced me to study business. Although he is a doctor and is passionate about medicine, he is also passionate about agriculture and started a farm in my hometown almost 30 years ago. Growing up in that farming with a doctor-farmer Dad, I learned that I loved working in a family business, and that business was a way to manifest multiple passions just like my Dad. Given my eclectic passions in agriculture, political science, and entrepreneurship, business was the perfect choice for me.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of being a National Finalist for the Truman Scholarship, a graduate scholarship that is given for students who have a demonstrated history of public service and want to pursue public service in the future. Finalists for this award are not typically those that study the private sector, like business majors. However, I was able to show that someone with a business background cannot only serve others but can benefit others because of that different perspective. It validated my dream of using my career to find better ways for the public and private sector to work together in a way that helps others.

Which classmate do you most admire? I most admire my fellow Co-Chair on the Wharton Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board, Danielle Clanaman. Danielle is an incredible student with amazing grades, internship experiences, and awards. That is not why I admire her though. I admire her because all those things are just a consequence of the tremendous love she has for learning, and her unbounded capacity for working hard and being kind to others.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my mother for my success. She is also a doctor in Central California like my father. Earlier, I explained that my dad showed me that business is a way to manifest one’s multiple interests. My mom is the reason those interests exist in the first place. She pushed me to try new experiences, including things I was uncomfortable with my entire life. She never forced me to stick with any of them though and allowed me to choose my own passions. I do not define myself as a business student, or a political junkie, or a farmer, or a writer, or an entrepreneur solely. I define myself as all those things and more because of my Mother.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Road Trip in a van across the United States with my buddies with no plan
  • Write a book about famous failures that individuals in American History made and why they were necessary for them to do something great later in their life

What are your hobbies? Singing, guitar, pick-up basketball, watching Game of Thrones

What made Dipak such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Dipak is one of the most emotionally intelligent young men I’ve met in my fifteen-plus years at Penn. The initiatives he worked on with the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board required buy-in from many different levels of constituent and Dipak always approached these conversations with a sense of complete calm. He always seeks to understand others’ views completely before reacting and in those conversations, he consistently demonstrates empathy. Yes, Dipak is incredibly intelligent, but it’s his awareness of self and others that makes him memorable.”

Jonathan Katzenbach
Managing Director, Wharton Undergraduate Division


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