Credit: Lulu Wang / The Daily Pennsylvanian
Adam Grant, perhaps Wharton's most well-known professor, has been known to criticize Penn for its cutthroat nature — but he said "no" when I asked him out to a romantic, candlelit dinner.
The irony has not been lost on me. Although I understand that Grant is married (unless Google is wrong, in which case his rejection is all the more hurtful), it seems hypocritical of him to decry Penn as an overly competitive place without offering me the opportunity to take him out for a night on the town.
My plan was to pick Grant up at 7 on my tandem bicycle (I got it on Craigslist, it was cheaper than a normal bike and I usually just ride it alone), with a bouquet of flowers to set the mood. Then we'd bike to one of my favorite restaurants, Tria; it's an elegant wine bar with a great cheese selection and a charming atmosphere. I am not 21, so I was just planning on having cheese.
But Grant cut me off with a curt "No, thank you" before I even had the chance to tell him about the stargazing section of the date. For a guy so upset about Penn's competitive culture, he shot me down awfully fast.
Grant once said that competitiveness at Penn was worse than anywhere else he's been. “I’ve been at five universities — this is by far the worst I have ever seen it. The way it is at Penn is far, far, far more damaging than at Harvard [University], or [University of] Michigan, or [University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill].”
And he's certainly right: professors at Harvard, Michigan, and UNC all agreed to have coffee with me, and one of them was even willing to ride my tandem bike with me. But Grant should be ashamed of himself, denouncing Penn's competitive culture while feeding into it himself.
The student body is overwhelmingly supportive of my point of view. "Yes," said an anonymous student who refused to take his earbuds out while he strode past me. What more do we need?
Consider this: of all the people interested in marrying Adam Grant (including me), he only married his wife. Based on anecdotal evidence, a minimum of ten people are interested in marrying Adam. One in ten? That's quite a low acceptance rate.