Over the last 10 days, several business students underwent a hands-on lesson in management for a good cause.
Six groups of Wharton undergraduates and MBA students from Harvard Business School worked together to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation — a nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.
The 10-day challenge at Penn ended last night, but the Harvard students will continue to fundraise for two more days.
Each team comprised of about six students from Wharton and Harvard each. In a 12-day challenge, each team competed to raise money on their respective campuses for Make-A-Wish.
Collectively, the six Wharton groups raised over $17,000, according to management professor Adam Grant, the organizer of the challenge. The groups are still waiting for results from Harvard before determining which team raised the most amount of money.
Students pursued a variety of fundraising methods, including writing to corporate sponsors, selling merchandise and hosting events.
Wharton junior Yassine Ayadi organized a fundraiser event last Thursday at City Tap House with his team. After a $5 suggested entry donation, students could purchase beer and wine at discount prices.
Other strategies the groups employed included raffling Spring Fling floor passes, selling candy for spare change and organizing donations from companies such as TD Bank.
According to Grant, many of the students who participated in the challenge came from his course last semester, “Organizational Behavior.”
Grant hopes his students have learned business and management skills such as teamwork, building a network, marketing and leadership.
Grant first became involved with the charity in 2001, when he launched a fundraising competition for undergraduates and MBA students.
He choose the Make-A-Wish foundation in part because it was one of the most popular brands in America.
“If you have a child with a life-threatening condition, that resonates … they deserve to have their wish granted,” he said.
Grant, who is a member of the board of Make-A-Wish Philadelphia & Susquehanna Valley, also hosted fundraising challenges in 2010 and 2011. During spring break this semester, students from the Law School raised over $36,000 for Make-A-Wish as part of Grant’s management class.
Karen Traten, director of development at the local Make-A-Wish chapter thanked students for their efforts. “It has been an honor to work with Wharton and Penn Law students. They are compassionate and enthusiastic advocates,” she wrote in an email.
Wharton and Engineering senior Sarah Hanna and her team sponsored 15-year-old Kearstin, who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer. She found that fundraising for a specific child helped her fundraising efforts.
“The most rewarding thing was going out onto the street [to fundraise],” she said. “It was nice to see how many people stopped and were interested in [Kearstin’s] story.”
Ayadi also feels the experience has taught him a lot about charity work.
“Many students do not have the time to commit to a charity on a regular basis, but this is a nice compromise for 10 days,” he said.
‘I’ve learned how to approach corporate America,” he added.
This story has been updated from a previous version to reflect that the management professor organizing the challenge is named Adam Grant, not Alan Grant.