The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

You might complain about your long walk to class, but it takes almost five hours for Francois Daumard, a student in the Wharton Executive MBA Program in San Francisco, to get to class from his home in Seattle.

Daumard is one of 178 students who attend Wharton San Francisco. Targeted for working individuals, Wharton Executive MBA classes meet every other weekend in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

These students travel across state and country lines — sometimes even crossing the Pacific Ocean — to go to class.

Daumard described his commute in four segments. “I have to commute from my house to the airport, land in San Francisco, take public transportation, then walk from the bus station to the school.”

He continued, “And for each segment you have to add things like parking at the airport, purchasing the tickets, and all of that.”

According to the Wharton eMBA web site, out of 96 students in the eMBA class of 2011 in San Francisco, 31 percent come from southern California and other states, while in Philadelphia, 38 percent of the 116 matriculants come from states other than Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

Christopher Min, whose company BCM Educational Group — a family business started by his father 30 years ago — is based in Seoul, and he relocated to San Francisco for the sole purpose of attending the eMBA program.

“The campus in California is in a good location, and Wharton is a top business school in the world,” he said.

“It is a good chance for me to recheck skills that can be overlooked, especially because I am in a management position,” Min added.

He said that returning to school “allowed me to have more sophisticated conversations with my employees, for example, with my accounting team.”

Min flies back to Seoul every four to six weeks for work. He said the non-stop flight from San Francisco to Seoul takes 12 hours and 10 hours from Seoul to San Francisco.

But Daumard said traveling is not so much an issue, because “I travel a lot, professionally, so I’m very accustomed to travel anywhere.”

In addition, he described the traveling time as “a good way for me to transition from my professional life to my school life.”

Dan Paik, a commuter from Los Angeles, agreed.

“In this day and age, when you’re always connected and people can always reach you, that hour or so we spend on the plane is welcomed,” he said. “It’s a quiet time for us to sit and read — we actually enjoy it, if anything.”

Conversely, Larry Fichter, a Los Angeles resident, chose to attend the eMBA program in Philadelphia for a term, to “expand the benefit of additional network,” he wrote in a Skype conversation.

“So travel time for this term has increased to 16 hours every two weeks now,” Fichter said. But “instead of knowing 90 classmates, now I have started to form relationships with my Philly cohort, which is 120 people.”

Still, Daumard said his schedule has forced him to prioritize.

“I can’t sacrifice my job but I can’t sacrifice my school either,” he said. “So it takes tremendous commitment and tremendous organization skill to make both work.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.