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Apathetic is one label that Wharton School students have rejected.

Trends show that business undergraduates have become disengaged from their coursework, according to a recent National Survey of Student Engagement. The survey reports that this “apathy” resulted from a greater focus on networking and getting internships over studying.

However, many Wharton faculty members and students believe that these trends do not hold true at Wharton.

While the study claims that business students cannot handle the coursework that students did in the past, Wharton professor Lawrence Brown said his students seem to be working harder than they did 15 years ago.

However, one part of the study that may have some validity at Wharton is its pre-professional atmosphere, according to Brown.

“Business students are much more strongly dedicated to their professional education and professional career than students at other schools,” he added.

Wharton does not offer “as broad an educational opportunity and perspectives as a more general curriculum.”

“If you want to go to Wharton, you need to have some sort of sense in what you want to do after,” Wharton and College sophomore Amanda Taitz said.

However, the pre-professional atmosphere at Penn extends beyond Huntsman Hall.

“There’s a lot of networking in the [School of Engineering and Applied Science] too,” Engineering freshman Charles Laurent said. “People are focused on getting internships.”

College freshman Marlee Stesin agreed that students in the College are also “absolutely thinking about careers.”

Furthermore, Vice Dean of Wharton’s Undergraduate Division Georgette Phillips argues that the atmosphere at Wharton is not as pre-professional as often perceived.

She pointed to the fact that 31 percent of Wharton students are pursuing dual degrees and the many others have minors in schools as evidence of the broad intellectual interests of Wharton students.

The idea that Wharton students know exactly what career they want to follow is a myth, she said. “At an undergraduate business school, you’re not preparing for just one thing.”

At Wharton, students are working just as hard as the students in other schools, but working hard means incorporating networking into your schedule instead of just doing homework, Taitz added.

Wharton and College junior Veena Raju compared the work ethic of Wharton students to that of pre-law or pre-med students. “Most of the job opportunities you have available to you are contingent on GPA,” she explained.

Wharton’s reaction to this study that was published in The Chronicle of Higher Education last week has been overwhelmingly negative.

“You’re really going to tell me that Wharton students aren’t intellectually motivated?” Phillips said. “Please.”

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