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Huntsman Hall on Feb. 24. Credit: Caleb Crain

The Daily Pennsylvanian spoke with three alumni — all of whom are in vastly differing fields — about their journeys since graduating from Penn, and how their Penn education has impacted their careers so far.

All three alumni participated in the Wharton Undergraduate Annual Entrepreneurship Conference on March 23, which brought together several recent Penn alumni to share various aspects of their careers since their graduation. The three shared experiences varying from a months-long backpacking trip to TikTok fame.

Vivek James graduated in December 2021 with an undergraduate degree from Wharton and a Masters of Engineering. He was a panelist for the event’s “Fashion & Retail” panel.

James — who founded Drippi, a generative AI fashion app — spoke to the DP about his journey since graduating from Penn, beginning with starting his career in operations at Stripe and culminating in the launch of his startup. 

“I loved it,” James said of his role at Stripe. “I love my co-workers, my boss was amazing, and I enjoyed that spirit of innovation that the organization had. Everyone was always finding ways to improve what they were doing, whether it was improving processes or coming up with new ideas.”

James began his career at Stripe in March 2022 in a data analytics and strategy role. He credited Stripe with helping further foster his entrepreneurial skills and spirit by equipping him with essential skills such as how to pitch an idea within a larger organization and justify projects to multiple stakeholders.

Despite working at Stripe from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., James found time to begin developing his own start-up, Drippi,  often working from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. to gather data, train its AI model, and begin its development. James left Stripe to pursue his venture full-time in March 2024. 

“After 2 years, I felt the call to go all in for my startup, especially since things were moving so fast in the AI space,” James said.

Today, Drippi is a social media app that allows individuals to transform their outfits in a photo into any set of clothes using generative AI. Users are then able to share their new outfits to the app’s social feed and remix photos from their friends' feeds and is officially available to beta test.

Sabrina Chann — who graduated last December with a dual degree between Wharton and the College — told the DP that she spent the last three months on a solo backpacking trip across Eastern Europe visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Belgium — all before beginning her upcoming role in the private equity and consulting space.

“I’ve always been a little bad at being alone, but this left like the one time in my life that I could really explore that and travel without obligations,” Chann said about her decision to make the trip. “I wasn’t looking for destinations … and that led me to meet phenomenal people from all walks of life, people that I would have never met otherwise.”

Chann discussed the unique experiences she gained through her trip, including learning about startups by young entrepreneurs from Bulgaria.

“Every day you wake up, you work, you go to school, you eat — you end up in the same routine. By doing something that is so out there, it takes you completely away from it … you get to really pull yourself out of that routine,” Chann said. “I’m so excited to start work because I took this break and was able to put things into perspective. I’ve come back and am genuinely happier.”

Chann will begin working at Gotham Consulting Partners in New York City next week, focusing on consulting and private equity.

She recommends that Penn students take advantage of Penn's study abroad programs and language classes to build their own meaningful experiences while they are at Penn, sharing about how she learned French from her classes at Penn and how it enriched her experiences when traveling.

2023 College graduate James Klusaritz — who was a panelist for the “Media and Entertainment” panel — said that he launched his career as a content creator on TikTok and Instagram last September. 

Since then, he has garnered over 210 million views and over 400,000 followers across his social media platforms, focusing on corporate satire and humor. Klusaritz said that, during his final semester at Penn, he “had no idea what [he] wanted to do next” despite working towards finding jobs in the consulting and venture capital spaces.

“I had fallen into this trap of going into corporate America and I was pursuing it for all the wrong reasons. I was doing it because it was what other people were doing, it was what I thought Penn valued, and it was what society valued," Klusaritz said. "I wasn’t particularly passionate about consulting, but I gave it my best shot.”

Eventually, he took a job with a boutique consulting firm in Washington D.C., where he was scheduled to start in the fall of 2023 — and said that he wanted to try to find a passion during the summer before beginning.

Klusaritz said that he began by starting a blog about start-ups, writing on topics from network effects, competitive landscapes, marketplaces, and other elements of the startup ecosystem. 

When researching asymmetrical markets and social media for one of his articles, Klusaritz formulated the idea of writing an article about how to go viral on TikTok in two weeks. Putting his previous research into practice and drawing upon books and media to fill in the gaps, he began his journey as a content creator as an initial experiment for his article, with three accounts exploring three different niches.

“None of it did well at first, I didn’t get any popular videos,” he said. “Ultimately, I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to do this for a blog, but I still stuck with one of them — the satire account — and about a week later I got my first video that reached about 20,000 viewers on TikTok.”

Klusaritz said that the video sparked his passion for content creation, and inspired him to double down on creating more satirical content on the channel. He said that — within a month — he had several million views in total and approximately 15,000 followers.

These initial successes are what inspired him to create his corporate humor satire account in September 2023. According to Klusaritz, each of his videos now averages nearly two million views on TikTok.

Klusaritz has recently been signed by Gersh, one of the world’s biggest talent agencies, as an actor and also recently closed a deal with Jack Link’s, a nationwide snack brand, to produce their marketing content for their social media channels.