Sergio Giralt, ’20 chats with

Current Lauder student, Serigo Giralt, ’20, chats with and shares his experiences in the Lauder and Wharton joint degree programs. Click through to to read more!

Why Wharton Lauder? How will the program’s international focus enhance your career?

Sergio: The Lauder/Wharton program preaches the importance of preparing its leaders to be globally fluent, which is in part one of the reasons why I wanted to apply. For me, Lauder hit my heart strings. As a Venezuelan-American, I have always struggled with the idea of retaining my Latin American culture. I believed that in order to do so I would not only need to learn more about the region, but also prepare myself for a career focused in Latin America. Lauder provided all the tools necessary for me to accomplish my personal and professional goals.

That being said, what drew me to Lauder was the program’s focus on family and building incredibly strong bonds with like-minded global individuals. The concept of “Lauder Love” really drives the culture on campus and makes you feel like you have a family to rely on while you navigate through the greater Wharton community.

What is unique about Wharton Lauder? What degree are you working towards in addition to the MBA?

Sergio: The Lauder Institute in conjunction with The Wharton School prepares its students for the increasingly specialized and global workforce by providing an academic environment where they can achieve linguistic, cultural, and political fluency. Students enrolled in the program will receive a master’s in international studies with a concentration in a specific region of the world. The list of regions of concentration is extensive, including Europe, Latin America, Global, Asia, Africa, and South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa (SAMENA). Within these regions, students will also focus on developing language fluency and intercultural competencies relevant to their program concentration.

What are intercultural venture trips? Have you participated in one? What was your experience?

Sergio: The Lauder Intercultural Ventures (LIV) are mini-immersive trips during spring-break or winter-break that take students to different countries to study a specific theme relevant to that country. For example, this year I participated in the Mongolia LIV focused on social impact of a changing environment. I had the opportunity to meet with political leaders, cultural experts, and representatives from state-owned and privately-owned mining companies to better understand how Mongolia has transitioned politically, culturally, and economically after 70 years of communism. Furthermore, we focused on the impact that environment changes related to the country’s mining practices has had on the country’s pastoral nomads. This was one of my favorite experiences this year and I am struggling to decide which LIV I want to participate in next year. I am stuck between “country in transition” – Cuba and “learning from Easter Island’s collapse” – Rapa Nui.

Do Lauder students take the same MBA courses as other Wharton students?

Sergio: Yes. The program is a joint degree, so while there are courses that are available only to Lauder students, such as the language and international politics course, the majority of a student’s credit requirements are fulfilled through Wharton. In other words, Lauder Students are MBA students at Wharton who take additional courses related to international politics, culture, and language to prepare themselves for global careers.