Wharton Leadership Ventures

Wharton Leadership Ventures let participants step out of their comfort zone, exceed personal limitations, and experience leadership firsthand.

Wharton Leadership Ventures are co-curricular experiential learning opportunities designed to bring participants into remote and difficult environments where they can learn from experience in confronting challenges, solving problems, and leading teams. We do this by providing a foundation for individual, small group, and community-level learning by structuring periods of personal reflection and guided discussion around specific activities. Key topics such as leadership and followership, group decision-making processes, stages of group development, and managing ambiguity are explored using daily events as the foundation for learning. In every case, students are expected to act decisively and take accountability for the outcomes of their decisions.


Undergraduate Venture Fellows | McNulty Leadership Program

Undergraduate Venture Fellow Application OPEN

leadership.wharton.upenn.edu Undergraduate Venture Fellows Wharton Leadership Ventures invites you to apply to become a Venture Fellow Venture Fellows are a group of committed students who coordinate and help facilitate the learning opportunities on each venture. This unique and talented group of students meet weekly throughout...

UGR: 2018-2019 Antarctica

UGR: 2018-2019 Antarctica

UGR: 2019 Utah Canyoneering

UGR: 2019 Utah Canyoneering


Wharton Leadership Ventures - Expeditions – LIMITED OPEN SEATS

Seats are still available for Undergrad Spring Expedition Ventures!

mcnultyleadership.cmail19.com Step out of your comfort zone and get real hands-on leadership skills this winter or spring break. We have a limited number of spots available on each expedition and are enrolling students on a first-come, first-served basis. Please email [email protected] ASAP to discuss joining an...


Thursday, April 18th: 2019-2020 Leadership Ventures Info Session


mcnultyleadership.cmail19.com Wharton Leadership Ventures will give you a preview of all of our 2019-2020 Ventures this Thursday, April 18th at 4:30 pm in JMHH Rm. 260. Come speak to our Venture Fellows and learn how to apply next year. Pizza is provided!


Thursday, April 18th: 2019-2020 Leadership Ventures Info Session

Undergraduate Leadership Venture Info session tonight. Come learn about what we have planned in 2019-2020!

mcnultyleadership.cmail19.com Wharton Leadership Ventures will give you a preview of all of our 2019-2020 Ventures this Thursday, April 18th at 4:30 pm in JMHH Rm. 260. Come speak to our Venture Fellows and learn how to apply next year. Pizza is provided!


WEMBA Alaska Testimonial | McNulty Leadership Program

WEMBA Alum, Vidya Murthy shares her story from last year's 2018 Alaska Venture.

leadership.wharton.upenn.edu WEMBA Alaska Testimonial Written by Vidya Murthy, WG’18 For the two years I was in the Wharton Executive MBA (WEMBA) program, I had been managing a full-time job, full-time school, and attempting a semblance of a social life. In these two years, my classmates and I were away from family, friends a...

Undergraduate Venture Fellow Info Session tomorrow (12/11) at 6pm in JMHH G 50!

Come learn about Ventures and how to join our team!

There are still seats available on this year's 2018-2019 Undergraduate Expeditions!

Interested? Contact [email protected]


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Registration Open until 9/20 at 5PM

Sign up for 2018-2019 Undergrad Wharton Leadership Ventures!




Undergraduate Leadership Ventures | McNulty Leadership Program

Hey Undergrads!

Wharton Leadership Ventures has some incredible expeditions this year. Take advantage of doing something different and get out of your comfort zone during your winter or spring break.

Antarctica Trekking
Patagonia Trekking
Utah Canyoneering
Caribbean Sailing

We've got scholarships available too! Indicate your interest here - https://wharton.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0CD2KlEE7E1TlSR

Get ready for an experience of a lifetime!


WEMBA: 2018 Alaska Venture

In partnership with NOLS Alaska

In partnership with NOLS Alaska


My M&T Spring Break on the High Seas: Wharton Leadership Ventures Caribbean Sailing Expedition

Kristen Tilley ('19) shares her experience on the WLV undergraduate Caribbean Sailing Venture this past spring break

mandtforlife.com This Spring Break, M&T Kristen Tilley (’19) did something a little different. She put on her shades and suited up to attend the Wharton Leadership Ventures Caribbean Sailing Expedition. These g…

UGR: Patagonia Expedition (16/17)

UGR: Greetings from our Patagonia Expedition (16/17)! (Video: Maddie, W'19)

UGR: 2017-2018 Patagonia Expedition

A stunning sunset in Antarctica (UGR Expedition 17/18)

UGR: Antarctica 17/18 Expedition. Sam (W'20) capturing a stunning sunset and some casual dinner convo at our fourth base.

UGR: 2018 Sailing Expedition

UGR: 2018 Sailing Expedition

Liz's Story: Lost and Found in the Desert

By 11 AM, as the relentless desert sun beat down on the starkly beautiful and barren Atacama landscape, I could sense the frustration mounting from the rope team which which I was hiking. In less than two hours since leaving the previous night’s camp, they had already gone off course and lost the trail twice. Of the 15 GPS waypoints that had to be located over the course of the day, the team was struggling to find the third. To make matters worse, they were convinced that their GPS device was either malfunctioning or broken, routing them in a direction away from the next apparent waypoint.

Pulling aside the LOD during the team’s early lunch break, Feña, the Vertical guide, gave her some “inside” information, pointing out the distant trail as it maneuvered across a ridge (which the team previously had not noticed). Armed with a much better sense as to where the group needed to go, I watched as the LOD, and the entire team, capitalized on this “strategic vision.” With a better idea as to the bigger picture, they focused on the most efficient way to move towards that trail, and after a few hours of hot afternoon hiking, the team finally reached the correct path. Later that afternoon, when questions came up about the best path to take through a river valley, they knew to look up at their surroundings, not down on the GPS prompts.

As all who have navigated venture routes know, the challenges of getting from one camp to the next often lead to the most profound transformations. As a VF, I felt proud to watch the six participants transform from a group of individuals struggling to get through the morning to a much closer-knit team by that evening’s AAR. It was, in many ways, a “textbook” venture experience - a subtle intervention to redirect the day, with extensions to the business world that will (hopefully) be remembered by all. In the highest, driest desert on Earth, I was struck by the richness of all that we can takeaway, and the power of the Venture model to enable that learning.

Michie's Story: Sailing Without Wind

"I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)
I'm on a boat (I'm on a boat)
Everybody look at me, 'cause I'm sailing on a boat (sailing on a boat)"

Seven days in a boat with the most incredible, kind, sea salt-kissed (and unshowered) crew. I had the most amazing spring break venture experience!

In the weeks leading up to the venture, we were assured that Grenada with its 20-30mph winds would give us a rowdy, fun ride. We came prepared with seasickness medicine, ginger chews, rain gear, and wind pants. We may not have known anything about sailing, but we were ready!

Or so we thought...

Day 2 of the venture greeted us with the calmest winds and smallest ripples in the water the captains had ever seen on a venture. Wind speeds hovered around 1mph. What did this mean?

The boat was not moving.

The crew with only one day of sailing experience did not know what to do. They looked to the leader of the day (LOD), who was just as confused. The LOD looked to the Captain for guidance and he replied “What do you think? Why don’t you try it out?”

“Should we jibe?”
“No, I think we should just trim the sails!”
“Why don't we tack?”
“Maybe we should just wait.”
“No, we gotta do something!”

For the next 30 minutes, the team attempted and failed to perform sailing maneuvers. The boat actually drifted backwards. As Venture Fellow, I sat there watching communication fall apart: everyone was talking over each other, not listening and eager to do something. I, too, felt a strong urge to speak up, focus the conversation, and provide an answer! When the urge became too strong, I just whispered to my captain.

Eventually, the wind returned and we successfully navigated to our anchoring location. In our AAR that night, the group discussed how sometimes the best choice is no action. This insight was a challenging realization for us Wharton students, who often prefer to do something even if it's unnecessary or unhelpful. But on this peaceful day, sitting back to enjoy the beautiful scenery, getting to know each other, and doing a wind dance was the right course of action while we waited for the wind.

(Note: We also learned that navigating further away from shore tends to bring more wind. However, there are tradeoffs; going further from land can extend the route and create more challenges navigating without clear shore landmarks.)

While we cannot control the wind, we can control how we react to it. And taking a little time to pause, reflect, and enjoy can be the winning strategy! I'm not sure when I'll return to sea, but I'm embracing these learnings, new friendships, and memories back on land.

UGR: 2018 Utah Expedition

UGR: 2018 Utah Expedition

UGR: 2017-2018 Patagonia Expedition

UGR: 2017-2018 Patagonia Expedition

WLV UGR Venture: Circus Arts

Fall 2017 Undergrad Trip to the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts!

Fall 2017 Undergrad Trip to the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts!

New Years Eve 2017

UGR: Antarctica Expedition 2017-2018

UGR: 2017-2018 Antarctica Expedition

UGR: 2017-2018 Antarctica Expedition


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Hey Undergrads!

There are still a few spots available for this Friday's free workshop, "Leadership Presence" with Pig Iron Theater. Build up your stage presence and learn how to engage your audience with this fun and interactive workshop.

On campus, breakfast and lunch included - SIGN UP HERE - https://coursematch.wharton.upenn.edu/index.cfm


Seats still available for undergraduate spring break expeditions: Red Rocks Canyoneering and Caribbean Sailing!

Open to all UPenn students - Apply here - https://wharton.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50Et6fC6pYxtwtD


Leadership Lessons Learned on an Alaskan Mountain Top - The Wharton School

WEMBA Alum, Ahmad Thomas shares lessons learned on his Alaska Venture experience.

wharton.upenn.edu Investment banker/EMBA student Ahmad Thomas, WG’18, describes the leadership lessons he learned in a Wharton Leadership Venture Expedition in Alaska.…Read More …Read More


U.S. Naval Academy Leadership Conference 2018

Jules (WLV) JJ, Greg (UG VFs) To attend USNA leadership conference in Jan.

eventbrite.com Breaking Barriers: Obstacles Are Opportunities Every path to victory is littered with obstacles - some visible and others not. To obtain the deftness and resourcefulness required to overcome any obstacle, leaders on every level must choose a leadership style that enables them to form a resilient and...

Hey Undergrads!

Looking for an experience of a lifetime this winter or spring break?

We still have a few spots left on our 2017-2018 Expeditions. Registration closes on Friday, November 17.

Patagonia Trekking: December 27-January 4, 2017
Antarctica Trekking: December 27-January 4, 2017
Utah Canyoneering: March 3-11, 2018
Caribbean Sailing: March 4-11, 2018

APPLY HERE - https://wharton.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_50Et6fC6pYxtwtD

UGR: 2017 Equine Teambuilding

In partnership with WorkHorse teambuilding

In partnership with WorkHorse teambuilding



Vinayak's Story: Always Swim

VF training is a great time to make close connections with your rope team and fellow VFs. It is also a great time to learn from some of the most incredible people we get to interact with at Wharton, the venture guides who come in from all over the world to participate in VF training with us. This story revolves around two sayings from our guides, Vero from Chile and Zak, the ‘cryptic kiwi’.

Pennsylvania in August can be quite hot, and while walking miles across the woods is beautiful and character building, it could begin to get monotonous, and a little tiring. So, when we reached a lake around lunch time on day 2 it seemed like a great place to take a break and unwind. While we were debating whether we had enough time for a swim, Vero told us that her mother had a saying, “you will never regret jumping into a lake, but will always regret not jumping in.” We took that as a sign, and decided we could afford to take a longer break here and all proceeded to take a swim (and much needed wash!) in the lake. It also became a great way to think about the venture experience, and committing ourselves to throwing oneself head first into the experience, and making the most of what it brought.

At some point on day 3 of the hike, someone came up with the idea of having to talk in each other’s accents. Zak, in an effort to share his kiwi heritage, decided to teach us the saying, “she’ll be right mate”, which when said in an appropriately mauled Kiwi accent, translates to things will eventually be fine. This became a kind of team motto with all of us saying it over the coming few days. We hadn’t realized how much we would need it till the very end of the last day when we had hiked nearly 20 miles, including 2 miles in the wrong direction because of a faulty GPS. As we struggled through to the final destination, a place we had actually reached some hours ago but turned away from, you could hear teammates calling out “she’ll be right, mate”!

Dani's Story: "Finding Perfection in a Two-Tarp Tent"

Throughout the first three days of Venture Fellow Training, I often felt my 8-person team was in the midst of a prolonged therapy session, with our nearly constant arguments about how important it was (or wasn't) to finish first. At the end of day 3, we were exhausted. Then, we learned we had to hike 15+ miles the next day... before 2pm. As we debated what our team's "objective" should be for the hike, our opinions couldn't have ranged more widely: the strongest divide was between whether to prioritize the goal of "finishing first" or "building deep bonds." After a heated argument, we landed on a compromise: "Our goal is to 'go really deep'-- but finishing first would be nice, too."

Throughout the day, we opened up about childhood pains, current insecurities, and our life values. By mile 10, our hearts were probably open wounds. By the end of the day, our bodies were certainly open wounds! And somewhere along the way (probably when each of the other 3 teams passed us 1-by-1 as we sat eating a leisurely lunch), we redefined what winning meant to us. We ceased to care about finishing first: we had "won" by sharing our vulnerabilities with and learning about each other. At the end of this intense day, we shared our longest and most tear-filled and laughter-filled AAR yet... the length of which guaranteed that the other teams would snag all of the good camping spots before we set up our own tarps.

Our best and only option was a slanted slope which would require placing one tent directly above the other. If it rained, the higher up tent would wreak havoc on the lower one -- so, we decided to get creative. We quickly aligned on the idea of creating a Two-Tarp Tent, and we got excited about having one giant, sleepover-style evening. The weather was beautiful, and our optimism convinced us it would continue. By 8:30pm, we were snug in our sleeping bags and ready to tell ghost stories. At 9:30pm, we drifted off to sleep. An hour later, we awoke to a gentle rain... which almost immediately turned into a violent downpour. We raced to brace the tent with extra sticks, and we jumped about to fight off the water that sought to pool on top of the Two-Tarp Tent.

Over the next four hours, members of our team battled the rain in shifts. Although tired and cold, we stayed positive. We had endured more together than we had thought possible over the past three days, and it seemed like the most epic cosmic joke that our "one easy night" contained yet another struggle. At our AAR that night, many of us had cried so hard that we began to laugh. As we battled the rain, we simply laughed. When the rain finally stopped at 2:30am, I was almost sad to see its end. The repetitive set of (almost dance-like) moves we had created to hold back the water was more than just a series of motions that kept us dry. It symbolized the deep connection and communication we had forged through adversity, and it was a moment of imperfect perfection in a two-tarp tent.

Greg's Story - "How Hard Could This Be"

When they started handing out maps I was feeling pretty comfortable – we were on the AT, after all, and the Michaux State Forest is a well-managed mid-Atlantic woodland less than 20 miles from Gettysburg. How hard could this be? I swiftly learned that Jules does not support VFs getting comfortable.

I knew this was going to be a different type of trip when I saw our first objective – a literal ‘X’ marks the spot. As I looked a bit closer I noticed this ‘X’ was not located on an obvious summit, nor on a trail, nor on any type of prepared access for our hiking pleasure. I didn’t dwell on it too hard, after all they must have picked out an objective for us that we could reach, and the trail was probably just missing from our wide-scale map of the forest.


My newly ambiguous reality set in when we made our first turn directed only by our compasses off-trail and into – well, I’m not quite sure what. The bush? The forest? All I knew is that I was on a school-sanctioned trip that had me trudging off into entirely wild terrain, and that I became acutely concerned with my orienteering abilities. Then as we bushwhacked through trees, shrubs, thistles, fences, and streams a new sensation set in – we are really doing this!

A week later I fully understood what being a VF is about – not the adventure, not my development, not even my participants process of self-discovery. Being a VF is about enabling participants to bushwhack (or climb or sail or spelunk or build igloos!) so that they may be exposed to their own forms of leadership and followership. Whether what they learn comes under the guise of a paved road or of a thorny thicket, VFs are tasked with giving them the gift of a map and a compass so that they may better orienteer themselves, and their teams, through whatever ambiguity may come.

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Videos (show all)

UGR: Patagonia Expedition (16/17)
A stunning sunset in Antarctica (UGR Expedition 17/18)
New Years Eve 2017



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