Wharton Impact Newsletter, Our community, your inbox.

June 2024 – Edition 33

A Wharton graduate reflects on how his fellowship helped shape his journey, student-led startups receive donor-funded prizes, and three Wharton seniors detail their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) involvement.

Temitope Akande, WG’21, Recalls His Journey from Africa to Wharton

Hero photo of Temitope Akande, WG'21
Temitope Akande, WG'21, grew up in Lagos, where his environment limited not just his family's financial status, but their ambitions.

In a personal essay for Wharton Magazine, a 2021 Wharton MBA graduate shares his resilient journey to success — from persevering through poverty in Africa to learning near Locust Walk. Temitope Akande, WG’21, reflects on those who championed him along the way, including John Patience, WG’73, who endowed his Wharton fellowship and made his MBA possible.

Read how he turned his dreams into reality.

Nirby Wins $50,000 Perlman Grand Prize in Venture Lab Startup Challenge

Hero photo of Piotr Lazarek, W'25
Piotr Lazarek, W'25, SEAS'25, presented Nirby on stage at the 2024 Startup Challenge in Tangen Hall.

In the final round of the Venture Lab Startup Challenge, eight teams pitched their startups to a panel of alumni judges and nearly 150 audience members in Tangen Hall, the Wharton School’s hub for student innovation. The teams competed for $250,000 in cash prizes, in-kind support, and other resources to launch their startups. Piotr Lazarek, W’25, SEAS’25, founded the winning startup: Nirby, a real-time soil analytics and farmland management tool for large agricultural enterprises. Lazarek received the Perlman Grand Prize of $50,000, endowed by Ellen L. Hanson and Richard E. Perlman, W’68.

Among the other winners were Laan (Rainbow) Yeung, WG’24, who received the William G. Simpson and R. Drew Kistler Startup Challenge Award for her work as founder of Odyssey Notebooks LLC, which produces hand-crafted journals. This newly-established award was created by the William G. and M. Virginia Simpson Foundation.

This competition marked the end of another exciting year of entrepreneurship at Wharton.

Read about Nirby and other finalists.

Three Seniors Reminisce on their Involvement with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Initiative Programs

Hero photo featuring Wharton ESG Initiative logo
The Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Initiative offers a plethora of transformational programs and resources to match student interests in ESG and business.

Three Wharton seniors illustrate their experiences with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) programs during their Wharton journeys, in this Wharton Stories feature. Fueled by donor support, ESG has played a major role in the students’ coursework, extracurricular activities, and career aspirations. These experiences showcase the growing relevance of sustainability in business education and student initiatives.

Explore the ESG Stories.