The Presidents Desk

Barkett-photo.pngContributor: John Barkett, WG’09
To learn more about John, click here.


On July 28, 2017, Senator John McCain cast the deciding vote to sink legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Diagnosed with brain cancer the week before, Sen. McCain shocked DC by bringing the Senate’s efforts to repeal the ACA to a screeching halt.  That was four days ago as I type these words; the CSPAN video of McCain motioning “thumbs down” is still replaying in my head.    

July 28th also happened to be ten years to the day from when I touched down at PHL to start Wharton pre-term.  The only thing I remember about that day was being greeted by slate-colored smoke billowing from the oil refineries off 291.  An inauspicious start, sure, but had I known what to expect of the next two years, I would not have been concerned.

What should we have expected when we started at Wharton?  I’ve been pondering that question as I prepare to address the Health Care Management Class of 2019 at their pre-term.  My talk – “What You Can and Can’t Expect from Your Time at Wharton” – may not pack the punch of a McCain hand gesture, but here’s what I’ll tell them in short: 

You can’t expect:  your classmates to lose internships when the banks fail; your first job out of school to be writing health reform in the House of Representatives; your wife to be Meagan WG’10.

You can expect: your classmates to be your companions, not your competitors; the HCM program to set you up for success; the WHCMAA and 2,500 alumni to support you through mentorship, service, networking, and leadership. 

I hope they enjoy the talk, but I really hope they take advantage of the resources the WHCMAA offers to students.  Each year we give $40,000 to students through the Kissick and Kinney Scholarships and through support of the Wharton International Volunteers program.  Our alumni serve as mentors to students, sponsor field application projects, support the Wharton Health Care Business Conference, and introduce students to contacts in their networks.  Many alumni offer students internships and full-time jobs.  And when they graduate, the newly minted alumni can join the WHCMAA at no cost for the first year.

Got questions on how you can get involved with the WHCMAA, or ideas on how we can better support the students and the HCM program?  Send them my way.   


John Barkett WG’09
WHCMAA President
[email protected]