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Penn Law students raise $36,000 for Make-A-Wish through innovative management and leadership challenge

March 29, 2012

As part of an innovative management class held recently over spring break, a group of University of Pennsylvania Law School students have raised over $36,000 for Make-A-Wish® Philadelphia and Susquehanna Valley, which will fund the wishes of local children with life-threatening medical conditions.

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Prof. Adam Grant and Penn Law students from the Organizational Behavior course.

A special check presentation to Dennis Heron, CEO of Make-A-Wish Philadelphia and Susquehanna Valley, by the Penn students and their professor took place on March 27 in Penn Law’s Golkin Hall.

Thirty-five Penn Law students devoted their time over spring break to take the graduate seminar “Organizational Behavior,” a unique class modeled after the hit NBC show, “The Apprentice.” As part of the course, from March 5-9 students were divided into seven teams to work every day, all day on a real-life challenge: to develop and execute a strategic fundraising plan, with all money raised going to Make-A-Wish.

The seminar, led by Adam Grant, a management professor at Penn’s Wharton School, provided students the opportunity to test, develop, hone, and reflect on their capabilities in making decisions, collaborating in teams, motivating peers and supervisors, influencing clients, and building and leveraging social networks. Students worked under the supervision of a number of experts involved in the challenge, including Penn Law alumni and practicing attorneys Rick D’Avino, Anthony Noble, Paige Pratter, and Jennifer Williams; as well as three lawyers on the Make-A-Wish board of directors, Nate Andrisani, Peter Ochroch, and Judge Felipe Restrepo.

“Make-A-Wish is honored to partner with the University of Pennsylvania Law School in support of local children’s wishes.  The students represent the best in their field and are passionate advocates for the children we serve.  We are deeply appreciative of their tremendous fundraising results,” said Heron.

“This course was designed by Professor Grant to provide our students with an opportunity to develop and build their management, leadership, and team-building skills,” said Heather Frattone, Penn Law’s Associate Dean for Career Planning and Professionalism, who worked with Grant to organize the course “We are thrilled to partner with Make-A-Wish, knowing that what students learned and accomplished as part of the class will have direct benefits for children in the Philadelphia area.”

Penn Law offered the course as an intense immersion experience that reflects the realities of organizational behavior in a large law firm or business. In addition to its benefits for the local community, the course complements the legal knowledge and analytical skills students develop as part of the Penn Law curriculum, and is part of the many partnerships the Law School has with other professional schools and departments at Penn, and with private and public sector organizations off-campus, to help further law students’ professional development and commitment to public service.

“The experience I had in this seminar is something I will not soon forget,” said Adam Katz, who is pursuing a joint law and MBA degree at Penn. “In just a week, we learned a tremendous amount about ourselves, working as a team, managing others, and perhaps most importantly, the power of a wish.”