Brie Groh doesn’t want to be the smartest person in the room. She thinks there’s nothing interesting or useful about that.
“I love learning different things from different people,” the Wharton MBA student said. “Any opportunity to get into a room of people with different ideas is a good thing, in my mind.”
That’s why Groh can’t wait for the Wharton Future of Work Conference on April 7. Sponsored by Wharton People Analytics, the virtual conference will be a gathering of great minds to share the latest information about evolving workplace culture and practices. Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella, growth mindset expert Carol Dweck, and organizational psychologist and Founder of APS Intelligence John Amaechi are the keynote speakers.
Groh, 28, was competitively selected from a group of students to serve as the conference chairperson. Before coming to Wharton, she worked in an office for a mid-sized company and remotely for a family-run business, so she’s particularly attuned to the collective conversation about the future of work and what it means for both managers and employees.
“This conference is dedicated to giving people the resources and tools they need to help themselves and the organizations they work for thrive. It’s all about better work practices and data-driven proof of those practices.”
Workplace culture has become a guidepost for Groh, who said she’s learned from her experiences that “fit” is just as important as “function.” Supportive colleagues, managers who mentor, and a culture where diverse perspectives are encouraged make any workplace more welcoming.
“It became very clear to me that when I was happy in my prior jobs, I had wonderful managers and team members who encouraged me and helped implement good practices,” she said. “I want to have the skills that would lead to a more positive work environment for those who work with me or under me someday.”
Groh was born in California and grew up in Arizona. She has spent the last 10 years in Philadelphia, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics and statistics at Haverford College. After graduation in 2015, she worked for about three years in finance at Aberdeen Asset Management. She joined the fixed income investment team and covered the municipal sector, an assignment that gave her insight into how cities, states, and public universities generate money.
When Aberdeen merged with Standard Life, Groh began to realize that the larger company wouldn’t be the last rung on her career ladder. So, she went to work remotely as a business development analyst for her father’s small tech firm, NetCHB, which creates software that automates customs clearance for import-export businesses.
After a while, Groh realized once again that she was ready to take the next step along her journey, so she applied to the MBA program at Wharton.
“Wharton was the only school I applied to. If I was going to try and get the tools, I wanted to get the right tools.”
“There’s just as much nuance and complexity in large companies as there is in small companies. It got to the point where I wanted to be doing more, and I didn’t have the tools to make educated criticisms or take actions out of those criticisms,” she said. “Wharton was the only school I applied to. If I was going to try and get the tools, I wanted to get the right tools.”
Groh is majoring in operations, information and decisions, along with business analytics. She’s set to graduate in May and hopes to find a job where she can apply both majors to make data-driven decisions.
This is her second year helping to organize Wharton People Analytics’ annual conference. She said she learned so much from handling the logistics of last year’s conference, which was virtual for the first time, that she wanted to come back and do more. In her role, she leads a larger group of student organizers.
“It’s an opportunity for MBA students to learn and practice best-in-class management skills when it comes to people operations.”
“As the chair, I like to say we practice what we preach,” Groh said. “My job is to make sure we are setting the norms that will lead to positive experiences for everyone who attends. It’s an opportunity for MBA students to learn and practice best-in-class management skills when it comes to people operations.”
Groh emphasized that the conference is designed for everyone, not just business leaders or human resources specialists. In fact, her mom, who is a charter school principal, attended last year’s conference and shared those lessons with her team.
“In a space where the Great Resignation is happening and everyone is so burned out, it’s an opportunity to make things better. It’s why I went to business school — to start finding answers instead of just asking questions.”
Groh said she hopes the conference draws participants who, like her, want to get into a room full of different people with different ideas. When asked what she would say to encourage someone to attend, her response was quick and clear:
“My question would be, why aren’t you interested? In a space where the Great Resignation is happening and everyone is so burned out, it’s an opportunity to make things better,” she said. “It’s why I went to business school — to start finding answers instead of just asking questions.”
— Angie Basiouny
THIS STORY WAS ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE ORIGINALLY POSTED BY ANALYTICS AT WHARTON.
Posted: March 31, 2022