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The Class of 1992

Contributor:  Stew Friedman

This post is an invitation to the members of the Wharton Undergraduate Class of 1992 who participated in our study and to anyone else who might be interested in our findings and what they mean for individuals, organizations, and society. Welcome, and please comment.

In our extensive survey of the Class of 1992, we asked questions about career prospects and progression, personal values, family, views on the relationship of work with the rest of life, health and religion, civic engagement, and Wharton.  We asked these questions in 1992 and again in 2012.

If you are a member of the Class of 1992 and participated in our study you should have received a copy of your “Personal Time Capsule” by now, with your data and your classmates’, gathered in1992 and in 2012.  We also included what the Class of 2012 said in response to the same questions.  We welcome your comments in response to these questions below or on other reactions and ideas you might have.

  • To what did you react most strongly in this report?
  • What was most surprising to you?
  • What would you like to say to your classmates about what you read?

If you aren’t a member of the Class of 1992, here are two links with information from this study:

We’ll be posting more on the findings and implications of this research here and in other media in the future, so please subscribe to this Forum for more to come.



  1. Interesting results! Can’t wait to see the final report.

  2. Fascinating. Few personal observations: my definition of success is dramatically different; the things I thought would matter (grades, status) were not nearly as relevant on the path I chose; and entrepreneurship was a lot harder than I expected it would be. As a class, I was surprised to see how our political leaning shifted meaningfully to the liberal side and also that so many of us identify as atheists / agnostics today in comparison to the past. Great work Professor Friedman and staff!

    • Stew Fredman says

      Thanks very much, Rich, for your comments and kind words. I’m curious: how do you account for the political and religious shifts?

      • The political shift is simply perplexing, as I understand previous generations tended to lean more to the right over time. (The most recent election shows the country is perhaps shifting left along with demographic change – but I wonder if that is more about party platforms and positions rather than a true shift to more moderate/liberal views.)

        The religious shift in the country to a greater share who identify as agnostic or atheistic has been pretty well documented, but I expected that within a static group there would be at least a constant share of religious identifiers as we moved into later stages of life. Having kids, for example, brings many to seek or re-engage with formal religious affiliation.

        So, don’t really have a take!

  3. Stew Friedman says

    Update on salary data — as you’d expect, medians are much lower than means.

    Some folks have asked about whether for the salary data we can report medians in addition to the means (as in the Personal Time Capsule report). As requested, here then are the numbers:

    Average current amount earned per year now: $616.5K
    Median current amount earned per year now: $275K

    Average 2002 earnings per year: $339.7K
    Median 2002 earnings per year: $150K

  4. I hope this report provides insights in the way that you wanted, Prof Stew. The only surprises to me were:
    — how certain I was 20 years ago that I would have kids and how glad I am now that I didn’t.
    — I was shocked at how much higher the salaries are for men than for women, does that still happen out there?

    I was not surprised but remain disappointed in Wharton graduates’ lack of interest in community and life beyond the immediate family and career. There is so much juicy connection available when getting involved with activities that help people or grow our creative selves, to me it is the ultimate satisfaction in my life.
    I think the Wharton graduates represent the “Group Mind” consciousness more than I would have expected for this supposedly elite group of intelligent, motivated people.

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