English poet William Cowper once wrote that “Variety’s the very spice of life.” For David Wohlreich, who will graduate this month from the IU Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus, truer words were never spoken.
After all, Wohlreich has lived in such diverse places as New York City, Charleston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Indianapolis; attended high school in three of those places (New York, Atlanta and Indianapolis); worked in a restaurant, as a disc jockey, and even did summer stints at the Jim Henson Company in Los Angeles and the nearby Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, a professional theater company near L.A. and named for the renowned character actor who was born in Indiana.
“I like variety,” Wohlreich said with a smile. That may have been part of the reason he was drawn to the first post-graduation part of his life, a two-year program run by Robert Bosch LLC. In it, Wohlreich will do four six-month rotations, three on his primary area of training in finance, the fourth in a cross-platform program. At least one of four rotations will come either in Germany or Mexico, also parts of the far-flung Bosch international operation.
Wohlreich will start with Bosch in familiar territory: his native Pennsylvania, working in Bethlehem, Pa. The Bosch invitation didn’t come solely because of his work at IUPUI, which earned him one of the two student speaker’s slots at Commencement 2012; he also had to do a case study assigned by the company as part of the interview process, which gave Bosch a chance to study his work process.
Wohlreich was grateful that Kelley traditionally makes case studies an integral part of normal course work. “I was used to the process, even when I’m thrown in with other people I’ve never worked with before,” he said.
He admits he wasn’t familiar with the company when his interview process began, but quickly learned that “it is really into R&D (research and development), and is one of the largest privately owned companies in the world.”
Wohlreich has lived in Indianapolis since graduating from Pike High School in 2002, when he began his trek toward business school. “I love living in Indianapolis,” he said. “It’s a great middle-tier sort of city, large enough to have great events like the Super Bowl, diverse enough to experience lots of cultures, but small enough to feel like home.”
Kelley has become his home, in an academic sense. “It has really close ties between our faculty and our researchers with those in the real world,” he said. Those ties go a long way toward preparing IUPUI’s business students for the challenges that lie before them.
Those types of challenges are part of the motivation to seek one of the commencement speaking roles. “There are a lot of things I’m passionate about, and one of them is that there is too much despair around us,” Wohlreich said. To him, most people “want our country to be its best, to do its best. There is too much of an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, and I believe that is incompatible with the goals of higher education! At IUPUI, we prove every day that people from different backgrounds and different beliefs can live and work together.”
Ultimately, Wohlreich isn’t sure what career path he will follow. “I’m young and mobile enough to explore my options,” he said. “I’ll probably go on to earn my MBA and maybe a Ph.D., because I often think I’d like to teach. What I like about that is that in college, teachers often learn as much as students.”