Students At An Ivy League Business School Thought   $100,000 Was The Average American Salary. The Internet Was Not Having It.
Photo by Mark Makela/Getty Images

The business school at the University of Pennsylvania has become so renowned, the name “Wharton” is now immediately associated with prestige (and why former president and Wharton alum Donald Trump liked to refer to it so often). After a viral tweet, the school— officially The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania— may also be associated with a student body that is remarkably out of touch.

A professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics at Wharton, Nina Strohminger, says that she asked her students about the average annual salary of American workers. Twenty-five percent, according to her tweet, believed it was at least six figures.

“One of them thought it was $800k. Really not sure what to make of this (The real number is $45k),” she posted on Twitter.

Of course, the internet was not having it. Her tweet thread generated a range of shock and earnest testimony.

Rosie Nguyen, a 24-year-old Wharton grad, recalled an experience discussing her scholarship with a classmate.

“my freshman year,” she tweeted, “I told a classmate I had a full ride to penn ($80k/year tuition) because my parents make only $10k/year, and they replied ‘you’re so lucky, I have to pay full tuition cause my parents make too much money’ lmaooooOoOo”

Nguyen also put her other classmates on blast.

“not all, but wayyyy too many wharton students I worked with were honestly dumb as hell, out of touch with reality, had no critical thinking skills, and were probably at wharton because their last name is on a building somewhere on campus.”

The professor made it clear that her poll may not reveal anything special about Penn students per se, but that it indicates how some people in general think the gap between the rich and poor is smaller than it is.

It also shows the gaps between the rich and everyone else, including middle class and working class families, if the rich think making $100,000 is an average salary and some students can pay $80,000 a year without loans or scholarship money.

And students weren’t the only people taken to task. One person brought their parents into it.

The (well-deserved) snark was at an all-time high in the professor’s replies.

Keep denying yourself of that avocado toast and stop going to Starbucks, and you too can be a Wharton grad who believes $800,000 is America’s average salary!


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