Responders Get Real in Round 3 of the 2023 Wharton Global Youth Comment and Win Contest

by Diana Drake

One of the joys of evaluating the Wharton Global Youth Comment & Win contest each summer is revisiting evergreen content – stories we published years ago that have a vibrant shelf life. Comments pop up all over our business journal! Thus, inspiring us to dig into older business articles and see how they’ve stood the test of time.

So, when our team recently landed on an article about critical thinking from September 6, 2012, we discovered wisdom that proved incredibly relevant for this year’s “Let’s Discuss” Comment & Win round, in which commenters had to respond directly to another student’s comment.

The article proclaims that if you’re not listening critically to other opinions, then you’re probably looking for information that validates your point of view and ignoring evidence that contradicts it. Katie M., a then-high school student from Arizona, admitted that seeing both sides of an argument was hugely challenging in her efforts to develop critical-thinking skills. “One of the hardest things…is to put your own ego and opinions aside at first and explore the other sides of the story,” she said. “There have been so many times in class when I have felt headstrong about my opinion. Weeks later, I don’t feel that way at all. It’s because I had never looked at the problem from someone else’s perspective.”

In the more than 80 comments we received during Round 3, our Global Youth team appreciated your thoughtful and often encouraging responsive commenting. We love this round’s theme not only because of the interaction between commenters, but also because you help honor many of the amazing ideas set forth in the pages of our Comment & Win contest, while also bringing new energy to poignant posts and salient points. You celebrate comments as only peers can. As Jamie K. replied to Jessica Y. on Fighting for Greater Asian-American Representation in Media and Education: “Ultimately, I want to thank you for your comment, as it truly touched me and many others.”

We will admit that many responses this round felt self-indulgent; rather than reflecting on another student’s ideas and opinions, you instead took the opportunity (often in too many words) to showcase your personal experiences and knowledge. That’s not what this round was about. Still, we gleaned some fascinating intel on everything from Starbucks’ pink drinks, Sinophobia, and myths about eating dog meat, to Doosan’s accidental leak of 1.3 tons of phenol in the Nakdong River, John Cena memes (bing chi ling), the galleria mellonella caterpillar and South Korea’s strict gun laws. Oh, and Carter C., we’re assessing our team’s “ambiguity aversion.” It’s real.

With that, it’s time to honor our Round 3 risk-takers who responded especially thoughtfully to our community of Global Youth commenters.

The Top Commenter was literally in competition with herself, dropping three excellent responsive comments on different stories this round. It was difficult to choose! Congratulations to Christina K. from Shanghai American School in China for her response to Nicholas L. on the implications of artificial intelligence (AI). You remained focused on Nicholas’s points, while adding value with both strength and eloquence: “It’s incumbent on all of us to engage in these conversations, to challenge our assumptions and to consider the broad range of impacts that AI might have on our society.” Agreed!

Round 3 First Runner-up honors go to Alexander B. from the Haverford School in Pennsylvania, U.S., for his response to Phoenix C., a commenter from 2021 on a podcast transcript about a new scoliosis app. Great job connecting to Phoenix’s comment and even throwing in an emotional intelligence quote from another article featuring Wharton School professor, Maurice Schweitzer. Your comment was reflective, smart, succinct and well-written: “Your story of your own stresses reminds me how we have all emerged from a dark period on mental health during the COVID pandemic and how managing one’s emotions continues to be an important issue in today’s post pandemic world.”

Courtney X., 17 and a student from Shanghai American School in China, is our Round 3 Second Runner-up with her response to Hongting L. about Asian stereotypes. Her well-written response is a bold balance of respecting Hongting’s ideas, while also pushing back on how they are expressed: “Please continue sharing your unique experiences and interests just as Albert’s Hear Our Voices magazine encourages authentic storytelling!…However, let’s ensure we don’t unintentionally reinforce biases or undermine those who align with stereotypes.”

Michelle Y., 14, from Hunter College High School in New York, U.S., is the Round 3 Third Runner-up. She caught our attention with her clever response to the Round 2 winner, Heejae K on the podcast transcript about a new app for quantifying emotions on social media. We liked Michelle’s direct response to Gen Z.’s “uniquely absurd” humor and her conclusion that “trend cycles are constantly growing and changing.” While Michelle referenced the original article, she was primarily building upon the commenter’s perspective, as was the challenge of Round 3.

The Fourth Runner-up in Round 3 is Fateh B. from United World Capital South East Asia in Singapore, for his response to Zhenghao (Eric) Z. on the ethical implications of neuroeconomics. While Fateh’s comment is brief, he connects to Eric’s introduction of Elon Musk’s company Neuralink and concludes that “we both have our eyes on Elon.” We appreciated the personal and conversational tone of his comment.

Round 3 Fifth Runner-up honors go to Catherine C., 17 and a student at Bronx High School of Science in New York, U.S. , for her response about college admissions scandals to 2020 commenter, Kevin L.  As her personal comments reflect, this is one of those articles – and discussions – that stands the test of time. “You pose a thought-provoking question of who is to blame,” writes Catherine. Exploring those issues together – as she does – is what shapes a questioning mind.

And now, the Round 3 superlatives, recognizing noteworthy responsive comments related to specific themes:

Most Likely to Contribute Research to the Field of Behavioral Economics: Sidharth D., 16 and a student at Centreville High School in Virginia U.S., for his response to Zachary N. on 5 Truths about Behavioral Economics.

Destined to Become an Empathetic CEO: Darren L., 16 and a student at the Bronx High School of Science, New York, U.S., for his response to Katie C., on Fighting for Greater Asian-American Representation in Media and Education.

Truest Authenticity in a Response: Triston C., 17 and a student at Willow Glen High School in California, U.S., for his response to Isabella D. on Studying Social Media Use to Quantify Emotions and Improve Mental Health.

Most Likely to Partner with Wharton’s Ethan Mollick in Arguing the Strengths of Generative AI: Stanley Y., 14 and a student at the Bronx High School of Science in New York, U.S., for his response to Taylor G. on How Will AI and Hybrid Work Change Your Job?

Best Balance of Response and Opinion: Zachary L., 15 and a sophomore at Stuyvesant High School in New York, U.S., for his response to Daniel C. (including shoutouts to Yeonwoo P. and Daeyoung K.) on Business, the Brain and Brand Loyalty.

Greatest Tomato Inspiration: Gabe D., 15 and a student at the Shipley School in Pennsylvania, U.S., for his response to Yehoon P., on Strategic Marketing: Brands Consider the Power of Purpose.

Strongest Quote: Nathalie L. of Winchester High School in Massachusetts, U.S., for her response to Jiwon R. on The Power of Technology to Lift Sales for Mumbai’s Book Vendors: “A core principle that I have held onto is that change is not solely based on how fast we can build the next generation of high-speed tech, or the amount of economic growth for a country. True change is embedded in our ability to preserve and celebrate our cultural identity, our willingness to honor the contribution of every individual, and our motivation to grow our communities as the solution, not merely as the beneficiaries of progress.”

We bid farewell to all our friends and responders in Round 3! Don’t forget to check out the winners from Round 1 and Round 2. As always, thanks to our collaboration with the Wharton School Press, top commenters in each round will receive your choice of e-book, written by Wharton School faculty.

Don’t forget to submit your Round 4 “Potent Quotables” comments by 11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, August 11. You’ve got an extra week this Round to achieve commenting greatness.

As always, you can visit our Comment & Win page for details. We’re watching for all those great Round 4 comments as we consider which four-round commenter will be named the 2023 Wharton Global Youth Grand Prize Winner. Good luck!