Looking for Work – And Finding It
Wharton’s most recent MBA graduates are, professionally speaking, popular; increasingly entrepreneurial; still attracted to the consulting industry, and eager to move abroad for job opportunities. They are also record breakers.
According to the School’s Career Development & Placement Office, a record-setting 97.1 percent of the 1996 MBA graduates reported at least one job offer as of July 15. More than 96 percent, another record number, reported accepting jobs in 47 different industries. “These figures are amazing,” notes Andrew Adams, director of CD&P. “This year the biggest complaint I had from recruiters was that there weren’t enough students to hire.”
Consulting continued to be the industry of choice for close to a third of the students — 31.8 percent compared to 27.7 percent last year. Investment banking/brokerage attracted the second highest number — 19 percent compared to 17.6 percent last year — and commercial banking the third highest, 8.8 percent compared to 13.3 percent in 1995.
Sixteen students from WG’96 indicated they will be starting their own businesses, up from 12 last year.
The entertainment and leisure industries, which have never accounted for more than 0.5 percent of the job acceptances of any Wharton class, hired 2.0 percent of the Class of 1996, up from 0.3 percent last year. Increases were also noted in the pharmaceutical/health care products industry — 2.9 percent compared to 1.6 percent last year — and the software/printing/publishing industry, 1.5 percent compared to 0.6 percent in 1995.
“With the entertainment, media and communication industries exploding the way they are, students are seeing real opportunities today that didn’t exist or were difficult to find five to six years ago,” notes Adams. “The breadth of industry represented by the recruiters continues to expand,” he adds. “They are looking for a higher level of management talent than in the past.”
By function, consulting was preferred by 35.6 percent of the class, compared to 34 percent last year; investment related functions were a close second, with 34.4. percent of the class compared to 36.6 percent last year. The third most popular function — marketing — experienced a decrease (the fifth year in a row), coming in at 7.4 percent compared to 7.8 percent in 1995.
As has been true since 1993, close to one-quarter of the class took positions abroad: 10.6 percent in Asia, 8.5 percent in Europe., 3.1 percent in Latin America, 0.4 percent in Canada and 0.1 percent in Australia.
Positions with international responsibility were reported by 53.4 percent of the class.
Legal Studies Professor Tackles International Business Ethics
Are there absolute ethical standards that apply to all business arrangements and relationships, or do ethical standards vary depending on where a particular transaction takes place?
New legal studies faculty member Thomas Donaldson, who holds the Mark O. Winkelman Professorship, has spent his career focusing on questions like these in the context of international business ethics. The field has grown enormously over the past two decades with the expansion of the global marketplace and the need for managers to operate in diverse cultures.
While empirical studies on international business are part of the literature, “not many people have tried to wrestle with the normative questions, like whether as a business person you should go along with certain practices in a particular country, whether you should challenge them, why or why not,” says Donaldson. “We are just now getting our arms around this.”
An article by Donaldson in the September-October issue of the Harvard Business Review, entitled “Values In Tension: Ethics Away From Home,” offers a general framework for understanding values abroad, especially when there is potential conflict between home and host regulations. For example, environmental standards may be lower in a Third World country where a company is trying to expand; does the company adhere to the home standards, the host standards, or something in between?
Along with Thomas W. Dunfee, Joseph Kolodny Professor of Social Responsibility in Business and professor of legal studies and marketing at Wharton, Donaldson has created a vocabulary to help further the discussion of ethical issues. They use the term ‘moral free space’ to describe “any culture or company’s right to, within limits, define its own standards and norms.” The term ‘hypernorm’ refers to a “core human value that trumps another norm generated by a particular company or industry.” A hypernorm would be relevant, for example, in cases of child labor law violations, which Donaldson would argue should not be tolerated by the global business community even if the host country or industry where these violations occur condones the practice.
However, the Japanese custom of giving gifts to business contacts should be dealt with differently. While the practice is not acceptable in the U.S., Donaldson nevertheless suggests “tolerance and flexibility” in business relations with Japanese partners. “I don’t think there is a hypernorm that trumps this particular ritual, unless you start talking about secret payments to Japanese politicians or large bribes to purchasers of jet airplanes,” he says.
Donaldson comes to Wharton from Georgetown University Business School, where he was professor of business ethics for seven years. Prior to that he taught for one year at the University of Virginia’s Darden School and for 11 years in the philosophy department of Loyola University. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, and earned a BS in business and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Kansas.
In addition to numerous articles, he has written two books — The Ethics of International Business (Oxford University Press, 1989) and Corporations and Morality (Prentice-Hall, 1982). He recently co-edited a book with Dunfee called Classical Sources of Economic Ethics (Dartmouth Press, forthcoming) and also co-edited Business as a Humanity (Oxford University Press, 1995).
He and Dunfee are at work on another book with the working title of Business Ethics as Social Contracts. The authors suggest the idea of a social contract — an implicit set of agreements that prevails in an economy, an industry and even a company — as the key to articulating people’s ethical rights and responsibilities.
“The broad question is whether any ethical inquiry can escape subjectivism,” Donaldson notes. “But our view takes things to a large extent out of the province of what you or I think as individuals and puts it in the province of understanding what groups of people think.
“We argue that economic institutions are far more plastic, far more malleable, than institutions such as the family or the nation state. So you can set up a stock market, a company or a business relationship in many different ways, and the reason why it is especially important to get at the shared beliefs, or implicit agreements about norms, is this remarkable plasticity … You still need basic ethical theory, but you also need to pay attention to the structures of the economy and the prevailing beliefs in the communities that make up the economy.”
The book, Donaldson notes, is an attempt to create a theory that will be useful for analyzing business ethics issues. One chapter, for example, will offer rules of thumb for practicing managers — i.e., how you take integrative social contracts theory and distill it to practical rules that managers can use.
“If you’re a manager, you want to assess what your responsibilities are and what social contracts apply to the problem at hand. For example, how do you respond if you are the head of an airline company in the context of a plane crash? Integrative social contract theory suggests the answer will be different in Japan than in the U.S.”
Donaldson is one of 11 new faculty at Wharton this year. Others include:
Accounting: Assistant Professor John Corem, formerly at MIT
Finance: Assistant Professors Simon Gervais, PhD candidate from Berkeley; Armando Gomes, PhD candidate from Harvard, and Kenneth Kavajecz, PhD candidate from Northwestern
Management: Assistant Professors Anne Cummings, PhD candidate from the University of Illinois, and Mauro Guillen, formerly at MIT
Marketing: Assistant Professor Wes Huthcinson, formerly at the University of Florida at Gainesville, and Assistant Professor Eric Bradlow, PhD from Harvard
Operations and Information Management: Assistant Professor Lorin Hitt, PhD candidate from MIT
Statistics: Assistant Professor Catalin Starica, PhD from Cornell
Wharton Hosts 35 Future Business LEADers
“I see my father get up every morning and go to the bank, and he still loves what he does. You hear that if you get a job you like, you never have to work for the rest of your life. That’s what I’m aiming for.”
Luisa Patino is a senior at Westminster Christian School in Miami, Fla. She was one of 35 participants in this summer’s Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD) Program, an intensive month-long introduction to business offered every summer at Wharton and nine other business schools to talented minority high school students from around the country.
“Most of us don’t yet know what we want to do,” says Patino, whose father is a Wharton graduate. “Some of us are musical, some artistic. Some are mathematically-oriented, others are good in science. So it’s a very enriching atmosphere to be in. Everyone here is in the top two percent of their class. We have learned so much about different business areas and perspectives, and we have also learned a lot from each other.”
Those students chosen for the LEAD program at Wharton have demonstrated leadership ability, academic achievement and enthusiasm for exploring careers in business. They receive scholarships covering such expenses as tuition, room, board and transportation.
Once on campus, participants attend classes led by Wharton professors and business leaders, take fields trips to corporations in Philadelphia, New York and Washington and present case study conclusions to corporate executives.
This year the students — who are African American, Hispanic and Native American — visited McNeil Consumer Products Co., Campbell Soup Co., FannieMae, McKinsey & Co., Rohm & Haas, Merck & Co., SmithKline Beecham Corp., Lucent Technologies, Black Enterprise Magazine and American Express Co. They toured the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and the Baltimore National Aquarium.
Five to seven of the LEAD students each year come back to Wharton as members of the freshman class.
“It’s been one of my most enjoyable experiences, to every year see 35 of the top minority high school students work together as a unit to learn the principles of business, and to develop among themselves camaraderie, synergy and self-confidence,” notes Harold J. Haskins, operations director for the LEAD program and director of student development support planning at Penn. “They learn that everything has a business foundation. The education they receive here is useful no matter what career they end up pursuing.”
Tribute to a Popular Accounting Professor
Rufus Wixon, a professor of accounting at Wharton for 31 years and a major figure in the accounting education field, died in June at age 84.
His family requests that donations be made to The Rufus Wixon Scholarship Fund, established in 1986 by Stephen J. Garchik, W’75, WG’76, president of The Evans Company, a commercial real estate development firm in McLean, Va.
“Rufus Wixon made a real difference in my Wharton experience and in the education I received,” says Garchik. “He was one of those rare teachers who supported students’ complete development. He always went to bat for us, and he was a great adviser and mentor. I vowed that as soon as I had any money I would do something to show my appreciation for that singular, special attention he offered.”
Wixon taught at Wharton from 1949 to 1980 and served for two terms as chair of the accounting department. He was the author of Budgetary Control, and co-authored Problems for Essentials of Accounting and Principles of Accounting, among other publications.
In addition to his teaching, he was a respected consultant on accounting theory for government and industry. For information on the Scholarship Fund, which each years contributes financial aid to an undergraduate accounting major, call Diana Cutshall at (215)-898-0122.
Two New Chairs Created: Existing One Filled
The trustees of the University of Pennsylvania have established an endowed professorship at Wharton in honor of John B. Neff, H’84, recognizing his outstanding service and performance as chairman of the investment board of the University’s Associated Investment Funds.
The John B. Neff Endowed Professorship in Finance will go to a senior faculty member who has expertise in investment and/or portfolio management and a demonstrated ability to join theory and practice. The chair-holder must also be an outstanding teacher of undergraduates and graduates with a strong ability to communicate the practical uses of theory in financial management and policy.
Neff was one of the top-performing money managers in mutual fund history until his retirement in 1995 from Wellington Management Company where he was senior vice president and a managing partner. At Wellington he was best known as manager of the highly successful Vanguard/Windsor Fund.
Under the leadership of Neff, who is teaching a course in finance this fall at Wharton, Penn’s endowment has risen from $200 million in December 1979 to approximately $2 billion as of June 1996. The endowment’s investment performance over the same time period has been among the best nationwide, earning an average annual return of 15.7 percent. The stock component of the endowment, managed directly by Neff, earned a 19.1 percent average annual return over this period.
A chair in international management has been established at Wharton with a gift from Alfred and Luella Slaner.
The chair honors Felix Zandman, chairman and CEO of Vishay Intertechnology, a Fortune 500 company founded by Zandman in 1962. The company manufactures and markets electronic components to the computer, telecommunications, military/aerospace, industrial and automotive industries.
Alfred Slaner was a former chairman of the board of Vishay and a close friend of Zandman’s. The two were also second cousins. Zandman, a Holocaust survivor, was given financial support by the Slaner family when he was a student in France and later when he founded Vishay.
Slaner, who died earlier this year, headed up what became the Kayser-Roth hosiery company and is credited with developing Supp-Hose nylon support hose.
Lucille Slaner is an expert on fusion energy, former mayor of Scarsdale, N.Y., and former president of the Scarsdale League of Women Voters.
The Felix Zandman Professorship in International Management will go to an outstanding scholar and teacher who has a strong background in the management of global enterprises and can focus on issues critical to managing international corporations.
Janice Bellace, deputy dean of Wharton and a leading international labor law scholar, has been named the Samuel A. Blank Professor of Legal Studies.
Sam Blank, who graduated from Wharton in 1929 and from Penn Law School in 1932, was founder and senior partner of the Philadelphia law firm now known as Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley. The chair was established in 1995 with a gift from Nancy L. and Robert S. Blank, a 1965 graduate of Penn Law School, and Carol B. and Jeffrey C. Blank.
Bellace earned her undergraduate and law degrees from Penn and Penn Law School in 1971 and 1974, respectively, and has been on the Wharton faculty since 1977. Her research over the past decade has focused on three areas: the rights of fair dismissal, employment protection in the European community and the issue of comparable pay for work of equal value.