Wharton Now

Jeremy Siegel Authors The Future for Investors

Finance professor Jeremy Siegel’s newest book, The Future for Investors, takes a “long, hard, and in-depth look at the market” and ultimately warns investors against overpaying for growth stocks. The book’s surprising finding is that the new technologies, expanding industries, and fast-growing countries that stockholders relentlessly seek in the market often lead to poor returns. In fact, growth itself can be an investment trap, luring investors into overpriced stocks and overly competitive industries, Siegel argues. The Future for Investors, published in March, steers investors toward relatively inexpensive stock picks.

Investors would do better buying out-of-favor industries, reinvesting often-high dividends to accumulate more shares in weak periods and waiting until those companies return to favor, Siegel told BusinessWeek in a recent interview.

Sports Business Initiative Established

Wharton recently launched the Wharton Sports Business Initiative (WSBI), a center School leaders believe will position Wharton as a premier player in the sports business industry.

The initiative will partner top-level business leaders, faculty and students to create and disseminate knowledge about the sports industry through educational programs, strategic corporate partnerships, student consulting assignments, global forums, and research.

From internships to executive education, WSBI will serve as the nucleus for all sports business related activities at Wharton. Elements of the initiative will include executive education programs, a sports consulting practicum, company visits, independent study projects, mentoring, a speaker series geared toward executives and students, conferences, forums, and networking opportunities.

The WSBI’s first conference will be held April 28-29 at the Wharton School’s Philadelphia campus. The theme will be, “Turning Pro Young? The Business of Early Entry into Professional Sports.” The WSBI also will continue the Wharton tradition of bringing executives to both the School’s Philadelphia and San Francisco locations to speak with students.

Recent executive visits have included Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, Donald Blair, CFO of NIKE , Rich Nichols, agent for multiple Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, and David Cornwell, president of DNK Cornwell. Cornwell has served as the primary counsel for Leigh Steinberg, Jeff Moorad, Eugene Parker, Dan Fegan and Michael Gillis—agents who represent players and coaches in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League.

“This is an exciting new initiative,” said Kenneth Shropshire, who is director of the WSBI, David W. Hauck Professor, and chair of Wharton’s Legal Studies Department. “A key part of our mission is … attracting and educating students who will develop and demonstrate advanced business skills and a rich understanding of industry dynamics, leading them to provide sports business employers’ career value commensurate with MBAs in other fields.

This will occur not by adding coursework, but by focusing on industry and student interaction. We also are working with our executive education division to develop innovative educational programs for industry executives as well as current and former athletes.”

In addition to Shropshire, other Wharton faculty will be involved with the initiative such as marketing professor David Reibstein, legal studies professor Georgette Poindexter, lecturers and alumni Mori Taheripour and Rob DiGisi, lecturer Scott Rosner, and senior fellows Charles Grantham and Jason Wingard.

NFL Players Attend New Executive Education Program

The National Football League (NFL) and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) have entered into agreements with Wharton and Harvard Business School to provide business education to NFL players as part of an ongoing NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. Officials fromWharton’s recently launched Sports Business Initiative collaborated with Wharton Executive Education to  develop a combination classroom and field-based workshop that focuses on personal investments and entrepreneurial opportunities for players transitioning from their football careers.

As part of its custom executive education activities, Harvard Business School (HBS) has developed a customized workshop targeted to the needs of NFL players interested in owning, operating or building their own businesses. Both three-day programs began in April. The HBS program concludes with an additional three-day session in May.

The Wharton program offers follow-up with a year long support program. “We are proud to be at the forefront of such a unique educational opportunity,” said Wharton Dean Patrick Harker. “This is precisely the type of high level project we anticipated for the newly launched Wharton Sports Business Initiative.”

Each program is open to 35 players, with priority based on years of NFL experience and business background. Tuition for both programs will be covered by the NFL’s Tuition Reimbursement Program. “This is one of many important steps that the union is taking to assist NFL players in their lives off the playing field,” said Buffalo Bills cornerback Troy Vincent, who is president of the NFL Players Association.

“I know first hand how challenging it is to begin that second career. We are delighted that we are able to provide this additional assistance to players,” added NFL Vice President of Player and Employee Development Mike Haynes, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who took executive education classes during his playing career.

The Wharton curriculum will focus on a broad range of business topics, including financial analysis, entrepreneurship, real estate development, stock market investing, negotiation skills, risk management, and community reinvestment. Knowledge@Wharton will provide content for the participants as well. Following the coursework, faculty will visit players to provide advice, counseling, and additional business and personal planning tactics.

Patagonia CEO Addresses Wharton West Leadership Conference

What kind of leadership will businesses need to succeed in the future? In February,Wharton West, home of the School’s Executive MBA program in California, hosted a wide ranging,well-attended one day leadership conference, “Leading With Creativity and Conviction,” designed to help attendees answer this question. A Philadelphia session will also be held on June 9.

Michael Crooke, President and CEO of outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia since 1999, gave a keynote address that focused on the pitfalls of focusing solely on the bottom line, Patagonia’s approach to the business environment as an ecosystem, and the use of “flow” to optimize performance in individuals and organizations.

Crooke also emphasized the need for change and new ideas in an evolving organization, arguing that profitability and social awareness can go hand-in-hand. “When I came to Patagonia,” he recalled, “I brought in seven new people. That was a lot of change and newness for the organization. Melding the new with the old and creating the next wave of the next thirty years at Patagonia—that’s been a real challenge.”

“We look at our strategic plans, and we look at what we invest in terms of the social side of our business, as well as the environmental side or the product side,” Crooke explained, adding, “It doesn’t matter if you are eco-groovy and socially responsible. If you don’t have a great product or service that’s sustainable, then it’s a short-term phenomenon, and it’s going down.”

Conference speakers included leaders from large corporations, such as MCI,Clorox, Hewlett-Packard, and Kaiser Permanente, as well as from less traditional venues, such as Business for Social Responsibility, the Poetry Foundation, and the Palo Alto Research Center. Presenters also included professors Michael Useem, director of Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, and Peter Cappelli, director of Wharon’s Center for Human Resources, both of whom helped organize and sponsor the annual event. For more information on the conference, visit http://leadership.wharton.upenn.edu/welcome/index.shtml

Leadership Advisory Board Created

A new Leadership Advisory Board, spearheaded by Todd Thomson, WG’87, chairman and CEO of the global wealth management division of Citigroup, has been created to link Wharton public service, government, entertainment, and sports.

The advisory board, which met for the first time last November, includes the following members: Maria Bartiromo, CNBC anchor, Alain J.P. Belda, director, chairman and CEO of Alcoa, Peter M. Dawkins, vice chairman of Citigroup Private Bank, Florida Senator (Ret.) Connie Mack of Shaw Pittman LLP, Andrall E. Pearson, founding chairman of YUM! Brands Inc., Lewis E. Platt, chairman of The Boeing Co., David S. Pottruck, former CEO of The Charles Schwab Corp. and managing director of The Pottruck Group, Dean Smith, former head basketball coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Thomson. A $500,000 gift from Thomson and his wife, Melissa, to the Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management, will support the Center’s research and leadership development programs.

Profits Please: Profit-making as the path to social progress

Social entrepreneurship—starting companies that make money while solving social problems—typically gets short shrift at business schools. Sure, it’s noble, but it just doesn’t have the sex appeal of, say, introducing the iPod or launching a software company that might one day rival Microsoft.

A social venture’s customers can be poor and its markets limited or unproven. For that reason, starting one may be even more vexing than the already daunting task of launching a typical company. “It requires more imagination. These are much tougher businesses,” says management professor Ian MacMillan, director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center.

That’s partly why MacMillan says his new class on social entrepreneurship, which began this spring, “isn’t for wimps.” The students not only have to come up with a business plan for a social venture, but they’ll also tacklea hefty reading list. “This class was designed as a living case study,” explains Emily Cieri, managing director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. “The students will work on live projects and develop business plans for those projects. The ultimate goal is for them to start the businesses after the class.”

To that end, students are studying how to organize a social venture, raise money, recruit employees, measure social impact and, if their venture succeeds, scale up to large size. “The basic thesis [of the class] is that many social problems, if looked at through an entrepreneurial lens, create opportunity for someone to launch a business that generates profits by alleviating that social problem,” MacMillan said in the proposal for the course. “This sets in motion a virtuous cycle—the entrepreneur is incented to generate more profits and, in so doing, themore profits made, the more the problem is alleviated.”

New Career Management Director Named

Christopher Morris, a Wharton senior associatedirector since 2003, has been named director of MBA Career Management. Morris succeeds Peter Degnan, who was recently named executive director in Wharton’s Executive Education Division. Morris joined Wharton MBA Career Management from Campbell Soup Co., where he served for two-and-a-half years as marketing manager. Prior to that he was brand manager at Procter & Gamble’sCincinnati, Ohio headquarters, where he was also involved with MBA recruiting.

“We believe that Christopher has the vision, commitment, and leadership ability to guide the MBA Career Management Office in the pursuit of its mission—to enable our students to gain access to the broadest range of high-potential MBA career opportunities—while continuing to improve the quality of our services to both students and employers,” said Anjani Jain, vice dean and director of the Wharton Graduate Division. Morris has handled numerous responsibilities at Wharton, including consumer products and retail industries, and an advising role for the various student clubs associated with these industries.

He has been instrumental in attracting several new companies to recruit on campus, and has helped to expand opportunities with many other current recruiters. Morris’ appointment followed a lengthy search headed by Peggy Bishop Lane, deputy vice dean of the Wharton Graduate Division. In addition to other senior administrators, several current MBA students served on the committee and were involved throughout the interview process.

Morris earned his MBA at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management while working full-time at the university, serving first as assistant director, then director of MBA Admissions. Earlier, he worked as assistant coach of the men’s crew at Cornell, and also coached the United States Junior men’s crew in the World Junior Rowing Championships. He holds a B.S. degree in management from Rutgers University, where he was also co-captain of the varsity crew.

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