Wharton Now

Private Wealth Management Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Charlotte Beyer, founder and CEO of the Institute for Private Investors, has seen it happen again and again: An entrepreneur starts a company, grows the company and sells the company — then realizes that she or he has no idea what to do with this newfound wealth.

“These are really brilliant CEOs,” Beyer says. “Then they have a liquidity event and, suddenly, they find that they’re the CEO of a completely new company — My Wealth, Inc.”

For the past 10 years, the Wharton Private Wealth Management Program has been giving these wealthy individuals the guidance and support they need to manage and protect that wealth — for themselves, and for their families. The program, launched jointly by Beyer’s Institute for Private Investors and Wharton in 1999, has served more than 500 individuals from 27 different countries through a rigorous, in-depth, real-world curriculum delivered by top Wharton faculty.

The program has evolved slightly over its 10 years, but its focus remains the same: To help very wealthy families answer the most fundamental questions they face about how and where to invest their money.

“There are some questions that are perennial, and asked with great desire to find answers,” Beyer says. “Who is the best money manager? Who is the best advisor? But they learn after their week here that those are not necessarily the best questions. The real questions are, ‘Who’s the right advisor for me? Do I even need an advisor? And assuming I do, how do I know if I hired the right advisor? What are the steps for picking the right manager for me?’ They begin to recognize the process that takes place is not only one of understanding the markets and how to do their due diligence, but a function of being more self-aware.”

Beyer says the Private Wealth Management Program was ahead of its time when launched and has since spawned numerous imitators. But the Wharton program, she says, remains unique in its scope. It also remains as crucial today, in the midst of a worldwide economic slowdown, as ever before. She noted that during the program’s most recent event in May, the curriculum included classes about the subprime mortgage meltdown and the state of the real estate market.

“The people in this [May] class have huge amounts of wealth just sitting in cash — huge amounts,” Beyer says. “They sold their companies, and saw what was happening, and didn’t want to go in. This week, I’ve watched them listen, and argue, and then … begin to understand the markets, and the way pricing works. And now they feel far more confident about how they’ll invest.”

– Tim Hyland

Bosun Hau, Pitamber Devgon, Armen Karamanian and Xiaoming Fang of the NIR Diagnostics team

The Winner Is…

A team of entrepreneurs who has developed an innovative new technique for diagnosing wound-healing problems were the big winners at the 2009 Wharton Business Plan Competition, which each year awards thousands of dollars in seed money to promising Penn start-ups.

The competition is open to any Penn student and is run by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs. This year’s competition wrapped up on April 29 with Wharton’s Venture Finals.

The NIR Diagnostics team — comprised of Wharton MBA students Bosun Hau, Pitamber Devgon, Xiaoming Fang and Penn School of Medicine Ph.D. candidate Armen Karamanian — won the $20,000 Michelson Grand Prize for its “InfraVue” device, which can help doctors better predict whether a wound is healing or requires additional therapy. The device has already been used in animal testing and, as of late spring, was nearing a human pilot study. The NIR team believes the product may be able to tap into a $1.1 billion global market for wound assessment.

The $10,000 second prize went to the CuddleBots team, which created programmable robot toys and online communities for kids, and the $5,000 third prize was awarded to Realistic Eye, a group that aims to make artificial eyes look more realistic. Realistic Eye is the highest-ranked Business Plan Competition winner ever from Wharton | San Francisco’s MBA for Executives program.

Serving as judges this year were: David A. Cohen, President of Karlin Asset Management; William P. Egan, WG’69, Founder and General Partner at Alta Communications; Evan Jones, WG’83, Managing Member at jVen Capital, LLC; David A. Piacquad, WG’84, Senior Vice President at Schering-Plough Corporation; and Fred Wilson, WG’87, Partner at Union Square Ventures.

– Tim Hyland

Dean Thomas Robertson with his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai

Global Alumni Forum Brings Wharton to Middle East

The Wharton Global Alumni Forum in Dubai — Wharton’s first such Forum ever in the Middle East — was a sold-out success, attracting more than 500 alumni and friends to the Dubai Grand Hyatt on March 11-12.

Under the theme, “At the Crossroads of Global Economic Change,” the Forum focused on the Middle East’s increasingly important role in the global economy, as well as the challenges it faces in light of the current financial crisis. Panel discussions addressed such issues as the development and growth of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) multi-nationals, entrepreneurship and emerging markets, the future of education and media in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and energy and change in the global economy. In addition, Wharton faculty led five master classes on topics including wealth preservation, managing global policy risks, and valuation and governance of family businesses.

The Forum, organized by a team of committed alumni under the leadership of Mohammed Abdul Aziz Alshaya, WG’84, Executive Chairman of M.H. Alshaya Co., featured senior Wharton faculty as well as a range of prominent business and government leaders. Among them were His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology; Donald Humphreys, WG’76, Senior Vice President and Treasurer, Exxon Mobil Corporation; Najla Al- Awadhi, Member of the UAE Federal National Council and Deputy CEO, Dubai Media Incorporated; Joe Saadi, Chairman, Booz & Company; and Tarek Sultan, WG’90, Chairman and Managing Director of Agility. Sultan, a member of the Wharton Executive Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, was also a sponsor of the event.

Wharton was honored by the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who spoke with Dean Thomas Robertson about business and education trends in the region.

Describing Wharton’s goals for the event, Robertson said: “We want to develop a Middle East perspective on the global financial crisis and its aftermath. The new global economic order will be an era of stronger collaboration and the Wharton Global Alumni Forum will assist in strengthening the partnerships.”

– Lauren Anderson

Wharton and the White House

With the advent of a new administration, Washington has seen a flurry of new appointments to key positions. A number of these new appointees have Wharton ties.

G. Edward DeSeve, WG’71, serving as special advisor to President Barack Obama and assistant to Vice President Joe Biden, will lead the distribution of federal stimulus funds. A former Clinton official, DeSeve held positions during the tenures of three Philadelphia mayors and former Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey. Most recently he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government.

In March, the Senate approved Gary Gensler, W’78, WG’79, as Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. A former Goldman Sachs executive who served under both Clinton Treasury Secretaries, Gensler possesses both private- and government-sector experience. Appointed in December 2008 by then-President Bush, Neil Barofsky, C’92, W’92, continues to serve under the Obama Administration as Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

Also joining the administration is Robert Wolf, W’84, Chairman and CEO of UBS Group Americas, named to the impressive ranks of the newly created Economic Recovery Advisory Board (see story, inside back cover). And joining the U.S. Senate as Delaware’s newest senator is Edward “Ted” Kaufman, WG’66, appointed to fill the vacant seat of Joe Biden (see story, page 22).

Wharton's Kevin Werbach served on the Federal Communications Commission Review for the Obama-Biden Transition Project

In the Department of Agriculture, Obama appointed Rajiv Shah, M’02, GrW’05, as Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Shah, named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2007, was the Director of Agricultural Development in the Global Development Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Nancy-Ann DeParle, Senior Fellow of Health Care Management, leaves Wharton to become Counselor to the President and Director of the new Office of Health Reform. DeParle is an expert in health care regulatory issues.

In a recent interview with Knowledge@Wharton about his experience as Co-Lead of the Federal Communications Commission Review for the Obama-Biden Transition Project, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics Kevin Werbach spoke about the urgent need for the FCC to “think about itself as an economic stimulus agency, as an agency that’s about creating jobs and fostering investment.”

Founded in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson to encourage active citizenship and service to the nation, the White House Fellows Program is now led by Cindy Moelis, W’82. Moelis most recently served as the Executive Director of the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation. Meanwhile, Michael Vickers, WG’88, continues his service as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities, a position he has held since 2007.

– Lauren Anderson

Voices of (Varied) Experience: The Wharton Colloquia

Steven Pinsky, WG’91, Private Equity Services Practice Director at J.H. Cohn, LLP, paced the front of the Huntsman Hall classroom, whistling the Jeopardy! theme song.

In the seats facing him, five teams of Wharton undergraduates scribbled furiously on the mini-whiteboards Pinsky had brought along for the occasion. The students had just spent the last half hour learning “What’s Up With Private Equity?” Now, they quickly applied their new knowledge to such questions as: What was the total value of U.S. mergers and acquisitions in 2008?; Which sector saw the most private equity deals in 2008?, and; What was the total private equity deal flow in 2008? [Answers: $850 billion; business products and services; and $186 billion, respectively]

With the tongue-in-cheek title, “Are you Smarter Than A Wharton Student?,” the quiz capped off Pinsky’s Spring 2009 Wharton Colloquia presentation, which used equal parts PowerPoint and dry wit to walk a captivated audience through the private equity industry — from the early years of the market to the more cautious atmosphere of the current economic times. In 2007, said Pinsky, private equity had “far too much money chasing too few deals.” The atmosphere was “downright frothy.”

Held twice each year, once in the early fall for incoming freshmen and once in the spring for all undergraduates, the Wharton Colloquia bring alumni from diverse fields back to campus to share their experiences with current students. With alumni presentations covering topics from personal finance to investing in emerging markets to generating entrepreneurial ideas, and more, the Spring 2009 Wharton Colloquia introduced some of the newest members of the Wharton community to some of the most established, and helped to open undergraduates’ eyes to just a few of the career paths a Wharton education makes possible.

An hour later and a few floors down from Pinsky’s presentation, a slideshow was worth a thousand words as Gabriel Mandujano, W’05, Executive Director of The Enterprise Center Community Development Corporation (TEC-CDC), powered up his laptop to present, “How to Use Your Wharton Degree to Save the World.” Images of diverse neighborhood residents working together on community clean-up, greening and beautification projects brightened the classroom’s projector screen and illustrated TEC-CDC’s dedication to the “inclusive, sustainable revitalization” of West Philadelphia’s Walnut Hill neighborhood.

The undergraduate audience members — many of whom expressed a commitment to their own social impact ventures — took copious notes as Mandujano explained the unique aspects of nonprofit culture, suggested reliable means for evaluating the viability of social entrepreneurship initiatives, and offered a checklist of the facts and values aspiring social entrepreneurs should consider before beginning their venture. Advised Mandujano: “Ask yourself, is there a moral imperative?”

– Carol Quinn

Three Named to Wharton Executive Boards

Dean Thomas Robertson in March announced three key appointments to Wharton’s Executive Boards, naming Scott A. Wieler, WG’87, as chair of the Graduate Executive Board, William H. Lawrence, W’83, as chair of the Undergraduate Executive Board and Sebastián Escarrer Jaume, WG’93, as chair of the Executive Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Wieler is chairman and chief executive officer of Signal Hill Capital Group LLC, a Baltimore-based investment banking firm. He succeeds Dolf R. DiBiasio, WG’69. Lawrence is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Meridian Capital Partners, Inc. in New York. He will replace Brian D. Finn, W’82. Escarrer is joint vice chairman and chief executive officer of Sol Meliá, S.A. in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He enters this role following the service of Sir Paul R. Judge, WG’73.

Wharton has six Executive Boards, including the Board of Overseers, the Graduate Executive Board, the Undergraduate Executive Board, and the Executive Boards for Europe, the Middle East and Africa; Asia; and Latin America. Along with the Wharton Alumni Association Board, these boards help to define and implement Wharton’s strategic mission and goals.

– Tim Hyland

Posthumous Praise for Mayo

The Economist recently recognized former Wharton researcher Elton Mayo (1880-1949) as one of the greatest “management gurus” in business history.

Mayo garnered praise for his groundbreaking work proving that factory workers responded more favorably to improved working conditions — such as the introduction of break times — than to wages alone.

Mayo proved it with an experiment conducted at a Philadelphia mill, where he and his team were able to reduce labor turnover rate from 250 percent to 6 percent in less than a year.

The magazine also cited Mayo’s later work, which proved that relations between managers and workers could only be stable “when each party appreciated the position of the other.”

“This sounds much like common sense today,” The Economist declared, “but following Frederick Winslow Taylor and his time-and-motion studies, it was almost revolutionary.”

– Tim Hyland

Knowledge@Wharton Looks Back at 10 Historic Years

The past decade has brought almost unfathomable change to world of business.

There was the tech boom — and the following bust. Once-secretive China soared to business prominence. Google revolutionized search, Apple stormed back, and Napster took on the music industry. Interest rates fell — and fell some more. Real estate prices soared. The mortgage business did, too. And then it all came crumbling down in one big mess. Lehman Brothers disappeared, AIG got bailed out, and the future of the American auto industry was thrown into serious doubt. Meanwhile, Facebook conquered social networking — that is, at least, unless Twitter has something to say about it.

Knowledge@Wharton has been there to document all of it. And now, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, the hugely popular online business journal network — a network that reaches more than 1.3 million subscribers worldwide through four different editions — is looking back on the biggest stories in business since its 1999 debut.

In a special section now available at knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu, Knowledge@Wharton has republished the most popular stories of each of its first 10 years. The stories cover topics ranging from the emergence of technology to trends in online marketing and the impact of globalization in the Middle East.

– Tim Hyland

Lauder Institute Creates Advisory Board

The Lauder Institute turned 25 this year, and to celebrate its quarter-century of success, the Institute in March created a new Senior Roundtable Advisory Board — a group of respected alumni who have used their Lauder educations to build distinguished international business careers.

Recognized as one of the most rigorous and exclusive international business programs in the world, the Lauder Institute asks students to complete both a Wharton MBA and a Master’s degree in International Studies from the School of Arts & Sciences.

Chairing the Board will be Janifer M. Burns, G’86, WG’86, and David Trachtenberg, G’88, WG’88. Burns is former Managing Director of Debt Capital Markets at BBVA Securities Inc. and Founder and Principal of HWB Inc. Trachtenberg is President of The Hartland Group. Joining Burns and Trachtenberg as founding members of the board are: Rosalind Copisarow, G’88, WG’88, CEO, International Development Enterprises; Tony Davis, G’97, WG’97, CEO, Anchorage Capital; Bruno Ducharme, G’85, WG’86, Founder, TIW Telecom; Rene Kern, G’90, WG’90, Managing Director, General Atlantic; Allan Kwan, G’87, WG’87, Venture Partner, Oak Investment Partners; Eileen Naughton, C’79, WG’87, Director, Sales, Google, Inc.; and Norm Savoie, C’86, G’91, WG’91, Financial Advisor, Smith Barney.

– Tim Hyland

Duckworth Receives Distinguished Service Award

Dean Thomas Robertson recently honored Connie Duckworth, WG’79, with the Wharton Alumni Award for Distinguished Service.

The Distinguished Service award recognizes alumni who demonstrate outstanding leadership in their profession and exhibit extraordinary dedication to Wharton. Duckworth, who serves as a Wharton Overseer and was co-chair of her reunion class this year, received her award during Reunion Weekend.

Duckworth was a trailblazer at Goldman Sachs, where she became the firm’s first female sales and trading partner, co-head of the Municipal Bond Department, head of Fixed Income in Los Angeles, and co-head of the Chicago office. In 2001, she left Goldman and co-founded 8 Wings Enterprises to advise and fund early-stage, women- led companies.

Currently, Duckworth serves as president of Arzu, Inc., the nonprofit she founded to provide sustainable income to Afghan women and their families by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave within the global consumer market. Arzu also provides literacy training and health care to the women and their communities.

– Tim Hyland

Wharton Magazine - Background

Type to Search

See all results