Koo Family Gives $10 Million for New Educational Facility
Leading Taiwanese businessman Chen Fu Koo and his sons, Chester Koo, WG’79, and Leslie Koo, WG’81, have given $10 million to help support the planning and construction of a new 300,000 square foot, state-of-the-art academic facility at Wharton.
“This generous gift from Dr. C.F. Koo, along with his sons, Chester Koo and Leslie Koo, will help us create a new global learning environment, incorporating the latest in educational and communications technology,” says Wharton dean Thomas P. Gerrity. “We are extremely grateful for the continuing commitment and support the entire Koo family has given to Wharton over the years.”
Chen Fu Koo’s achievements in business and diplomacy span more than six decades. He is the founder of one of the largest financial and industrial groups in Taiwan, R.O.C. In the early 1950s, he assisted the Taiwanese government in its privatization program and built a large and diversified conglomerate whose member companies include many industry leaders in financial services, manufacturing, high-tech and broadcasting. These and other service sectors have helped fuel Taiwan’s rapidly-growing economy.
In addition to building his own business, Koo has made other direct contributions to the economy in Taiwan—first as the creator and chairman of the Taiwan Stock Exchange, and then as economic ambassador for Taiwan as it built trade bridges around the world. Koo has also been a leading force in encouraging and facilitating economic cooperation in the Pacific Basin region and around the world. Most recently, he was elected International President of the Pacific Basin Economic Council and presided over that organization’s annual meeting held in Mexico City last year.
As the founder of one of the largest financial and industrial groups in Taiwan, Koo has acted as domestic policy adviser to the Taiwanese government and has been a leading force in working toward the improvement of relations between Taiwan and China. He participated as the R.O.C. representative in the historic Cross-Straits talks in 1993.
The Koo family has strong and longstanding ties to Wharton. Chen Fu Koo was awarded the school’s Dean’s Medal in 1991; his two sons earned their MBA degrees from Wharton; and the family has endowed two professorships at the school, supported the development of Wharton executive education programs in Taiwan, and each year provides three $25,000 scholarships to Taiwanese students to attend Wharton.
Tax Advice, Freely Offered
When Viva Jeffrey, WG’99, worked as an auditor at Arthur Andersen in Chicago, she volunteered for a nationwide program that provided free income tax assistance to low-income families.
Last spring Jeffrey, with the help of 40 other MBA students, was able to replicate that program for 29 families in Philadelphia. Because of the volunteers’ assistance, these families received refunds totaling $15,000, mostly through tax credits for which they didn’t realize they were eligible.
“Many of the people we worked with asked us to explain the taxes and the forms. They wanted to learn. And they had trouble believing we were doing this for free. They were extremely grateful,” says Jeffrey, a University of Illinois graduate who is spending the summer at BCG in Boston.
Jeffrey and other volunteers met with the families on three Saturday mornings in a west Philadelphia high school. They advertised their service through flyers mailed to community groups, churches and schools, and contacted the local radio stations and newspapers for service announcements. The program was sponsored by the Wharton Journal and Arthur Andersen.
Jeffrey will organize the same project next year and then recruit a team to carry it on after she leaves. She doesn’t foresee any problem. “When I first asked for volunteers, the response was overwhelming,” she says. “Wharton is a great environment for this kind of effort.”
When Long-Distance Learning Is Up Close and Personal
Managers whose backgrounds are in technology may find that their lack of business skills is holding up a long-awaited promotion.
Business school graduates who have been out in the field for 10 or 15 years may realize they need a way to catch up on the latest management tools and strategies.
Organizations struggling to keep ahead of the competition may realize that several of their departments require concrete, real-time skill development which doesn’t intrude on the daily demands of the business.
For individuals and organizations interested in high-quality management education but for whom an on-campus program is simply not an option, Wharton Executive Education this spring announced the launch of Wharton Direct.
It’s a new network of highly-interactive business courses led by Wharton faculty and delivered simultaneously in executive learning centers across the country.
Offered in conjunction with Caliber Learning Network, Inc. of Baltimore, Md., the program represents the first time a major business school has combined the most effective elements of the live classroom with the most advanced satellite and on-line technologies to create a national learning network for working professionals. Students can take the courses without leaving their own local area.
“Collaborating with Caliber allows us to reach high-potential managers who do not have access to Wharton’s on-campus offerings,” says Robert E. Mittelstaedt, vice dean, Executive Education and External Affairs. “The course will combine the best features of traditional education with the advantages of technological innovation.”
It works like this: A digital satellite system will allow responsive real-time audio and video communication between instructors in Philadelphia and students in the distant learning centers. Students will be able to interact with Wharton faculty in Philadelphia through networked e-mail available at their desktops, as well as through live dialogue via video-conferencing.
Typically courses will run for three hours, once a week, for five to eight weeks. Students will continue to access the learning network between sessions to conduct research, complete projects and confer with peers and faculty.
The first group of programs offered will be the Working Knowledge Series, a collection of applied foundational courses for mid-level managers and technical professionals. The courses, which will begin in September, will focus on specific essentials of strategy, finance, marketing and operations. Between 300 and 350 professionals are expected to participate in each of the Working Knowledge Series programs.
“Some people are able to learn in a solitary environment with some help from technology,” notes Alison McGrath Peirce, senior director of executive education at Wharton. “But most require a community of learners, commitment to a time and place, and interaction with professors and other participants.”
Wharton Direct, which will offer certificates rather than degrees, is intended to supplement, not take the place of, the School’s executive education courses on campus which currently enroll more than 9,000 participants each year.
Caliber Learning Network, Inc. is a joint initiative between Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. and MCI Communications Corp. The company has leveraged Sylvan’s educational expertise and MCI’s strength in telecommunications and computing to create a leading-edge distribution network for adult professional education and training services.
For information on Wharton Direct, call 1-800-255-3932 (U.S. and Canada). To apply on-line or to access more detailed information, the website address is http://direct.wharton.upenn.edu
Catch the WAVE: Access the Online Wharton Alumni Community
The Wharton Alumni Virtual Experience (WAVE), an online community to promote effective networking for alumni, will be launched this fall.
WAVE will offer participants the opportunity to locate and share information with other Wharton alumni. It will also provide lifelong career management information and job opportunity listings, as well as access to cutting-edge research conducted at Wharton, among other services. The privacy and security of personal information from alumni will be protected by individually authenticated passwords.
Wharton worked with a beta test group of alumni in the final development of WAVE. An announcement describing the services offered by WAVE and specifying the actual launch date will be mailed to all alumni.
Further details on how to access WAVE will be included in the fall issue of the Wharton Alumni Magazine .
Hold the Mustard on These Business Plans
Looking to invest in a new kind of asset-backed security? Or how about a good deli sandwich in an unusual kosher café?
Meet Star Bonds, Inc., and Abe & Isaac’s — winners of two Wharton Entrepreneurial Center awards for the best business plan created by an undergraduate team.
Abe & Isaac’s, subtitled “The Oy Vey Café,” is the brainchild of Jackie Kamali, W’99, and Josh Styne, C’99, two high school friends who grew up on Long Island and took Miles Bass’s Management 231 class, “Entrepreneurship: Implementation and Operations.”
Styne describes Abe & Isaac’s as “an ethnic Planet Hollywood/Hard Rock Café” with a number of entertaining features, including television screens with clips from Jewish comedians, recording artists, movie stars and other notables.
“The idea is not to make people who aren’t Jewish feel uncomfortable, but to make them laugh and get in with the whole ‘schtick’ aspect,” notes Styne, a member of Mask & Wig at Penn who is working this summer for a Los Angeles production company.
The 75-page business plan, which won the Gloeckner Award, “is something we actually talk about implementing in the future,” Styne adds, describing himself as the “creative side” of the venture and Kamali as the “numbers side … Long-term we would like to tie the venture in with a Jerry Seinfeld-type celebrity.”
Meanwhile, the other business plan winners also have their eyes on celebrities. The Trilogy Award went to Andrea Fraser, Craig Meyers and Jeremy Kraus, all W’98, whose Star Bonds, Inc. would create a new type of security backed by the contract and endorsement revenues of sports stars.
Consider, for example, a Michael Jordan bond. “We would take Jordan’s contract with the Chicago Bulls and his contracts with Gatorade, Nike and other companies whose products he endorses, and bundle them up into a security that would have the properties of a bond,” says Meyers.
As the contracts pay out, the revenues would go to various investors. Meanwhile, the money put up by the investors would go to the athletes. “It makes sense when you are talking about athletes who are younger than Jordan, or don’t make as much money as he does but who might like a certain amount of cash early on to start their own company, relocate their families or whatever.”
Meyers, who is working for Chase Securities in Manhattan, acknowledges that Star Bonds, Inc. would be a difficult idea to implement mainly because of the large amount of capital required. “It’s not like starting up a coffee shop.”
A Salute to Excellence in Teaching
It is one of Wharton’s most anticipated spring rituals — the presentation of awards to those professors who have earned the highest teaching ratings from students in both the undergraduate and MBA programs.
On the undergraduate level, the 9th annual David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching, the most prestigious in the undergraduate division, is given to two recipients for their ability to lead, stimulate and challenge students, knowledge of the latest research in their field and a commitment to educational leadership.
The 1998 recipients are Patrick Harker, UPS Professor and chairman of Operations and Information Management, and Kenneth Kavajecz, assistant professor of finance.
The Excellence in Teaching Awards recognize outstanding teaching and exceptional commitment to undergraduate students.
Winners this year include Suleyman Basak (Finance), Gordon Bodnar (Finance), Jamshed Ghandhi (Finance), William Hamilton (Management), Patrick Harker (Operations and Information Management), Lorin Hitt (Operations and Information Management), Kenneth Kavajecz (Finance), Robert Inman (Finance), William Laufer (Legal Studies) and Philip Nichols (Legal Studies).
Recipient of The Marc and Sheri Rapaport Undergraduate Core Teaching Award is Nicholas Souleles, assistant professor of finance.
The Wharton Evening School Outstanding Professor of the Year award was given to Francis LaMay, lecturer in finance.
In addition, Lorin Hitt, assistant professor of operations and information management, won one of eight University-wide Lindback Awards for Distinguished Teaching.
In the Graduate Division, the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award, created in 1969 to recognize exceptional teaching effort and ability, went to Philip Berger, assistant professor of accounting.
The Excellence in Teaching Awards are given to the eight professors with the highest ratings from the MBA student course evaluation forms. The professor with the highest rating also receives the Class of 1984 Award. This year the recipient is Thomas Donaldson, Mark O. Winkelman Professor of Legal Studies.
The other Excellence in Teaching Award recipients include: Franklin Allen (Finance), George Day (Marketing), Stuart Diamond (Legal Studies), Jeremy Siegel (Finance), Karl Ulrich (Operations and Information Management), Michael Useem (Management) and Richard Waterman (Statistics).
The Miller-Sherrerd MBA Core Teaching Awards went to: Philip Berger (Accounting), David Croson (Operations and Information Management), Neil Doherty (Insurance and Risk Management), Thomas Donaldson (Legal Studies), David Reibstein (Marketing), Jeremy Siegel (Finance), Karl Ulrich (Operations and Information Management) and Michael Useem (Management).
Taking Stock, Part II
When the first edition of Finance Professor Jeremy Siegel’s book, Stocks for the Long Run, was published in May 1994, the Dow Industrial Average was at 3700. “Few forecasters were predicting further gains in equities,” Siegel says. “No one expected that just seven months later, stocks would embark on one of their greatest bull-market runs in history.”
Siegel has now published a second edition that updates material from 1994 but covers new topics as well, including: “Age Wave” investing and the fate of the baby boomers’ huge accumulation of assets, the Dow 10 and similar yield-based strategies, the impact of investor sentiment on stock returns, and the link between the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate policies and subsequent movements in stock prices.
“I still believe stocks are the best long-term investment,” notes Siegel. “But clearly the margin is going to be far less than what it was earlier on.
“I don’t want to give people the impression that stocks can’t become overpriced,” he adds. “They can. But I don’t believe it’s hit that point yet, especially for the long-term investor. For the short-term investor, I suggest a little more caution.”
Setting a Record
The MBA Class of 1998, led by class gift drive co-chairs Jeff Given and Makiko Sonobe, raised $179,126 for their class gift. The record-setting amount does not include two $25,000 alumni challenges and a $30,000 gift from the Wharton Journal.
The total money pledged is $259,126.
More impressively, 651 students contributed to the gift, 86 percent of the class — another record. Of that total, 173 qualified for the Young Franklin Society (gifts of $500-$999) and 17 for the Benjamin Franklin Society (gifts of $1,000+).
The $259,126 will help fund a class of 1998 Communications Center.
Taking Command of a New Career in the Navy
As a program manager at Naval Air System Command in Washington, D.C. for the last five years, Fred Lanes, WEMBA’98, fielded questions from congressional staff members on proposed mergers in the defense industry.
At the time, Lanes was also enrolled in Wharton’s Executive MBA program and happened to be taking a course on mergers and acquisitions, with specific emphasis on divestitures among U.S. defense companies.
“From the very beginning, I was applying what I learned at WEMBA to my job in Washington,” says Lanes, who was recently promoted to captain, U.S. Navy. “Over the past year we transitioned our team from a matrix to a core competency-aligned organization; a course in managerial organization helped that process. And an advanced corporate finance class last semester enabled me to better evaluate a proposal from one of our defense firms …
“When I decided I wanted to get into the business side of the Navy, it was at the peak of the dollar spending era,” notes Lanes, who spent 15 years as an active duty navy officer flying jets off aircraft carriers. “By the time I actually got my first position, the budget had started to decline and the pressure was on to cut costs. The luxury of having all the money you needed was no longer there.”
He enrolled in the WEMBA program and was selected as one of five Gruss Fellows from the class of 1998. The Gruss Public Management Program — established four years ago by Martin Gruss, W’64, to promote better leadership and management at all levels of U.S. government — covers one-half of the student’s total expenses, including tuition, room and board, and books.
In addition to the fellowships, the Gruss program funds a public policy lecture series which brings distinguished senior government executives to Wharton, and an executive education seminar on strategic leadership and change management that is offered to senior congressional staff.
Lanes earned a BS from Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., and then attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla. before getting a master’s of science operations research from the U.S. Naval Academy Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. His naval experience included five years flying the EA-6B prowler, a carrier-based electronic and missile attack aircraft.
In 1992 Lanes moved to Washington, D.C. to take over responsibility for the $1 billion development of the EA-6B aircraft. From 1995 up until earlier this year, he directed the $500 million development program for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile, which included the need for close interaction with industry and government senior leadership in communicating both financial and operational requirements.
Lanes is now a member of the Secretary of the Navy’s staff in charge of looking at force readiness and acquisition reform. In the near future, he will most likely be assigned to head up a major acquisition program in the Washington, D.C. vicinity.
Lanes has no second thoughts about the direction he has chosen. “You can’t fly forever,” he says. “I have found great opportunities in my new career.”
Robert B. Goergen, WG’62, chairman and CEO of Blyth Industries, Inc., delivered this year’s MBA commencement address on May 17.
Former president Jimmy Carter spoke at Penn’s 242nd commencement, held May 18 on Franklin Field.
Faculty from Wharton, the University of Chicago Graduate Business School and the London School of Business have teamed up to write The Complete Finance Companion: The Latest in Financial Principles and Practice from the World’s Best Finance Schools.
The book, published in June, is divided into three modules: corporate finance, investments and financial markets.
The Complete Finance Companion is available from Financial Times Pitman Publishing in Alexandria, Va., 703-519-2172.
A new two-week executive education course entitled The Essentials of Management offers a grounding in the fundamentals of marketing, finance, operations and leadership.
Participants are introduced to key management concepts in week one, spend the next several weeks applying those concepts to their workplace, then return to the classroom for week two to share experiences with instructors and classmates.
The course is targeted to mid-level managers in information technology, operations and research, and development, and executives approaching upper-management positions.
The mighty Wharton Wildmen hockey team is already promoting the annual alumni Wildmen game planned for next year’s New York Follies weekend in February 1999.
The outgoing leadership says it apologizes to alumni for “dropping the puck this year” by failing to book ice for a 1998 event.
Alumni interested in details of the 1999 game plan are invited to visit http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~wildmen