And the Winner Is . . . Judges Select Best Business Plan
RadioXchange, a business plan to facilitate the sale of remnant radio advertising inventory through an Internet-based, auction-driven platform, emerged as the grand prize winner of the first Wharton Business Plan Competition held this spring.
The winning team – Kevin Spain, WG’99, Maury Apple, W’98, WG’99, and Brian Richards, JD/WG’99 – earned a $25,000 prize ($15,000 in cash and a $10,000 investment in the company). The award was sponsored by Safeguard Scientifics, a Pennsylvania-based venture capital firm. Safeguard chairman and CEO Warren L. “Pete” Musser was a keynote speaker at the event.
The competition was sponsored by Wharton’s Goergen Entrepreneurial Management Program. More than 350 students from the school submitted business concepts and competed for over $40,000 in award s and prizes. All of the winning teams were technology-based.
Three other business plans were recognized for excellence:
- Living Strategies, a web-based system designed to identify an elder’s housing and care needs and match those needs with best-fit housing and care providers. Sandeep Wadhwa, WG’99, Christopher Gatti, WG’98, and Lynn Dwyer, WG’98, won the $10,000 Snider Seed Prize funded by the Snider Seed Capital fund of Wharton’s Sol C. Snider Entrepeneurial Research center.
- SurgiSoft, a computer system and software intended to simplify surgical procedures as well as improve their cost, safety and efficiency. Dain DeGroff, WG’99, Jennifer Schneider, Rhea Tombropoulos, Scott Graves, WG’99, and Chris Latta, WG’99, won the Arthur Andersen Technology Prize of $5,000 for the best technology-based business concept.
- QLINX.COM, an Internet platform and suite of applications designed to revolutionize service delivery in case management systems by enhancing service quality, accessibility and cost effectiveness. Eric Fishman, Matthew Storm, WG’00, Ira Schwartz, David Schwartz, Jimmy Bosse, Michael Hurwitz and Anuj Gupta won a $1,000 prize for the most socially responsible business, sponsored partly by The Wharton Journal.
On April 27, eight finalists in the business plan competition had 12 minutes each to present their business plans to a panel of judges, who then had eight minutes to ask questions of the presenters. The judges, among them entrepreneurs, investment bankers and venture capitalists, included Mark Winkelman, WG’73, Limited Partner, Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Michael Bolton, PA Early Stage Partners/Safeguard Scientifics; Ash Lilani, senior vice president, Silicon Valley Bank; David Schlessinger, founder, Zany Brainy and Encore books; Peter Sears, retired president, SROne; Marvin Weinberger, Innovation Factory; Bruce Luehrs, general partner, Edison Venture Fund, and Bernard David, the Breakthrough Group.
Other business plan finalists in “The Great Eight” included Adhere Technologies, a manufacturer and distributor of portable patient interfaces that dispense medications and allow the tracing of patient medication usage; Nails on the Fly, a nail care service provider for women traveling through airports; MyFlyMiles.com, an air travel web site; PayMyBills.com, a subscription-based bill management service; and Pinpoint Training, a developer of high-end customized business training.
Competition sponsors included gold sponsor Arthur Andersen, LLP; and silver sponsors Silicon Valley Bank, Ben Franklin Technology Center of Southeast Pennsylvania; Ralph Mack Private Investments, Venture Bank@PNC and Ketchum.
“Building on the school’s long-standing commitment to the study of entrepreneurship,” notes Mark Fraga, managing director of the Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, “this competition provides students with greater access to financial capital and to the intellectual capital of business advisers and seasoned entrepreneurs.”
Fraga says he hopes to publish a “venture book” this summer with information on teams that participated in the competition’s semifinals and intend to move forward with their plans. The idea he adds, is to help these teams locate funding for their ventures from interested investors.
Building Projects Get a Lift
David Pottruck, C’70 and WG’72, president and co-chief executive officer of The Charles Schwab Corp., has made a $12 million gift to the University – $10 million to establish the David S. Pottruck Health and Fitness Center at Gimbel Gym and $2 million for Wharton’s Jon M. Huntsman Hall.
The $10 million designated for the gym project by Pottruck, who oversees all businesses and strategic development worldwide at Schwab, will include renovation of existing space in Gimbel as well as new construction. Pottruck is a trustee of Penn and a member of the Athletics Advisory Board.
Huntsman Hall this spring also received a $1 million gift from Charles S. Sanford, Jr., WG’60, retired chairman and CEO of Bankers Trust Co. The new building, a 320,000-square-foot academic center with the most advanced networking and communications technologies for learning, is scheduled to open in 2002.
Harker Named Deputy Dean
Patrick Harker, formerly chair of the Operations and Information Management department, has been appointed Wharton’s new deputy dean. In this position, Harker is the school’s chief academic officer.
He succeeds Janice R. Bellace, Samuel A. Blank Professor of Legal Studies and professor of management. Bellace, who will continue as a member of Wharton’s faculty, will become president of Singapore Management University, a new university being launched in partnership with Wharton.
Harker, who recently created the new MBA major in technological innovation, served as chairperson of the Systems Department at Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and director of Wharton’s Fishman-Davidson Center for the Study of the Service Sector. He was a White House Fellow in 1991. He is currently the UPS Transportation Professor for the Private Sector and professor of operations and information management and systems engineering.
In announcing Bellace’s departure as deputy dean, Gerrity, who stepped down as dean this month, described her as being “instrumental in enhancing our leadership in the area of information technology … and dramatically expanding globalization of the school. In addition, the strong growth in standing faculty can be directly attributable to Janice and her efforts, as well as the internationalization of faculty through vehicles such as exchange programs and research relationships with universities around the world.
An Influential Tenure
When Janice Bellace stepped down on July 1 as deputy dean of Wharton, she left behind a legacy of accomplishments that has affected almost every area of school life.
The accomplishment that gives her the most pride, she says, was the creation of the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business (IS&B), a joint undergraduate program between Wharton and Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) established in 1994. The degree program was only one in a series of innovations that stemmed from Bellace’s strong commitment to the internationalization of the undergraduate program. As vice dean and director of the Wharton undergraduate division from 1990 to 1994, she instituted a foreign language requirement for all incoming students, internationalized the undergraduate curriculum and established the first study abroad programs for Wharton undergraduates.
Driving the effort to get IS&B up and running, Bellace researched the school’s only other joint degree program (management and technology), initiated discussions with SAS on curriculum, budgetary, personnel and marketing issues, hired the program’s director and participated in fundraising.“We went from concept to implementation in record time,” she says. “We had not just a new curriculum but a totally new academic experience integrating broad social, cultural, political and business components. The program is very rigorous academically, challenging the small number  of highly motivated and outstanding students accepted each year.”
Bellace’s legacy also includes the establishment of Management 100, the required freshman undergraduate leadership course. With the mission of the undergraduate division to educate global business leaders of the 21st century, Bellace felt that the newly-approved curriculum lacked a critical requirement: leadership. She designed the course based on an experiential learning approach to teaching leadership, communication and teamwork. “We had the most incredible opportunity, the ability to take persons at one of the most formative periods of their lives, eighteen-year-olds starting college, and to have them grow personally and professionally by experimenting with different leadership styles.”
Bellace notes that Management 100 provides an additional benefit to Wharton. “Back in 1990, Wharton freshmen had no classes together and we were losing the chance to foster a sense of cohesion and class spirit.” Management 100 “has created a wonderful sense of community among these students” and has also resulted in a number of remarkable community service projects organized by Management 100 teams, she adds.
Bellace says a third major accomplishment of her tenure as deputy dean relates to building and strengthening Wharton’s world-class faculty, a role in which she worked closely with the chairs of Wharton’s 11 departments. “We attracted a certain number of ‘stars’ but just as importantly, we also identified extremely fine junior faculty and have sustained them through to promotion,” she says. “In the past five years, very, very few professors have chosen to leave Wharton even in the face of extremely competitive offers.”
As deputy dean, Bellace focused on expanding Wharton’s reach in Asia and negotiated academic alliances with the Indian School of Business, Singapore Management University and Chinese University of Hong Kong. To encourage faculty to undertake global research, she initiated the International Research Grants program.
Bellace is the first to note the quality of all those she has interacted with at Wharton, including faculty, staff and students. “Everyone here is committed to high performance and the highest quality,” she says. “It is an incredible place to work.”
Thouron Scholars Head for the UK
Two of this year’s Thouron Awards – prestigious fellowships that allow Penn students to study and travel in the United Kingdom, and British students to study and travel in the U.S. – went to Wharton seniors.
Eugene Huang and Brent Neiman, both of whom graduated in May with degrees from Wharton and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, were chosen on the basis of their academic and personal qualifications, a meeting with members of the Thouron family and a presentation before the selection committee on a current events topic.
Huang, who is from Beverly Hills, Calif., will study at Oxford for a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. He is the creator of an “extended functionality remote control” device and founder of a company to market it; a former member of Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell’s reelection campaign and Mark Warner’s Virginia Senate campaign, and a member of USA Today’s All-Academic Third Team, among other honors.
Neiman, a native of Highland Park, Ill., will work towards a degree in mathematical modeling and scientific computing from Oxford. He is a Benjamin Franklin Scholar, a Joseph Wharton Scholar, and a member of the varsity golf team.
A Groundbreaking Day
Jon M. Huntsman, W’59, and Thomas P. Gerrity, Wharton’s dean from 1990 until this past July 1, were both honored during two events April 16.
At noon, celebrants gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Jon M. Huntsman Hall, Wharton’s new state-of-the-art academic facility scheduled to open in 2002. The building will be located at the site of the old University Bookstore extending along 38th Street from Walnut Street to Locust Walk.
Huntsman, a member of Wharton’s board of overseers, is a noted philanthropist and leader in the global business community. His unprecedented support for Wharton includes a $40 million gift made to the school last spring.
At the groundbreaking ceremony were Penn president Judith Rodin, Saul Steinberg, W’59, a Penn trustee and chair of Wharton’s Board of Overseers, and members of Jon Huntsman’s family, including his wife Karen and son Jon Huntsman, Jr., C’87, a Penn trustee.
Later that evening, a special tribute was held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to honor both Huntsman’s support for the school and Gerrity’s nine years as dean of Wharton. The event included a reception, dinner and program of commemoration.
Endowed Chairs Filled
Among the most recent endowed chairs filled at Wharton is the Edward H. Bowman Professorship, funded by Saul Steinberg, W’59, and named after a respected and popular management professor.
Ned Bowman, an expert in managerial decision making and corporate strategy, died last fall of complications from heart surgery. He was the Reginald H. Jones Professor of Corporate Management and director of the Reginald H. Jones Center for Management Policy, Strategy and Organization.
Harbir Singh, chair of the Management Department and member of a new generation of strategists, has been selected to fill the Bowman chair. Singh’s research focuses on joint ventures, corporate acquisitions and corporate governance.
“Ned Bowman was a much loved and highly esteemed professor at Wharton,” notes Thomas P. Gerrity, who stepped down as dean of the school on July 1. “Indeed, he was always appreciated for his wise counsel and his great integrity. He was also a superb academic leader, renowned around the world for his work in strategic management.
“It is wonderful that the Bowman chair is being funded by Saul Steinberg,” adds Gerrity. “Saul is a great friend of Wharton and a great business leader. I want to thank him for his generosity to the school through his recognition of Ned Bowman.”
Other chairs awarded as of July 1 include: The Robert B. Goergen Professorship filled by Raphael Amit, who joined Wharton this month and was formerly a professor at the University of British Columbia, School of Commerce and Business Administration; the Saul P. Steinberg Professorship filled by Jitendra Singh, professor of management and sociology and vice dean for international academic affairs; the Fred R. Sullivan Professorship filled by Ian C. MacMillan, professor of management and director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Center; and the George W. Taylor Professorship filled by Peter Cappelli, professor of management and director of the Center for Human Resources.
Wharton Direct: Local Access to World-Class Learning
4:00 p.m., Portland: Ned Ginter, manager of employee relations and development at Tektronix, a $1.9 billion firm with operations in 23 countries, left work an hour early to attend class. With 15 years in HR at Tektronix, he has recently been promoted to a leadership role, and is looking for ways to build successful employee development programs within the company.
5:00 p.m., Phoenix: Jeff Wosje, the father of five and a vice president at Wells Fargo, settled in to an evening class that he hopes will help improve his ability to manage people during times of rapid change. A career employee of Norwest before its merger with Wells Fargo in November 1998, he manages a small business banking unit and is experiencing the challenges of working in an organization that is trying to integrate two cultures.
7:00 p.m., New York City: Rhonda Cox, a producer for MTV Animation, arrived for class after work. Her goal: to gain an edge in recruiting, retaining and motivating high-performance employees in an industry that is experiencing a booming business but a short age of available talent.
All three were joining fellow classmates at locally-based learning centers for the concluding 3-hour session of a 6-week executive education course, Managing the Workplace: People, Strategy and Leadership. In fact, they were joining the same class as students in Wharton’s new distributed learning initiative, Wharton Direct.
Since the program’s launch in September, more than 800 students in 30 cities around the country have completed one of three courses designed and taught by Wharton faculty: Building a Business Case, Managing the Workplace and Using Financial Statements. This fall, Wharton finance professor Jeremy Siegel will lead a new 7-week course on Understanding Economic Issues and Financial Markets.
Just as if they were on a university campus, students in these courses spend several hours before class completing reading and case assignments. During class they break into small discussion groups in order to share information, insights and frequently their own workplace experiences. They are also called on during class for their opinions on course material or other students’ ideas. And it is all done without needing to travel across country or take extended time off from work and away from families.
Offered in conjunction with Caliber Learning Network, Inc. of Baltimore, Md., Wharton Direct combines elements of the live classroom experience with advanced satellite and on-line technologies.
Faculty leading the class are broadcast live via satellite from a studio near the University campus (for history buffs, the same site where American Bandstand originated). Through video-conferencing, instructors can talk directly with students at any site, and their exchanges are shared by the entire class. Yes, even cold-calling is possible.
In addition, students have the benefit of on-line teaching assistants (TAs) both during and between class sessions. A secured course web site provides additional access to course information, materials and networking between class sessions.
“The kinds of interactions that go back and forth between the students, or between the students and the TAs, can be as valuable as the course material itself,” notes Alison McGrath Peirce, managing director for Wharton Direct.
The following e-mail exchange, she says, occurred recently between a student and a teaching assistant (TA) in Using Financial Statements:
Query from student in New York to TA in Philadelphia:
“I didn’t get a chance to ask a question during class last night regarding why companies take huge restructuring charges. What are the implications of such charges and what are the benefits?”
Answer from TA:
“The huge restructuring charges companies often take these days are a strategy for managing investors’ expectations. As [Wharton course leader] John Percival said several times in his lectures, you can look at the P/E ratio as the “applause meter” – it is an indication of how investors feel about the company’s future prospects: the higher the P/E, the better, of course.
“Taking restructuring charges is like taking a band-aid off. If you do it slowly it hurts over a longer period of time. But if you pull it off very quickly (i.e. take a huge ‘one-time’ restructuring charge) it may hurt a little more but the pain probably won’t last very long. Given human psychology and therefore investor behavior, many companies feel it’s better to experience a lot of pain for a relatively short period of time.”
Reply from student:
“Thanks for the prompt response … I was curious because one of our competitors just did that and from their market presence I always thought they were doing well. Hah! Now that I can analyze their annual report I feel pretty good about what we are doing in our business.”
Grade A Teaching
Every spring, both undergraduate and graduate students at Wharton take an opportunity to salute excellence in teaching.
Among the most prestigious honors is the David W. Hauck Award for Outstanding Teaching on the undergraduate level, given to two faculty members for their ability to stimulate and challenge students, knowledge of the latest research in the field and a commitment to educational leadership.
This year the recipients, each of whom receives $15,000, were Barbara E. Kahn, professor of marketing, and Lorin M. Hitt, assistant professor of operations and information management.
On the graduate level, the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award, given for teaching quality and commitment to students, went to Franklin Allen, Nippon Life Professor of Finance and Economics.
Also on the graduate level, eight faculty won Excellence in Teaching awards on the basis of student course evaluations. The professor with the highest rating among the eight also receives the Class of 1984 award.
This year William Tyson, associate professor of legal studies, won the Class of 1984 award, for the seventh time. The other seven winners included: Franklin Allen (finance); Michael W. Brandt (finance); Thomas Donaldson (legal studies); David Reibstein (marketing); Jeremy Siegel (finance); Nicolaj Siggelkow (management) and Karl T. Ulrich (operations and information management).
On the undergraduate level, awards for teaching excellence went to Suleyman Basak (finance); Thomas Donaldson (legal studies); Jeffrey Dyer (management); Jamshed K.S. Ghandhi (finance); William Hamilton (management); William S. Laufer (legal studies); Philip Nichols (legal studies) and William Tyson (legal studies).