Duckworth,WG’79, Speaks at MBA Commencement
Connie Duckworth, WG’79, one of the nation’s most influential women’s business leaders, was the featured speaker at the School’s MBA Commencement on May 18. Duckworth is a founding partner of 8 Wings Enterprises, through which she and three other partners serve as business advisors to, and selectively invest in, early-stage, women-led companies.
Prior to forming 8 Wings Enterprises, Duckworth had a successful 20-year career with Goldman, Sachs & Co., where she was the firm’s first female sales and trading partner. She also served as co-head of the Municipal Bond Department, head of Fixed Income in Los Angeles, co-head of the firm’s Chicago office, and regional head of Fixed Income Sales in a 20-state area.
Duckworth is also the chair of the Committee of 200, a professional organization of preeminent women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. The organization capitalizes on the power, success, and influence of businesswomen in the global economy. She also has been active in Renaissance Ventures in Boston, the Center for Women’s Business Research (formerly the National Foundation for Women Business Owners), and the Forte Foundation. She serves on the advisory boards of the business schools of the University of Michigan and the University of Texas, as well as the Graduate Executive Board of the Wharton School.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including being named in 1997 to Working Mother magazine’s first annual list of the 25 Most Influential Working Mothers in America. In 2000, she received the Kathleen McDonald Distinguished Alumnae Award from the Wharton Women in Business club. All three of Wharton’s degree-granting divisions celebrated the graduation of the 2003 classes in separate ceremonies that day. The Undergraduate Division held its Commencement program in the morning and the Graduate Division in the afternoon, both at Franklin Field. Later that evening, Wharton Doctoral Programs held their ceremony at the University Museum.
MBA Class Gift Sets New Record
The MBA Class of 2003 raised $470,539 for their class gift, the highest amount ever raised by a graduating class. Despite the difficult economy and tough job market, 98 percent of the class of 757 students participated in raising money for their unrestricted class gift.
“I congratulate this year’s class on their historic achievement in the class gift campaign,” stated Wharton Dean Patrick Harker. “Their accomplishment in setting this most impressive record in class giving mirrors the great spirit they have brought to the School over the last two years. Their record will serve as a shining example for both the classes that follow and the entire alumni community.”
Wharton Private Equity Boot Camp
For some Wharton students, the week after spring finals is time to hit the beach. But for more than 300 Wharton undergraduate and graduate students, it was time for “Boot Camp” – the Wharton Private Equity Boot Camp. The rigorous program, which took place May 12-13, consisted of nearly 20 hours of sessions such as “Due Diligence Strategies,” “Emerging Markets,” and “Ethical Responsibilities of the Private Equity Professional.”
A partnership of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs (WEP) and the Wharton Private Equity Alumni Network (WPEN), the program’s sessions featured faculty – led by WEP Academic Director Raphael “Raffi” Amit – providing instruction alongside some 40 visiting alumni private equity professionals. Stephen Sammut, WG’84, who also teaches private equity at Wharton, was among those instrumental in the Private Equity Boot Camp’s development. Sammut took the lead in tapping his fellow WPEN club mates so that students could both learn from and mingle with private equity practitioners representing firms like Sycamore Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Mellon Ventures.
“WPEN sees this program as a way to help students gain a baseline of knowledge before they enter the industry,” said Dean Miller, WG’99, principal of PA Early Stage Funds and president of WPEN. “But also we want to encourage relationships between students and Wharton grads working in private equity, since those contacts are such an important element to success in the private equity business.”
PAWS Pet Insurance Wins Business Plan Competition
PAWS Pet Insurance, whose business plan is aimed at providing accident and illness pet health insurance to pet owners in the U.S., won the Wharton Business Plan Competition Grand Prize, worth $20,000. The prize was awarded at the annual Wharton Venture Fair on April 28 where, in all, students received more than $45,000 in cash prizes and access to capital.
With its focus on the well-being of dogs and cats, PAWS bucks a trend of Grand Prize winners focused on life sciences; a life science concept, Biogenomix, won second prize.
This year’s Venture Fair, the culminating event of the year-long Competition, took place at the School’s new academic facility, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, and attracted nearly 300 venture capitalists, business leaders, faculty, and students. Distinguished judges at the Venture Fair came from The Goldman Sachs Group, Johnson & Johnson, Flatiron Partners, Business 2.0, Flagship Ventures, Thomas, McNerney & Partners, and Anthem Capital Management.
An anorexic house cat named “Bodey” inspired its British owners, husband/wife Wharton MBA students Chris and Natasha Ashton, to launch PAWS. After spending $5,000 for Bodey’s treatment, the Ashtons, along with teammates Alex Krooglik and Laura Bennett (an actuary), came together to tap a dearth of pet health insurance options in the U.S. Their insurance products are targeted at segments of the 99% of U.S pet owners who do not own pet health insurance.
For the second year, students were able to enter an “industry track” in partnership with Penn’s Graduate School of Education, as part of its goal to encourage participation by all entrepreneurial-minded students at the University of Pennsylvania. The education track is sponsored by The Goldman Sachs Foundation, which is also a Gold Sponsor of the Competition itself.
Alumni in the News
Roger H. Ballou, WG’73, president and CEO of CDI Corp, was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor on May 17th, which was created in 1986 to honor ancestral groups who through sacrifice and success helped build our nation. (PR Newswire, 5/19/03)
Gwendolyn Pointer, W’94, was mentioned in an article about her goal to one day own a sports franchise. She is currently working with the minor league team, the Brockton Rox, where she is doing everything from ushering fans to seats to making deals with sponsors. (The Boston Globe, 5/15/03)
Tarun Tahiliani, W’84, a fashion designer, was mentioned in a New York Times article about emerging fashion trends from India. (5/13/03)
Susan Firestone, WG’81, former vice president of financial products at ACE Limited, was mentioned in Forbes Magazine regarding starting up her own silk importing business. (5/12/03)
Bob Ziegelbauer, WG’75,Wisconsin state representative, was mentioned in an article concerning Wisconsin’s pension plan for its retired population. (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, 5/4/03)
Eric Adler, WG’96, executive director of the SEED (Schools for Educational Evolution and Development) foundation, was mentioned in Fast Company regarding the SEED Public Charter School of Washington, DC, that he co-founded and his plans to start another SEED school. (5/1/03)
Umber Ahmad, WG’02, was featured in the film “Risk/Reward.” The film is a documentary of four women on Wall Street, one of which is Ahmad. (Toronto Star, 4/29/03)
Jacob Wallenberg, W’80, WG’81, was featured in an article about running the Wallenberg family empire with his cousin, Marcus. (The Wall Street Journal Europe, 4/22/03)
Isabelle Benton, WG’83, was featured in a Philadelphia Inquirer article about her role at the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Benton has been elected to the exchange’s board of governors. (4/21/03)
Marco DeBenedetti, WG’88, was featured in an article about the European cell phone market. DeBenedetti is CEO at Telecom Italia Mobile, a mobile telephone company. (The New York Times, 4/8/03)
Donald Trump, W’68, was interviewed on the “Today” show about his new reality TV series, “The Apprentice.” The show will have contestants trying to survive New York’s corporate jungle, with the ultimate prize being a year-long job with Trump. (NBC News: Today, 4/8/03; BusinessWeek Online, 4/23/03)
Badal Pandhi, W’02, was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about business school case competitions. Pandhi commented that participating in a case competition helped him land his investment-banking analyst job at Legg Mason, Inc., a Baltimore financial services company. (4/8/03)
M. Rashed Hasan, WG’87, was featured in an article about preventing teen drug abuse among Muslims. Hasan is the education director for the Muslim Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh, where a pilot workshop on prevention was held. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/2/03)
Anil Ambani, WG’83, was featured in an article about his father, Dhirubhai Ambani, the former chairman of Reliance Industries in India. The younger Ambani now oversees the company’s finances. (World Trade, 4/1/03)
Phil Smith, WG’97, was profiled in “Today’s Spotlight” as vice president of corporate development at Vital Images, Inc., a company that develops, markets, and supports three-dimensional medical imaging software. (Star Tribune, Minneapolis-St. Paul, 3/23/03)
Jeff Zaun, WG’00, was featured in an article about his experience as a prisoner of war during the Gulf War. He and 16 other former POWs have filed a lawsuit against Iraq seeking damages for their imprisonment while held captive. (Associated Press Newswires, 3/21/03; The New York Times, 3/26/03)
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, WG’86, was mentioned in a CNN broadcast about uninsured Americans. According to Lavizzo-Mourey, one out of two personal bankruptcy filings are related to medical bills. (CNNfn: Markets Impact, 3/12/03)
Recent Alumni Publications
Action!: A Novel
By Robert Cort, C’68, G’70, WG’74
Random House (2003)
“With his gift for good old-fashioned storytelling, Robert Cort has written a great novel you can’t put down. Kirk Douglas once said that you tell more of the truth in fiction than in an autobiography. And that’s what Cort, a movie producer, has done, with all the Hollywood giants playing themselves.” –Lesley Stahl
How to Grow When Markets Don’t
By Adrian Slywotzky and Richard Wise, C’86, WG’92 (with Karl Weber)
Warner Business Books (2003)
“a thought-provoking prescription to revive the top line.” –BusinessWeek
Mastering Alliance Strategy
By James D. Bamford, Benjamin Gomes-Casseres, and Michael S. Robinson, WG’95
John Wiley & Sons (2003)
“Provides a wealth of concrete and practical insight and advice on how to get the best possible results from strategic alliances.” –Yves Doz, Professor, INSEAD
Following the Money: The Enron Failure and the State of Corporate Disclosure
By George Benston, Michael Bromwich, Robert E. Litan, W’72, and Alfred Wagenhofer
AEI Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies (2003)
“Using the Enron case as a point of departure, the authors argue that the major problem lies not in the accounting and auditing standards themselves, but in the system of enforcing those standards.” –Publisher
Simply Rich: 28 Simple Ways to Bring More Richness Into Your Everyday Life
By Dante Monique Pirouz, WG’92
Modern Living Media (2003)
“…gives readers inspiring and simple-to-use ideas for giving voice to their inner creativity while helping them cope with stress, change, loss, and/or setbacks.” –Publisher
Managing High-Tech Services Using a CRM Strategy
By Donald F. Blumberg, EE’57, WG’58
St. Lucie Press (2003)
“[Blumberg] demonstrates how CRM can give you the tools you need to get and stay ahead in today’s hypercompetitive business environment.” –Publisher