Wharton Now

FibrinX Wins Wharton Business Plan Competition Grand Prize with Wound Care Derived from Fish Plasma

Student team FibrinX, whose tissue sealant provides a safer and cheaper adhesive to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery or after traumatic injury, won the $20,000 grand prize of the Wharton Business Plan Competition (BPC). The prize was awarded at the School’s annual Venture Finals in April 2005, when student finalists received a total of $75,000 in combined cash prizes, access to capital and in-kind legal/accounting services.

This year’s Venture Finals, the culminating event of the year-long Wharton BPC, attracted scores of venture capitalists, business leaders, faculty and students. The Venture Finals judges who selected the winning teams represented a range of organizations including First Round Capital; Perseus Group, LLC; Arzu, Inc.; Arboretum Ventures; Sienna Ventures and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, a Platinum Sponsor of the Wharton BPC.

The students of FibrinX include Dhaval Gosalia, a University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering PhD candidate from Bombay, India, and Jonathan Goodspeed, WG’05, a second-year Wharton School MBA student from Greenwich, CT. They say that unlike traditional mammal-based sealants, their proprietary application of Atlantic salmon blood plasma is less expensive, reduces blood loss and decreases the risk of mammalian-borne viruses. The team’s technology is protected by six patents and has already received U.S. Army and Navy funding for pre-clinical trials. In fact, use in combat situations is one of the market segments FibrinX is targeting. Others include emergency rooms, hospital surgeries and dental offices.

Second-place team IntuiTouch, which was marketing a handheld device for portable, at-home breast cancer detection, not only won $10,000 for their overall finish, they also won the Frederick H. Gloeckner Award of $5,000 for the highest-ranking Wharton undergraduate team in the Wharton BPC. The winner of the $5,000 third prize was Dynamic BioSystems, a developer of fast, “scarless” wound healing without special storage requirements targeted for military, travel use.

Knowledge@ Wharton Chinese Version Launched

In March 2005 Knowledge@Wharton launched a free Chinese version, called China Knowledge@Wharton. Wharton created the new site, which is published in Chinese, to meet the demands for online research and business analysis by management leaders in Chinese-reading populations worldwide.

The Chinese version will provide articles and research papers in its database from existing Knowledge@Wharton content as well as articles uniquely created for the new version. Published from Shanghai, the site is funded by donations and corporate sponsorships. Founding sponsors of China Knowledge@Wharton include RGM International, Ta Ya Group, Yageo and Asia Pacific Telecom Group.

The first Chinese edition included a special interview with Haier Group CEO Zhang Ruimin as well as a Boston Consulting Group and Knowledge@Wharton special report, “Overcoming the Challenges in China Operations.” The report includes experts at BCG and Wharton who weigh in on issues including developing management talent, R&D operations, sourcing of high-tech and traditional goods, and logistics. In addition, the CEO of TCL, one of China’s largest companies, discusses his company’s experiences in the global marketplace.

Published biweekly, Knowledge@Wharton captures and reports knowledge generated at Wharton via research papers, conferences, books and interviews with faculty on current business topics, and distributes that knowledge online to a global business audience. Prior to the Chinese-edition launch, Knowledge@Wharton had more than 450,000 subscribers. In addition to English and Chinese, K@W also publishes in Spanish and Portuguese in collaboration with Universia.net. To access China Knowledge@Wharton in simplified Chinese (requires Chinese character fonts), visit <http:// knowledge.wharton.com.cn/ index.cfm> or China Knowledge@Wharton in English: <http://knowledge.wharton.com.cn/ index.cfm?languageid=1>.

Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab Introduces Two New Learning Simulations

Students need to solve real-world problems to learn about business. So how to include practical business experiences in classroom learning? Two recent learning simulations developed by Wharton’s Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab involved MBA students in hedging foreign currency risks and innovating entrepreneurial products.

In HEDGE, used by students in International Corporate Finance classes, students simulate being international financial managers who face different kinds of foreign exchange risk. They then have to decide how much currency to hedge and which financial instruments to use for specific situations. The simulation, explained Finance Professor Karen Lewis, allows “students to experience an actual outcome. A whiteboard does not allow them to get directly involved in a scenario and quickly see the causes and effects of their decisions.”

Wharton’s Innovation Toolkit simulation — used by students in Innovation and Entrepreneurship courses under the leadership of Professor Ian MacMillan, director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center — gives students a framework to think through each step of a new product’s lifecycle. It provides online course modules based on MacMillan and Rita MacGrath’s book The Entrepreneurial Mindset, leading students through such stages as product design, business design optimization and competitive market segmentation.

“These simulations push the envelope in terms of how professors can teach and what students can learn,” said Deirdre Woods, chief information officer and associate dean of the Wharton School. “Without Learning Lab simulations, many types of learning would be off-limits to students, since the concepts require real-time interaction. These new interactive offerings will help solidify Wharton’s position as the leader in creating and disseminating business knowledge through the use of technology.”

Innovative learning simulations are also central to Wharton’s executive education programs, in which they help executives learn practical lessons that they can take right back to their workplaces. “We can create something that is more lifelike and bring a more realistic element to market simulations,” said Professor Robert Holthausen, academic director of Wharton’s executive program in Mergers & Acquisitions.

Simulations allow managers to go back and change strategies after they see the results of their original decisions. This experience often gives them a new appreciation for the complexities of acquisitions and the strategies that can lead to success.

“The reason for the simulation is to get the participants to understand that there are many facets of an M&A process that normally are treated as independent, but all these things are interdependent,” explained Holthausen. “They realize the integration decisions that lead to higher value or lower returns.”

Wharton’s Alfred West Jr. Learning Lab, founded in 2001 with a $10 million gift from alumnus Alfred West Jr., WG’66, creates innovative learning simulations to involve Wharton students in real-world business decision making. The technology has now been licensed to dozens of other schools, and has already been used by more than 6,000 students at Wharton. To date, 25 Wharton professors have worked with the Lab to develop simulations for their classes.

Rodney McLauchlan, WG'78, third from left, inspired seond-year MBA students to give to their class pledge with a $50,000 challenge grant and a visit to MBA Pub

Record MBA Class Pledge Creates a Legacy

For the third year in a row, the graduating MBA class set a new record for class gift — hitting seven figures for the first time. Raising the bar for the next generation of students is something of a Wharton tradition, but the goals of the 2005 Class Legacy were loftier than mere competitive spirit.

“During the campaign, we never said our goal was to raise a lot of money,” said Andras Forgacs, WG’05, who co-chaired the committee along with Mona Bijoor, also WG’05. “Our goal was to get people to become active alumni. We believed that if we could do that, we would have a successful campaign.”

The strategy worked. A total of $1,133,767 was pledged by the combined traditional and executive MBA classes. The class pledge total includes 98% overall participation, with $883,284 contributed by the traditional MBA and $304,483 from the MBA Exec students. The combined total is believed to be the largest class gift in dollars among U.S. institutions of higher education.

In true Wharton fashion, the committee used quantitative analysis to make the marketing message more effective. Eighty volunteers submitted data on their Wharton contacts, and the committee used linear optimization to assign 10 individual prospects to the committee member who would most successfully approach them. By limiting their contacts, each volunteer was able to give more personal attention to the students who they were assigned.

Other innovations contributed to the success. This year’s Class Legacy project was the first to use an interactive e-mail marketing campaign and to implement online giving with real-time updates through a student-created website. On the low-tech, high-touch side, the committee expanded the campaign’s supporting social events, sponsoring a casual barbecue on Koo Plaza, an MBA Pub night and a cocktail party held at Vesper on Boathouse Row. The events were supported by alumni speakers Phil Darivoff, W’79, WG ’85, Gloria Rabinowitz, WG’78, and Alfred West Jr., WG’66.

The committee made sure alumni involvement was a two-way exchange. “We wanted to inspire alumni too,” said co-chair Bijoor. “Our pledge shows them that we’re committed to the school — we feel that it’s important to invest in it.”

In fact, the campaign was boosted by two challenge grants from alumni. First Rodney McLauchlan, WG’78, pledged up to $50,000 in increments beginning at 70 percent class participation. When pledges approached the 95 percent level achieved the previous year, a second alumnus, Ronald S. Haft, W’81. WG’82, chipped in an additional $1,000 for every per­centage point approaching 100 percent. The total challenge grant added another $54,000 to the hefty total.

This year the campaign also involved closer collaboration with the MBA Program for Executives class gift, emphasizing that both programs form one graduating class. The MBA Exec class pledge, co-chaired by Steven Shea and Andrea Kirk in the east and Greg Chow and Michael Ashburn in the west (all WG’05), achieved a nearly perfect 99.4% participation.

“It’s not about the money — it’s about creating a culture,” Bijoor insisted. “Wharton has always done a lot with a little. Now it’s time we do a lot with a lot.”

Wharton Students Consult on Sustainable Industry for Peruvian Rainforest

Building a product distribution network in the rainforest is hard enough. It doesn’t get any easier when the only bridge into town is washed out.

This was just one of the challenges faced by six members of the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum (GCP) during a recent trip to Peru’s Palcazu Valley. There, the students met the indigenous Yanesha people, a growing community of artisans working to build a sustainable lifestyle in the rainforest.

In January 2005, the GCP team traveled to Lima, Peru, and its surrounding rainforest to consult for the nonprofit Partnerships and Technology for Sustainability (PaTS). PaTS aims to preserve the forests of the Palcazu Valley by creating sustainable industry for the indigenous Yanesha people who call the valley their home.

The group teaches the Yanesha to use the rainforest — their most abundant natural resource — to create furniture, housewares and accessories. It’s a far cry from just a few years ago, when the Yanesha lived as subsistence farmers and sold off their trees to logging companies.

“Now not only are they able to sustain the forest,” reported trip participant Lisa Linn de Barona, “but they’re able to send their children to school, invest in community buildings, and do all kinds of things they couldn’t do before.”

The team spent nine days in Peru, meeting the Yanesha artisans and their families and studying how they made and distributed their product. These experiences helped them understand firsthand the obstacles — especially the difficulties of travel in the Palcazu valley — that the Yanesha must overcome to build and ship their product.

Now back in the States, the students have to find new ways of getting the Yanesha goods into stores, translating the artisans’ craftsmanship into a marketable brand.

In the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, Wharton MBA candidates engage with the real world of consulting for international companies. The companies gain a North American business plan, and the students learn valuable lessons about creating and implementing a business strategy.

Student-Founded Partnership Aids South African Education

“When other people start to fall over with leg cramps, you have to wonder what’s going to happen to you.” So said Rush McCloy, WG’05, who recently ran the 35-mile Two Oceans Ultra Marathon in Cape Town, South Africa, to raise money and awareness for Students4Students, the student-run nonprofit group that he co-founded in 2003.

Students4Students is a partnership of business school students and alumni committed to creating sustainable educational vehicles throughout the developing world, focusing on one region at a time in partnership with educationally focused non-governmental organizations. With members at Wharton, Harvard, Columbia and the University of Cape Town, Students4Students plans to expand to other business schools over the next several years.

Co-founder Sarah Ryerson, WG’05, started the organization out of gratitude for her own educational opportunities. She explained: “I would really like to see the organization be a true representative of business school students around the world, so that this is the one organization where business students feel like they can really give back through education.”

As part of a five-year commitment to South Africa, Students4Students is working with the Ubuntu Education Fund, a Port Elizabeth-based nonprofit dedicated to education and health. The fund was founded in 1999 by Penn graduate Jacob Lief, C’99, who stresses that it is “not a charity. We build sustainable programs with tangible goals.”

“We live in the communities where we work, we understand their needs, and, together with the community, we create sustainable development projects that truly empower people. Our success relies on our commitment to giving people the means to improve their own community.”

Lief spent time in South Africa as an undergraduate, when he had an eye-opening visit to a school in Port Elizabeth, “There were 90 kids in the classroom, but everyone was quiet — they just wanted to learn. It was very inspiring.” Still an undergraduate, Lief held a raffle on Locust Walk to buy office supplies and opened shop in his dorm room.

Six years later, with offices in Port Elizabeth and Manhattan, Ubuntu serves 40,000 children each month and 13,000 adults each year. The Fund has helped develop community learning centers and health-education initiatives to teach responsible health practices in a country where more than a fifth of the adult population is infected with HIV or AIDS.

Students4Students has pledged to raise funds for Ubuntu’s Mpilo-Lwazi health education program, which reaches more than 55,000 people through health education classes in 24 township schools, including youth counseling, community outreach workshops, and sustainable food gardens.

While in the townships, the Students4Students group also attended AIDS awareness workshops where health educators discussed sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS prevention. “The area is characterized by high unemployment and health issues,” explained Javis Gqamlana, the director of the Clover County School, “but education is the passion that we want to spur because these kids are the future of our nation.”

Ahead of next year’s marathon, Students4Students organized a gala New York City benefit on May 12 toward an overall five-year goal of raising $5 million for education in South Africa.

Wharton Global Family Alliance Conducts First Gathering in Dubai

Every family business faces unique challenges of succession and leadership, but what happens when a family business is actually a multinational corporation worth billions? The Wharton Global Family Alliance (Wharton GFA), a research partnership between Wharton and leading global business families, aims to address the key questions major family firms face. In March 2005, the alliance held its first conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), to bring together Wharton researchers and more than 300 family business leaders from around the world.

The three-day Dubai conference created a forum for discussing economic trends affecting its members, with a particular emphasis on issues specific to the Middle East. Wharton professors Ian McMillan, Richard Herring, Bulent Gultekin, Janice Bellace, and Raphael (Raffi) Amit moderated panels on such topics as “Capital Markets and Investment Opportunities,” “Creating Societal Wealth,” “Entrepreneurship and Capital Flows,” “Valuing Private Companies” and “Managing Family Succession.” Keynote speakers included H.E. Dr. Mohamed Khalfan bin Khirbash, UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry, and Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman of Dubai’s Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corp.; chairman of Tejari.com, a B2B marketplace; chairman of the property development company Nakheel; and executive chairman of Istithmar, a Dubai-based investment holding company that was the lead sponsor of the conference.

“The conference demonstrated the power of combining Wharton’s research capabilities with a deep network of family business leaders,” said Wharton GFA Executive Director Todd Millay.

Thirty-five percent of the S&P 500 is family controlled, and 15% of the world’s largest 1,000 businesses are family owned. Worldwide, more than half of the private sector works for family firms. WGFA is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Wharton and CCC Alliance that allows global families with businesses at the highest levels to collaborate for their mutual benefit and for the betterment of society as a whole. Led by Wharton management professor Raffi Amit, the chairman of the Wharton GFA Executive Committee, WGFA is focused on research into, and the sharing of, best practices of globally influential family enterprises.

Recent Wharton GFA research includes a major study on the added value derived from family firms run by founders and a case study on Kohler, the closely held family-run plumbing fixtures firm with annual revenues in excess of $2 billion.

Alumnus Thomas Caleel Named Director of Wharton School MBA Admissions and Financial Aid

Following an extensive search, Thomas Caleel, C’94, WG’03, has been named Wharton’s director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid. Caleel previously worked for Silicon Valley private equity firm Cagan McAfee Capital Partners, where he served as a financial analyst for portfolio companies and raised public and private funds for the energy, recycling and life sciences sectors.

“As a successful entrepreneur, venture financier and chief executive, Thomas Caleel’s professional experience has been wide ranging and internationally diverse,” said Anjani Jain, vice dean of the Wharton School’s MBA Division. “As an alumnus, he now returns to Wharton with great enthusiasm for the opportunity to help shape the School’s future.”

Caleel began his career in 1995 as director of the Moscow Representative Office at Heritage Finance & Trust, a private financial group based in Geneva, Switzerland. Between 1998 and 2001, Caleel was a co-founder of BCI Private Capital, a holding company in Denver, CO. While at BCI, Caleel played a role in acquiring or founding several new product lines and new businesses and served as the interim CEO of a Russian-Swiss technology venture that delivers medical information and mobile phones to remote disaster areas.

While a student at Wharton, he was a leadership fellow, co-chair of the ethics committee, a graduate assistant in the MBA Admissions Office and a member of the Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Committee.

Wharton Alumni Magazine Under New Editor

In May 2005 Kelly Andrews became the new editor of the Wharton Alumni Magazine. Wharton’s associate director of publications for the past three years, Andrews previously worked on School outreaches, including the 2004 website re-launch and MBA Admissions’ award-winning integrated marketing communications strategy. Prior to coming to Wharton, she served as managing editor at CDNOW and as senior editor at Target Marketing and Entrepreneurial Edge magazines. Andrews holds an undergraduate degree in humanities from Johns Hopkins University and a master of liberal arts degree with concentrations in writing and literature from the University of Pennsylvania.

Send Magazine feedback or School and alumni news to kelly.andrews@wharton.upenn.edu or call her at 215.746.2296.

 

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