Expanding the Wharton Brand in Israel
The Wharton Club of Israel, with its 150-plus alumni, has grown significantly during the past 10 years, not only in its member numbers but also in its number of organized events bringing together local alumni and friends of the School. From organizing the 2001 Global Alumni Conference that attracted more than 300 guests from around the world to smaller annual and quarterly events, the Club has been successful in significantly strengthening and expanding the Wharton brand in Israel. One of the results has been a dramatic increase in the number of Israeli applicants to the MBA program, which is a clear indication of the reputation the School is enjoying in Israel.
The Club’s main annual event, the Gala Dinner, was held for the fifth consecutive time in December. More than 130 people gathered and enjoyed a full program of networking, lectures, and good food. This year’s keynote speaker was Efraim Halevi, former head of the Israeli intelligence organization, Mossad, and he shared fascinating insights into the complex situation in the Middle East.
In the tradition of the Gala Dinner, the Club selects a recipient for the “Leadership Formation Award.” It is the Club’s philosophy that excellence in various fields brings leadership in changing existing conditions for better social and economic conditions. This year’s recipient was the MASA-Israel program, pioneered by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jewish Agency. MASA enables thousands of Jewish young adults to spend a semester or a year in Israel in one of over 100 approved academic programs by providing scholarships, information, and support. MASA’s aim is to help young Jews from around the world build a lifelong relationship with Israel and the Jewish world. In addition to the annual Gala Dinner, the Club hosts a number of quarterly events that combine networking opportunities with in-depth lectures and discussions about a specific topic.
Past quarterly events saw guest lecturers such as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Richard Jones, U.S. Ambassador to Israel. The next quarterly event scheduled for June 12 was to include a case study analysis of one of Israel’s top digital printing technology startups that was purchased by HP in 2002. The case study, looking at the benefits and risks of an acquisition of a local business by a multinational company, will be hosted by Professor Seev Hirsch from the Recanati Business School at Tel Aviv University.
The Club has also successfully created a strong, ongoing collaboration with the local Harvard Business School Alumni Club. With HBS’s 150-plus members and Wharton’s 150-plus members, we have formed the largest alumni group of top U.S. business schools in Israel. The combined strength allows both clubs to reach a larger number of key people in the Israeli business community and thus have a greater influence. As part of this alliance, the HBS Alumni Club has become an integral part and a valuable partner in all activities. The Wharton Club of Israel is run by a management committee comprised of Eyal Kaplan, WG’90 (Chairman), Isaac Devash, W’88 (President), Elli Streit, WG’65, and Yarom Arad, WG’95.
– Yarom Arad, WG’95
Wharton Club of Germany/Austria Holds First Karneval Event
In February 2007, the Wharton Club of Germany/Austria inaugurated a Karneval event that it hopes will become an annual tradition. After months of organization, Christian Mayer, W’03, procured 25 sought after tickets to the exclusive Rote Funken Ball. The Rote Funken (red sparks) are one of the oldest traditional Karneval organizations in Cologne, so their official Karneval balls are by invitation only.
The evening started with a group dinner in the Maritim Hotel restaurant overlooking the river, where alumni from across generations and guests chatted with each other and exchanged fond memories about their time at Wharton. After the dinner and group picture, the Wharton crew stormed into the party venue and mingled with other Karneval guests.
The ball not only involved the parading of all-out costumes by the attendees, but also dancing and singing along to the classic repertoire of popular Karneval bands such as Die Black Fööss and Die Höhner, not to mention the consumption of the local beer, Kölsch. The alumni with the best endurance were still dancing beyond 4 a.m. Without a doubt, the fun will be repeated next year.
— Yin Yin, W’05, C’05, WG’06, and Christian Mayer, W’03
Wharton Hedge Fund Network, One of Wharton’s Newest Affinity Groups
The Wharton Hedge Fund Network (WHFN) was founded in 2005 as an Affinity Group of the Wharton Club of New York (WCNY). The group aims to bring together Wharton alumni active in the greater hedge fund community, which includes professionals working at hedge funds, hedge fund allocators, prime brokers, lawyers, accountants and other service providers active in the hedge fund space. Events are by invitation only and limited to Wharton alumni who are employed in the hedge fund space.
WHFN has hosted a wide range of events—featuring speakers from firms such as AQR, D.B. Zwirn, Fermat, Goldman Sachs, JANA, Perry Capital, Soros, Stark, and Vega Plus; cuttingedge topics such as energy, emerging markets, quantitative strategies, and reinsurance; and leadership items such as SEC registration, seed capital, and how to deal with the press. A typical event is attended by 75-plus WHFN members, ranging in graduating years from 1969 to 2006. In the first two years, almost 350 individual members attended, on average, an impressive 2.5 events per member.
Why Be a Part of WHFN
WHFN members represent the leading hedge funds, institutions/foundations, funds of funds, family offices, prime brokers, and other service providers in the industry. Wharton’s high quality presence in the industry is exemplified in the professionals who attend our events, and we believe this is a real added value for membership in WHFN. For more information, please visit www.whartonhedgefundnetwork.com.
Wharton Club of South Florida Mixes Business and Entertainment
Winter is the busiest season for the Wharton Club of South Florida, and this past year’s was particularly eventful. Gene Sulzberger, W’86, from Mellon Bank again hosted the Annual Corporate Growth Event atop the Mellon Bank Building on Brickell Avenue. With a stunning view of the city at sunset, alumni enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres prior to the presentation. The two featured companies were DayJet and DHL. As DayJet presented its concept for on-demand, by-the-seat air transportation, many heads nodded in understanding and hopes for better options. Gerald Berson, W’41, received the distinguished alumnus award from Club President
Bill Britton, WG’89, for his outstanding service to the Club over his years in South Florida. In March, Wharton alumni of South Florida spent an evening in the fast world of cars and entertainment. The evening began with great food, wine and conversation as alumni and their guests mingled amidst the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Bentleys at the Collexium showroom in Davie. No test driving permitted this evening!
Pete Fader, Frances and Pei-Yuan Chia Professor of Marketing, and Nelson Gayton, Director of the Wharton Media & Entertainment Initiative, shared some exciting ideas and statistics from their research in the music industry. The South Florida Club continues to strike a balance between venue, speaker, and sponsor. As the season heats up in Florida, the club cools down, so stay tuned for events in the fall.
Real Estate Rules at Wharton Club of Tampa Bay
In November 2006, the Wharton Club of Tampa Bay held its first real estate panel — “Boom? Bust? What’s Next for the Tampa Bay?” Professor Georgette Chapman Phillips, the David B. Ford Professor of Real Estate and Chairperson of the Real Estate Department, moderated the lively discussion. Two alumni served as panelists: Joel Cantor, WG’89, CEO and Founder of Gulf Atlantic Real Estate and Mark Huey, WG’82, the Economic Development Administrator for the city of Tampa.
More than 150 Wharton, Penn, and other business school alumni networked at the Tampa Club, enjoying great food, wine, and views of the city before the discussion. With standing room only, Steve Stagg, WG’00, president of the Club, promised to make this an annual event.
Wharton Club of Mexico City Hosts U.S. Undersecretary for International Trade
The Wharton Club of Mexico City hosted an intimate dinner in honor of Franklin L. Lavin, WG’96, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade. Lavin, an alumnus of the Wharton MBA Program for Executives and the former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, leads the International Trade Administration to help develop U.S. trade policy; identify and resolve market access and compliance issues, administer U.S. trade laws; and undertake trade promotion and trade advocacy efforts. The informal meal included Club members and U.S. Embassy representatives, as well as Lavin. Said Gerardo Hamilton, WG’80, “Commercial relations between the two countries were discussed. A great affair.”