Thomas S. Robertson to Become Wharton Dean
Former Wharton marketing professor Thomas S. Robertson returns August 1 to become the 13th Dean of the Wharton School. Robertson is executive faculty director of the Institute for Developing Nations at Emory University and former dean of Emory’s Goizueta Business School. Robertson, the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Marketing at Goizueta, is an expert in marketing strategy and innovation with extensive international experience in higher education and the business community.
As dean of Goizueta from 1998 to 2004, he was widely credited with building it into one of the strongest schools at Emory, positioning it as a leading international business school. Under his leadership,the school increased the size of its faculty 73 percent, doubled revenues, nearly doubled the school’s endowment, developed new international alliances, spurred major growth in executive-education programs, added a major new building, and launched a new PhD program. Subsequently, as chair of international strategy for the university’s president, Robertson developed and implemented a universitywide strategy for internationalization and substantial new strategic alliances with universities in China, Korea, and Ethiopia.
From 1971 to 1994, Robertson was a faculty member at Wharton, where he was the Pomerantz Professor of Marketing and chair of the Marketing Department. He also served as associate dean for executive education and led the effort that built the Steinberg Conference Center, designed an innovative set of new senior-management programs, and substantially increased financial contributions. He joined the London Business School in 1994 as Sainsbury Professor, Chair of Marketing, and served as deputy dean there from 1995 to 1998.
A native of Scotland, he earned his PhD and MA in marketing from Northwestern University in 1966, after completing his BA at Wayne State University in 1963. He has three children with his wife, Diana, a professor of organization and management at the Goizueta School and a former assistant professor at Wharton.
Next-Generation Back Pain Treatment Wins Wharton Business Plan Competition Grand Prize
During his medical training, Neil Malhotra observed patients with uncontrolled back pain. He noticed that patients with early-stage degenerative disc disease had little alternative but to wait in pain for up to two years for their condition to improve or worsen to a point where invasive steps are warranted. His recognition of that ordeal led him to invent an innovative back pain treatment and co-found NP Solutions, the student team that won the $20,000 grand prize at the 2007 Wharton Business Plan Competition (WBPC). The prize was awarded at the Wharton School’s annual Venture Finals April 24, 2007, where student finalists received a total of $70,000 in combined cash prizes, access to capital, and in-kind legal/ accounting services.
The students of NP Solutions include Serena Kohli, WG’07; Patrick Mayes, Jason Covy, Peter Buckley, and Brian Bingham, all PhD candidates in Pharmacology at Penn’s School of Medicine; and Malhotra, a resident in Neurosurgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. RejuvaDisc, the product they developed, is a polymer-based injectable hydrogel treatment for back pain related to degenerative disc disease that they say is less invasive and more effective with fewer side effects than current approaches.
The judges who selected the winning teams included Madi Ferencz, WG’71, Founder, Magic Sliders LP; James Lussier, W’78, General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners; David Piacquad, WG’84, Senior Vice President, Schering-Plough Corp.; Richard Thompson, WG’96, Chairman and CPO, Adify Corp.; Rob Willenbucher, WG’03, Vice President, Venture Leader, Johnson & Johnson Development Corp.
Alumni Tarnopol and Platt Honored at the 2007 Economic Summit
With 40 members of the business press in attendance, the 2007 Economic Summit held in Philadelphia April 12 and 13 was the forum for announcements honoring two alumni who helped transform the School.
Michael L. Tarnopol Dean’s Lecture Series
On April 12 Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO Stan O’Neal opened the Summit with a keynote address that inaugurated the Michael L. Tarnopol Dean’s Lecture Series. The series, which brings top business leaders to Wharton, honors alumnus Mickey Tarnopol, W’58, who died in 2005. Vice chairman of the International Banking Division of Bear, Stearns & Co., Tarnopol was well known in the Wharton community as a long-time member of the Board of Overseers and the co-founder of the Penn Club of New York, along with his wife, Lynne, CW’60. Tarnopol received a Distinguished Service Award from the Wharton Alumni Association in 1997 and the Dean’s Medal in 2003 for his work as co-chair of Campaign for Sustained Leadership, the most successful business school campaign in history.
Lewis Platt Doctoral Fellowship in Business Ethics
The April 13 Plenary Session on Leadership and Ethics began with a relevant announcement: the establishment of the Lewis Platt Doctoral Fellowship in Business Ethics, created in memory of Lewis Platt, WG’66, former CEO of the Hewlett-Packard Company and chairman of the Boeing Company. Platt, who died in 2005, assisted in the creation of the School’s Wharton West campus in 2001 and was chairman of its Advisory Board. He was also a member of the Wharton Board of Overseers.
The fellowship was endowed through the joint support of Joan Platt and the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation, as well as a gifts from the Boeing Company, fellow alumni, and friends to assist students in Wharton’s PhD Program in Legal Studies and Business Ethics with nearly full support for tuition and research expenditures for the recipient.
Created in 2003, the program is the first of its kind in the world, built on Wharton’s pioneering work in business ethics. It focuses on ethical and legal norms of conduct in management, with students taking core classes in ethics and law in business, plus courses in one additional area of concentration.
Auditorium Named to Honor Dhirubhai Ambani
On May 14, the state-ofthe- art auditorium in Jon M. Huntsman Hall was dedicated as the Dhirubhai Ambani Auditorium. Anil Dhirubhai Ambani, WG’83, chairman of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and a Wharton Overseer, gave the School a multimillion dollar gift to honor his father by naming the venue.
In 1998 Dhirubhai Ambani was awarded the prestigious Dean’s Medal from the Wharton School in recognition for his work as chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, and for his role in revolutionizing the concept of investing in India through the creation of wealth and value for millions of shareholders. Dean Patrick Harker called him “a true pioneer in the development of the Indian economy.”
Professor Wind Wins Top Marketing Award
Yoram (Jerry) Wind, Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing, is the 2007 winner of MIT’s Buck Weaver Award. The award recognizes the person who best combines theory and practice in marketing. This honor was established by General Motors to recognize its first director of marketing research, Henry Grady “Buck” Weaver, a pioneer in marketing research and market based decision-making.
Wind is the second Wharton professor to win the prestigious honor in the five years that it has been awarded. The very first winner in 2003 was Wharton’s own Paul E. Green, professor emeritus of marketing, who was the unanimous choice from a list of 25 nominees from business and academia for his pioneering development of conjoint analysis.
Undergraduate Rocks Barron’s Contest, Stands Out on ‘Fast Money’
When Barron’s Challenge, an annual stock-picking contest, came to a close on March 30, 2007, about five months after it began, the second and third-place finishers in the student division had made returns of 34.95% and 34.94%, respectively. While such gains were certainly impressive, Felix Wang, W’08, made a whopping 114% return, more than doubling his hypothetical starting capital of $100,000.
So what is his secret? How does a college student who has never owned real stock, much less held $100,000 in capital, beat out 1,847 other entrants by a landslide? In fact there are few secrets to his strategy—only good research and sound investment principles. He looked at whether securities were undervalued or overvalued, and bought and shorted accordingly. This informed his decision to buy shares of CDC Corp., which is traded as CHINA on NASDAQ.
Although CDC Corp. began as an online media portal called China.com, it has expanded to include a number of different companies, including those focused on enterprise software, business services, mobile applications, and online media. “I was intrigued by the potential growth prospects by that company,” Wang said, “and they were in a really good area — they were the first to enter this kind of business.”
Coincidentally, CDC Corp. CEO Peter Yip, WG’76, is a Wharton alumnus, having received his MBA in 1976. He and Chairman Raymond Ch’ien, Gr’78, who received his PhD in economics from Penn in 1978, visited Wang in February, after learning that he had invested in their company, and that he was a student at Wharton. “We had a good time. We talked about his business and about Penn in general,” Wang said. “I actually kept in touch with them after the visit and they were happy to hear that I won the competition.”
While Wang bought many mock shares of CDC Corp., he was careful to heed the advice of his Wharton professors, who stressed the importance of diversification. He minimized risk by having over 30 securities in his portfolio and by shorting stocks.
More recently, Wang was featured on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” alongside MBA students from Harvard, Yale, and Columbia. At 20, and the only undergraduate student on the panel, Wang was the youngest representative by a wide margin. Yet he answered his question—on the digital revolution—in a way that impressed “Fast Money” anchor Dylan Ratigan. “Felix rocks,” Ratigan said. “Not even adjusting for age which is impressive. You got an A and a smiling face.”
With his knowledge of the market, one would think that Wang would be eager to open his own portfolio. But with other interests, such as music, Wang doesn’t mind putting that on hold for awhile. “I definitely think I have something going for me but I think I’ll wait a year or so, when I have time,” Wang said.
Wharton Alumnus and Professor Team to Challenge Undergraduate Class to Combat Teen Obesity
Samuel Botts, WG’02, had long wanted a business that provided him an outlet to give back to the community, but he was frustrated that he thought he had found a good program and the community wasn’t responding the way he had hoped. After getting his MBA from Wharton, Botts opened a gym and health club, Vigorworks, in Center City Philadelphia. He often consulted his parents in Maryland about his business and one day he and his mother started talking about the epidemic of adolescent obesity.
“I was in a business where I thought I could do something about that,” said Botts. He said one of the best experiences he had had at Wharton was being in the Milken Young Entrepreneur program, where he mentored kids, especially those otherwise underprivileged, so he knew he had options to work with the community around him. He found out that AmeriChoice, the health maintenance organization, had a program which integrated weight loss with ongoing nutrition and exercise behavior modification. Botts wanted to particularly target underprivileged kids, the group most especially vulnerable to adolescent obesity. He went through two cycles of the 12-week course, but he found it both difficult to recruit kids and to keep them in the program.
“He couldn’t figure out why the attrition rate was so high,” said Americus Reed II, the Wharton Associate Professor of Marketing who Botts calls “my mentor.” Reed suggested an initiative from the Fels Institute of Government in which the institute would sponsor a classroom solution to business problems, particularly if they would all partner with a government agency. Botts had met Dr. Calvin B. Johnson, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.
“He was very much into the program because of his interest in lessening teen obesity,” said Botts. AmeriChoice was certainly on board, too. “If we do things like this, people would get sick less. Insurance companies and states would save money. Type II diabetes was never in kids’ populations until recently.
Other illnesses—hypertension, even heart disease—they can all be prevented with adherence to a healthy lifestyle and this program would be good for that.” So Reed made attracting underprivileged children to the AmeriChoice/Vigorworks program a centerpiece of his Marketing 211 course, “Consumer Behavior.”
AmeriChoice had 3,000 prospective clients, most through Medicaid, who would qualify to go to Vigorworks for the 12-week program. Reed split his class into six-student groups, each assigned to come up with a flyer and a standard phone/text message to attract young people and their families to the program. The result was a win win win for all concerned—Botts, AmeriChoice, and the students in Reed’s class.
“One of the big reasons I came to Wharton was experiential learning,” said Howard Singer, W’08. “It’s a nice thing to spend a semester with concepts, but then you take a final exam and that’s all there is. We saw actual live change with what we did.” Singer’s group, for instance, did the bulk of its research on marketing health-related messages. The students found out that lighter backgrounds encouraged people to accept those health-related messages.
“Then we found that people’s eyes move across a page in certain ways, moving from the middle outward and then left to right,” he said, so they built their flyer around those ideas. Alex Tryon’s group found in research that teenagers need a lot of visual stimulation, and a connection to a positive past experience, to be attracted to a mailing.
“We discovered blue was particularly good, because it was a color with high stimulation. If a kid saw it, he got his attention. Orange was another high-energy color,” said Tryon, C’08. David Berger, W’07, said his group found that Botts’s original mailings were filled with too much information. “Even an audience interested in reading wouldn’t be interested in something that cluttered,” said Berger. “We ended up with a really clean flyer. The front had a tag line, a silhouette of an athlete, and a symbol.”
All of them worked, according to Botts and Reed. Botts’s first group had only included 10 teens, and the second 12-week course had 30 people sign up but six dropped out. The third time, with the student flyers, 43 teenagers signed up for the program and only two dropped out partway through.
“We didn’t say it was fat camp. We worded it to the parents to say, ‘if your child is at risk,’” said Samantha Flowers, W’09. “It is great to see the results of a real product.” Berger, who planned to go to work for the business class only airline, Eos, after graduation said he was grateful for the “real world” project right before his first full-time job.
“College in general should be more like this,” he said. “In most classes, you would have to take for granted that what Professor Reed said was right. Here you could see whether using or ignoring his advice really worked. It was a class, for once, that actually had consequences.”
Locust Walk Entryway Dedicated in Honor of Jeff Sutton
On May 11, Wharton dedicated the newly named Sutton Doors and Entryway at the Locust Walk entrance of Jon M. Huntsman Hall. At the naming ceremony, Jeff Sutton, W’81, was recognized by Dean Patrick Harker, Vice Dean Barbara Kahn, and Associate Dean Steven Oliveira, for his gift in support of the School. Sutton is Principal at Wharton Realty in New York City.
Jean-Pierre Rosso Appointed Chair of the Lauder Institute Board of Governors
The Lauder Institute has named Jean-Pierre Rosso, WG’67, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, USA, as Chairman of the Lauder Institute’s Board of Governors. Rosso joined the Lauder Institute’s Board of Governors in 2001.
Professor Bradlow Wins Award for Best Internal Medicine Paper
Eric Bradlow, K.P. Chao Professor of Marketing, and Rachel Werner, Assistant Professor of Medicine, are recipients of the Society for General Internal Medicine’s Best Published Research Paper of the Year award. Their paper, “Relationship Between Medicare’s Hospital Compare Performance Measures and Mortality Rates,” appeared in the December 13, 2006, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Professors Pauly and Volpp Honored for Health Services Research
This year two of the four awards given by AcademyHealth went to Wharton professors. Mark V. Pauly, Bendheim Professor, Professor of Health Care Systems, Business and Public Policy, Insurance and Risk Management, and Economics, received the Distinguished Investigator Award and Kevin Volpp, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Care Systems, received the Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award. The honorees were elected by leaders in the fields of health services research and health policy for research that advances policy and practice to improve health and health care.
Undergraduate Cohort Projects Help Community
Wharton Undergraduate Cohorts partnered with Rebuilding Together of Philadelphia to improve a West Philadelphia neighborhood on March 24. The group donated their time to paint houses and clean up outside areas as part of an ongoing Rebuilding Together of Philadelphia project to help a local community. On March 30, the nine Wharton Undergraduate Cohorts participated on teams in the Relay for Life event on Franklin Field to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Students Prove Their Mettle at Inter-School Competitions
This spring Wharton student teams racked up enough inter-school competition championships to fill a trophy case. Following is a round-up of some of the winners.
Wharton Team Brings Home Executive Leadership Council Victory
A Wharton MBA team led by captain William Lewis, WG’07, placed first at the Executive Leadership Council (ELC) Annual Case Competition sponsored by Shell and United Airlines in Houston, TX, on May 27. The ELC is the premier organization of Fortune 500 African American executives.
The prize included membership in the NextGen Network for the five team members (Lewis, Khary Robinson, Temitayo Ogunnaike, Ellen Hunter, and Jay Womack, all WG’07), a trip to New York and Washington, DC, to be honored on stage at the annual ELC meeting, $20,000 in prize money, and a crystal trophy for the MBA Program Office. Wharton most recently won the award in 2003.
Undergrad Marketers Win First Place in AMA/New Orleans Case Competition
A team of 13 Wharton undergraduates took first in the American Marketing Association (AMA) case contest for the second year in a row. This year’s task was proposing remedies for the ailing Post-Katrina tourism industry in New Orleans, with eight finalist teams presenting their case before the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) at the AMA Collegiate Conference in New Orleans the weekend of March 28. Team members (Brandon Dunn, W’09, Amanda Ganske, W’08, Deborah Garber, W’09, Steve Gibson, W’07, Jean Hsu, Michelle Jacobs, W’09, Talal Kahn, Nancy Lee, W’07, Adela Mou, W’09, Charles Pensig, W’07, Jacob Suher, W’09, Joanne Tong, W’08, and Diana Zhou) impressed the judges with their integrated rebranding plan.
MBA Team Wins McKinsey Business Technology Challenge
Four Wharton MBA students beat 115 other teams to win the McKinsey Business Technology Challenge National Champions 2007 award. The team, Inflection Point, consisted of WG’08 students Tammy Hensel, Charles Njendu, Chijioke Onyewuchi, and Komal Rathi. Inflection Point won the National Challenge held in McKinsey’s New York office April 20.
The theme of the Challenge was to pick a company from the Fortune 100 and show how any mix of four technologies can dramatically improve revenue and/or productivity over the next five years. The four technologies were crowd sourcing and co-creation, ubiquitous broadband and persistent connectivity, virtual worlds for commercial use, and smart network elements and sensors.
Undergraduate Marketing Team Wins Wake Forest Case Competition
A team from the Wharton undergraduate marketing club, MUSE, won first place in the Wake Forest Case Competition. The winning team included Melissa Lamb, W’09, Lara Aleman, W’09, Sean Oliver, W’08, and Nhu Vu, W’08. The three-phase competition began October 30, 2006,with the winners announced at the Wake Forest MBA Marketing Summit February 10.
Wharton Wins Financial Engineering Competition
For the first time in seven years, Wharton emerged victorious at the 10th Annual Graduate Business School Financial Engineering Competition.The Competition was held on April 13 at the Lehman Brothers Inc. headquarters in New York. Organized jointly by the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and the Lehman Brothers Quantitative Research Group, the competition attracted teams from seven of the country’s top graduate schools. Each team took the perspective of an investment bank and was presented with a business problem that their client was trying to solve. The Wharton team members included Sandra Fontaine Moya,WG’07, Kedrick Brown,WG’08, Mohit Mittal, WG’07, Paul Morris, WG’07, and Sid Khanna, WG’07, with coaching provided by Domenico Cuoco, associate professor of finance.
Undergraduate Presents Paper on Entrepreneurship at International Conference
Henry Friedman, W’07, was selected to present a paper at the 27th Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference that he co-authored with Professor Gavin Cassar, as part of the Wharton Research Scholars Program. The paper is titled, “Does Overconfidence Affect Entrepreneurial Investment?” This year’s conference was cosponsored by Babson College and Instituto de Empresa Business School, and held in Madrid, Spain, June 7-9.
Wharton Undergraduate Presents Health Care Project at World Business Dialogue in Germany
Wharton undergraduate Geoffrey See, W’10, who already has been published in the Harvard Business Manager for his work on a health care project, EduHealth, was one of three student presenters at the 11th World Business Dialogue held March 28-29, 2007, at Universität zu Köln. His contribution was named the best essay for the topic “Changing Society —Civilizing the City.”
Wharton West MBA Team Competes in L’Oreal eStrat Challenge Finals
A team of Wharton West MBA students was the North American regional finalist for the L’Oreal eStrat Challenge, the world’s biggest online corporate strategy business game. Out of thousands of entries, eight finalists were chosen, with one team representing each world region. The Wharton MBA Program for Executives group (including Loren Simon, WG’08, Xiaoying (Alice) Zhang, WG’08, and Bolaji Olutade, WG’08) bested all other U.S. and Canadian MBA teams to present at the international finals in Paris, coming in fourth.
Undergraduate Named Winner of Goldman Sachs Competition Undergraduate
Ravi Naresh, W’09, was selected as one of the winners of the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program competition. The competition identifies and rewards the academic excellence and leadership potential of the most accomplished second-year students from all disciplines for the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program.