The 2006 MBA career placements indicate a job market that has returned to pre-millennial strength. But MBA Career Management’s new director, Michelle Antonio, W’91, is intent on putting systems in place that work for good markets—and bad. This year 94% of reporting 2006 graduates who sought job offers received them. 92% accepted them, for a median compensation package of $137,000.
Nearly a fifth of graduates (19.2%) accepted non-U.S. positions, as median compensation for international jobs ($143,000) was buoyed by more competitive salaries in Asia. Those excellent numbers are about the same as 2005, but they are a far cry from the 80% job acceptance rate of the difficult 2003 market, when Antonio joined Wharton MBA Career Management (MBACM) as a senior associate director. Antonio, an undergraduate alumna of the school, has now experienced both kinds of labor markets, both as a career consultant and as a job seeker. She graduated from Wharton amid the hiring slump of 1991, and later benefited from an employment boom when she earned her MBA from the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business in 1997. Prior to rejoining Wharton, Antonio served as an MBA recruiting director at Deloitte Consulting, a consultant at Bain & Company, and an account executive at Information Resources Inc.
“The biggest priority we’re working on this year is to make the recruiting process more efficient for both students and employers,” she says. “With the economy back on the uptick, the hiring marketplace has become very competitive again. Employers are all jockeying to attract the best and the brightest, and last year that led to a proliferation of events where every employer tried to outdo their competitors.”
While that sounds like an advantage to job-seekers, in practice a heavy recruiting schedule can take over student calendars, leaving too little time for the academics and extracurriculars that drew them to Wharton. Antonio’s goal is to decrease the burden of recruiting on students and employers, while maintaining mutual access. To help, MBACM pushed back the start date of club recruiting events until Q2 of this year and introduced a new bidding system so students are able to bid for interview slots.
The changes are part of a long-term plan to create a flexible system. “We don’t want to beg companies to come when the economy is bad and turn them away when it’s good,” Antonio explains. “We want a model that is sustainable and works in many situations—to maintain strong relationships with the employers at all times and focus on quality of contacts and interviews, as opposed to quantity.”
As in many good employment years, MBA students turned to traditional employers—consulting (28.7% of jobs accepted) and financial services (44.2%, including 26.0% to investment banking and increasing interest in private equity/VC/buyouts and hedge funds). The technology (5.2%), health care (4.9%), and consumer products/retail (4.9%) sectors were strong, and there was continued growth in the numbers of students pursuing careers in media and entertainment (3.5%) and real estate (4.6%).
Wharton and Graduate School of Education Introduce Interdisciplinary Program
Organizations that encourage and facilitate a culture of learning among employees often outperform those that do not. Now Wharton has partnered with Penn’s Graduate School of Education (GSE) to launch an innovative degree program to prepare those leaders.
The Executive Program in Work-Based Learning Leadership, the first top-tier university program of its kind, provides a formalized education in business, leadership, technology, and strategy within the context of work-related learning. The goal is to enable the learning leader, often called the chief learning officer (CLO) or head of talent development, to function at the same strategic level as the rest of the senior executives in their organizations. The program welcomes its first class in January 2007.
The program allows students to continue working while they study. Doctoral and master’s students are expected to ground their research, their master’s theses, and their dissertations in the workplace rather than in academia. Individuals not interested in a degree are able to complete individual course blocks relevant to their needs and will receive a certificate. Both in the number of students and in the amount of money spent, workplace learning now dwarfs higher education.
“Most adults learn on the job rather than in a formal educational setting,” said Doug Lynch, vice dean at GSE, which will grant the degrees. “The average Fortune 1000 company spends 2.5 percent of its operating budget on learning.
For many of these companies, that amounts to tens of millions of dollars.” Because many employees never return to school, workplace education often represents the only opportunity for employees to develop new skills and gain new knowledge that can have an impact on their careers.
Wharton to Collaborate on First Wiki-Style Management Book
Can you have too many cooks in the kitchen? Too many co-authors on a book? Maybe not. Taking a page from Wikipedia, Wharton is collaborating on an ambitious new book publishing project that could involve thousands, if not tens of thousands of authors and editors.
Starting in November 2006, more than a million business professionals and scholars, including faculty, students, alumni, and newsletter recipients from Wharton and MIT Sloan School of Management were invited to collectively write and edit the book, tentatively titled We Are Smarter Than Me (www.wearesmarter.org). Pearson (the publishing company behind Wharton School Publishing), MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, and Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management will collaborate to produce the first community-driven “networked” book on business best practices.
The book’s content will examine how Web 2.0 technologies such as social networks, wiki, and blogs can benefit the business enterprise. MIT and Wharton expect to conduct and publish primary research on whether collective projects like this can help guide the future of industry in the areas of customer service, product innovation, market research, and sales.
Contributing authors will be asked to provide real examples of companies that are trying to harness the power of communities. We Are Smarter Than Me will then explore why certain approaches have worked while others did not, and suggest best practices for companies to follow to make more effective use of collaboration. This “networked” book collaboration will allow all registered members of the community to edit, add, and delete content from the website. Shared Insights US, LLC, a Woburn, MA-based company that provides multichannel community and social networking for enterprises, will facilitate the collective publishing venture using wiki technology and Web 2.0 tools.
A draft of the We Are Smarter Than Me manuscript, and the book authors’ key findings, will be presented at Community 2.0, a conference scheduled for March 2007 in Las Vegas. In the fall of 2007, We Are Smarter Than Me will be published in book form by Pearson’s Wharton School Publishing, even as the online community continues to create and update new content for the book on the website. All contributors will be credited.
Dean Harker to Leave Wharton for University of Delaware Presidency
Wharton Dean Patrick T. Harker has announced his acceptance of the Presidency of the University of Delaware, effective July 1, 2007. Harker, who has served as Wharton’s Dean since February 2000, will remain Dean through June 30, 2007. University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann has appointed a search committee to nominate a new dean, and a final appointment will be made by the University Trustees upon recommendation by President Gutmann. If the search committee has not completed its search by June 30, an interim dean will be named.
Harker’s accomplishments include strengthening the School’s focus on innovation, integrity, and engagement with the business community. His commitment to academic excellence and faculty scholarship attracted eminent scholars to the School’s faculty—the largest at any business school. His vision of Wharton’s international mission led him to redouble the School’s efforts to connect with alumni around the world and to share Wharton’s ideas with business leaders from Hong Kong to Mumbai to Costa Rica.
As another sign of Wharton’s expanding place in the world, Harker led the creation of Wharton West, the school’s San Francisco-based campus, and forged an alliance with INSEAD, the leading non-U.S. based business school. He also oversaw two innovative and very successful initiatives–expanding Knowledge@Wharton to 800,000 subscribers in 189 countries, and the launch of Wharton School Publishing.
“While the School has accomplished a great deal in the past several years, including exciting new academic programs and global outreach, I am most proud of the continued growth of the faculty, not only in terms of numbers, but in terms of their intellectual strength and diversity,” Harker said.
Harker has been Dean for seven eventful years, but his Penn roots run deeper. He earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Penn in 1981, then received a master’s degree in economics and a PhD in civil engineering, also from Penn, in 1983. He has been a member of the Wharton faculty since 1984, and in 2000, was appointed as dean. He is a leading scholar in the areas of service and technology management and operations research.
MBA Investment Management Conference Explores New Frontiers
“For budding entrepreneurs, no one has yet solved the liability side of the equation.People want to use their money—they want it back,” exclaimed Vanguard’s Managing Director F. William McNabb III, WG’83, keynote panelist at the 2006 Wharton Investment Management Conference on October 27 held at the historic Union League of Philadelphia. “Creative solutions to this represent the new frontier in investment management.” The agenda reflected those frontiers, addressing hot topics from investing in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) to activist investing to investing in energy. To set the stage for what’s next, the keynote panel,
“Business of Investing,” recounted the dynamic advances of the past 15 years: the naissance of mutual funds and 401Ks, the evolution of hedge funds, and the demise of defined benefit plans. Retired Vice Chairman at T. Rowe Price Group and Chairman of Penn’s Board of Trustees, James Riepe, W’65, WG’67, noted that the focus of investment managers has remained constant: gather assets from clients, invest those assets, and serve those clients. Riepe believes that the only barrier to success for an investment manager depends on the quality of products and services the firm offers.
In the spirit of globalization, “Investing in BRIC” broadened the conference’s scope to include a discussion of the latest international investments afforded to investors. The four countries featured in BRIC represent a combined 50% of the global population and 20% of GDP world. Co-founder of Firebird Management, LLC, Harvey Sawikin, mentioned that the sizes of money being moved into these countries have sparked an intellectual interest among global players.
Latin America, what was once thought to have been a strictly monolithic region, is now on the brink of investment-grade opportunities, added Stephen Trent, C’91, Vice President of Citigroup Investment Research. While each of the panelists expressed concern over the risk associated with such investments in the short-term, they believed that careful decisions could lead to long term profitability.
Co-chair of the conference, Noah Mayer, WG’07, was proud of the conference’s four to one ratio of students to professionals. He didn’t want the event to turn into “a networking opportunity for professionals to pitch their favorite stock.” Instead, he hoped “to educate and to provide a venue for students and professionals to interact so that students might better understand the reality of a career in investment management.”
On November 1, 2006, Knowledge@Wharton launched its fourth version about one of the world’s hottest economies. India Knowledge@Wharton, which is free and published in English, will include articles that focus on India’s growing importance to the global economy.
Since its inception in 1999, Knowledge@Wharton has tracked the rise of India as a global economic force through dozens of articles, case studies, special sections and exclusive interviews with business leaders. India Knowledge@Wharton, published by a staff based in Mumbai, will provide timely articles, podcasts, and research papers related to India and uniquely created for the new version.
Along with the website, Knowledge@Wharton introduced its first-ever mobile platform to meet the needs of mobile phone users, including those in India where usage outpaces PC Internet usage nearly two to one. India has 100 million mobile phone users and the numbers are growing at 5 million per month. The launch was celebrated in Mumbai, where the festivities included the announcement of HCL Technologies as a charter sponsor. Also honored were the winners of the first-ever India version of the Wharton Business Plan Competition.
The grand prize winning team was announced as ERP Construction, which proposes to offer enterprise software for the construction industry. Leading up to their presentations, Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs helped each team hone their entries by providing mentoring from seasoned entrepreneurs and business managers.
Lauder Institute Launches Joint Program With Penn Law
Wharton’s Lauder Institute introduced its second joint-degree program in November 2006. The three year JD/MA program combines a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Law School with Lauder’s intensive language and cultural training, culminating in an International Studies master degree from Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences. Lauder is best known for the intensive 22-month program that combines the Wharton MBA with a Penn MA. Eight language tracks are available: Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
“Legal education in today’s complex world requires that students graduate prepared to navigate easily across boundaries in law-related areas—and even more so in the international arena,” said Michael A. Fitts, dean of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The program is designed for Penn Law students with solid foreign language skills who wish to improve and integrate these skills into their professional careers.
The curriculum combines their legal skills with real international experience. All course work can be completed during three years of law school with students joining the Lauder Institute at the conclusion of their first year at Penn Law for a two-month, incountry immersion.
Undergrads Set Up Honduran Water System
Resident advisor Priscilla Matos, W’08, protested that she knew nothing about engineering when a freshman from her hall last year approached her this September saying she should join an excursion to help set up a new water system in a poor Honduran village. Thomas Macrina, W’09, E’09, though, was insistent. The group, Penn’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders (PennEWB), needed her Spanish skills, and he knew Matos, whose mother came from nearby El Salvador, was looking for ways to work with the disadvantaged.
So during fall break in October, Matos, a Wharton junior, and Macrina, now a sophomore in Wharton/Penn Engineering’s Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T), joined other students in the second phase of a project to bring more sources of fresh water to the 50-family interior village of Terrerritos. In May, the first group of EWBers, some M&T students, went to Terrerritos and did the initial work on setting up a piping system to get water to the village from a
spring about five kilometers away. They set up a spring box and collection box, did much of the pipe-laying, and began doing the technical work to get the water to the individual homes. During the quick fiveday trip in October, the next group checked the work—some of which had been done by villagers after the initial EWB excursion left—and refined the system. Matos, in addition to easing the communications between the students and the villagers, was able to use her expertise—she has a health care emphasis in her Wharton program—to try to find out whether the new water system was doing its job.
“We wanted to see if we should do a third phase, putting in flush pit latrines,” said Matos. “The villagers couldn’t have them before, since it is tough to have toilets if you don’t have water. While we know this would improve the health of the community, you don’t want to do it if the community doesn’t feel passionate about the project. If the community doesn’t care, then they wouldn’t strive to build and maintain the latrines.” Macrina said the community input is not just important, but essential.
“The goal of Engineers Without Borders is to have projects that improve quality of life through sustainable development,” he said. “The idea is that the villagers can maintain these projects themselves. We just provide the help to get them to that next level.” Matos said even the short time in Terrerritos excited her to do more, and to encourage more Wharton students to do the same.
“My two biggest passions have been health care and the Hispanic community,” said Matos, who grew up in South Florida and did service projects in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela in her teens. “I’m just fortunate Thomas found me and pushed me into going.” Macrina, who is from upstate New York, said the PennEWB is growing, with about 80 members now, so he expects many more projects in the near future.
“You always hear about the poor in the third world,” said Macrina. “Going to Terrerritos is putting a face to the name. You realize they’re people who are not really different than we are. Unfortunately, they don’t have the resources we do, and that is where we can help.”