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Welcome to the blog for the Wharton MBA Program for Executives! Postings to the blog features stories of the student experience, alumni accomplishments, and insights into the admissions process.

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Apple Honors Wharton’s EMBA iPad Project
March 18, 2013

Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives was recently selected as an Apple Distinguished Program for its innovative use of iPads. Wharton CIO Dan Alig talks about this honor and explains how the iPad project began.

Apple ipad story image 1There are thousands of iPad pilot projects in schools across the country and we are honored to receive this distinguished honor. Apple recognized our program based on five criteria: visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, and a flexible learning environment. It’s exciting to be selected for having one of the more successful and innovative pilots using Apple technology.

Our iPad project began with the vision of literally lightening EMBA students’ loads. We were spending inordinate amounts of money and resources distributing paper materials to students that could be provided digitally on an iPad. And students, who commute to our executive MBA programs in Philadelphia and San Francisco from around the world, were lugging those materials to campus every other weekend. So starting with the incoming class in 2011, every EMBA student began to receive an iPad.

Continue reading "Apple Honors Wharton’s EMBA iPad Project" »

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Global Modular Course in Abu Dhabi Focuses on Finance in the Middle East and North Africa
March 5, 2013

Professor Nihat Bulent Gultekin teaches finance at Wharton and is the academic director of the Wharton MENA Center@CERT in Abu Dhabi. Having recently returned from teaching a Global Modular Course for Wharton EMBA students in Abu Dhabi, we asked him to talk about delivering a high-impact educational experience in a three-day format, thousands of miles from campus.

The goal of the Global Modular Course in Abu Dhabi, “Finance in the Middle East & North Africa,” was to bring students, academics and industry experts together to study financial markets, practice and institutions in this region. The course focused on areas such as current challenges, the political economy, financial markets, sovereign wealth funds, Islamic finance and alternative investments.

Continue reading "Global Modular Course in Abu Dhabi Focuses on Finance in the Middle East and North Africa" »

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Seeking to Improve Access to Financial Services for the Poor in Kenya
February 25, 2013

As soon as I heard about Wharton’s Global Consulting Practicum (GCP), I knew I wanted to take this course. The GCP is an elective in which Wharton full-time MBA and EMBA students are teamed with business students at partner universities around the world to consult for a company or organization. Kenya 8Usually, the client is seeking to enter or expand its position in the U.S. or other world market, but the program also includes social impact projects with governments and nonprofits.

I was interested in the GCP because it would be an opportunity to gain experience working with an organization outside of the classroom and beyond the scope of my own job. Specifically, I wanted to work on a social impact project that could ultimately help millions of people in a developing country.

My team of five Wharton | San Francisco EMBA students was assigned to work for the Gates Foundation (our client) on a project in Kenya. The issue involved how to increase access to financial services for people who are living on below $2 a day. How do you create a better banking system? How do you provide better credit? How do you make things like health and life insurance available? How can you apply new technology to help streamline financial service processes?

Continue reading "Seeking to Improve Access to Financial Services for the Poor in Kenya" »

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News Anchor Gains New Perspective on Business Issues in Wharton’s EMBA Program
December 10, 2012

When journalist Aditi Roy, who anchors and reports for NBC 10 New in Philadelphia, decided to pursue an MBA, she had one school in mind: Wharton. While the School’s global reputation made Aditi On Airit her top pick, she admits to being anxious about its other reputation as a quant school. She also was a bit nervous about how she would juggle her demanding broadcast schedule, which already required her to wake up at 2:00am every day, with the rigors of school.

Having graduated last May from Wharton’s executive MBA program in Philadelphia, we asked Aditi to share her experiences in the program, including how she conquered her math fears and managed her schedule. Here’s what she said:

“Even though I’ve always performed better on standardized math tests than verbal -- and I actually do like math -- I’ve been away from the quant world for more than 15 years. My line of work is intrinsically creative because I marry words with pictures to tell stories so I was rather intimidated about the quant part of Wharton’s EMBA program. But I wasn’t going to let it stand in my way of getting a good education. I realized that I was going to have to do something challenging and hard.

Continue reading "News Anchor Gains New Perspective on Business Issues in Wharton’s EMBA Program" »

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EMBA Applicants: Download the 2013-14 San Francisco & Philadelphia Calendars
December 6, 2012

The 2013-2014 Academic Calendars for the next entering class have been posted on our website. The second-year, 2014-2015 calendars, will be posted in the spring. If you're applying to Wharton's Executive MBA program, you can print the PDF for the campus to which you're applying, San Francisco or Philadelphia. Don't forget to share it with everyone at work and home!

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Wharton | San Francisco Runs Quant Review Workshop for Prospective Students
December 2, 2012

We often get the question “Do you need to be a math major to succeed in Wharton’s EMBA program?”  The answer is no.  As Wharton | San Francisco EMBA alumnus Mike Gipe, WG’05, puts it:  “Wharton’s EMBA program is very rigorous, but students from all types of backgrounds can be successful here.”

Mike - who runs the consulting business xaplap in Saratoga, CA and teaches a weekly tutorial session for core courses in the EMBA program - ran a one-day Quantitative Review Workshop on the San Francisco campus for prospective students.  “Anybody who has applied to our program likely has had most of the math courses they need so it’s more a matter of brushing up on those skills.  How often would a nonprofit manager need to use calculus on a daily basis?  It’s something a lot of people are rusty in and this workshop was designed to help them catch up,” says Mike.

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Posted by ExecMBA in Admissions Chats , Applicants , California , EMBA Academics , EMBA Program News , Executive MBA Admissions , Preparing Your Application , Wharton l San Francisco |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton EMBA Students Use Independent Study to Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Life
June 13, 2012

When Lisa Nagorny separated from the U.S. Navy in 2008, she was juggling a move from Afghanistan to Washington, D.C., a job search, her wedding, and the purchase of a home. While all of those were DanandLisa_Wharton big transitions, the job search was particularly challenging.

She explains that as a ROTC student in college, she didn’t need to do an internship or job search or write a resume because she already had a set career path in the military. “But after I separated from the Navy, I soon realized that finding a job and transitioning to the workplace was going to mean a big commitment. I needed to find veterans who could mentor me through the process of translating my military experience into a more understandable resume and help me explore career options,” says Lisa, who is now an associate at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Students Use Independent Study to Help Veterans Transition to Civilian Life" »

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Congratulations to Wharton’s 2012 EMBA Graduates!
May 16, 2012

It’s an exciting and important achievement to graduate from Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives in San Francisco and Philadelphia and join Wharton’s 88,000-member alumni network.

During their two years at Wharton, students juggle demanding jobs and a rigorous curriculum as well as SF Graduation 2012family and community responsibilities. They commute from near and far – sometimes even internationally. And many of their families grow. In this year’s graduating West Coast class, we’ve celebrated four weddings and the birth of 14 babies. In our East Coast class, we’ve had 10 weddings and celebrated the birth of 18 babies.

The 83 students in the Wharton | San Francisco graduating class work in a diversity of industries, such as semiconductors, technology, consulting, energy, aerospace and entertainment. The majority commuted from Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the Bay Area, but others came from Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.  After graduation, one student is planning to join the FBI, four are moving to China, and one is potentially moving to Africa.

The West Coast program’s graduation ceremonytook place May 6 at Herbst Memorial Theater in San Francisco and featured commencement speaker Carol Bartz, former CEO of Autodesk and Yahoo! Graduating student Dr. Howard Willson gave the student speech.

Continue reading "Congratulations to Wharton’s 2012 EMBA Graduates!" »

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Wharton EMBA Alumnus Talks about Value of the GMAT
May 10, 2012

When Mark Espinola had his admissions interview for Wharton’s San Francisco MBA Program for Executives, a memorable moment was when he tried to negotiate his way out of taking the GMAT. But after taking the test and graduating in 2007, Espinola, who is now the CEO of Ballard & Tighe Publishers in Orange County, Calif., came to appreciate the importance of the GMAT. We asked him to share his thoughts on the test and here is what he said:

“When I first realized that the GMAT was a required part of the admissions process at Wharton, I thought this rule must not apply to me. I had been a senior manager at PriceWaterhouse as well as worked in a CFO position so I had plenty of finance and accounting under my belt. I thought my experience would be sufficient to be exempt from the GMAT, but found during the interview that this was not the case. There is no exception for the GMAT – all applicants have to take it.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Alumnus Talks about Value of the GMAT" »

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , Executive MBA Admissions , Preparing Your Application , Wharton l San Francisco |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton | San Francisco Student Transitions from Flying Air Force Drones to Banking
April 18, 2012

Ryan Nelson always wanted to get an MBA as part of his normal career progression within the Air Force. An MBA seemed like a natural fit given the Air Force’s requirement for a graduate degree and his interest in business. However, due to extenuating circumstances, Nelson’s plans for business school became a top Ryan Nelson Photo Compressedpriority sooner than he expected.

After completing pilot training, he was working as a flight instructor when he learned that he needed to assume control of his late father’s real-estate development business. The Air Force was very supportive, allowing him to transfer to Las Vegas where he could fulfill his commitment to the Air Force and run the company in his free time. While Nelson enjoyed working in the business world, he found he was lacking the skills needed to be successful in running a business.

So he began evaluating MBA programs and found that Wharton offered an executive format. Even better was that its location in San Francisco only required a 1.5-hour flight every other weekend.

Continue reading "Wharton | San Francisco Student Transitions from Flying Air Force Drones to Banking" »

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Global Modular Courses Popular Among Wharton MBA Exec Students
April 3, 2012

Since the first global modular course was piloted in January of 2010, Wharton’s week-long mini-courses offered during winter and spring break have been extremely popular among Executive MBA students.

“We’re continuing to enrich our portfolio of these courses which provide a unique way for students to learn about business challenges and opportunities in parts of the world experiencing rapid change,” says Vice Dean of Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives Anjani Jain. “The global modular courses are an ideal fit for executive MBA students’ busy schedules and desire for greater exposure to international business issues.”

Last year, more than 40% of enrollments came from EMBA students who had the option of participating in eight courses around the world such as “Building Future Markets” in Cape Town, “Finance in Europe” in London, “Global Supply Chain Management in China” in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, “Innovation in India’s Healthcare Sector” in Hyderabad, and “Energy & Infrastructure in Brazil” in Rio de Janeiro.

Continue reading "Global Modular Courses Popular Among Wharton MBA Exec Students" »

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Wharton’s EMBA Program Helps Doctor Launch New Venture
March 20, 2012

A practicing physician in Seattle, Howard Willson wears many hats. He’s the president of Seattle Emergency Physicians, a physician group at a large hospital system in the Pacific Northwest, and cofounder of 1st Health Systems, a healthcare software company. He’s also a second-year student in Wharton’s Executive MBA program in San Francisco who is developing another startup with a fellow Howard Willson photostudent called MDLens. We asked him to talk about how his education is impacting all of these positions. Here’s what he had to say:

“Emergency departments are inherently chaotic, but some colleagues and I had heard about operational practices – similar to what Toyota had used for years in its factories – that could be applied to systems like an ER. It sounds odd, but they share some similarities to an assembly line: Sick patients come in and, hopefully, healthy patients come out. By implementing those practices, we were able to reduce the wait time for patients by 20%.

“That’s when a light bulb went on that there are business practices that can be applied to healthcare that could make a tremendous difference. I wanted to fill in the gaps in my business knowledge – and there were a lot of those – so I applied to and was accepted into the EMBA program at Wharton | San Francisco.

Continue reading "Wharton’s EMBA Program Helps Doctor Launch New Venture" »

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Prof. Cappelli Discusses Career Trends and Value of MBA
March 13, 2012

When Prof. Peter Cappelli says that times have changed in terms of careers, he isn’t exaggerating. At a recent online live webcast from Wharton | San Francisco, Prof. Cappelli spoke to prospective applicants about why it’s more important than ever to take charge of your own career.

While it was once common to expect employment at the same company for your entire career, that is clearly not the case anymore. The same can be said of succession plans and workforce planning. Companies are more likely to replace talent from the outside and spend fewer resources grooming employees for long-term employment.

As for employees, they are changing jobs on a much more frequent basis. But at the same time, people are staying in the same function longer. This raises the issue of how do you get out of your silo? And if you stay at your company, how do you continue to add value when the company can’t be sure it will need your particular skillset down the road?

An MBA degree, he said, is a good avenue to consider. “It’s up to the employee to get the skills needed and keep those skills up to date. Employees have to manage their own careers and that is a difficult thing to do. It’s something that requires initiative, but often the opportunities are in front of you and you just have to figure out how to negotiate for them.”

This may mean spending time thinking about how to ask for sponsorship since companies in today’s economy may not have tuition reimbursement programs in place. “But if you can figure out what skills will be hot then you can make the case for going back to school. And if you can get those skills into your tool belt then you’ll be in a great position to take better control of your career,” he said.

Watch the replay of the webcast, which includes a tour of Wharton’s new facility in San Francisco and a Q&A session with alumni from both the East and West Coast EMBA programs.

Posted by ExecMBA in Admissions Chats , California , EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , EMBA Faculty , EMBA Program News , EMBA Receptions , Wharton l San Francisco |Permalink |Comments (1)

Wharton EMBA Student Gets More than Expected from Field Application Project
February 20, 2012

Wharton | San Francisco EMBA student Brian Davis thought his Field Application Project (FAP) would be an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience addressing a real-world problem. However, when his company’s senior management saw the results of his project, he got a lot more than experiential learning – he got a new position.

The FAP, the culminating project of the core course on Management of People at Work, requires each learning team to identify a business problem at a team member’s company and conduct a systemic analysis, presenting the findings and recommendations to company executives. Davis’ team chose his employer, Allegiant Travel Company (owner and operator of Allegiant Air) as the focus of their FAP.

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Wharton’s Global Modular Course in Rwanda Focuses on Conflict Resolution and Leadership
February 7, 2012

Wharton’s EMBA program is known for having a global focus with its International Seminar; however the addition of global modular courses has taken this to a whole new level. Launched in 2010, the week-long  mini-courses offer students opportunities to learn about topics such as financial institutions in Abu Rwanda GMC Dhabi, supply chain management in Shanghai, innovation in India, and leadership and conflict resolution in Rwanda.

Having recently returned from the course in Rwanda, we asked EMBA students Marla Bleavins and Bill Williams to tell us about their experience. Here’s what Marla, a second-year student at Wharton | San Francisco who is a special projects manager for Los Angeles World Airports, had to say:

“Most Americans know about Rwanda because of the tragedy of genocide that happened there in 1994, but we aren’t as familiar with the progress the country has made since then. It’s the fastest growing economy in Africa and one of the safest and least corrupt countries on that continent so I was intrigued to learn more about it through this course, which was taught by Prof. Katherine Klein and called, ‘Leadership, Conflict, and Change.’

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Jan. 23 Live Webcast Features Prof. Peter Cappelli on the Future of Jobs
January 12, 2012

Get insights on the future of jobs from a top Wharton professor, learn more about our EMBA program from Philadelphia and San Francisco alumni, and see what our new campus looks like in San Francisco, then make sure to join us for a virtual reception on Mon., January 23 from 9:00pm-10:00pm EST / 6:00pm-7:00pm PST.

Hosted by Vice Dean Anjani Jain, the event will feature a presentation by renowned labor expert Prof. Peter Cappelli on how the global economy is impacting careers and what this means for the future of employee development. Prof. Cappelli, who teaches negotiations, also will share tips that may help you secure support for your MBA studies and career development.

Afterward, a panel of alumni from our Philadelphia and San Francisco EMBA programs will discuss how the Wharton MBA and network have shaped their careers.  You’ll have an opportunity to ask questions of both Prof. Cappelli and the panelists via your computer or mobile device.

In addition, West Coast COO Bernadette Birt will take participants on a virtual tour of our beautiful new San Francisco campus.  A 21st century learning environment, you’ll see how our technologically advanced facility was designed to provide the most cutting-edge and connected classrooms possible.

To register for this live webcast on Jan. 23, click here.

Posted by ExecMBA in Admissions Chats , Applicants , California , EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , EMBA Faculty , EMBA Program News , EMBA Receptions , Executive MBA Admissions , Wharton l San Francisco , Wharton School News |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton EMBA Student Wins NSF Award for New Venture: Graphene Frontiers
December 14, 2011

Congratulations to East Coast second-year Executive MBA student Mike Patterson for winning a National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Award!

Patterson and his teammates from the University of Pennsylvania were selected for their venture, Graphene Frontiers.  We asked Patterson to tell us about what it means to have won this award and how he became involved with this startup. Here’s what he said:

“Winning the NSF award was great.  Not only did we win $50,000 for our postdoctoral fellow Zhengtang Lao to work on the venture full-time, but we gained credibility.  The NSF picked only a handful of teams nationwide, and so the award is a validation that we’re onto something big.

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Wharton Accounting Professor Reflects on Teaching EMBA Students
December 7, 2011

Wharton Accounting Professor Christopher Ittner isn’t trying to teach all of his students to be accountants. In fact, the focus of his Managerial Accounting class – a core course in Wharton’s EMBA program - - is on the decisions that managers make using financial data as opposed to the data itself.   We asked Prof. Ittner, whose research areas include performance measurement and cost management systems, to tell us more about the class and what it’s like to teach exec MBA students.  Here’s what he said:

“I’ve been teaching this course in Wharton’s East Coast EMBA program for 15 years and at Wharton | San Francisco for 10 years. And I’ve taught this same course to the full-time Wharton MBA students for the last 20 years.  Needless to say, I understand the material really well!

“It’s very different from a financial accounting course since we talk more about internal decision making and whether the numbers coming out of the accounting system are relevant or not to your decisions.  EMBA students tend to like it a lot because this is what many of them are doing in their jobs every day.

“I really enjoy teaching execMBA students.  Although it’s the exact same course as I teach to the full-time MBA students, the EMBAs bring a different perspective since they can go back to their jobs and apply what they learned right away.  And the EMBAs often bring issues from their work to class, which we discuss as a group.

“In addition to students bringing their real-world examples into class, I often bring examples from my consulting work as well as my research findings into the classroom.

“While you might think that we talk a lot about the economy, it’s not that big of a theme in the class.  Other than it being a riskier environment for decision making because we live in a more turbulent world, the fundamentals of decision making have remained the same regardless of whether people did it well or not leading up to the crisis.

“What has changed in my class is that the industries used as examples have expanded.  Now, we talk a lot about healthcare as well as other areas like the service sector, the motion picture industry and even nonprofits.   The course applies to more than just big manufacturing companies because everyone needs to use financial data to make managerial decisions.

“Another thing I enjoy about teaching EMBA students is the opportunities we have for interaction with the students.  Not only do our classes run for three hours at a time, but we eat lunch and dinner with them.  In San Francisco, our offices are right next to the EMBA area.  We get to know the students a lot more which frequently leads to ongoing relationships years after they have graduated.

“As for flying out to Wharton | San Francisco to teach this course, this is not something that is required of faculty, but rather something we want to do. The majority of us have been choosing to fly out there to teach since the West Coast program was launched 10 years ago.  We do it because we really like teaching these students.

For more information on classes in Wharton’s EMBA program, please click here.

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Wharton EMBA Students Learn about History and Leadership at Gettysburg
November 30, 2011

B&WWhen Brian Davis, a first-year EMBA student, signed up for a six-hour tour of the Gettysburg battlefield, it wasn’t because he’s a history buff. Rather, the director of communications for Allegiant Travel Company in Las Vegas, NV saw it as an opportunity to learn more about leadership and spend the day with classmates.  

“I’m still in awe at the opportunity to be here at Wharton and it’s such a short window that I want to say yes to any opportunity to learn that fits into my schedule,” says Davis, who recently spent a class weekend in Philadelphia with his fellow first-year classmates from Wharton | San Francisco. The Gettysburg tour was an optional Leadership Development Workshop offered to students from both coasts.

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Wharton EMBA Students Reflect on Class Trips to Brazil
November 16, 2011

Each year, second-year students in Wharton’s EMBA program vote on a location for their International Seminar trip. With options including India, China, Turkey and Brazil, it was a tough decision, but in the end both the East and West Coast classes voted on Brazil.

Brazil blog photo









The BRIC country’s position as Latin America’s largest economy and its strength in a diversity of areas such as steel, oil drilling, and renewable energy attracted the students’ interest. During the week-long trip, they visited local and international companies to learn more about challenges and opportunities in the region.

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