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Wharton EMBA Alumna Uses Degree to Impact Education in Jamaica
February 14, 2013

Deika Morrison has a unique perspective about Wharton given that she earneDeika 3d a dual undergraduate degree in business and engineering from Wharton and Penn, and then earned a Wharton MBA through the executive program in Philadelphia. Now, the founder of several businesses and a charity in Jamaica, we asked her to talk about how her Wharton education has impacted her career. Here’s what she said:

“After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994, I went home to Jamaica where I worked for the government before deciding in 2001 to get an MBA in order to transition to the private sector. Based on how much I loved my four years as an undergraduate at Wharton, I knew I wanted to come back here for my MBA.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Alumna Uses Degree to Impact Education in Jamaica" »

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Wharton EMBA Alumna Campaigns for Public Office in Phoenix
January 24, 2013

After graduating last May from Wharton | San Francisco’s EMBA program, Kate Gallego was focused on her role as a senior project manager at the Salt River Project in Phoenix, AZ. However, in December, she also began campaigning for a seat on Phoenix’s City Council. We asked her to tell Kate in front of Phoenix baseball stadiumus about how her Wharton education will be helpful if she wins the election. Here’s what she said:

“Being on the City Council would allow me to work on areas such as public safety, land use planning and basic city infrastructure, such as water and transportation. I also want to bring more jobs to our district, which has been hit hard by the Recession. We have a strong workforce with a lot of open space, especially near our airport, where businesses could really grow.

“I’m vice chair of Phoenix’s 10-year Plan, so I’ve had an opportunity to attend community meetings and hear what people want to see for our city. I was inspired that so many people share my passions for Phoenix, and I also saw that – because of my Wharton education -- I have the expertise and knowledge needed to run for office. There are currently no MBAs on the Council.

“In addition, I want to support our entrepreneurs in Phoenix. I majored in Entrepreneurial Management at Wharton, which helps me understand how young companies grow and how I can Kate Gallego Marla Bleavins and Monica Jan in Israelsupport that growth. I’ll also be able to use my real estate and finance education to make sure great projects can thrive in Phoenix.

“It was beneficial to go to school in San Francisco, which is so close to Silicon Valley and venture-backed startups. I’m excited to see if I can try to bring more of that to Phoenix.

“I’ll also be able to rely on my Wharton connections, which run broad and deep. It will be helpful to have so many resources available in so many different industries. And, of course, I’ve told all of my classmates that they should relocate their businesses to Phoenix!”

Kate says the election primary will be held in August of 2013 with the general election in November.

Posted by ExecMBA in Diversity , EMBA Alumni News , Entrepreneurship , Public Sector , Wharton l San Francisco , Wharton Women |Permalink |Comments (0)

Speaker Insights are Highlight of EMBA Program for Wharton | San Francisco Student
November 4, 2012

When James Kilpatrick, president of the commercial real estate firm NAI Northern California, was invited to a Wharton executive MBA admissions reception by a friend, he wasn’t really considering pursuing an MBA.  But after attending the event “just for fun,” he was so impressed with the students and alumni -- and how their Wharton education was impacting their careers -- that he began to research MBA programs that very night.

“I saw it as a way to shift the trajectory of my career and move my company forward, but also as a form of personal development.  I found that Wharton’s EMBA program was hands down the right choice because it’s a world apart in terms of the commitment level and culture of the students and the rigor of the curriculum,” recalls Kilpatrick. “It really spoke to me thaPerkins Kilpatrick Talkt world-class faculty and students and top companies from thousands of miles away all had this enthusiastic interest in participating in Wharton’s EMBA program in San Francisco.”

Now a first-year executive MBA student at Wharton | San Francisco, he says a highlight of the program has been the guest speakers. “The Wharton brand is very strong and speakers want to come here. We often get one or two major speakers during class sessions, which leads to a jam packed day, but that’s just the way most of us like it. I recently leveraged the Wharton brand and invited my neighbor Tom Perkins to speak. The cofounder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers is arguably one of the most successful venture capitalists in the history of Silicon Valley and shared unique insights into the world of VC and entrepreneurship, discussing his views on best practices for investors and entrepreneurs, and answering questions about what types of solutions he might focus on if here were in the shoes of our EMBA class.”

Continue reading "Speaker Insights are Highlight of EMBA Program for Wharton | San Francisco Student" »

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EMBA Student Finds Wharton’s Entrepreneurial Environment a Good Fit for Interests in Startups and Movie Making
September 27, 2012

When Raju Penmatcha entered Wharton’s EMBA program, he was intending to apply his new business education to growing his software business, SmartWorks. With an engineering background, he wanted to fill in knowledge gaps in areas like marketing and maybe even meet potential business partners.

While he’s currently fulfilling those goals in the EMBA program, he’s also finding the courses applicable to his other profession: movie making. His most recent project is the Bollywood film   Raju on set “Love, Lies & Seeta” for which he was executive producer, but he’s been working in the film industry for several years and has written, directed and produced the short films “Mohan and Maya” and “Occasional Smoker.”

Raju explains, “The challenges involved in small business and movie making are very similar so the business skills I’m developing in school are helpful for both areas. They are like a roller coaster ride because you start with an idea and don’t know if it will work or not. Things don’t always go as you planned, surprises come up once you start implementing your ideas, and you need to make new decisions almost every day. Having a good team makes a huge difference.”

He says the entrepreneurial environment at Wharton has been a great match for his interests in startups and movie making. “I haven’t taken advantage of all the programs here yet because I’ve been focused on my core courses, but there are a lot of resources, programs and electives here for entrepreneurs.”

Continue reading "EMBA Student Finds Wharton’s Entrepreneurial Environment a Good Fit for Interests in Startups and Movie Making" »

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EMBA Team Takes Top Award in Wharton Business Plan Competition
May 2, 2012

A team of Wharton executive MBA students in Philadelphia was awarded first-place in Wharton’s Business Plan Competition. Second-year classmates Eric Heil, a venture capital associate at Domain Associates in Princeton, N.J., Matt Tanzer, an associate director at Shire Pharmaceuticals in Wayne, Penn., and Mrinal Bhasker, vice president of technology and principal at Audacious Inquiry in Baltimore, Md., won the $30,000 grand prize for their plan for RightCare Solutions.

Continue reading "EMBA Team Takes Top Award in Wharton Business Plan Competition" »

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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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Wharton | San Francisco Student Speaks at Conference on Why Women Rule the Web
February 23, 2012

Why do women rule the Web? This was the question asked by first-year Wharton | San Francisco student Brian Cooper during his presentation at the recent Digital Esomar Conference in Miami. We asked the vice president of technology at market research company TNS in Palo Alto, CA to tell us more about his presentation as well as his experience in Wharton’s EMBA program. Here’s what he had to say:

“Twenty years ago, most of us didn’t know about the Internet. Ten years ago, social networking was barely a concept. Today, the Internet impacts all facets of our lives both online and offline. But, how is it changing and who is driving those changes? This was the premise of our paper and presentation.

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Wharton EMBA Alumna Featured on NPR for Launching Women’s Accelerator
February 15, 2012

Starting her own software company and cofounding a nonprofit organization for women in wireless Veronika Sonsev headshothas kept Veronika Sonsev, a 2005 graduate of Wharton’s East Coast EMBA program, pretty busy in the past  few years. However, she really wanted to do more to help women founders and recently launched an accelerator to do just that.

Announced at the end of December, Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) is the first startup accelerator and mentorship-driven program designed for women-founded companies in mobile technology. Startups in the three-month accelerator will receive $18,000 in funding, free office space, product development and design support, mobile-marketing promotions, and access to mentors, funders and advisors. In exchange, WIM will receive a 6% equity stake in each company.

Already, the group has attracted significant press attention with recent interviews on NPR and articles in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Alumna Featured on NPR for Launching Women’s Accelerator" »

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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.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Student Wins NSF Award for New Venture: Graphene Frontiers" »

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New Orleans Based Wharton MBA Student Blogs about Balancing Work, Life and School
October 22, 2011

In case you haChristy Luquire Study Groupven’t seen it yet, Christy Luquire is blogging about being a first-year EMBA student in Wharton’s East Coast program for the Poets & Quants for Executives Website. So far, the resident of New Orleans has written about everything from trading in jambalaya for cheesesteaks to using iPads in class to ordering takeout seven nights in a row.

Blogging after every class weekend, the vice president of Federated Sample, a market research technology company, shares anecdotes about her life as a student working full-time who commutes to school from Louisiana. A recurring theme in many of her posts is what it’s like to juggle school, work, home and other activities. She wants readers to know that although students have to make some sacrifices, it is possible and worthwhile. 

Continue reading "New Orleans Based Wharton MBA Student Blogs about Balancing Work, Life and School" »

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Wharton | San Francisco Student Reflects on China Trek
July 28, 2011

Each year, second-year Wharton EMBA students spend a week abroad examining how businesses develop and implement strategy in a competitive global context. While that trip is the culmination of their International Seminar, it’s not uncommon for students to organize additional treks to gain further insight into the economic, political, social and cultural factors that influence business in other regions.

Last month, a group of 21 students from Wharton | San Francisco participated in a trek to Beijing and  Shanghai. We asked second-year student Hari Kannan, a technologist at VCE in the Silicon Valley, to share some highlights from the trip. Here’s what he had to say:

Continue reading "Wharton | San Francisco Student Reflects on China Trek" »

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , EMBA Faculty , Entrepreneurship , International Activities , Wharton l San Francisco |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton MBA Alumnus Reflects on Value of Independent Studies
June 22, 2011

Jimmy Smith When Jim Smith entered Wharton’s executive MBA program in 2005, he also launched the Digital Network Group, an IT and management consulting firm with a mission to create economic and social value for local communities. Wanting to work with professors on his particular interests outside of the core classes, he sought out independent study projects that would help him develop his business. 

As a first-year EMBA student, his initial project was with Prof. Terry LaPier on leading social change through the application of information technology. “That experience provided me with an opportunity to develop a framework that effectively leverages the business, government, nonprofit and academic sectors in a cohesive, systematic and repeatable fashion,” he says. “Through that study, I came up with an idea to build a computer assisted mentoring system for students, as well as a platform to help nonprofits improve their own capacity to provide services – both of which are key elements of my business today.”

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Wharton EMBA Alumnus Uses Degree to Build VC Firm in China
May 27, 2011

When Feng Deng applied to Wharton’s EMBA program in San Francisco, he was a successful entrepreneur running NetScreen Technologies in the Silicon Valley.  His company employed 1,000 people, but to eventually manage a larger team, he knew he needed a formal business education.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Alumnus Uses Degree to Build VC Firm in China" »

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Student Story: What Social Impact Means to Me
April 4, 2011

As social responsibility becomes a priority for both large organizations and new startups, the Wharton Program for Social Impact is likewise growing in popularity with current and prospective students. Raghavan Anand is a first-year Wharton | San Francisco Executive MBA student who has extensive experience in education- and healthcare-related non-profits.  He spoke to us about what social impact means to him.

Continue reading "Student Story: What Social Impact Means to Me" »

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Wharton Executive MBA Program Helps Alumnus Build Career Path Combining Consulting, Science and Entrepreneurship
March 2, 2011

While you might think that most executive MBA students come from corporate environments, there are plenty of Wharton students who come from other backgrounds. Alumnus Stephen Tang is a good example.

After finishing his PhD in biotechnology, Tang started up a technology assessment consulting firm and became the assistant director of the Center for Molecular Bioscience at Lehigh University. However, he quickly realized that he was just as interested in the business of science as he was in the science itself. But to pursue a career path in business, he knew he would need “more seasoning” in business so he applied to and was accepted into Wharton’s EMBA program.

Continue reading "Wharton Executive MBA Program Helps Alumnus Build Career Path Combining Consulting, Science and Entrepreneurship " »

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Wharton Exec MBA Program Helps Alumnus Transition from Computer Products to Finance
February 8, 2011

Ian Lombard was director of the technology products group at his computer products company when he decided that it was time for a change.  He wanted to transition into a different industry, but his undergraduate degree was in molecular biology, which limited his options.  His path forward turned out to be Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives in San Francisco.

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Join Us for a Live Webcast: Meet Faculty, Alumni & Staff
January 6, 2011

Meet and interact with Wharton MBA for Executives professors, alumni, students and admissions staff during our first-ever webcast event, streaming live from both Philadelphia & San Francisco.

Thursday, January 20, 2011
7:00-8:00pm EST / 4:00-5:00pm PST

Get a Taste of the Classroom Experience
Live from Philadelphia: Vice Dean Anjani Jain asks faculty about their experience teaching in the program, including current topics from recent classes. 

David Bell, Professor of Marketing
Peggy Bishop Lane, Professor of Accounting
Witold Henisz, Professor of Management 

Meet Admissions Staff
Live from San Francisco:  Vice Dean Anjani Jain introduces members of the Admissions Committee, including Bernadette Birt, COO of Wharton | San Francisco and Cathy Molony, Director of Admissions, Wharton MBA Program for Executives.

Interact with Students and Alumni
Live from both Philadelphia & San Francisco:  Alumni and students share their stories about the benefits, both personal and professional, of the Wharton MBA degree.

The webcast will include forums for posting questions as you watch.  We hope you'll join us!

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

Wharton Executive MBA Program Helps Alumnus Turn Loss of Company into “Sweet” Opportunity
December 8, 2010

When Emir Kiamilev entered Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives at Wharton | San Francisco in 2005, he was running a successful tea company in Uzbekistan with yearly revenue of $7 million.  His goal was to learn how to successfully expand the company into other regions not only to grow the business, but also to mitigate the risks of political instability in Uzbekistan.

At first, everything was going according to plan. He based his family in San Diego where his parents lived and commuted to Uzbekistan once a quarter to apply the knowledge he learned in school.  He even used the tea business as the subject of a consulting project in one of his classes.

But in his second year, the worst case scenario happened – he lost the company due to political instability.  “In those countries, it’s hard to finance anything so it was a cash-based business in which we reinvested all profits.  I was married with three kids, but had no income and we were really down to nothing.  I got loans for school, but our whole lifestyle changed overnight.”

The “up side” at the time, he says, was the fact that he was in school and could access Wharton’s extensive network and dedicated career management resources.    After meeting representatives from Mattel, Inc., he was offered a position as a finance manager.  “I was excited because I wanted to come into a consumer products company and learn how Fortune 500 companies do business in corporate America,” says Kiamilev.

Kiamilev and his wife shared an entrepreneurial spirit and also wanted to start up a business.  Attending several gourmet food shows, they decided their market niche would be in confectionaries so they took online classes on topics such as how to make chocolate and even flew to Paris for lessons from a high-end chocolatier.

Ultimately, they decided to focus on caramels and in 2009, with $50,000 from friends and family, they launched Amella.  Their artisan cocoa butter caramels are now in more than 200 stores and high-end hotels and the couple hopes to break even by the end of 2010.

Kiamilev says, “It would have been much harder to start over without my Wharton education.  I’ve seen other friends go through similar situations and they could not recover.  But because of Wharton, I have the tools, knowledge and network to one day be bigger than I was in Uzbekistan.  The executive MBA program opened a lot of doors and is helping me be a better businessman.”


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Wharton Executive MBA Program Opens “Limitless Possibilities” for Fellows Student
November 18, 2010

With a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in engineering, Joanne Medvitz loved her job in the innovative area of clean tech at PG&E in San Francisco. However, she wanted a better understanding of how business decisions drive technological advances. To fill in the holes of her “patchwork understanding” of business and be able to contribute more both to her role as product manager at the utility company and the startup she co-founded, Pop Outerwear, she decided it was time to look into MBA programs.

Being 28 and having gone to graduate school, she realzed her work experience would be similar to that of a typical full-time MBA student.  But after looking at full-time programs on both coasts, she realized they weren’t a fit for her. 

“Those students were often still in exploratory mode where I knew I wanted certain things in my future. I thought I might find similar clarity among the students in an executive MBA program.  Also, I didn’t want to lose more time out of the workforce. With the clean tech space moving so fast in the Bay Area, I thought it might look totally different if I left and came back,” she explains.

Reaching out to other PG&E employees who had gone through Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives in San Francisco, she saw how excited they were about their experience. “They talked about how good the professors were, the rigor of the curriculum, and how tight-knit their class was. I decided to sit in on a class and immediately felt the camaraderie that you’d expect in a full-time program. It was a fuller experience than I had expected,” she says.

Medvitz applied to the Wharton EMBA program in San Francisco and was accepted as a "Fellows," which is a category of students who have fewer than eight years of work experience, but are sponsored by their employers and demonstrate outstanding promise for advancement in a managerial career.

Currently a first-year student, she says she has no regrets about her decision. “I sometimes wonder what life might be like in a full-time program and I got a glimpse of that when my class recently spent a weekend at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus. I realized that at this point I don’t need things like career fairs. My classmates and I are all so passionate about helping each other in our careers that we network in a different way. As for being on a big campus, I thought I might miss that, but I realized that we love our own campus community in San Francisco even more.”

While she was a bit nervous about being less experienced than most of her classmates, Medvitz says that everyone has been “amazing. They share their experiences and connections and are so supportive.”

Medvitz described herself as pleasantly “shocked” at the professional diversity in her class. “The breadth of experiences is huge. We have everyone from entrepreneurs at startups and those recently acquired by big businesses to people in more traditional institutions. The range truly represents the West Coast and it’s awesome,” she says.

Medvitz, who was recently promoted to senior product manager, describes her experience so far as “priceless.” She says, “I was prepared to spend my own money for the entire tuition. Having the support and network of such intelligent, ambitious, positive people is invaluable. And I’m finally seeing all of the things that I can do. Not just in building my own abilities, but also what the possibilities are that might be open for me and what I can create for myself. Thanks to Wharton, I’m quickly realizing that they're limitless.”


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Cooking up a New Career: Wharton MBA Exec Program Helps Alumna Launch Blog
August 24, 2010

In times of stress, Miriam Leigh has always turned to cooking as an outlet. So it’s not that surprising that she began to do a lot more entertaining when she started Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program in San Francisco.

“I felt like my life was thrown a bit into a tailspin with all the demands on my time from work and school. I found myself inviting people like my classmates over a lot to cook for them,” says Leigh, who is director of marketing and communications at Computers and Structures, Inc. “They started asking me for recipes so I decided to start a blog ( as a hobby.” But what began as a hobby and stress outlet has blossomed into a cooking blog read by thousands, popular cooking demonstration videos on YouTube, and a possible new TV show.

Leigh explains that her MBA classes inspired her to take her blog to the next level.  “It started as just a few postings, but in Prof. David Bell’s marketing class we talked about the concept of how to make your consumer feel that they are part of something and generate a sense of community. In my case, my product was the blog and I felt that videos would let people into my life – they would see me in my own kitchen – and I could do cooking demonstrations,” she says, adding that she went down the list of marketing techniques and thought about which ones she could apply.

When Leigh began receiving positive feedback from her videos and even comments that she should be on the Food Network, she thought it might indeed be worth a try. “I didn’t know anyone at that network, but I searched Wharton’s alumni database and found an alumnus who worked at Scripps Networks, the parent company of the Food Network, and sent him an introductory email asking if he could help put me in touch with anyone who might be interested in watching my videos,” she says.

Within a day, the alumnus had written back with an offer to introduce her to the creative director at the Food Network who was interested in seeing her videos. She says, “I didn’t think it would be that fast much less that I would be talking to the top guy there!”

After watching her videos, the creative director was very encouraging, giving Leigh specific pointers about what to work on and requesting additional materials as they were created. A few months later, Leigh sent more videos and landed a meeting with the network in New York.

At that point, all of her Wharton classmates had learned about the blog and her interest in creating a TV show.  She recalls, “At lunch one day, a friend casually mentioned that one of her kids goes to school with the kids of a guy who used to be a Food Network producer and asked if I wanted to be introduced to him. I said sure, and she emailed him my information. It turns out that he was the producer of a major show on the Food Network and I was so flattered when he wanted to talk.”

After finding an entertainment lawyer – again by searching the Wharton alumni database -- Leigh and the producer filmed a single episode of what will hopefully become a full TV series. Currently, she’s in discussions to see if it gets picked up by the Food Network.

Leigh, who graduated last May with her 90 San Francisco classmates, credits Wharton for much of her success. “Wharton has everything to do with what I’ve been able to do. The MBA curriculum helped me get the product off the ground and the Wharton alumni network is helping me turn it into a TV show and a career!”

Stay tuned for updates on Miriam Leigh’s blog and TV show!

Miriam Leigh

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