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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)

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.’

Continue reading "Wharton’s Global Modular Course in Rwanda Focuses on Conflict Resolution and Leadership" »

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Academics , EMBA Faculty , EMBA Program News , EMBA Student Activities , International Activities , Leadership , Military , Not-for-profit , Public Sector , Wharton l San Francisco , Wharton School News |Permalink |Comments (1)

Differentiation was Key for Wharton MBA Exec Student in Los Angeles
September 6, 2011

Working in Los Angeles as the debt and treasury manager for LA World Airports, Marla Bleavins looked at several nearby business schools with EMBA programs when she decided it was time to pursue her MBA degree. However, in addition to wanting a high level of academic rigor, she also wanted to  differentiate   herself from others in the LA area so she set her sights on Wharton.

Continue reading "Differentiation was Key for Wharton MBA Exec Student in Los Angeles" »

Posted by ExecMBA in California , Diversity , EMBA Academics , EMBA Faculty , Public Sector , Wharton l San Francisco , Wharton Women |Permalink |Comments (0)

First-Year EMBA Classes are off and Running
July 15, 2011

Welcome to our newest students in Wharton’s EMBA Program! Both the East and West Coast classes are comprised of exceptional students from near and far.

At Wharton | San Francisco, most of the first-year class is based in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco area, however students are also commuting from Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The class of 96 students brings an average of 11 years of work experience to the program with nearly 50% holding advanced degrees.

Continue reading "First-Year EMBA Classes are off and Running" »

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Wharton EMBA Alumni Use Education to Help Orchestrate ITT Breakup
February 23, 2011

Before starting Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program in Philadelphia in 1995, Aris Chicles was on a general management track in industrial marketing at Owens Corning. However, during the program, he became very interested in corporate strategy and M&A and was able to transition into that area within his company. Subsequently, he worked in a similar role at American Standard Companies before joining ITT in 2006 as senior vice president of strategy and corporate development.

Frank Jimenez had a different path to both Wharton and ITT. Starting out as an attorney in Miami, he later worked for Governor Jeb Bush of Florida before moving to Washington, D.C. where he worked as chief of staff to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. By the time he started Wharton’s EMBA program in 2003, he was one of seven deputy general counsels for the U.S. Department of Defense. Later, he became general counsel of the U.S. Department of the Navy, serving through the first 100 days of President Obama’s administration. In 2009, he transitioned into the corporate sector, joining ITT as vice president and general counsel.

Continue reading "Wharton EMBA Alumni Use Education to Help Orchestrate ITT Breakup" »

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , EMBA Faculty , JD / Law Degree , Public Sector |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton EMBA Program Helps Alumnus Transition from Technology to the Federal Government
November 10, 2010

Attorney Andrew Jackson was working as a senior counsel at Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, CA when he first started looking into executive MBA programs.  With a goal of stepping into a senior management position in the future, he felt that earning an MBA would be the best way to develop the necessary business skills for that type of role.

Jackson was particularly interested in Wharton’s EMBA Program and even considered flying every other weekend to Philadelphia, as Wharton | San Francisco had not yet launched.  Fortunately, the timing worked out and by the time he was ready to apply, Wharton | San Francisco was open and he was accepted into the West Coast program with sponsorship from HP.

In addition to the location, another consideration for Jackson was what the school’s environment would be like for him as an openly gay student. “I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I hoped it wouldn’t be an issue since I would be with a more mature group of classmates,” he says.

Once he arrived, Jackson was pleased to find a “welcoming” environment. “I brought my partner to all of the events to which partners were invited and it was never an issue.  We did have a funny moment at a welcoming reception before school began where I introduced my partner to a fellow student and he asked what business we were in, but that was just confusion rather than intolerance.  I never felt any hostility and it certainly didn’t affect my ability to form meaningful relationships with my classmates.”

In fact, Jackson says that getting to know his classmates was one of the best parts of the program. “We were assigned study groups, but I would have picked each of those people out myself if I had been given a choice,” he says. “We really leaned on each other a lot in the program and still keep in touch.  And I met many folks in the program who have become significant professional contacts.  The relationships I made at Wharton have exceeded my expectations in every way.”

After he graduated in 2003, Jackson spent several years working his way up to more senior positions in HP’s legal department, focusing on an aggressive IT consolidation program that shaved 20% off of infrastructure costs and moved the company from more than 80 data centers down to five.  His work at HP brought him to the attention of a contact working in the U.S. Department of the Interior, which under the new administration had assessed its challenges and was looking for someone with Jackson’s background and consolidation skills.

“I was offered the job of deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior and as much as I liked working at HP, it was a position I couldn’t turn down,” says Jackson, who was officially appointed to the new role in July of 2009. Some of the bigger pieces of what I do now include working on strategy for a $1 billion IT portfolio and overseeing the restructuring of the National Business Center, which is a shared services provider for the department and federal agencies.  That group processes 300,000 paychecks every two weeks among many other things,” he says.

Jackson says that while the knowledge he gained in Wharton’s exec MBA Program was very valuable to him at HP, it is “100% applicable” every day at the U.S. Department of the Interior. He explains, “Everything I do is about making a business case for the changes I’m trying to drive through the department.  I’m not coming in with a political agenda so much as an effectiveness agenda.  I think about what I learned in my strategy and leadership classes all the time even though it’s been almost 10 years.”

He adds, “I absolutely love what I’m doing now.  It’s been incredibly rewarding, but I know that without my Wharton education I wouldn’t be here today.  The ROI for me on the degree is incalculable in a very positive way.”

Posted by ExecMBA in California , Career Services , Diversity , EMBA Alumni News , JD / Law Degree , Public Sector , Wharton l San Francisco |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton EMBA Program Helps Navy Officer Transition to Corporate World
November 2, 2010

After almost a decade in the U.S. Navy, Lieutenant Charles Pell was starting to consider other career options besides the military. However, leaving active duty and then spending two years back in school full time to transition to the corporate world wasn’t that appealing. He didn’t want to put his life in California on hold in order to find a new career.

Instead, Pell, who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and was familiar with Wharton -- and knew other officers who had attended Wharton’s executive MBA program -- decided to apply to that program at Wharton | San Francisco.

“I had absolutely no idea what area I wanted to work in after I left the Navy and knew that Wharton would provide me with exposure to a lot of different industries. And the other officers who had gone through the program said they got a tremendous amount out of the program,” he says, noting that he continued to serve as a naval flight officer while attending Wharton.

During the program, Pell leveraged the experience of his classmates to learn about their industries and roles. “It was really helpful to talk things out with my classmates and ask them for advice on career options. They had so many different experiences that I didn’t have because I had been in the Navy and that is in many ways a different world,” he says.

But just as he was really getting into the job search mode, Pell was unexpectedly called to serve in Afghanistan for six months where he coordinated air travel around the country for high-ranking U.S. and Afghan officials.

“Resuming at Wharton six months later wasn’t that disruptive relative to the overall disruption in my life. But it did throw off my career search because the plans I had made for job hunting were tossed around,” says Pell, who ended up graduating with the class of 2008 instead of 2007 as originally planned.

His first job after school was in investment banking, but he quickly discovered that he wasn’t on the right career path for him. So he left to work at a small, early-stage startup. “That was when having my Wharton classmates with real world experience in technology and entrepreneurship was really helpful because I could talk to them about the challenges and issues. And I realized exactly how much I learned at Wharton because I was filling all sorts of roles at that startup and was required to think about the business much more broadly than might have been necessary at other companies,” he recalls.

After more than a year at the startup, he turned to his classmates again for career guidance. “As I described the company’s strategy as well as my role within the organization, my classmates helped me clarify that it was time to leave,” says Pell, who last year joined, an enterprise cloud computing company, as a manager in the marketing operations and analytics group in San Francisco.

“I’m really applying the knowledge I gained at Wharton on a daily basis, particularly with the quantitative analyses that I provide. It is a work environment where it’s important to have a broader perspective. I need to be able to take a broadly defined problem, identify the business metrics I can bring to bear, perform the analysis, and present my conclusion in a coherent and succinct way to my business partners. Refining all of that is based on what I learned at Wharton,” he says.

Looking back over the past few years, Pell attributes his ability to transition out of the military and find a career that is a good fit for him to his Wharton education. He says, “If I hadn’t gone to Wharton, I probably would have stayed in the defense industry or a government contracting role. Wharton built on the foundation of leadership skills I learned in the Navy, and gave me the confidence and skill set to enter new industries and work at a higher level than I would have been able to otherwise. My Wharton education has definitely opened doors that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.”

Pell and son 

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From the Air Force to Consulting: Wharton MBA Exec Alumnus Transitions to Business Role
October 5, 2010

After years as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, Stan Allen was looking to transition into the business world. However, he didn’t have a specific type of position in mind nor did he have a sense of what jobs were available. To make it even more challenging, the feedback he got from headhunters was that the airlines were hiring “like crazy” for pilots, which wasn’t particularly helpful advice for finding a management position.

Although he did end up working for an airline as a pilot, he quickly realized that he was not on the right career path. To correct his course, Stan decided that he needed an MBA degree, but it couldn’t be from just any school. He’d seen too many other pilots fail in similar efforts to reposition themselves. Instead, he focused his efforts on applying to Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program in San Francisco.

Stan explains, “I knew I needed to signal prospective employers that I was diligent about starting over and to be seen as something more than just a pilot. I selected Wharton because of its brand and capability to transcend my resume and communicate to those employers that I was capable of doing something rigorous and different.”

After being accepted to the program, he began commuting from the Seattle area to Wharton | San Francisco while working full-time for the airline, part-time for the Air Force, and doing some property management on the side. “It was a big challenge to balance all of that and keep up with people 10 years younger than me,” he recalls. “But accomplishing all of those things was also part of the reward because it required a lot of teamwork and collaboration with classmates.”

And it was those classmates who ultimately helped Stan to define his career interests and goals. “I specifically wanted an executive MBA program because I wanted to sample what other successful people did for a living and figure out where I would fit in. My classmates were emphatic that I should consider consulting and they were instrumental in helping me prepare for interviews,” he says.

After going through Wharton’s on-campus recruiting in Philadelphia, he was offered a job as a consultant with Accenture. “I’m confident that the transition to consulting would not have been possible without the Wharton education and reputation. I’d probably still be trying to make a transition from pilot to the business ranks and am confident I would not be where I am today - and that’s certainly true in light of the current economic situation.”

Since graduating in 2009, Stan says that he’s enjoyed the variety that comes with being a consultant. “It’s an environment where you rapidly learn about the interactions of different business functions and industries in a short amount of time. It’s actually similar to business school where collaboration is key and you have a focused team working on issues and projects rather than just the day-to-day transactional grind.”

Stan adds, “I’d definitely recommend Wharton’s MBA for Executives Program for others in the military trying to make a similar transition. Military officers bring to the curriculum a familiarity with leadership and a willingness to take risks; there they are joined with students from commercial enterprises who bring strong expertise in business functions. Wharton’s EMBA program is designed to create an executive mindset with the broad expertise to take appropriate risks to grow and develop a business. For military officers, the opportunity to learn from a prestigious faculty while merging with that business element is a great combination.”

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Love at First Sight: Wharton EMBA Alumnus Changes Careers to Help Nonprofit through Turnaround
June 16, 2010

For 20 years, Wharton Executive MBA alumnus Rick Rockelli had worked for leading Congressional-based publishers in the private sector. However, after reading an article in The Washington Post about the Close Up Foundation – an organization that helps students become informed and engaged citizens in the U.S. democracy -- the course of his career literally changed overnight.

Continue reading "Love at First Sight: Wharton EMBA Alumnus Changes Careers to Help Nonprofit through Turnaround" »

Posted by ExecMBA in Diversity , EMBA Academics , EMBA Alumni News , Entrepreneurship , Leadership , Not-for-profit , Public Sector |Permalink |Comments (0)

Making an Impact: Wharton EMBA Students Share Highlights of Global Consulting Practicum Trip to Botswana
January 26, 2010

In her first year in Wharton’s EMBA Program, Sarah Sullivan, a program analyst at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC, heard about the social impact projects in Wharton’s Global Consulting Practicum (GCP). They sounded like a good fit with her growing interest in social enterprises in developing countries, but she wanted to finish her core courses before signing up.

So after completing her first year courses as well as an independent study over the summer for a small beeswax producing company in Cameroon, she and five EMBA classmates signed up for the GCP. The course typically pairs teams of Wharton full-time and executive MBA students and faculty with teams from partner universities in countries such as China, India, Peru, and Israel to consult with a client company interested in entering or expanding its position in the U.S. market. However, their social impact project was a bit unique in that it involved working with a partnership between the University of Pennsylvania, government of Botswana, and the University of Botswana to build capacity in Botswana in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Having recently returned from a visit to Botswana for the GCP project, we asked Sullivan and her teammate William “Willy” McColgan to share some of the highlights of their trip with us. Here’s what Sullivan had to say:

“Since we left at the end of December, everything was still closed for the holidays in Botswana so we spent the first four days in South Africa and went on safari. It was a great opportunity to get to know my classmates even better and build a stronger foundation for our group.

When we went to Gaborone, Botswana, we first met the University of Botswana business students who were working with us on the project to hammer out our goals and what we would be doing for our client. We then met with a lot of people in Gaborone – doctors, people from the Center for Disease Control, the Ministry of Health, and a few business leaders and citizens. We even got a tour of the capital and a neighboring village, which was a chance to see more of the country and get a better feel for the culture.

We were blown away by how developed Botswana is compared to many other African countries. Yet despite their development and healthcare infrastructure, it has the highest prevalence of HIV with 25% of the population infected. There is not enough capacity in terms of beds, space, medicine, and number of hours with doctors and staff. Seeing that was really hard. And it made coordinating the work really challenging because you could spend hours on this fascinating project.

While there, we did identify a lot of issues that the partnership is facing. We’ll now conduct more research on the partnership and what needs to be done to sustain its funding with a long-term strategy. Our goal is to have specific recommendations in place by May.

This experience has confirmed my interest in doing business development and strategic planning for social enterprises in developing countries in the future. It also made me realize what an incredible opportunity I’ve had at Wharton that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’ve travelled to new places, met a lot of great people, seen other organizations in different environments, and gotten a world view of society. This was a capstone experience for me!”

McColgan agrees that the GCP trip was a wonderful experience. Here’s what he said about the project:
“When I first heard about the GCP’s social impact projects, I thought that no matter what else I do in the EMBA program, this is something I would look back on years from now and say it was really worthwhile and made an impact.

Once we arrived in Botswana, we headed straight over the border into South Africa for a safari to get adjusted to the time difference and prepare for the week ahead. What I remember the most from those days was getting stuck in the mud as it started to get dark and imagining all the things moving around you as well as a toga party on the game reserve on New Year’s Eve.

When we got to Botswana, we spent a lot of time planning and discussing our project and meeting with hospital staff, government representatives, and our University of Botswana counterparts. Later in the week, we went on the medical wards and met with residents from Penn’s Medical School as well as a Penn School of Nursing faculty member doing research on sabbatical. The University of Pennsylvania has certainly made an impact in Botswana. Hopefully our Wharton EMBA GCP team can help this continue.

This will definitely be a highlight of my time at Wharton. And I certainly strengthened my relationships with my classmates during that time, which is lasting. We’ll always have Africa!”

Many thanks to Sarah and Willy for sharing their GCP experiences. Learn more about the GCP.

Related blog: Wharton's Global Consulting Practicum EMBA Students Build International Teams While Working and Having Fun

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Academics , EMBA Program News , EMBA Student Activities , Entrepreneurship , Health Care , International Activities , Leadership , Not-for-profit , Public Sector , Science |Permalink |Comments (0)

Wharton EMBA Grad Earns Top Post with U.S. Treasury
August 4, 2009

Congratulations to Wharton EMBA alumnus Dan Tangherlini on his confirmation as assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. His new role includes serving as assistant secretary for management, chief financial officer and chief performance officer.

“It’s an awesome responsibility,” Tangherlini told the Washington Post. Formerly the deputy mayor and city administrator for Washington, D.C., he has worked for federal and local governments for more than 10 years.  Prior posts also include positions in the policy office of the U.S. Transportation Secretary and in the Office of Management and Budget.

Tangherlini, who graduated from Wharton’s East Coast EMBA program in 2001, credits his Wharton EMBA degree with providing the “tools, knowledge, and experience” that have helped him in his career. “Working for the government, the responsibilities are serious enough, the numbers are big enough, and the challenges are tough enough that we need the best trained people possible, and an MBA from Wharton is very worthwhile,” he says.

Tangherlini is in good company, as other Wharton EMBA grads have also held top government positions. Alumnus Frank Lavin, who graduated in 1996, served as under secretary of commerce for international trade and served as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore.  Ann McLaughlin Korologos, who graduated in 1988, was asked to serve as secretary of labor while attending Wharton. The second woman to hold that position, she also previously served as the under secretary of the Department of the Interior and as under secretary of the Department of the Treasury.  And Rob McCord, who graduated in 1989, is the treasurer of the State of Pennsylvania.

Read more about Dan Tangherlini.

Read more about Ann McLaughlin Korologos (publication taken down).

Read more about Rob McCord.

Posted by ExecMBA in EMBA Alumni News , Public Sector |Permalink |Comments (0)