Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

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Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Logo of the Wharton School
Motto Knowledge for action
Established 1881
Type Private business school
Dean Geoffrey Garrett[1]
Academic staff
Undergraduates 2,306
Postgraduates 1,671
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
39°57′12″N 75°11′53″W / 39.953232°N 75.197993°W / 39.953232; -75.197993Coordinates: 39°57′12″N 75°11′53″W / 39.953232°N 75.197993°W / 39.953232; -75.197993
Affiliations University of Pennsylvania
Website www.wharton.upenn.edu

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (also known as the Wharton School, the Wharton School of Business, or simply Wharton) is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, a private Ivy League university located in Philadelphia. Wharton was established in 1881 through a donation from Joseph Wharton and is the first business school in the United States.

The Wharton School awards Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees at the undergraduate level and Master of Business Administration degrees at the postgraduate level, both of which require the selection of a major. Wharton also offers a PhD program and houses or co-sponsors several diploma programs either alone or in conjunction with the other schools at the university.[3] Wharton has 471 standing and associated faculty, including 123 international faculty,[2] and it also has 20 research centers across various disciplines. The faculty at the Wharton School annually receives the highest research index score of any business school in the world.[4][5] Wharton also publishes the online journal Knowledge@Wharton and furnishes Wharton School Publishing in partnership with the Pearson publishing company.


Joseph Wharton, the school's founder and namesake

Joseph Wharton, a native Philadelphian, was a leader in industrial metallurgy who built his fortune through the American Nickel Company and Bethlehem Steel Corporation. As Wharton's business grew, he recognized that business knowledge in the United States was only taught through an apprenticeship system, and such a system was not viable for creating a wider economy during the Industrial Revolution.[6] After two years of planning, Wharton in 1881 founded the Wharton School of Finance and Economy through a $100,000 initial pledge, making it the first business school established in the United States.[7] (ESCP Europe, established in 1819, and a few other business schools were established in Europe prior to Wharton's founding.[8]) The school was meant to train future leaders to conduct corporations and public organizations in a rapidly evolving industrial era. Wharton was quoted as saying that the school was meant to "instill a sense of the coming strife [in business life]: of the immense swings upward or downward that await the competent or the incompetent soldier in this modern strife".[6]

From the founding of the school, he defined that the goal of the school was "to provide for young men special means of training and of correct instruction in the knowledge and in the arts of modern Finance and Economy, both public and private, in order that, being well informed and free from delusions upon these important subjects, they may either serve the community skillfully as well as faithfully in offices of trust, or, remaining in private life, may prudently manage their own affairs and aid in maintaining sound financial morality: in short, to establish means for imparting a liberal education in all matters concerning Finance and Economy".[9] The school was renamed to Wharton School of Finance and Commerce in 1902, and formally changed its name to simply Wharton School in 1972.[10]

Early on, the Wharton School faculty was tightly connected to an influential group of businessmen, bankers and lawyers that made up the larger Philadelphia School of Political Economy.[11] The faculty incorporated social sciences into the Wharton curriculum, as the field of business was still under development. Albert S. Bolles, a lawyer, served as Wharton's first professor,[12] and the school's Industrial Research Unit was established in 1921.[13]

Wharton professor Simon Kuznets, who later won the Nobel Prize in Economics, created statistical data on national output, prices, investment, and capital stock, and also measured seasonability, cycles, and secular trends of these phenomena. His work laid out what became the standard procedure for measuring the gross national product and the gross domestic product, and he later led an international effort to establish the same statistical information for all national economies.[14][15] Professor Lawrence Klein, who also won the Nobel Prize in Economics, invented the field of econometrics, which combined economic theory with mathematics, providing another way to test theories and predict future economic trends.[14]

Wharton professor George W. Taylor is credited with founding the academic field of study known as industrial relations.[16] He served in several capacities in the federal government, most notably as a mediator and arbitrator. During his career, Taylor settled more than 2,000 strikes.[17] In 1967, he helped draft the New York state civil service law which legalized collective bargaining in that state but which also banned strikes by public employees—legislation widely known today as the Taylor Law.[18]

Wharton professor Wroe Alderson (1898–1965) is widely recognized as the most important marketing theorist of the twentieth century[19] and the "father of modern marketing".[20][21] Wharton professor Paul Green is considered to be the “father of conjoint analysis” for his discovery of the statistical tool for quantification of market research.[22]

Wharton professor Solomon S. Huebner is known widely as "the father of insurance education." He originated the concept of "human life value", which became a standard method of calculating insurance value and need. He established the goal of professionalism in the field of insurance, developed the first collegiate level program in insurance and chaired the Department of Insurance at Wharton, and contributed greatly to the progress of adult education in this area.[23] Wharton professor Daniel M. McGill was widely regarded as the “Dean of the pension industry”,[24] whose research contributed to shaping the modern retirement system both in the public and corporate sectors.[25]

In 1946, after ENIAC was created at Penn, Wharton created the first multidisciplinary programs in technology management with the School of Engineering and Applied Science.[26] Wharton faculty began to work closely with AT&T, Merrill Lynch, MasterCard, Prudential Insurance and the New York Stock Exchange in analyzing the strategic and commercial implications of information systems.[26]

Wharton created the first textbook on foreign trade,[27] and it led the privatization of national industries in Turkey, Poland and surrounding Eastern European nations.[27]

The Wharton School's first business professor was an attorney, Albert Bolles. At the time, there were no other business schools and no business professors could be recruited elsewhere. Bolles, a lawyer by education and training, and business journalist by career, seemed to be the best option for Joseph Wharton. Bolles started his career as a lawyer in Connecticut in the second half of the 19th century. After resigning from his law firm, he started pursuing a new career in business journalism and was promoted to the editor role of Bankers Magazine, a trade publication, in 1880. Upon joining the Wharton School, he began teaching business with classes on the law of governing finance and on the processes of commercial banking. Bolles' instruction in finance was influenced by his previous experience in Bankers Magazine: he stressed conservative business practices, drawing on business history as much as he could. In his classes, inflationist Congressmen were "self-interested debtors". Besides teaching, Bolles advocated for several national reforms, including the uniform banking law. Wharton historian Steven A. Sass wrote about him, "Bolles thus fulfilled Joseph Wharton's pedagogic expectations and…got the new school off to a respectable start by the spring of 1883".[6] In 1884, the first five business students were awarded a Bachelor of Finance degree. One graduate, Shiro Shiba, returned to Japan where he would become a member of the Diet, the Japanese parliament, and another, Robert Adams, Jr., later was named U.S. Ambassador to Brazil.[11]

Classes in business and finance abounded at the Wharton School, but it was lacking in any other areas of business interest. Edmund James, with a doctorate from the University of Halle in Germany, reinvigorated the school's curriculum, starting classes on political finance and administration. Later in 1885, James argued for redesigning the course of study at Wharton with elements of German higher education. He wanted to include training in banking, railroading, merchandising, manufacturing and other similar branches, and expand the course's length to four years from the initial three. Joseph Wharton in November 1893 pledged an additional $75,000 to the school in order to implement James' ideas in the school's curriculum. A more comprehensive study plan was then rolled out.[6] Between 1895 and 1915, James started teaching at Wharton the new fields of finance and management as they were developing in the business world. The Wharton School improved its reputation from a bunch of academic "misfits", and some of its alumni rose in the U.S. business world.[28] During this period, the school continued to attract additional faculty members and expand its research programs.[29]

Wharton began awarding MBA degrees in 1921.[28] In 1942, during World War II, in the same fashion of other schools, Wharton's full-time faculty dropped dramatically from 165 to 39 by 1944. According to school historians, members of the faculty were called upon for special posts.[30] In 1959, Wharton adopted the curriculum which is now taught in most major business schools: the program was changed with liberal arts education doubling to almost half of the curriculum, and the social sciences department was moved to the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences in 1975. Since then, Wharton faculty have focused exclusively on business education.

In 1998, the school launched Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) through the Computing and Information Technology department.[31] The service was a web-based data management system to help businesses, faculty, and students retrieve information from a variety of financial, economic, and marketing sources. The program originated from the school's early research in "heuristics" that aimed at eliminating lengthy data processing through mathematical extrapolation. After being licensed for use, it was adopted at more than 200 business schools and financial institutions around the world, including INSEAD, Harvard University, London Business School, and Stanford University.[32]

In 1999, the Wharton School played a central role in the establishment of Singapore Management University,[33] which used Wharton as a model for its own program.[34] Professor Janice R. Bellace, then Deputy Dean of the Wharton School and currently the chair of Wharton's legal studies and business ethics department, was appointed as the Founding President of Singapore Management University in July 1999.[35] The Wharton-SMU Research Center was also established in 1999.[36]

In 2014, the Wharton School launched Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School, a live, 24/7 satellite radio channel in collaboration with SiriusXM.[37]

Official historical names of the institution include the Wharton School of Finance and Economy, from 1881 to 1901, and the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, from 1902 to 1971.[38]


Huntsman Hall is the Wharton School's main building

Philadelphia campus[edit]

The Philadelphia campus of the Wharton School has four primary buildings, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, Vance Hall and Lauder-Fischer Hall.[39] In addition, the Steinberg Conference Center houses the Aresty Institute of Executive Education and has four amphitheaters, three lecture halls, 12 conference rooms, 103 guest rooms, executive dining facilities and case rooms.[40]

Jon M. Huntsman Hall is the Wharton School's main building. The building is a 324,000 square foot structure with 48 seminar and lecture halls, 57 group study rooms and several auditoriums and conference rooms.[41] It was constructed through a donation from Wharton alumnus Jon M. Huntsman. It also has a 4,000 square foot forum, as well as a colloquium space on the top floor.

Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall is a joint 180,000 square foot structure comprising two adjacent halls. It was built in 1952 and expanded in 1983 through a donation from Wharton alumnus Saul Steinberg, and houses the offices of several academic departments at the Wharton School.[42] It also contains lecture halls, conference rooms and common areas for faculty and students.

Vance Hall is a 107,000 square foot structure built in 1972 to house Wharton's graduate programs, administrative offices, lecture halls and meeting areas.[43] It has a modern design consisting of concrete, steel and glass.

Lauder-Fischer Hall houses the Joseph H. Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies, and focuses mainly on international business teaching and research initiatives.[44] The Lauder Institute was founded in 1983 by Wharton alumni Leonard Lauder and Ronald Lauder.

In 2014, the Wharton School launched the Student Life Space in Philadelphia's central business district.[45] It is a 20,000 square foot space with conference rooms, meeting rooms and over 20 group study rooms. It also serves as an incubator space for startup companies.[46]

San Francisco campus[edit]

In 2001 Wharton launched a new campus in San Francisco, California. Located in the Hills Brothers Plaza since 2011, the San Francisco campus serves as a hub on the West coast for its students and alumni.[47] As of 2012, the campus is open to Executive MBA students and to full-time MBA students, who can decide to spend the fall semester of second year of the MBA program in San Francisco in the Semester in San Francisco Program. For the full-time MBAs, the Semester in San Francisco program focuses on entrepreneurship, technology, and venture capital. Students are accepted to the program based on a separate application where they need to demonstrate their interest in these topics. The campus accommodates about 60 MBA students and 90 executive MBA students, along with the staff of the Wharton Executive Education and Wharton Entrepreneurship.

Undergraduate program[edit]

Admissions process[edit]

Prospective Wharton candidates apply in their senior year of high school either through the early decision (ED) process or regular decision (RD) process. Unlike many other undergraduate business programs where students transfer in after their freshman or sophomore year (University of Virginia's McIntire, Emory's Goizueta, UC Berkeley's Haas), Wharton applicants apply specifically for Wharton during their senior year of high school. These candidates are then grouped with a pool of applicants separate from those applying to University of Pennsylvania's College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS), or School of Nursing.[48] According to the admissions committee, Wharton candidates are assessed on academic performance, standardized testing, recommendation letters, extracurricular achievements, leadership and personal maturity. Overall, the committee seeks "individuals who will be future leaders".[49]

The admissions process for Wharton's undergraduate program is extremely competitive, with a significantly lower acceptance rate than any other undergraduate degree or MBA program in the United States. From an applicant pool of the nation's most qualified and high-achieving students, predominantly within the top percentile in regard to academic and standardized test performance, approximately 5% to 7% are successful in any given year, with international students comprising about 20% of matriculating students.[50] These figures are subject to annual fluctuation in the number of applications received. Through its selective admissions process and consistently strong performance, Wharton has maintained its position as the top undergraduate business program in U.S. News & World Report since the ranking's inception.[51] All things being equal, the legacy status of applicants, defined as having a parent or another direct relative who attended the same academic institution, may be taken into consideration in the admissions process. This correlation has been observed in a number of empirical studies conducted on the nation's most elite schools,[52] with a particular focus on Ivy League universities.[53] Leading universities in the United States cite stronger alumni connections and continued support as the primary reasons for this practice.

Academic curriculum[edit]

Wharton undergraduate students with cohort banners

The specialized program at Wharton focuses on a broad range of business-related subjects. Undergraduate students earn a Bachelor of Science in Economics and select a primary area of concentration. All students enroll in a core curriculum consisting of units in finance, accounting, strategic management, operations and information management, statistics, marketing, legal studies, business ethics and other compulsory subjects.[54] Furthermore, each student is required to satisfy the foreign language competency requirement prior to graduation.[55] This can be done by demonstrating proficiency in one of the more than 40 languages taught at the University of Pennsylvania, with a number of students studying multiple foreign languages. Communication, teamwork and leadership ability also comprise key focal points, with many core classes emphasizing relevant skills to succeed in business. Consistent with this approach, all freshmen participate in a strategy consulting project and work with a local company throughout the first semester. Students are also individually evaluated on public speaking and presentation skills at the conclusion of the project.

Potential concentrations,[56] denoted as a major in the academic transcript, include Accounting, Actuarial Science, Behavioral Economics, Business and Public Policy, Environmental Policy and Management, Finance, Global Analysis, Health Care Management and Policy, Insurance and Risk Management, Legal Studies and Business Ethics, Management (with an optional specialization in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Multinational Management, Organizational Effectiveness or Strategic Management), Electronic Commerce, Marketing, Operations and Information Management, Real Estate, Retailing, Social Impact and Statistics.

Students also have the opportunity to design an individualized concentration to accommodate their unique areas of interest.[57] Additionally, students may choose a secondary concentration or alter their primary concentration as new interests develop throughout the degree program. Particular emphasis is placed on developing an international perspective, aided by the geographically diverse student body. The undergraduate curriculum requires a minimum of three global environment units, which focus on international business dynamics.[58] The various international programs available at Wharton also offer students the opportunity to explore other geographic regions during their academic pursuits.

The majority of upper-level courses and specialized electives are integrated and taught in conjunction with MBA and other postgraduate students. In addition, Wharton's policy allows for cross-enrollment between its degree tracks, some of which require departmental permission.[59] Students may also obtain a minor,[60] allowing them to study other subjects at the University of Pennsylvania. Undergraduate students at the top of the class may be awarded Latin honors, conferred on their diplomas upon graduation.

Quadrangle at the University of Pennsylvania

Wharton undergraduates may pursue joint degrees in engineering through the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology,[61] international relations through the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business,[62] Nursing & Health Care Management, and a joint program in life sciences and business through the Roy and Diana Vagelos Program in Life Sciences and Management.[63] Undergraduates may also, independent from these programs, pursue dual degrees with any of Penn's three other undergraduate schools.

Graduation and employment[edit]

As a result of the intensive business curriculum and Wharton's integrated approach between its degree tracks, an undergraduate degree from the Wharton School supplants the need for an MBA. For this reason, the vast majority of Wharton undergraduates "find that they never need to return to school for an MBA in order to advance their careers".[64] A minority of students seeking to enter a different industry or field may, however, decide to earn an MBA or another postgraduate qualification later in life.

Wharton undergraduate students fare exceptionally well in the recruitment process, with most leading firms conducting on-campus interviews and aggressively competing to attract candidates for full-time positions. The timeline and procedures for on-campus recruiting and student information sessions are regulated by the Career Services Office. In 2013, 407 employers participated in the on-campus recruiting process, an increase from 391 employers in the preceding year.[65] Each student received an average of 12 interviews, translating into multiple job offers. More than 60% of Wharton's typical undergraduate class of 600 students goes into financial services, with the top sectors being investment banking, sales and trading, investment management, and the buy side. The next most common industry after investment banking is management consulting, which hires approximately 30% of the students. A number of students enter marketing, sales, and the technology industry, particularly in Silicon Valley.[65]

In 2013, Wharton undergraduate students earned an average first-year compensation of $103,820, including an average starting base salary of $67,986, an average signing bonus of $9,311, and an average annual bonus of $26,523. These figures were the highest of any undergraduate business program in the United States.[66] The top starting base salaries reported by students, not taking additional compensation into account, were $110,000 in finance, $100,000 in management consulting, $112,000 in marketing, $100,000 in general management and $96,000 in real estate.[65] The majority of positions also include an annual raise in salary and the corresponding bonus, in addition to promotions based on performance and length of employment. The top 9 employers were Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, The Blackstone Group and Evercore Partners, while American Express, Barclays and Credit Suisse were tied for the 10th position.

Cohort system[edit]

Upon arrival at the Wharton campus, each freshman is assigned to one of nine cohorts: Dinar, Dollar, Euro, Peso, Rand, Rupee, Shekel, Yen, or Yuan.[67] Each cohort comprises approximately 60 students from each class, providing students with the opportunity to meet and work with fellow Wharton undergraduates both within and outside of their own year. The Leadership and Communication course in the first semester is organized by cohort, followed by the Managerial Economics course in the second semester.

Throughout the academic year, cohorts participate in a variety of events and compete for the Cohort Cup. Activities that offer points to the winning cohort include sports competitions, the Amazing Cohort Race, scavenger hunts, bowling tournaments and a gingerbread house competition. At the end of each year, the cohort with the highest score is awarded the Cohort Cup, receiving a celebration event and cohort apparel.[68]

Graduate programs[edit]

MBA program[edit]

Cohen Hall, formerly named Logan Hall, served as the previous home of the Wharton School

The Wharton School's primary point of distinction lies in its 18 majors, 471 standing and associated faculty, 10 academic departments, over 200 electives, 20 research centers and initiatives, and an international alumni network.

The school offers two paths, an MBA for full-time students and an MBA for executives.[69] Students can elect to pursue double majors or individualized majors. During their first year, all students pursue a required core curriculum that covers traditional management disciplines—finance, marketing, statistics, and strategy—as well as the leadership, ethics, and communication skills needed at senior levels of management.[70] Students pick electives in the second year.[71]

Wharton MBA's required pre-term for full-time students includes coursework, waiver testing, and the "Learning Team Retreat". Coursework includes introductory and review courses in financial accounting, microeconomics, statistics, and financial analysis. Preparatory courses cover material not included in fall coursework that students are expected to understand. In addition, pre-term includes classes on business history and languages, as well as short seminars in communication skills, computing technology, trading simulations, and career management. Students may also spend term time at INSEAD's Fontainebleau and Singapore campuses. MBA students near the top of their class may be awarded the Palmer Scholar designation or graduate with honors. The student who receives the highest grades in the first year of the program is awarded the Ford Fellowship and is known as the Ford Fellow.

Wharton's MBA for Executives is a two-year, lockstep, weekend residential program with the same curriculum, campus classroom time, credit requirements and elective options offered by the full-time MBA program. As such, this is one of the most highly sought and rigorous programs with very high selectivity (low acceptance rate). This program, for more experienced professionals, has the same campus classroom time and credit hours as the full-time program by having longer classroom hours during residential periods and running full terms during summers (when full-time students are interning). Wharton admits only one class with a single entry point every year.

In July 2009, the Wharton School announced that it would also accept the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for future admission to its MBA program in addition to GMAT scores.[72]

In 2013, approximately 40% of the graduating MBA class entered the financial services industry, while 30% entered management consulting. The technology industry, the third most common field, attracted over 10% of MBA students. Over 20% of the class made the decision to work outside of the United States, with Asia being the most popular geographic location.[73] According to the most recent statistics released by U.S. News & World Report, Wharton had the highest average salary and post-graduation employment rate of any business school in the United States.[74]

Wharton MBA students may pursue a dual degree with the Lauder Institute, Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, or with one of the graduate schools at the University of Pennsylvania:

Wharton co-sponsored the Executive Master's in Technology Management Program (EMTM) with the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science. This degree prepared engineers, scientists and other research and development professionals for leadership roles in technology-based organizations. Graduates received a Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in the Management of Technology from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. The EMTM Program ended in August 2014.[75]

Doctoral program[edit]

Wharton offers Doctor of Philosophy degrees in finance, applied economics, management and other business fields (as opposed to some schools, which grant DBAs).[3] However, unlike other programs at Wharton, "the Wharton School name will not appear on your diploma", as "the University of Pennsylvania awards all research Ph.D. and master's degrees".[76] It takes approximately four to six years to complete the doctoral program.

The admissions process for the Wharton doctoral program is extremely competitive. In 2010, the Ph.D. program received over 1,300 applicants for 35 spots. Applicants are expected to demonstrate exceptional quantitative abilities and most matriculants have perfect GRE Quantitative scores. Although verbal skills are somewhat less emphasized, matriculants average close to the 90th percentile on GRE Verbal scores. Most graduates of the Wharton doctoral program pursue academic careers after graduation, though some graduates choose to work in public or private sectors as well.[77]

Nine fields of specialization are offered by the program: Accounting, Applied Economics, Ethics & Legal Studies, Finance, Health Care Management & Economics, Management, Marketing, Operations & Information Management, and Statistics. The entering class of 2010 contained 35 students, more than half of whom were U.S. citizens. The average age of the entering student was 26. Three fourths of the 2010 class were men.[78] All Wharton doctoral students are fully funded.[79]


General rankings[edit]

Business School Ranking
U.S. undergraduate business
Bloomberg Businessweek[80] 4
U.S. News & World Report[81] 1
Bloomberg Businessweek[82] 2
Forbes[83] 4
QS (North America)[84] 1
U.S. News & World Report[85] 3
Worldwide MBA
CNN Expansion[86] 2
Financial Times[87] 3
QS (Global)[88] 1

On December 5, 2003, Wharton enacted a policy of declining to actively participate in the rankings of business school programs,[89] citing student privacy concerns and the arbitrary methodologies employed.[90] In so doing, Wharton has joined a growing list of schools that no longer provide student or alumni information for survey purposes.[91]

Wharton is widely regarded as one of the world's top institutions for business education. In 2014-2015, the U.S. News & World Report ranked Wharton's undergraduate program #1,[92] MBA program #1,[93] and Executive MBA program #1,[94] making Wharton the only school to ever be ranked #1 in all three categories simultaneously. The undergraduate program at the Wharton School has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report every single year since inception.[92] The Financial Times has ranked the Wharton School as #1 in the world in every single year between 2000 and 2009, and again in 2011, conferring Wharton with the best overall performance in the rankings.[95] The Wharton School has also been ranked #1 by Bloomberg Businessweek four times in a row.[96]

Wharton is well known for its standing in finance education. The school has listed #1 on the U.S. News & World Report's "Best Finance Programs" list each consecutive year from its commencement.[97] Similarly, Wharton has maintained its #1 position in the finance specialization rankings of the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2013/14, prompting QS to declare that "Wharton reigns supreme in finance, topping the table again".[98] The New York Times has deemed Wharton's undergraduate population as "the closest thing that exists to a Wall Street farm team", while Poets & Quants has described Wharton as offering the "single best degree" for an education and career in finance, marked by an "intense, competitive culture" within the student body.[99] Each year, more than 60% of undergraduate students and 40% of MBA students enter the financial services industry.

Wharton also receives high reputation scores from academics and recruiters each year.[100] According to Forbes, approximately 90% of billionaires in the finance industry obtained their business degrees from one of three Ivy League institutions: Wharton, Harvard Business School or Columbia Business School, with Wharton alumni accounting for the majority.[101] Students from the Wharton School earn the highest starting salaries of any business school in the United States, based on comprehensive employment data compiled by U.S. News & World Report.[66][74]

The Wharton School's Executive MBA Program is cited by most sources as the best in the world. According to CNN, "as far as Executive MBA programs go, the Wharton version has pretty much become the gold standard. It is consistently ranked first by several sources over many years, and it attracts some of the best and brightest executives in the world".[102] The Wharton School has been ranked first for its Executive MBA program in 2011, 2012, and 2013 by Poets & Quants, in an integrated ranking system that takes into account data provided by U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Wall Street Journal, and the Financial Times, providing the most comprehensive rankings available.[103]

Academic research rankings[edit]

Based on publications in 24 of the world's leading peer-reviewed journals, Wharton holds the top position in research productivity,[104] and a report by Indiana University indicated that the Wharton School has held the top rank in research productivity each year since 1986, when compilation of this information first commenced.[5]

General academics[edit]

International study[edit]

Options for international study and experience include the Lauder Institute, the Global Immersion Program, Leadership Ventures, Global Consulting Practicum, and exchange programs with schools in 15 countries.[105] The Wharton International Program also provides an opportunity to integrate academic coursework with an experiential component abroad.[106] Many of the core units and electives at Wharton incorporate international business issues and trends, and students are further encouraged to study abroad. Currently approved study abroad options include seven languages of instruction: English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.[107]

Current international exchange options at the Wharton School include:


The Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Center is dedicated to entrepreneurial studies, and seeks to apply an international and collaborative approach to its research programs. Wharton's academic programs are supplemented by a number of initiatives to encourage innovation in the student body and the broader community, including the Wharton Business Plan Competition,[108] the Venture Initiation Program,[109] the Wharton Small Business Development Center[110] and the Entrepreneur in Residence Program.[111]

The High Impact Growth Consulting Program at the Wharton Small Business Development Center allows undergraduate and MBA student consultants to work directly with senior leadership teams and entrepreneurs, structuring the project from beginning to end.[112] Training is held at the beginning of each semester, and each student contributes to between 4 and 20 consulting projects per academic year, depending on the corresponding timeline and scope of each engagement. In the past decade, more than 20,000 businesses and entrepreneurs have benefited from the institution's services.[113] In 2013, 59 graduating students from the Wharton School started their own businesses.[73]

Non-degree programs[edit]

The Wharton School operates the Aresty Institute of Executive Education, a center for postgraduate studies and professional advancement.[114] Courses are taught by full-time Wharton faculty, and the institute offers open-enrollment, individual semester and customized programs in executive development, advanced management, financial wealth management and other fields.[114] Founded in 1987,[115] the Aresty Institute has expanded its reach from the Wharton campus to a worldwide network of programs offered under its "Global Wharton" umbrella in Asia, India, Europe, and the Middle East.[116]

The "Leadership in the Business World" program takes place in the summer, and is open to high school students interested in pursuing a career in business.[117] The program is four weeks in length, held in the month of July. All of the classes are taught by Wharton faculty. LBW gives students an introduction to undergraduate business education at Wharton. Through in-class discussions, lectures, team projects, site visits, and the final business plan project, high school students gain a business education foundation before entering college.

The Wharton Sports Business Academy is a summer program for high school students sponsored by the Wharton School and the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.[118] High school juniors and seniors attend the program for four weeks in July. WSBA provides students with an introduction to ownership, sports agents, and celebrity endorsements in the sports industry. The program links general business education to topics within the sports industry, including the collegiate, professional, and Olympic levels.

Student life[edit]

The Wharton School adheres to grading curves and is known for its competitive culture, its students receiving the highest aggregate competitiveness index score in the Princeton Review's study of 295 business schools.[119] In order to promote a more collaborative atmosphere, the Wharton Graduate Association maintains and annually reaffirms a grade non-disclosure policy, consisting of two main principles.[120] The first is to "refrain from disclosing GPAs, specific class grades, class ranking, or transcripts to potential employers until a full-time position has been offered". The second principle permits and encourages students to disclose general academic honors and distinctions. All employers adhere to this policy throughout the recruitment process at the Wharton School.

The Wharton School has over 100 active student clubs, funded through a combination of corporate sponsorships, student contributions and revenue-generating events.[121] These organizations include over 30 professional clubs, 21 international and cultural clubs and 16 athletic clubs. Many of the extracurricular opportunities and programs at Wharton are designed to promote leadership skills, including the Wharton leadership ventures, Wharton leadership development workshops and the Wharton leadership fellowships.[122]

In addition, Wharton students successfully organize and facilitate 19 business conferences each year, featuring prominent business leaders and academic scholars from around the world.[123] These include the Wharton Finance Conference, the Wharton Entrepreneurship Conference, the Wharton Social Impact Conference, the Wharton China Conference, the Wharton India Economic Forum, the Wharton Latin America Conference, the Wharton Leadership Conference and the Wharton Private Equity and Venture Capital Conference. These conferences attract over 5,000 participants to the Wharton campus each year.[124]


Global presence[edit]

Private equity CEOs discuss international trends at the Wharton Global Alumni Forum in Milan, Italy

The Wharton alumni network currently has more than 92,000 members in 80 regional clubs worldwide.[125] In addition to the annual Wharton reunion held on campus, Wharton partners with its alumni clubs to organize multiple Global Alumni Forums each year. These conferences attract many prominent speakers from the international community, and are open to Wharton alumni, faculty and current students. In 2012, the Wharton Global Alumni Forums were held in Milan, Italy[126] and Jakarta, Indonesia.[127] In 2013, they were held in Tokyo, Japan[128] and Paris, France.[129] Other past sites include San Francisco, Madrid, Seoul, Dubai, Bogota, Lima, Ho Chi Minh City, Cape Town, Hong Kong, San José, Zurich, Istanbul, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Mexico City, Singapore and London.[130] The 2014 sites for the Wharton Global Alumni Forums were Panama City, Panama,[131] and Beijing, China.[132]

According to 2013-2014 statistics, there are approximately 79,280 alumni in North America, 5,660 in Asia, 4,510 in Europe, 1,370 in the Caribbean and Latin America, 930 in Africa and the Middle East, and 380 in Australia and New Zealand.[2] Local alumni clubs provide networking opportunities, as well as other initiatives to promote mentorship and career advancement.

Wharton graduates also have access to the broader University of Pennsylvania's alumni community,[133] which provides additional avenues of social and professional networking. There are currently over 130 Penn alumni regional clubs worldwide, with 55 located outside of the United States.[134]

Influence in business[edit]

Wharton alumni account for many leading figures across the finance, industry, technology, media, government, law and nonprofit sectors. Among them are founders, CEOs and Presidents of leading multinational corporations, including General Electric,[135] Apple,[136] Hewlett-Packard,[137] Comcast,[138] UBS,[139] JPMorgan Chase,[140] BlackRock,[141] NASDAQ,[142] Moelis & Company,[143] SAC Capital Advisors,[144] Och-Ziff Capital Management,[145] Commerce Bancorp,[146] Sysco,[147] Deutsche Post,[148] United Parcel Service,[149] Boeing,[150] General Dynamics,[151] American Airlines,[152] US Airways,[153] Northwest Airlines,[154] BHP Billiton,[155] Johnson & Johnson,[156] Medtronic,[157] Biogen Idec,[158] Cisco Systems,[159] Oracle Corporation,[160] Philips,[161] Fuji Xerox,[162] Pfizer,[163] Pepsi,[164] Loews Corporation,[165] Wrigley Company,[166] H&R Block,[167] MetLife,[168] PayPal,[169] Tesla Motors,[170] SpaceX,[171] Boston Scientific,[172] QVC,[173] Time,[174] McGraw-Hill,[175] First Reserve Corporation,[176] CBS,[177] J.D. Power & Associates,[178] Universal Health Services[179] and Zynga,[180] along with many others.

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was enrolled in the undergraduate program at Wharton from 1947 to 1949, prior to dropping out and subsequently graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Buffett continues to maintain a strong relationship with Wharton, visiting the school[181] and personally hosting its students at Berkshire Hathaway's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.[182] Donald Trump, Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, transferred to the Wharton School after two years at Fordham University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1968. Donald Trump, Jr., and Ivanka Trump also earned Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees from the Wharton School, the latter having transferred after completing two years at Georgetown University. Elon Musk, founder and CEO of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, transferred to Wharton after two years at the Queen's School of Business in Ontario, Canada, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

Robert Kapito, founder and CEO of BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1979. Mark Pincus, founder and CEO of Zynga, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1988. Daniel Och, founder, CEO and Chairman of Och-Ziff Capital Management, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1982. Ronald Perelman, Chairman and CEO of MacAndrews & Forbes, earned both a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Business Administration consecutively.[183] Ken Moelis, founder and CEO of Moelis & Company, earned both a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Master of Business Administration consecutively. Frank Quattrone, founder of the Technology Groups at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, and founder of Qatalyst Partners, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1977. Steven A. Cohen, founder of SAC Capital Advisors, earned a Bachelor of Science in Economics in 1978. Each of these billionaire alumni pursued a finance major at the Wharton School.

Alumni publication[edit]

The Wharton Magazine is published four times per year, not taking special issues into account, and provides relevant information to alumni worldwide.[184] It is available in print and as a digital publication, and issues are mailed automatically to all alumni of the Wharton School. Knowledge@Wharton, the online journal of the Wharton School, also promotes the sharing of intellectual capital, providing access to analyses of current business trends, interviews with industry leaders and Wharton faculty, conference overviews, book reviews and a searchable database of business research articles.[185] Knowledge@Wharton offers a global edition in English, as well as regional editions in Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.

See also[edit]


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Books on Wharton[edit]

  • Nicole Ridgway, The Running of the Bulls: Inside the Cutthroat Race from Wharton to Wall Street, Gotham, 2005.
  • Steven A. Sass, Pragmatic Imagination: A History of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Press,1983.
  • Emory Richard Johnson, The Wharton school: Its fifty years, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1931.

External links[edit]