Wharton is different?
Yes! Contrast NYU with Locust Walk. Wharton is quintessentially collegiate. And we’re virtually the only business school that has grown up with the university and central in university. That is not going away anytime soon. So yes, we want to be globally integrated. But there are different ways to do that. For one, our students are a global pool. Secondly, our global modular classes are deep dives in the rest of the world. And third, we already have a global footprint. We’re also opening a center in Beijing, we were a founding partner of ISP in India, and we were a founding partner of Singapore’s Management University. So should we get into a global alliance? We should ask that question, but if you’re as big and as good as Wharton, you might consider to do it on your own. There’s not a lot of schools that can, but we can!
So will we see a Wharton Beijing MBA soon?
I’d love to give you the scoop. But no, I don’t think so. We have to comply with the legal requirements of our presence there. I don’t see how we could start offering degrees in Beijing any time soon. But because of our location (right in the heart of the central business district), we do have a unique ability to attract top business people to visit our school. That’s a very big plus that regular universities in China don’t have.
How can you make sure Philly remains as attractive to MBAs? Young, entrepreneurial people across the world seem to be more attracted by the lure of the world’s biggest cities.
I agree that the move to megalopolis cities is the move of the moment. But let’s not forget that in a global perspective, even New York is not a megacity. And as for entrepreneurs, they’ve typically located around knowledge hubs such as Boston or Stanford. Wharton in that regard is very well placed to attract entrepreneurs: it’s in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania. And the quality of life here is better than in New York: housing is less expensive, you have more space, and it’s still a very large city.
Do you really believe Wharton can become a hub for the new generation of entrepreneur-MBAs, which increasingly populate business schools?
Absolutely. One of the perception problems we have, is that because we’re a “finance” school, we wouldn’t be good for entrepreneurs. But finance and innovation go hand in hand. Finance is actually one of the most innovative sectors around. Also: we’re not as much a finance school as we are an analytics-driven school. It’s our analytical rigor that makes our alumni land top finance jobs. In today’s world of big data, those analytical skills would benefit greatly our entrepreneurs.
So you think Philly will become the next Silicon Valley?
Let me put it this way. My mantra is never rest on your laurels, always explore new opportunities, but don’t project any outcomes.