Wharton Alumna Gifts $10 Million To School

Outside the Wharton School on the University of Pennsylvania campus - Ethan Baron photo

Outside the Wharton School on the University of Pennsylvania campus – Ethan Baron photo

The Wharton Leadership Program is getting a significant boost–and a new name, to boot. Anne Welsh McNulty, a high-profile investment manager and Wharton alumna, has gifted the school with a generous gift of $10 million to expand its leadership program on multiple levels.

McNulty is a co-founder and managing partner at JBK Partners, a New York-based investment management and private philanthropic firm. Both McNulty and her late husband, John McNulty, graduated with MBAs from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979. The school will rename the Wharton Leadership Program to the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program.

“We are honored to be able to announce Anne’s amazing gift to the McNulty Leadership Program,” said Wharton Dean Geoff Garrett, in a statement. “Anne and John have shaped the history of Wharton and made a lasting impact on students by preparing them to lead and change the world. Wharton is deeply grateful for this gift, which embodies the McNulty family’s steadfast commitment to leadership.”


Jeff Klein, the executive director of the Wharton Leadership Program, says it will allow the school to take programs they’ve identified as working very well at the MBA level and adapt them to undergraduates, executive MBAs, and managers and executives coming through the executive education group.

“We’ve got a 25 year history of pushing innovation into leadership development,” says Klein. “And creating programs, which have been very successful and impactful for students.”

One example Klein gives is the Wharton Leadership Ventures program. The Leadership Ventures take MBA students on one- and two-day intensive leadership workshops to places like the New York Fire Department and Quantico. In the expeditions, students travel to some of the furthest reaches of the globe including Patagonia, Antarctica and the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. The ventures are currently only offered at the MBA level,  but “the gift allows us to take the core principles of a program like that and adapt them to new audiences,” says Klein.

Anne McNulty and the McNulty Foundation gifted The Wharton School with $10 million

Anne McNulty and the McNulty Foundation gifted The Wharton School with $10 million


The gift will also develop the month-long Advanced Management Program, geared towards senior management and executives. Klein says it will allow Wharton to bring in more executive coaches as well as take the groups on Leadership Ventures like the MBA programs.

Being able to train students for leadership from the undergraduate level to the highest senior management executives involves repetition, Klein says. “Leadership development in a lot of ways is about getting in the repetition,” explains Klein noting the repeated action-based learning drives home theories and concepts learned in the classroom.

“How do we create iterations and experiences where students can test the concepts they’re learning in the classrooms,” asks Klein. “At the core of what we do is this commitment to experiential learning that says, OK, you’ve learned about the theory crisis communication or you’ve learned about the need for a leader to earn trust within his or her teams or organizations. Now, let’s put you in a role where you need to manage a crisis. And that might on a nonprofit board or within a simulation or the Leadership Reaction course with the marines at Quantico.”


The final piece, explains Klein, is training students to lead in an increasingly diverse world and setting and train them to leave a positive impact on the world. “We want to prepare our students to be successful in the diverse learning communities that is The Wharton School so they can also lead in these diverse workplaces and communities in the world,” says Klein. “We believe, and have been recognized in some ways, that our approach is unique and innovative. And it’s very much our hope that with this gift, we will join that conversation about how do we impact the world in positive ways.”

After graduating from Wharton, both Anne and John McNulty rose the ranks at Goldman Sachs, where Anne became managing director and John became a global head.

“I believe in the transformative power of developing each individual’s leadership capacity. Wharton’s Leadership Program is uniquely poised to make a real impact that will multiply from its students to businesses and communities and beyond,” said Anne McNulty in a prepared release from the school. “Wharton was a turning point in our lives. It challenged us to think differently and taught us to be more thoughtful and more ambitious. Our time at Wharton motivated us to be active leaders, not only in running businesses, but also in our communities. It is a pleasure for me to support future students so that they may have a similar experience, so that they may reach their potential, and so that they may change the world through the lessons they learn at Wharton.”


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