The application season is in full swing for the Class of 2015 at Wharton | San Francisco. I met with several potential candidates and spoke to them about the program.
During my application process to Wharton, the term I was looking forward the most to (if I got in, that is) was Term 6 because I sat in on the class on venture capital and entrepreneurial management by Doug Collom (vice dean of Wharton in San Francisco and adjunct professor) and Raffi Amit, the Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurship and Professor of Management. . As I count the weeks to the start of that class and a few other entrepreneurship-related classes this term, I think back to my first term at Wharton, when I was pleasantly surprised at options available for entrepreneurs in San Francisco.
To begin with, there is Wharton Entrepreneurship. It has several manifestations on the West Coast, one of the biggest of which is the Venture Initiation Program (VIP). This incubator brings together the Wharton network, contacts and expertise to a select set of Wharton-founded startups and helps them through their early stages. The Wharton Business Plan Competition is seeing an increasing representation from WEMBA students, both from San Francisco as well as Philadelphia. Finally, there is also the Wharton Entrepreneurs Workshops which are organized under the leadership of our Vice Dean Collom in partnership with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
Within the curriculum, there are two classes focused around business plans and startups: MGMT 801 and MGMT 806. In these classes, you form a team, learn to prepare a pitch, and present and refine your idea. The final project involves a pitch session with VCs with instant feedback. Term 6 has two classes on the financing aspect of startups (FNCE 750 and MGMT 804) and one on the legal aspects (LGST 813).
These efforts toward entrepreneurship in San Francisco are not going waste. Several of my classmates in the Class of 2013 have gone on to quit their jobs and start companies. Daniel Chen and Amilcar Chavarria founded BuckSprout with help from Ajaiey Sharma. Vinay Mahadik is one of the co-founders of Securly, a startup that will make big news soon. [Editor’s note: It already is with us. Check out our Winter 2013 “Watch List.”] Vijay Ramani started SocialMoola and Tim Grammer is a co-founder at The Ultimate Sparkle. Three classmates—Manoj Sharma, Nirmal Jandhyala and Kalpan Raval—co-founded ForeSpire, an advanced analytics company for product teams. In addition to these classmates, there are many that are at the crossroads in their lives, making the jump from day jobs that pay their bills to following their dreams and starting a company. The Class of 2012 had an equal number of amazing entrepreneurs as well.
So why this post? If you are thinking about startups and are wondering if Wharton fits the bill, you are correct. It is one of the best-kept secrets of the Wharton MBA for Executives program in San Francisco.