Huntsman Family Donates $10 Million to Undergraduate Program

Jon M. Huntsman, W’59, the founder, chairman and CEO of Huntsman Chemical Corp., and his family have donated $10 million to endow an innovative undergraduate program in international studies and business.

“Globalization is the single most dramatic change factor affecting business,” notes Huntsman. “Our family is proud to endow a program that is the first to fully integrate comprehensive international studies into a business curriculum for undergraduates in order to prepare them to work effectively anywhere.” Penn is unique, he adds, in offering an opportunity for “some of the brightest students in the country to combine high-level international and language studies with a Wharton education.”

The program, which will be renamed the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business, provides a rigorous understanding of the political, economic and cultural complexities facing the international business community. Students are required to specialize in one of 10 foreign languages and in the area of the world in which their target language is spoken. They earn both a Bachelor of Arts from the School of Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton.

“As part of the School’s strategic planning process, this gift serves as an appropriate launching point for moving Wharton forward as the leader in international studies and business,” notes Wharton Dean Thomas P. Gerrity.

The program will graduate its first class in 1998.

Huntsman heads Huntsman Chemical Corp., one of the world’s largest producers of plastics and specialty chemicals. Today the firm has $4.5 billion in combined annual revenues, more than 6,500 employees and 81 locations in 23 countries.

Huntsman currently serves on Wharton’s Board of Overseers and is a former member of Penn’s Board of Trustees. He has funded a research center at Wharton on global competition and innovation.

The Huntsmans have given to numerous other philanthropic causes including $100 million to the University of Utah to fund a cancer research center. The Huntsman Chemical Corp. is also instrumental in a chemical industry coalition to develop environmentally sound plastics recycling and disposal systems.

Disneyland on Tour

Nine Wharton alumni sponsored a trip to Disneyland last December for 25 children from underprivileged areas. “Community experience was an integral part of our two years at Wharton,” says Lesley Maclean, WG’96, event organizer. “It was nice to do something special for these kids during the holiday season, and it was an ideal opportunity for us as alumni to get together.”

Other alumni participants, all MBA class of 1996 and all based in Los Angeles, included: Dan Shapiro, Courtney Chapman-della Cava, Phil Needles, Jeff Edelman, Lauren Wittels, Rebecca Whellan, Charles Benson and Anton Kuzmanov.

A Day in the Life of an MBA Student, Technologically Speaking

When Joe Wharton (not his real name) realized late one night that he had inadvertently skipped his statistics class on regression analysis, he took the simple way out: He fired up the 200 megahertz Pentium-Pro PC in his off-campus apartment, accessed the School’s student intranet communications system, clicked on the course number, read a recap of that day’s meeting and picked up the assignment for tomorrow.

He then downloaded an Excel spreadsheet that was part of the assignment, spent two hours doing the calculations and e-mailed the file to members of his study group for comment.

It was now 2 a.m. Before turning in for the night, he clicked into the Lexis/Nexis law/business database via Lippincott Library’s on-line services and called up the latest news articles on Hewlett-Packard — in preparation for his job interview with HP at 11 a.m. the next morning. Early tomorrow, he would check with the Dow Jones News Retrieval Service for a detailed investment report on the company.

Time to turn in. Oops. A couple more things. Send an e-mail to cohort classmates pointing out the latest updates to his personal home page on the World Wide Web, then click to the e-mail distribution list that offers ongoing information about the Wharton-India Economic Forum scheduled for next month.

Welcome to SPIKE (Students Personalized Integrated Knowledge Environment), a set of communication tools for MBAs that bundles student electronic information resources onto one screen, with icons signifying the availability of such services as downloading course material, accessing library databases, sending and receiving e-mail, and “conversing” on a specific topic among different students through an electronic bulletin board system.

Once they are plugged into SPIKE, students can also call up a calendar of the daily, weekly and monthly events at Wharton; check to see if required reading materials are available; and join electronic mailing lists and discussion groups that allow a student to communicate with other students who share similar interests, such as a desire to work in Hong Kong or a need to find housing in New York City for a summer internship.

“While most organizations now have e-mail and intranet capabilities, few — if any — have the depth of services combined with the simple user interface offered by SPIKE,” notes Kendall Whitehouse, associate director of Wharton Computing and Information Technology (WCIT). “SPIKE brings together in a single integrated tool kit all the key electronic information needs of Wharton students.”

SPIKE, introduced two years ago, is already in the middle of its second major revision — SPIKE 3. “WCIT is developing a number of new projects to enhance the computing environment for Wharton students,” says Gerry McCartney, Wharton’s Chief Information Officer. “Many of these projects are being developed in direct response to ideas and suggestions from the students.”

SPIKE 3, adds Whitehouse “will ‘broadcast’ information directly to students without requiring them to hunt for it by clicking around Wharton’s extensive intranet.”

Students at Wharton these days also have job search capabilities unheard of even a few years ago. Wharton’s Career Development & Placement Office has made the interview process, if not always enjoyable, at least extremely efficient. For the past four years, students have been able to log on to a system from home or from a campus computer lab to sign up electronically for job interviews. “It’s a realtime system,” says Andrew Adams, director of Wharton’s Career Development & Placement Office. “When you sign up and hit ‘submit’ you have an interview slot at that time.

“But what’s really exciting is our home page,” available through SPIKE on Wharton’s intranet, Adams notes. “It includes information about the whole job search process. You can view information by industry or function; there is advice on such things as self-assessment, networking, cover letters, resume writing, evaluating and negotiating offers and tapping into entrepreneurial ventures. There are tons of research guides as well as hyperlinks to Lippincott Library for business databases …”

In addition, a video teleconferencing capability in CD&P’s offices gives companies from all over the world the ability to interview students interactively on screen.

So, with all this computing power available, what is the most popular tool in an MBA student’s communication arsenal? Right now, says Julius Sarkozy, WG’97, (his real name), “the number one usage for everybody is e-mail, mainly as a way of keeping in touch with each other and checking information on clubs, student activities, speakers and so forth. The second most common usage is the world wide web where you can research a company by looking at financial reports, news stories, press releases and product information.” The interview scheduling procedure at CD&P is also popular as are the library databases.

A big plus, of course, is the reduction in standing around and waiting. “We can update address information, look at course schedules and get our grades electronically,” Sarkozy adds. “A lot of the administrative forms and paperwork are on line.”

Tracy Rosenbluth, WG’97, recently sent a final draft of an accounting assignment, which included both a written portion as well as a spreadsheet, to her five-member study group. “We edit it on-line,” she says. “People do that for just about every class.” For a course-assigned case analysis of a particular company, she uses the Internet, and most likely the company’s home page on the web.

Other resources on campus include a real-time Reuters datafeed, a Bloomberg system, an Instanet system and a NASDAQ terminal for up-to-the-minute business data.

Even greater feats of technology are coming soon. “Right now I can e-mail a spreadsheet to a group of people, but later on we will be able to share the same spreadsheet live on line and make adjustments,” says Sarkozy. “It will become more collaborative. Instead of e-mails or phone calls back and forth we will be able to work on this simultaneously.”

Undergraduates Join the Club

For Wharton undergraduates interested in student club activities, the month of February offered any number of possibilities.

The Awareness of International Markets (AIM) Club, which is organizing a trip to Hungary for its members, heard a Hungarian entrepreneur speak about business opportunities, a finance professor speak about “Privatization in Eastern Europe” and a Hungarian student panel discuss “Life in Hungary.”

The Wharton Futures, Options, and Hedging Strategies Club organized a trip to the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.

The Wharton Technology Club sponsored a visit from the CEO of DotCom Technologies.

The Black Wharton Undergraduate Association presented a forum on black management in the entertainment industry.

The American Marketing Association held a conference on “Marketing in the 21st Century” with speakers from AT&T, Price Waterhouse, Andersen Consulting and Nantucket Nectars, among others. Throughout the year, more than 30 clubs run by Wharton undergrads organize events, speakers and trips that relate to their own particular interest. The Wharton Media and Entertainment Club, for example, which helps students find networking opportunities in the media and entertainment industries, hosts its own Academy Awards party.

Wharton Women, one of the most active clubs at Wharton, brings to campus prominent women from business, law and other fields, visits companies in New York and Philadelphia, supports a mentoring program and sponsors a “Dinner with Professionals” near campus.

The Wharton Latino Undergraduate Association, which provides opportunities for discussion, research and education related to Latin America, also holds dinners featuring Latin American foods.

The Wharton Fashion Society is working to establish relationships with representatives from the fashion world and provide an overview of career opportunities and trends. Co-president Nancy Ng emphasizes that the stereotype of fashion as a women’s field doesn’t apply here. “Both men and women are encouraged to join,” she says.

The Wharton Technology Club referred to earlier focuses on the role of technology in the workplace as well as business trends in emerging technologies. “There are not that many opportunities for people to interact in this field,” says president Michael Ho. “The club is a forum to meet other people with similar interests.”

The Wharton Transportation Club, which encourages its members to study and learn more about the transportation industry, recently hosted events featuring the presidents of Southwest Airlines and Amtrak.

There are other clubs as well, focusing on finance, accounting, emerging markets, Asia, the environment and real estate, to name a few. Many clubs are assisted by The Wharton Undergraduate Student Association which, for example, provides supplemental funding and offers advice on hosting a speaker or organizing a club activity.

Wharton students can also choose from approximately 150 Penn student organizations ranging from sports, music and acting clubs to religious and community service clubs.

“A lot of the Wharton clubs have a professional/career focus but they also provide opportunities for socializing and mentoring,” notes Belinda Huang, undergraduate division associate director for student affairs.

In addition, she says, students who run the clubs or are involved in organizing club activities “find it’s a very good way to get experience in leadership, communication, teamwork and motivation.”

New Associate Dean Appointed

Craig J. Leach, formerly Vice President for University Affairs at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., joined Wharton in February as Associate Dean for External Affairs.

Leach will oversee the School’s development and annual fund programs, alumni affairs, corporate fundraising, donor relations, public relations and publications.

In his position at Seton Hall, Leach directed a successful $100 million capital campaign, established a major marketing initiative to enhance the University’s academic image, tripled the number of alumni association chapters nationwide and tripled grant and contract funding for faculty-sponsored projects. He served as the University’s executive director of development from 1984 to 1992.

From 1982 to 1984, Leach was director of development for the New York Regional Office of Georgetown University.

Leach has a BA in political science from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Ct., and expects to earn a law degree in May from Seton Hall University Law School.

Follies 1997: The Trea$ury Hunt

Here’s the scene: Four army commandos stand at attention in front of their sergeant, one of them about to “volunteer” for an incredibly dangerous you-might-not-come-back-alive type of mission. His buddies prepare him for battle.

Who is he (a Domino’s pizza delivery man), and where is he going (to deliver pizza to the MBA pub) and where does this all fit in?

Nowhere, of course. It’s the 21st annual Follies, a rolling, rocking, irreverent genre all to itself that this year invites us to join an MBA learning team’s search for a $5 million treasure hidden somewhere on campus. A series of clues leads the students to salesmen pitching Hickey Freeman suits, the pool table at the MBA pub, a casino (where students gamble on getting a job), the course pack line at Reprographics and a recruiting session with the mob.

The students never do find that money but it doesn’t matter because along the way the audience has the good fortune to meet up with Beavis and Butthead — a show-stopping duo — as well as Dean Gerrity, his chief of staff Sam Lundquist and Vice Dean Bruce Allen in a wetsuit on the way to the Jersey shore (don’t ask).

For those who need brushing up on terminology, The Trea$ury Hunt offers some definitions:

–          Beta: the most often used but least understood word at Wharton. Used as a measure of risk and volatility, and not just in relationships

–          Ding: the sound of an MBA’s self esteem evaporating

–          Domino’s: Not just a pizza delivery service, but also a Pavlovian mechanism through which aggressive behavior is reinforced in Wharton students.

Then there are the tunes:

Here at Wharton (to Seasons of Love from Rent)

One million fifty one thousand two
hundred minutes
Revelations, accomplishments and
too many beers

Eight quarters, summer jobs and 21 credits
How do you measure, measure two years?

Stock to Get (to Fugue for Tinhorns from Guys and Dolls)

I got the stock to get
It’s on the Internet
And I like its ratio of equity/debt

I know the S&P
Won’t hit its apogee
Until the bond market gets real

But look at IBM
I see a bearish trend
I really fear a crash by this year’s end

We’re the Best (to Be Our Guest from Beauty and the Beast)

We’re the best! We’re the best!
Put our ranking to the test.
If you’re from another business school
Don’t bother to contest.

We can work, we can lead
Expectations we’ll exceed
How could you hire others when we are the best!
We’ll work at least ‘til four.
And then go back for more.
We’re the best
of the rest
We’re the best!

Campus News

–       Wharton’s sixth annual Latin American Conference on Feb. 21 drew more than 400 business leaders, government officials, diplomats and students to hear participants discuss “Succeeding in Times of Change.” Panamanian President Ernest Perez Balladeres, WG’70, was among the featured speakers, as were Roberto Civita, W’57, chairman and CEO of The Abril Group and Robert A. McCormack, executive vice president, Citicorp.
Panel discussions focused on investment banking opportunities in Latin America, new approaches to increased competition in consumer products and alternative visions for business development.

–       “Growth Through Leadership” was the theme of the 23rd annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Memorial Conference held January 17-19 in Philadelphia. Keynote speakers at the event, sponsored by Wharton’s African-American MBA Association, included former U.S. Secretary of Energy Hazel R. O’Leary; Malcolmn Pryor, WG’72, chairman, Pryor, McClendon, Counts & Co., an investment banking firm in Philadelphia; Harvey Coleman, president of Coleman Management Consultants, Inc. in Atlanta, and Kirbyjon H. Caldwell, WG’77, a clergyman who is founder of the Power Center, a multiservice community development project in Houston.

–       Participants at the Wharton India Economic Forum on March 21 heard panel discussions on “Investing in Infrastructure for Growth,” “Attracting Investment Capital” and “Investing in India’s Consumer Industries.”
The theme was “India: Investing in a New Era”. Speakers included P. Chidambaram, finance minister of India; Naresh Chandra, Indian Ambassador to the U.S.; Gary Wendt, chairman and CEO, GE Capital; Purnendu Chatterjee, chairman, Chatterjee Group; Rebecca Mark, chairman and CEO, Enron Development Corp. and C. Rangarajan, governor, Reserve Bank of India, among others.