MBA Grads Still Have High-Growth/Technology Fever

Despite stock market gyrations and other turmoil in high-tech fields, more than 25 percent of the MBA class of 2000 chose to join, start or fund a technology company or high-growth venture.

Of that 25 percent, about 18 percent joined a technology company, while 6 percent chose venture capital/private equity and 5 percent started their own business. Those joining a company with fewer than 50 employees almost doubled, reaching about 10 percent. And, over 30 percent of the Class of 2001 accepted similar positions for the summer. Additional details follow:

Wharton Adds 16 New Faculty

Sixteen new faculty have joined Wharton. Arriving from such places as Melbourne, Australia; Silicon Valley; Frankfurt, Germany; Chicago and New York, they will further augment Wharton”s existing expertise in accounting, finance, law and technology, human resource management, electronic commerce, marketing, multinational management, and operations and information management.

The new professors are:

Krishnan S. Anand, PhD, Stanford University, joined the Operations and Information Management Department. Anand’s research focuses on strategic e-commerce issues and the challenges of developing incentive systems for supply chain management.

Heather Berry, PhD, UCLA, joined the Management Department. Berry studies multinational management and strategy, foreign direct investment, trade policy and competitiveness. Lisa Bolton, PhD, University of Florida at Gainesville, joined the Marketing Department. Bolton’s research focuses on behavior forecasting and new product development.

Brian J. Bushee, PhD, University of Michigan, joined the Accounting Department. Bushee studies institutional investors, corporate disclosure and stock market anomalies.

Gerard P. Cachon, PhD, Wharton, joined the Operations and Information Management Department. Cachon studies supply chain inventory control and capacity allocation strategies in supply chains.

Martin James Conyon, PhD, University of Warwick, joined Wharton”s Management Department. Conyon’s research focuses on corporate governance, boards of directors and executive compensation.

Hulya K.K. Eraslan, PhD, University of Minnesota, joined the Finance Department. Eraslan studies bankruptcy, corporate reorganizations and delegation in bargaining.

Dan Hunter, PhD, University of Cambridge, joined the Legal Studies Department. Hunter’s fields of interest include artificial intelligence and cognitive science models of law and international electronic commerce regulation.

Thomas Y. Lee, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, joined the Operations and Information Management Department. Lee’s work focuses on data management and information technology.

Christian Leuz, PhD, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitat (Frankfurt), joined the Accounting Department. Leuz studies international earnings management and the economic consequences of increased disclosure, among other issues.

Americus Reed II, PhD, University of Florida at Gainesville, joined the Marketing Department. Reed’s research interests include the effects of attitudes on consumer decisions and the impact of social influence mechanisms on brand preference.

Nancy P. Rothbard, PhD, University of Michigan, joined the Management Department. Rothbard’s research focuses on organizational behavior, including emotion and identity and groups and teams.

Maurice E. Schweitzer, PhD, Wharton, joined the Operations and Information Management Department. Schweitzer’s research addresses deception and trust in negotiations, goal setting and behavioral decision research.

Skander J. Van den Heuvel, PhD, Yale University, joined the Finance Department. Van den Heuvel examines how monetary policy affects macroeconomics.

Patricia Williams, PhD, UCLA, joined the Marketing Department. Williams studies emotions, consumer memory, persuasion and cross-cultural comparisons.

Yihong Xia, PhD, UCLA, joined the Finance Department. Xia’s research interests include asset allocation and portfolio choice theory and international finance.

Global Business Forum Draws Nearly 2,000

Corporate restructuring in Asia, M&A in Europe and funding and investment in Africa were among the topics addressed at the Wharton 2000 Global Business Forum, held in November.

The forum brought together more than 1,800 students, business and government leaders, alumni, and scholars whose interests and expertise spanned six regions of the world. Through a series of speakers, panels and interactive debates, the three-day forum addressed emerging business themes and opportunities and investigated recent technological developments and their global application. Condoleezza Rice, chief foreign policy adviser to President-elect George W. Bush, was the forum’s keynote speaker.

Wharton’s New e-Business Initiative

The Internet is revolutionizing business, driving a boom in online entrepreneurship and transforming bricks-and-mortar companies around the world. While the risks and opportunities are undeniable, experts say the winners in this new economy will be companies whose leaders can embrace and create change. For business schools, the new economy brings its own set of challenges: technologies that question traditional teaching models, forcing faculty to examine what they teach, how they teach and whom they teach.

To tackle these issues, Wharton recently launched the Wharton e-Business Initiative (WeBI), a partnership of business leaders, faculty and students designed to generate and disseminate knowledge about e-business through research, academic programs and a range of corporate programs. WeBI harnesses the school’s faculty expertise and strengthens existing e-business initiatives, including the e-Fellows Program and the Forum on Electronic Commerce, by combining them into one umbrella organization.

Through WeBI, Wharton will conduct research in partnership with a varied group of companies, from Global 2000 firms to dot-coms. Lessons learned and best practices identified will be integrated into Wharton’s curriculum and used to develop new executive education programs.

Raphael Amit, Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurship, and former dean Thomas P. Gerrity, director of the Wharton Forum on Electronic Commerce and professor of operations and information management, are directing WeBI.

“Business leaders today must be prepared to manage the many challenges of the e-business marketplace, an environment that is increasingly competitive and evolving at Internet speed,” says Amit. “No one has all the answers right now, but by bringing together academics, industry leaders, government officials and policymakers in various forums, Wharton is able to identify and address the critical e-business issues virtually as they emerge, allowing our partners to maximize their potential in e-business.”

WeBI recently formed a research alliance with Gartner Group, Inc. to expand its coverage of consumer online buying behavior. In addition to covering the worldwide B2C market, Gartner and WeBI are expanding into the B2B market.

WeBI also co-sponsored several conferences recently, including the “Competitive Strategy in the New Economy: What Changes?” with the Management Department, “Winners and Losers in the e-Commerce Shake-out” with the Mack Center for Technological Innovation, and “Business-to-Business e-Commerce and the Supply Chain” with the Fishman-Davidson Center for Service and Operations Management.

Alums Recognized for Distinguished Service

Argentinean businessman Roberto G. Mestre, WG’72, and Marc J. Rowan, W’84, WG’85, a principal at New York-based Apollo Management LP, received The Alumni Award for Distinguished Service last October at a gala and conference launching Wharton’s Campaign for Sustained Leadership.

Mestre, a charter member of Wharton’s Latin American Executive Board, was cited for “working tirelessly to promote the Wharton School in Latin America” and for his efforts in leading the first Latin American Regional Alumni Meeting in Buenos Aires last year.

Rowan, a member of Wharton’s Undergraduate Executive Board, was recognized for his leadership in reaching out to young alumni of the school. Rowan also serves as co-chairman of the Leadership Gifts Committee for Wharton’s Campaign for Sustained Leadership.

New Endowed Professorship at Real Estate Center

John Bucksbaum, CEO of one of the largest owners and managers of shopping centers in the U.S., is not a Wharton alum. Nonetheless, Bucksbaum was the driving force behind a recent $2 million gift to Wharton’s Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center.

The Martin Bucksbaum Endowed Chair in Real Estate is named for John Bucksbaum’s uncle, who was also not a Wharton alum, but was an active member of the Real Estate Center’s Advisory Board, as is his nephew today. The chair was established via gifts from two Bucksbaum family foundations and is held by Joseph Gyourko, professor of real estate and finance, chair of the Real Estate Department and director of the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center.

John Bucksbaum is CEO of General Growth Properties, a NYSE-listed company and a member of the Real Estate Center’s executive committee. The new endowed chair’s namesake, Martin Bucksbaum, is credited with helping to create the concept of the modern shopping center in the 1950s.

“The idea of seeking a chair in the real estate department came up for discussion in an executive committee meeting, and I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to link Martin’s name, in perpetuity, to the finest Real Estate Program in the country,” says John Bucksbaum.

The Bucksbaums’ non-alum status is nothing new to the Zell-Lurie Center, which has a long history of benefactors whose relationship to the center is their only connection to Wharton. Neither Samuel Zell, who provided the $10 million permanent endowment of the center, nor Max Farash, who funds the Farash Distinguished Lecture and the Max M. Farash Real Estate Round-table, are alumni of Wharton or Penn.

The Zell/Lurie Center promotes and funds cutting-edge, scholarly research of interest to academics, policy makers, and real estate professionals. Results are reported through the Zell/Lurie Working Paper Series, the Wharton Real Estate Review, and other scholarly publications.

Wharton School Goes West

Wharton has launched a groundbreaking series of initiatives on the West Coast, including a California-based executive MBA degree, courses for traditional MBA students, internships for undergraduate students, expanded executive education offerings, and faculty research projects.

The initiative, called Wharton West, includes the following:

  • A San Francisco-based executive MBA (WEMBA) program is scheduled to begin this fall. The MBA will include a flexible schedule to accommodate traditional, full-time executive MBA students as well as fully employed ones.
  • The opportunity for Philadelphia-based students to spend a semester in California as Wharton increases its course offerings. Philadelphia students will also have the option to complete their MBA requirements while relocating to California.
  • Expanded West Coast MBA student summer internship opportunities that will give students hands-on leadership experience with West Coast start-ups and venture capital firms.
  • Increased access to Wharton undergraduate students, including students from the Jerome Fisher Management & Technology Program, via stepped-up West Coast internship efforts for undergraduates.

Executive Education will also boost its West Coast offerings. Specifically, senior faculty will be available to conduct on-site, customized executive training for firms seeking the latest knowledge for successful practice in the new economy.

Additionally, Wharton has launched a new platform for executive training through the Wharton e-Fellows program. This initiative, which includes a week-long component in Northern California, offers focused study on electronic commerce in a format that allows students to continue their full-time management duties.

Wharton West will also heighten West Coast-based faculty research. Leadership development programs will be designed and presented by senior Wharton faculty, bringing focused expertise to practitioners in the region’s fastest-growing and most-promising companies and providing faculty with opportunities to study management practice and test emerging theories.

The initiative also encourages direct partnership between Wharton faculty and West Coast firms. Individual faculty or multidisciplinary faculty teams will work directly with executives and managers to analyze data, product design and management processes to strengthen technology-based companies’ performance.

“With Wharton West, the school is responding directly to market forces,” says Dean Patrick Harker, “by bringing the best of Wharton’s resources to emerging markets and developing industries. We recognize that our faculty, students and programs must be able to work first-hand on the West Coast, and this gives us a historic opportunity to expand our leadership in business education and service in one of the world’s most important markets.”

Helen Peters, PhD’79: Ignoring the View of the Crowd

Helen Frame Peters is the first to admit she’s always enjoyed swimming against the tide, starting with her decision to pursue a PhD in finance at Wharton during the 1970s – a time when professors were apt to compare the peaks and valleys of economic models to bikinis and mini skirts.

“Yes, I felt very conspicuous as the only woman in class,” says Peters, PhD’79. “But it pushed me to work harder.”

Peters’ resolve become a hall mark of her atypical career, from her early days as a “rocket science” Wall Street star who was profiled by national media including Business Week and U.S. News & World Report to her current post as dean of Boston College’s Carroll School of Business. Says Peters, 51, who as dean of Carroll is only the third female dean of a top 50 business school, “It’s important to follow your instincts and ignore the view of the crowd.”

Indeed, Peters has. First, as one of a tiny number of female graduate students at Wharton in the 1970s, she worked full time at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia while raising her young son and completing her doctoral dissertation. After finishing her graduate work in the late 1970s, Peters took a “real world” job despite warnings from professors that she would never work in academia if she did. She became an assistant vice president at the now defunct Philadelphia Savings und Society (PS S) to put her research on mortgage backed securities – the subject of her dissertation – into action.

Peters then decided, having led a joint venture between PSFS and Solomon Brothers in the early 1980s, that the best way to apply her work on mortgage backed securities was not at a savings bank like PS S, but on Wall Street. “At that time, PhDs really weren’t welcome on the trading side of big Wall Street firms, just the research side,” Peters says. “But I felt very strongly that the work I was doing really needed to coordinate with traders. I wasn’t willing to be pushed into research.”

After turning down research jobs at the largest and most prestigious firms on Wall Street, Peters ultimately found the job she was looking for at Merrill Lynch. “Merrill at that time was not the prestigious firm that it is today. It was considered a retail brokerage firm, but it was growing and developing, and the firm took off,” she says.

The mortgage market exploded in the early 1980s, and Peters’ brand of quantitative investment strategy was also about to take off. After heading Merrill Lynch’s mortgage securities unit, she was scooped up by Security Pacific Bank to become president of its new quantitative investment group. “Quant” divisions and the brainy PhDs who worked in them – dubbed “rocket scientists” by colleagues and the media – became all the rage in the 1980s for their number crunching wizardry. Their work set early standards for what would become common investment practice: using computers and mathematical analysis, rather than hunches, to spot market trends.

But in spite of her soaring career, Peters and her family were growing weary of the Wall Street lifestyle. She and her husband, Judson Garrett Parker, W’70, WG’74, faced a daily commute of more than an hour each way, and were not seeing much of their two children. In 1991, the couple looked for and found jobs in Peters’ native Boston: Parker as CFO of the Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions and Peters as CIO at Colonial Management Associates, where she initially oversaw $6 billion in fixed income assets – and again found herself swimming against the tide.

“I switched from the sell side – Wall Street – to the buy side. I could also see that things on Wall Street were changing. Now, there was widespread access to data that used to be controlled only by New York firms. So suddenly I was able to do things on the buy side that I had only been able to do on a Wall Street firm before. That enabled me not to be in New York but still do interesting, credible work,” she says. Peters remained at Colonial Management until 1998, ultimately serving as CIO and managing $17 billion of investments in equity, fixed income and international securities.

But during her next post, a one-year stint in 1998 managing a $150 billion bond group at Scudder Kemper investments, Peter began thinking about a complete sea change. “It was a merged organization, and merged organizations are challenging,” she says. “It was an incredibly high-pressure post, with near-constant international travel and very long hours.”

So when the dean’s post at Boston College opened up in 1999, Peters applied for the job – and got it. She began her duties last July and says that despite decades in the investment world, and despite warnings from professors that once she left, she could likely never return, she always believed she would eventually come back to academia.

Nine months into the job, she has found that the world of business education is no less demanding than Wall Street. “Our biggest challenge is being relevant in a changing economy as distance learning, alternative schools and corporate schools grow and many students feel they don’t need business school to start a new venture,” she says. “We also face competitive pressures to keep our outstanding faculty, like every major business school.”

In her free time, Peters, who also has a master’s degree in statistics from Wharton and an undergraduate degree in economics from Penn, is an ice dancer who skates two or three days a week. Inspired by her daughter Kate, 16, who was a competitive figure skater, Peters took up the sport as a complete novice about five years ago “with much fear and trepidation. Now I can even jump. I love it.” Her son, Cole, 25, is a Penn engineering graduate. Peters, who was born in England but grew up in Boston, comes rom journalistic roots: her father was editor of the Boston Globe; her mother directed public relations or educational television.

What has surprised her the most about her recent career change? “The amount of time you spend doing things in so many different areas, whether you are meeting with students or faculty or alumni. There are tremendous demands on a dean in that way without the resources that you’d find at a corporation. You have to be very, very creative to accomplish things. But throughout my career, I’ve most enjoyed setting up an environment where people can succeed. That’s what I intend to do at Carroll.”