Wharton School looks to establish presence in China
Penn President Amy Gutmann has expressed an interest in creating a Wharton Center in China
November 16, 2011, 10:58 pm·
Penn President Amy Gutmann is looking to bring the Wharton School to China.
At a Board of Trustees’ committee meeting on Nov. 3, Gutmann and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives Ezekiel Emanuel expressed interest in creating a Wharton Center in China to strengthen Penn’s global ties.
Wharton is aiming to expand to countries with emerging markets, such as India, China and Brazil, Wharton Vice Dean Jason Wingard said in a Daily Pennsylvanian interview last month. Wharton’s Accelerated Development Program in India, which will begin in 2012, marks the most recent international step.
“We will learn from our delivery of this program [in India] how we can do it in China … and in other locations,” Wingard said.
Although there are no concrete plans for the center, Wharton has had a relationship with China for almost a century.
In the 1920s, members of the Wharton School trained Chinese managers for the United States’ railroad system. When the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, however, students from China were prevented from entering the University.
It was not until the 1990s that Chinese students returned to campus. In fall 2008, Wharton received about 600 applications from China, according to the Wharton Magazine. As a result, the Chinese Wharton alumni network has expanded to over a thousand members.
“We have a very strong alumni base in China,” said Ankur Kumar, director of MBA Admissions and Financial Aid at Wharton.
The proposed Wharton Center will build on existing connections between the school and China.
“There’s really no part of the school or aspect of the program that currently doesn’t have some interaction with China,” Kumar said.
Three times a year, Wharton goes to China to market the school, recruit possible students and interview candidates, Kumar added.
However, the relationship is not one sided, as Wharton offers many opportunities for students to visit China. The Global Immersion Program allows students a chance to visit China, meet with CEOs and learn about the economy.
Operations and Information Management professor Marshall Fisher teaches a global modular course on supply chain management that takes students on a tour of Chinese factories.
Each spring, a professional student group — Wharton Asia Exchange — organizes a trip to Asia to allow students to connect with companies in the region.
“There [are] just more opportunities in Asia,” Leung added. “And [the job pool is] only going to continue to grow.”
Companies are also increasingly recruiting with American colleges. “There are actually companies that come from China to recruit,” Kumar said. She added that there is a growing interest among students in working at Chinese companies or in China.
In order to provide students connections in China that extend after graduation, Wharton offers joint-degrees with the College of Arts and Sciences that combines business with language and culture studies.
Wharton junior Erica Jang took a Business Chinese course to get a competitive edge in the job market.
Although she doesn’t plan on moving on China after graduation, she thinks another language will help her in the business world.
Even in some corners at Penn, the language barrier poses a challenge.
Wharton sophomore Amanda Langhorne had to walk out of a preceptorial on business in China because she — and many other Penn students — couldn’t understand the material presented.
In the future, Langhorne hopes to gain access to similar settings by learning Chinese.