Timeline

 

1983-2000:
Raising the Bar

1983
Russell Palmer Dean Russell E. Palmer institutes his "Plan for Preeminence," a five-year effort that strengthened and broadened the faculty, increased the quality of the applications received, oversaw the construction of the Steinberg Conference Center (see 1987) and furthered the process of creating an international and cross-disciplinary curriculum.

1983
Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall Dietrich Hall is expanded and renamed Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall.

1983  
Recognizing the increasingly global focus of business, Wharton creates the world's first MBA/MA program in international management. The program, called the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, was the first to blend the MBA with an academically rigorous master's degree program in language and international studies, combining management education with intensive exposure to a foreign country's culture, politics, economy, and language.

1985
Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall The Wharton International Volunteer Program begins. Over the next two decades, student-organized service initiatives expand, helping local community efforts and developing economies around the world.

1987
Steinberg Conference Center The Steinberg Conference Center, a state-of-the-art educational facility, opens to administer and house the Aresty Institute of Executive Education. From its early roots in creating industry-specific educational programs such as the Chartered Life Underwriter certification in 1928, Wharton has a long history of pioneering educational programs for executives and corporations. The Aresty Institute today serves more than 10,000 executives a year with a mix of 200-plus programs, from open enrollment courses to the Advanced Management Program to customized programs created to address to a company's specific need.

Wharton Then and Now
“ I think the curriculum was extremely international. I don't remember a single day when I felt what I was learning was not applicable in other parts of the world. When I returned to India, they were starting a new stock exchange in Bombay, which would be totally electronic. I came back to take up membership and to work on that. It was incredible. ”

— Gautam Chand, WG'92, chairman and CEO, Instanex Capital Consultants
 

1988  
Wharton becomes the first U.S. business school to establish boards and representative offices in Asia and Europe. The move is one of many in Wharton's aggressive focus on globalization over the past three decades, from the appointment of a Vice Dean for International Academic Affairs to the creation of a "Global Immersion Program" on the MBA level to provide students with a hands-on experience in global business and society. Other key international initiatives include the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, which has partnerships with leading business schools in Israel, Chile, Canada and Mexico and the Faculty International Seminars, created in 1987 to allow faculty to travel abroad each year to meet with business leaders and other colleagues.

1990
Thomas Gerrity Dean Thomas P. Gerrity oversees the reengineering of the MBA and undergraduate programs to reflect global and technological aspects of business, bringing the School unprecedented worldwide recognition. Among significant curricular changes are enhanced roles for ethics and leadership.

1990
Lauder-Fisher Hall The School dedicates Lauder-Fischer Hall, a brick and glass structure built with the support of the Lauder family. Described by architectural observers as bearing a "muscular Postmodern design," Lauder-Fischer Hall gave two of Wharton's stand-out programs a stylish home: The Lauder Institute (see 1983) and the Wharton Real Estate Department and Center.

1993
Judith Rodin The Trustees elect Judith Seitz Rodin, Provost of Yale University, as President and Chief Executive Officer of Penn. Rodin was the first alumna to serve as President of Penn, and the first woman to serve as president of an Ivy League institution.

1993  
Wharton's first Global Alumni Forum convenes in Manila, starting a tradition that expands to annual forums in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

1994  
Wharton and the College of Arts and Sciences create the first integrated undergraduate global business program, now the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business (IS&B).

  
From the Gazette
The Dec. 1993 issue of the Gazette that announced the nomination of Judith Rodin as Penn president, reported on a popular new method of student communication — electronic mail — and noted that the University was lifting restrictions on investments in South Africa, in line with the wishes of Nelson Mandela.

 
1995
Paul Green Professor Paul Green wins the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award in Marketing Research from the American Marketing Association. Green was a key player in building on Wharton's early history of groundbreaking marketing research and instruction. In the 1960s, he created "conjoint analysis," a measurement tool that allowed companies to chart and analyze consumer preference and buying intentions, as well as their potential reactions to changes in existing products/services or to a product introduction.

1995
Spike Wharton launches SPIKE, the Wharton student intranet hailed as a ground-breaking communications suite and ranked fifth in the top 100 innovative IT applications by InfoWorld. To meet their needs, Wharton Computing and Information Technology—the largest IT department in the nation's top-tier business schools—worked closely with an advisory group from the Wharton Graduate Association to develop a one-stop resource for electronic communication and information based on Internet standards.

1995
Jeremy Siegel Professor Jeremy Siegel writes the best selling Stocks for the Long Run, described by Forbes magazine as "the Bible" of equity investing—a book that made Siegel one of the most widely quoted market experts in the country. The book argued and demonstrated that historically, stocks are safer and more productive than most other forms of investment. Siegel, Wharton's Russell E. Palmer Professor of Finance, explained how to calculate stock returns and examined some of the more technical aspects of analyzing stocks, while also discussing the relationships between the economy, politics, and the stock market, offering basic trading rules, and laying out guidelines for building a portfolio.

1996  
Wharton and Penn's School of Nursing establish a new undergraduate joint degree, the Program in Nursing and Health Care Management.

1996
The ICG/Wharton Forum on e-Business brings together corporate leaders from diverse industries with a team of more than 50 Wharton faculty members from various disciplines to share insights and discuss research on e-commerce issues.

“ We have, in fact, made it a primary strategic objective to embrace change ó not only in responding to changes in the world around us, but also in creating change through innovation and the advancement of knowledge. ”

— Thomas P. Gerrity, dean of the Wharton School, 1990-1999

 
1998
WRDS (Wharton Research Data Services) is released by Wharton's Computing and Information Technology department. The service, a comprehensive web-based data management system that allows faculty and students to easily retrieve information from a wide variety of financial, economic, and marketing data sources, becomes an indispensable tool licensed for use at more than 200 top-ranked business schools and financial institutions around the world, including INSEAD, Harvard University, London School of Business, and Stanford University. The program is an intellectual descendent of the School's early research in "heuristics," a computer-based information-intensive method that substituted data processing for mathematical manipulation.

1998
The Wharton Business Plan Competition is launched, offering all graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania the opportunity to develop and submit a detailed business plan, receiving feedback from judges at each phase. Eight finalists present their ideas to a panel of judges at a Venture Fair. By 2002 the program attracts 180 team submissions comprised of 350 students, awards $70,000 in cash prizes, and attracts 200 venture capitalists, investment bankers, and attorneys.

1999
Huntsman Hall Ground Breaking Ground is broken for Jon M. Huntsman Hall, described as the most advanced management education facility for the 21st Century.

1999  
Wharton launches Knowledge@Wharton, a groundbreaking website offering business news, analysis and research to corporate executives, entrepreneurs, policy makers and academics. The first site of its kind, K@W brought to light the vast array of faculty research underway at Wharton in a newsy, highly credible format. With more than 10 stories distributed online twice each month, many of them focusing on new research conducted by a breadth of faculty, the site helped to quietly showcase the cutting-edge scholarship underway at Wharton. K@W currently has more than 360,000 registered users in more than 189 countries and is available in English, Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish.

1999
Dean Janice Bellace Wharton professor and Deputy Dean Janice Bellace is named president of Singapore Management University (SMU), becoming the first foreigner to head a university in Singapore. Modeling its undergraduate BBA curriculum on Wharton's, SMU brought to Singapore the American philosophy of a broad-based undergraduate education as well as a joint Wharton-SMU Research Center, designed to further SMU's position as a premier Asian center for the discovery and dissemination of knowledge in the business disciplines.

Go to “On the Cutting Edge” >>


“There has always been a focus on integrity at Wharton. The integrity of making sure that the content of the curriculum was the best it could be, but also integrity in the teaching process itself... ”
— Art Collins, WG'73, chairman & CEO, Medtronic, Inc.

What phenomena defined business in the 1980s?
Daniel Raff:
The most conspicuous phenomenon was that firms which had previously not been thought large or solid enough to issue securities began to be able to float their debt. This was the so-called junk bond market. This phenomenon converged with the previous one: the junk bonds were often issued in connection with attempts to change the ownership, management, and direction of firms which investors felt were not being properly run. As with most innovations, this development may well have run its course and kept on running. But there was an extended period during which investors in effect issued debt, bought up companies, made changes, and obtained superior corporate performance.

Another phenomenon going on in the 1980s, albeit more quietly, was the growing appearance of personal computers and sophisticated telecommunications equipment in workplaces and offices. The economist Robert Solow remarked to a New York Times reporter late in the decade that you could see computers everywhere but in the productivity statistics. This was probably true because there was a much more widespread sense that computers would someday be important in a rationalization of business practice than there was any concrete idea on how to use computers to bring it about.

So the theme of the 1990s was learning how to use technology?
DR:
Indeed. There began to be concrete ideas and much more of a focus on supply chain organization and coordination. Productivity-enhancing software that allowed computers to work productively in networks began to emerge, and firms began to learn how to gather information and exploit it. The jury is not yet in as to whether the recent productivity growth is owed to information technology or not. You can't solidly argue this from the government statistics yet, but McKinsey has recently published a study arguing, partly on the basis of statistics and partly on the basis of industry case studies, that this is precisely what happened in the second half of 1990s. This productivity growth was powered to some extent by the increasing dominance of some extremely proficient retailing firms like Walmart (which is now by total revenue the largest company in the economy). It had really gotten the message about how to use information technology in retailing practice and was requiring, through a series of vertical partnerships with its suppliers, that they basically get with the program.

The other conspicuous development was that of the Internet and the related NASDAQ stock bubble. For a while, this made Northern California the center of the economic universe. There isn't much doubt that the underlying ideas and inventions of many of these companies didn't really come to much; and the shares of many are now not worth very much. But the fundamental innovations of IT and the Internet are going to have very profound and long-lasting effects on business conduct and the way ordinary consumers live their lives.

Globalization seems to be playing a more significant role in management education...
DR:
Itís different from the last time globalization was a big theme, in the 1960s and early 1970s. Then, the focus in business schools was on the novel difficulties of running corporations which had to do business in many places and with different cultures. The demands on organization were complex, and both structures and systems methods needed to be worked out. The emphasis now is not so much on working out the corporate infrastructure required to respond to these demands as it is on the massiveness of opportunities and the difficulties of actual execution.

Programs such as the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business for undergrads and the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies for MBAs provide training which will enable our students to step ably into highly multinational firms and responsibilities. These programs were ahead of their time and stand as examples to us as the sort of resources we need to invest to produce management education really well suited to the times into which we are moving.

 

 

© 2007 The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.