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From Foreign Trade to a Global Interlinked Economy

Wharton was international from the outset. Among the 13 graduates of Wharton's first class in 1884 were a future ambassador to Brazil and a future member of the Japanese Diet. Wharton produced the first textbook on foreign trade, and faculty have worked on research and teaching projects in virtually every part of the globe.

Over the years, faculty have established toll rates for the Panama Canal; designed trucking systems in China; helped restructure the Brazilian and South African economic systems; reformed pension systems in Brazil, Chile, and China; and led the privatization of national industries in Turkey, Poland, and other Eastern European nations.

Wharton was a forerunner in globalization long before it became a rallying cry and then a staple of the business program. In 1983, Wharton launched the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies with Penn's School of Arts and Sciences. The program was the first to integrate the MBA with an academically rigorous master's degree program in language and international studies. It remains the premier global business education program in the world.

In 1989, Wharton created the International Forum, one of the first global programs for top-level managers, which was cited for its innovative model of sessions on three continents. In 1994, the School established the first fully integrated undergraduate global business program, now the Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business.

Wharton moved early and aggressively to integrate a global perspective across its curricula. Undergraduate and MBA programs alone offer nearly 40 explicitly global courses and 31 internationally oriented ones. At the MBA level, Wharton also established a network of 11 exchange programs around the world and created a "Global Immersion Program" to provide students with hands-on experience in global business and society.

Students have an opportunity to consult with international businesses through programs such as the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum, which has partnerships with leading international business schools in Israel, Chile, Canada, and Mexico. The University of Pennsylvania sponsors more than 100 study-abroad sites for undergraduate students. There are currently nine Wharton- approved sites in countries including Argentina, France, Germany, Hong Kong (2), Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Faculty members continue to see the world as their laboratory. One recent survey found that nearly 100 Wharton faculty members were engaged in research projects with colleagues in nearly 40 countries. Wharton's partnership with Singapore Management University (SMU), including the establishment of the Wharton-SMU Research Center, will further enhance the School's research presence in Asia. The Center will focus on topics related to business in Asia, ranging from techno-preneurship and knowledge transfer to competition in emerging technology-based industries and electronic commerce.

Wharton has established centers or programs to study U.S.-Japan management issues, emerging economies, international financial research, global competition and innovation, and Chinese business. Wharton's Family Controlled Corporation Program has offered educational programs and research projects to family companies around the world, with particular emphasis on Latin American firms.

International executive boards in Europe, Asia, and Latin America have guided the School's global perspectives. In 1988, Wharton became the first school to establish boards and representative offices in Asia and Europe. Wharton continues to extend its leadership in globalization with new initiatives, including the appointment of Jitendra Singh, Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management, to the position of Vice Dean for International Academic Affairs. Singh will focus on integrating globalization into all academic aspects of the School.

In addition, Wharton's Faculty International Seminars, created in 1987, allow faculty to travel abroad each year to meet with business leaders and other research colleagues. Recently, faculty have traveled to Malaysia, Korea, and Japan. The Faculty International Research Fund, meanwhile, provides support for research projects with international scope.

From the outset, Wharton has also contributed to the development of business education around the globe, serving as a model for numerous business programs. In the 1890s, the American Bankers Association sent Wharton Professor Edmund James to Europe where he wrote an influential analysis of European business education that shaped the development of business education there.

Wharton faculty members continue to lay the groundwork for management education around the world. Professor Janice Bellace became the first foreigner to head a university in Singapore when she was named president of the new SMU in 1999. Wharton will guide the development of a four-year undergraduate business program at SMU.


"Wharton was always ahead of its peers when it came to globalization and international education initiatives. We have been in this field a long time, and we have changed the field. As a professor in the 1970s, I began to see increasing numbers of international students in my classes. As a result, globalization became an ideology for me. I felt at that time that we should not focus exclusively on American business, because the best ideas come from all over the world and it's important to be open to this. Leaders, after all, are people who can relate to people everywhere."
Howard Perlmutter, Professor Emeritus of Social Architecture and Management


Jamshed Ghandhi (above) Director of Wharton's Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business, the first fully integrated global business program for undergraduates. Wharton Director Edmund James (below center) was sent to Europe by the American Bankers Association in the 1890s, where he authored an influential study on European business education. Wharton Professor Howard Perlmutter, with Chinese executives at a Wharton program in 1988 (below right), was one of the first researchers to study multinational corporations and the global context for business. Professor Jerry Wind (below left) was the founding director of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies, cited by Business Week as "arguably the single best global management experience anywhere."


"Even though Wharton is widely renowned as a leader in globalization, we will not relax. In recent years, the competitive arena has shifted among the top business schools worldwide to emphasize an international focus. Wharton will continue to assimilate a global influence in all of its teaching programs, faculty research, and the makeup of its student body. And, when it makes strategic sense, Wharton will partner with other institutions to achieve our global goals."
Jitendra V. Singh, Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and Vice Dean for International Academic Affairs


"We are in the midst of profound change in the way economies are organized, which will take decades to work out. All of this puts more pressure than ever on managers, who must respond to uncertain and rapidly changing economic and political environments. But Wharton has been an early contributor to education and research in global management. The Lauder Institute works very hard to create ways for students to develop strong cross-cultural skills and to learn to be effective as quickly as possible in any context. Our faculty research emphasized the importance of the social, cultural, and political environment of international business. We pioneered its integration into global strategy and the strategic decision-making framework of managers of multinational enterprises."
Stephen J. Kobrin, William H. Wurster Professor of Multinational Management and Director of the Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies


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