In October 2010, the school conducted a survey of product needs and profile needs by segments. “We focused a lot on that effort in the West Coast San Francisco region looking a lot at what the competition offers in terms of programming and also the career needs out there. The programs we are developing will serve the needs we see existing in the West Coast market,” says Hackett.
As an example, Hackett notes that a lot of executives in high-tech companies have degrees in science and engineering and rise up in the organization on the product side. “There is a specific need for leadership programs for these folks who have come up in their organizations but do not have a business background be it an undergraduate degree or an MBA,” says Hackett. He adds that there is a huge demand for such programs.
While the five open enrollment programs under development don’t have titles yet, they will be on leadership, sustainability, bio-pharma, a multi-faceted program that explores the framework of management, and another management program that will be about the intersection of marketing and technology. As far as customized programs go, Wharton San Francisco has four clients currently who enroll for a variety of programs. “We’ll expand this (client base) as our footprint gets larger in the West Coast,” adds Hackett.
The expansion of the San Francisco campus is a big move for the school. “It is pretty sizeable — it’s having Wharton Executive Education expand in the West Coast market around the three pillars that the school has – innovation, global presence and the idea of social impact,” says Hackett. Given the fact that Silicon Valley is at the forefront of technology of innovation, expanding its efforts in this market helps Wharton get advanced knowledge and education out there.
Hackett says Wharton believes there are opportunities for careers that don’t really exist today and in industries and products that we haven’t seen yet at this point. A stronger West Coast presence will help Wharton gauge such trends before they become common. “Expanding our presence helps not only the school, but also Wharton Executive Education can participate in those activities and shape and shepherd these ideas and concepts – and learn from them along the way,” says Hackett. Given the unique demographic of the West Coast and Silicon Valley, he adds, Wharton also views this region as a gateway to emerging markets like Asia and Latin America.