Wharton Plans More Exec Ed in San Fran

Ten years after setting up a campus in San Francisco for a West Coast version of its top-rated Executive MBA program, Wharton will soon add five new open enrollment programs on leadership, management, sustainability, and bio-pharma. The school also intends to increase its delivery of custom programming for executives and managers of specific companies.

Wharton’s aggressive expansion, on the home turf of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and Berkeley’s Haas School, comes as the famous Philadelphia-based school shifts to a new, larger location in San Francisco. Stanford and Berkeley have lagged behind several other business schools, such as Harvard, Wharton, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, in offering a large menu of exec ed courses. Harvard and Kellogg, for example, offer three times the open courses as Stanford and four to five times the courses as Berkeley. More than 8,000 managers attended exec ed programming at both Harvard and Wharton last year, compared to less than 2,000 at Stanford and about 3,000 at Berkeley.

Stanford is not showing any public concern at the expansion. While we are not able to comment on the offerings of other institutions, we can say that Wharton’s move to the Bay Area only helps to enhance that academic network,” says Erik Ritchie, Director of Programs, Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Education Program. “One of the elements that has made Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area one of the world’s leading centers for innovation and entrepreneurship has been the presence of numerous established universities in the area.

For the last 10 years Wharton had its campus in the historic Folger Building on San Francisco’s Howard Street. Currently Wharton’s San Francisco campus offers an EMBA, eight open enrollment programs and has four clients for custom programs. So far 700 Wharton alums have gotten degrees from the San Francisco campus. Now the campus is moving from one coffee company building to another – from Folger Building to Hills Plaza Building on Embarcadero. The new location for the Wharton campus, which will be functional by January 2012, is 33% bigger at 33,000 square feet and will use state-of-the-art communication technology to connect Hills Plaza’s classrooms with Wharton’s classrooms on the Philadelphia campus.

“Wharton has always been increasing its presence on the West Coast and the new campus is a natural progression,” says Hackett. The new campus marks an increase in Wharton’s activities in the West Coast – not only will it accommodate planned growth in the EMBA program, but also in executive education and entrepreneurial programs. The five new open enrollment programs exclusive to the San Francisco market will begin in the Spring of 2012, says Martin Hackett, Wharton’s managing director of open enrollment programs.

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