Wharton Breaks Ground on New San Fran Campus

Wharton announced today (June 29) that its San Francisco campus will relocate to the historic Hills Plaza building on the city’s Embarcadero in January 2012, with construction on the new space commencing this month. The new location will house the most expensive MBA program in the world: Wharton’s 24-month MBA for Executives program with a $172,200 pricetag.

Wharton looks to significantly up its game in the Bay Area with the move. Having already established the leading EMBA program on turf that has long been dominated by Berkeley’s Haas School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It now appears ready to significantly expand its non-degree executive education programs, an ambition that will put it more directly into competition with Stanford which has similar plans.

The success of that program over the past decade caused faculty and administrators this past year to devise a plan for the relocation to a new campus. Wharton | San Francisco at Hills Plaza will offer enhanced space versus Wharton | San Francisco’s current facility at the Folger Building. The new space will allow state of the art amphitheater classrooms and space for alumni events.

The move to Hills Plaza coincides with a school-wide celebration of the 10-year anniversary of Wharton | San Francisco. Since its establishment in 2001, more than 700 alumni have successfully earned their MBA degree in San Francisco. School administrators believe that the key to the program’s success is that students are taught the same curriculum by the same faculty as those at its primary campus in Philadelphia. In addition, Wharton | San Francisco serves as the School’s center for the 12,000 Wharton alumni who live on the West Coast.

With 17 group study rooms, amphitheater classroom and sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay, Wharton | San Francisco at Hills Plaza will allow a wider-than-ever array of School activities, including:

  • Increased activity by Wharton Executive Education, one of the largest providers in the world of open enrollment and custom business programs
  • New offerings from Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, known for the Wharton Venture Initiation Program, Wharton Business Plan Competition and Wharton Venture Award
  • Expansion of speakers, panels, programs and events designed to showcase Wharton’s 25 faculty research centers, students and alumni as well as business leaders from the Bay Area and beyond

“We are extremely enthusiastic about this move. Wharton | San Francisco has been a tremendous success since it was established in 2001 and is vital in further developing Wharton’s presence both in the United States and internationally,” said Dean Thomas S. Robertson in a statement. “The relocation of our campus to Hills Plaza is aligned with our vision to establish Wharton as a vibrant presence on both coasts and, moving forward, to position it as a portal to countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim.”

The new campus will feature all unique digital high definition (HD) classrooms and group study rooms designed to support Wharton’s commitment to connected and lifelong learning. The classrooms will be production-ready for streaming or broadcasting classes, speaker series and networking events in HD to students, alumni and the world. Students will be able to make use of their Wharton provided iPads in a variety of spaces designed to foster teamwork and collaboration. Group study rooms will enable teams to work with each other down the hall, back in Philadelphia, or around the globe using HD video conferencing and innovative controls to create shared digital workspaces.

In collaboration with Wharton, Shen Milsom & Wilke and Creston future-proofed these rooms to allow for seamless and rapid adoption of new technologies when they become available. Many of the innovations applied to the classrooms of Wharton | San Francisco will also be finding a home in classrooms on campus in Philadelphia.

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