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Global Crossroads for the 21st Century

The Wharton Forum Comes to Beijing

Global Crossroads for the 21st Century Beijing Press Conference

The Wharton Forum held in Beijing began with Thomas Robertson (Wharton Dean), Robert Zou (Organizing Committee Co-Chairman), Phillip Wu (Organizing Committee Co-Chairman), Franklin Allen, (Wharton Professor of Economics), and Thomas J. Colligan (Wharton Vice Dean and Director, Aresty Institute of Executive Education) addressing the Beijing media in a press conference on Thursday, June 11 at the JW Marriott. Here we recap some of the key points from the press conference.

Dean Robertson gave some facts about the Wharton Forum. For the past 15 years, the forum has been held three times a year different cities around the world. Wharton has a proud 128 year history and was the first business school in the Ivy League in the United States. Wharton creates economical and social values by generating new knowledge for dissemination and trains future students for careers in business and government.

Wharton has strong ties to China. The forum was the third occasion for Dean Robertson to visit China this year. Four strategic alliances have been formed with universities in China, including two business schools in Beijing. Knowledge at Wharton is an online information portal with roughly1.5 million subscribers. It is translated into Chinese with additional Chinese context. Phillip Wu heads a tem in Shanghai that translates relevant articles. See the Chinese version of Knowledge at Wharton at

Wharton places great value in Chinese students participating in its programs. Our latest figures show Chinese students make up three percent (3%) of all undergraduates, four percent (4%) of master*s students and 16% of doctoral students. There are also non-degree executive programs for Chinese companies.

Penn*s own Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. of Utah was recently nominated to be Ambassador to China. It is Penn*s hope that Huntsman, Jr. will help the U.S. become more connected to China*s market and community.

Franklin Allen highlighted some of the most current issues facing the world economy. He particularly noted that China is doing the best of the major countries. Government efforts have been good. China is moving more toward internal growth and away from great reliance on exports. In other parts of the world, it is not clear what lies ahead.

Thomas Colligan talked about executive education at Wharton. Over the past year, Wharton has served over 12,000 executives around the world. There are two major programs that are customized for companies and organizations (including government); these programs have also been held in China. The goal is to have a positive impact by equipping executives with skills they need to meet their goals. Many programs for Chinese organizations help Chinese leaders better understand the global environment as well as their individual needs. There are 50 programs individuals can sign up for on-line; the programs* lengths vary with one, two and five week durations. Wharton also offers courses for people working in the media that cover finance.

Following are summaries of other comments made during the press conference.

Change is already underway at top universities. Professors in finance cannot use lectures from last year (with all that has happened in the past year economically, for example). A committee at Wharton reviews the curriculum. - Robertson

Some of the economic problems can be attributed to the government. In the past, not enough graduates go on to work in the government to work on the economic problems. Students don*t know as much about the government as we*d like and government regulators don*t know as much about business as we*d like. 每 Allen

H1N1 and the economy have presented schools with both challenges and opportunities to the curriculum. 每 Robertson

There are about 10,000 business schools in the world. (Wharton is ranked #1 by the Financial Times.) Wharton plans to take advantage of its brand name in the global crisis to attract top faculty and staff. Great students are applying. Wharton is starting the fall semester with the largest faculty ever and strongest student indicators. 每 Robertson

There is a lot to learn from China. Wharton will look at countries that successfully emerge from the economic crisis. 每 Allen

There is a lot of uncertainty with investing in the U.S. market right now. There*s less uncertainty in China as it continues to grow. The U.S. is still the best long-term investment. 每 Allen

Thomas S. Robertson
Dean and Reliance Professor of Management and Private Enterprise,The Wharton School

People at the Forum

The Wharton Forum was an exciting event filled with excitement as former classmates gathered and reconnected. It was also interesting to have so many Penn alumni who did not Wharton at the forum and to see them networking. Wharton is a valuable resource for other Penn alumni working in business wanting to get new training and wanting to meet other business leaders.

Check back for more updates and photos from the forum.

Reporting by L. Evans

Zhang Ruimin
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Haier Group

Wang Chao
Assistant Minister, Ministry of Commerce, People's Republic of China

Liu Chuanzhi
President and Chief Executive Officer, Legend Holdings Ltd Chairman, Lenovo Group

Diana C. Robertson
Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics

Jimmy Zhang, Robert Zou, Terry Crossman

Art displayed at the forum