No. This is a fascinating question though. Let me tell you a story about one our alumni, Bill Mack, whose on the board of trustees and board of overseers, and also chairman of the board of the Guggenheim Museum. He was approached by Abu Dhabi, and asked to re-create the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi. Talking with the chief curator, he realized that only 3 percent of the art is displayed at a given time. 97 percent is in storage. So, it would be pretty easy to take the Guggenheim into Abu Dhabi - and I think it could even look like the Guggenheim. I am not sure how easy it is to put Wharton into China or Abu Dhabi or any place else. I am not going to rule it out, but I will say that it would just be very difÀcult to do. Unlike the Guggenheim, we have no basement of great faculty to send abroad. At the end of the days, Wharton is its faculty, staff, and students.
iBR Reader Response How could an international campus beneﬁt Wharton students in Philadelphia? Log onto www.whartonibr.com/respond/robertson to respond
So the faculty would be the biggest obstacle? No, it’s the students as well. At the W harton School, just as at other top business schools, the student body is very diverse. There is a wonderful opportunity for learning, given that people are different, come from different backgrounds, and also from different cultures. If someday, in any particular country, a school could offer the same mix of students and faculty, then we would start to lose some of our competitive advantage. A question worth considering is whether or not you can replicate the culture in a meaningful way? Let me give you a corporate example. General Electric has its corporate training center In Crotonville, New York. They were considering creating one in Mumbai and Dubai. They studied this possibility, but haven’t done it yet. They fear that they won’t be able to replicate the same experience in Mumbai or Dubai. Crotonville is a very special place. It’s a mecca for GE employees, and there’s a whole history for many decades, and so can you replicate the culture is a very key question. Harvard Business School offered its advanced mana-gement program in Switzerland for 3 or 4
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years, before giving it up. That was not because of the curriculum of the program, but because people just didn’t think it was Harvard. But we are not limiting ourselves to the Wharton campus. We have the campus in San Francisco, the alliance with INSEAD. How is this reÁective of expanding past the Philadelphia campus and having more of an international mindset? We do have an international mindset. We are present in many countries in the world, both with relationships and exchange programs. We haven’t put physical presences in the sense of degree programs. We have done executive education programs in places such as Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, China, India, and many more. INSEAD gives us the opportunity to be aligned with opportunities in Europe, as well as their campus in Singapore, and the Abu Dhabi campus they are currently developing. We have the same strong INSEAD partnership with the Singapore Management University, Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, and Guanghua School of Management at Peking University. There are many opportunities for knowledge sharing, and opportunities for faculty and students. We are proud of the continuous synergies, and of the networking beneÀts that we derive from these strong alliances. We are actually celebrating our 10th anniversary of the INSEAD alliance next year. With so many students reading the interview, is there one piece of advice you could share with the students with respect to careers or life in general? There are a couple of things. I think it is important to smell the roses from time to time. We can all get so caught up with our day-to-day activities, and there is a real risk of burning out if you are not occasionally taking some time to simply enjoy life. I think that’s important. And the other thing is that, at the end of the day and the end of your life, you are only as good as your character. It’s very important to contribute to this world and to maintain integrity at all cost. Once you violate that integrity, it is pretty much all downhill from there and you lose the respect of your peers. iBR
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Fall edition of the IBR magazine at the Wharton School.