Since its founding in 2001, Wharton San Francisco has been a hub of academic and entrepreneurial activity for Wharton students and alumni on the West Coast. Overlooking the city’s Embarcadero and a block from the Bay Bridge, the modern campus offers stunning views of the San Francisco Bay.

EMBA courses at Wharton San Francisco are taught by East Coast-based faculty who fly to San Francisco for class weekends. Wharton faculty love teaching on the West Coast. We asked a few of them to share what they enjoy most about EMBA students and our San Francisco campus. Here is what they said:

Prof. Stewart Friedman

Course: Total Leadership; Leading Effective Teams

“I’ve been teaching EMBA students every year since 2003 because I enjoy it so much. Wharton EMBA students are seasoned, mature, and have a humility in the classroom that makes them open and hungry for knowledge. The issues we talk about in class are present in their lives and it’s wonderful to see them immediately apply their new knowledge. They also are conscious of why they are in this program and have a great appreciation for Wharton’s academic mission. They take the program seriously and do the preparation required to get the most out of the class for themselves and their classmates. That makes my job a ton of fun.”

“I go [to Wharton San Francisco] for the students. I’m on a mission to bring what I know to this group of bright, ambitious, committed professionals who are looking to learn from the faculty and from each other. It also doesn’t hurt that the Wharton San Francisco campus is amazing. You sit in the dining room and have a beautiful view of the San Francisco Bay. And the classrooms are fantastic!”

Prof. Patti Williams

Course: Marketing

“[EMBA students’] capacity for work blows me away. These are people who have full-time jobs and often have families too, but they come to class ready to kill it every single class period. They are prepared to learn and are engaged in the material – they are ready to make the most of every moment in class. What continues to astonish and impress me is how much effort they put into the classwork despite all the other things they juggle. They are there because they really want to be there, and I can’t imagine a better teaching environment than that.”

“The students [in San Francisco] tend to have more of an entrepreneurship, engineering or technology orientation so they bring different perspectives and experiences to class. It’s interesting to have that variation on each campus. I like teaching both [campus] groups a lot and as a Stanford undergrad alum, I love the chance to get to the Bay Area.”

Prof. Ethan Mollick

Courses: Introduction to Entrepreneurship; Advanced Entrepreneurship

“Wharton’s executive MBA students are really smart, engaged with what they are learning, and care a lot about entrepreneurship. My classes are a great opportunity for them to be operational, but also to pause and think about next steps in their startups or businesses. Our classroom discussion is at a very high level because they bring in great insights from their careers. These are very fun classes to teach and hopefully to participate in.”

“There is a palpable energy in San Francisco because people in that area are very excited about entrepreneurship. I always learn something when I teach out there. And with so many successful Wharton graduates who are entrepreneurs and VCs on the West Coast, it’s a very supportive community.”

Prof. Minyuan Zhao

Course: Multinational Business Strategy

“Wharton EMBA students are fabulous. They are so engaged and prepared for class. For faculty, it’s very rewarding to see the learning happening in the classroom.”

“In terms of the classroom experience, the two campuses are very similar. The biggest difference comes from students’ backgrounds. The West Coast tends to have more students who work in technology or in startups. The San Francisco campus also fits the West Coast culture with big windows and an open feel. Another difference for faculty teaching on the West Coast is the time we are able to spend with students. When I’m in San Francisco, I tend to stay on campus the entire weekend and join students for dinners and group activities. I get to know them a lot better over the course of class weekends.”

Prof. Bobbi Thomason

Course: Negotiations

“[Wharton EMBA] students are all working in full-time, demanding jobs so it’s exciting to see them apply what they learn right away. In class, I ask them to talk about how their ongoing negotiations at work are going. Or, if they have upcoming negotiations, they get suggestions from the class about strategies. Sharing their experiences in the classroom makes it a richer learning experience for everyone.”

“Wharton’s San Francisco campus is unique because it primarily serves EMBA students. Having a space that is just for this program creates a closeness among the students, faculty and administrators. And during class weekends, students spend practically every moment together. It’s an immersive experience that I enjoy. It’s fun for me to talk to students over meals, and they are generous in inviting faculty to social events too. I also hold office hours and am happy to continue conversations via Skype and email in between class sessions when I am back in Philadelphia.”

Prof. Nicolaj Siggelkow

Courses: Management; Strategy and Competitive Advantage

“It’s exciting to teach EMBA students because they immediately try to apply the tools I teach them when they go back to work. Then, they’ll usually come back and tell me how it went; it’s fun to get feedback on what you teach. It’s also interesting to hear their perspectives during our class discussions. It’s often at a level that you wouldn’t get in a typical MBA classroom. For example, in a class session on outsourcing, we may have several students in the classroom who actually sell or have bought the services being discussed. The experience that students bring into the EMBA program makes the classroom experience quite special.”

“[As for teaching in San Francisco,] I was an undergraduate at Stanford, so I have some affinity to the area as well as friends living there. So, on a personal level, it’s always fun to visit San Francisco. Also, the types of students on the West Coast are a bit different from the East Coast. They tend to be more tech and engineering focused. It’s great to have a mix of students on both coasts.”

Posted: February 19, 2018

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