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Penn Plans To Open ‘Wharton West’

December 12, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The University of Pennsylvania is creating a western branch of its prestigious Wharton School of business in San Francisco, a move school officials say acknowledges California’s growing international economic clout.

``This is driven by the faculty’s interest in the economic activity in the West Coast,″ Patrick Harker, dean of the Wharton School, was quoted as saying in Tuesday’s Los Angeles Times. ``We want to have a presence in the major economic hubs in the world. California is clearly one of those.″

The school plans to offer continuing education courses to students and business leaders beginning in the spring, expanding to a full, two-year master’s progrram in business administration by next fall.

The school, which has been losing more than two dozen MBA students to high-tech start-up companies each year, is the latest of several prestigious institutions to locate branch offices in or near Silicon Valley. Others include Harvard and Dartmouth.

The Wharton School, founded in 1881, is looking to attract people from throughout California, said Harker, who added he envisions students traveling to San Francisco from Los Angeles every other weekend to study in the same way residents of New York City and Washington, D.C., now travel to Philadelphia.

``It’s not just the Silicon Valley,″ Harker said. ``We have a significant effort among faculty members to study and work with the media and entertainment industries.″

In broadening their potential student bodies this way, schools like Wharton are not only positioning themselves to win back graduate students who have defected to high-paying jobs in the area, but are also providing a presence for well-heeled dot-com executives who could eventually be looking for a place to make charitable contributions.

``When I was a student, we used to have East Coast field trips,″ said Robert L. Joss, dean of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. ``Now, East Coast schools are having West Coast field trips. That tells you a lot of what’s happening to our economy.″

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