Culture & Campus Life
What Wharton Is Known For
Heritage. As the world’s first collegiate business school (founded in 1881), Wharton is considered the “birthplace of modern business education.” Wharton has for generations been one of the most prestigious MBA programs in the world, consistently appearing at or near the top of most rankings. The Wharton School is Penn’s prized program and is positioned at the forefront of the research and business communities. Many consider Wharton to be the best of the six Ivy League graduate business programs, and it is a continual leader among its peers. Wharton was one of the first business schools to change its curriculum in response to the economic crisis, an effort that it continues to this day.
An urban location. Situated in an urban setting, Wharton includes several buildings on the Penn campus just west of downtown Philadelphia. As the campus has expanded west, its neighborhood has undergone something of a transformation in the last 15 years, a trend not totally affectionately termed “Penntrification.” The Wharton School is primarily housed in its own state-of-the-art building, Huntsman Hall, essentially isolating the students from the rest of the university. School administration is in Steinberg Hall and Vance Hall, while the Lauder Program is primarily based, appropriately enough, in Lauder-Fisher Hall. Wharton students have access to all the main Penn facilities such Van Pelt Library (and Lippincott Library, the business library housed there) and the David Pottruck Fitness Center.
An innovative building. The 2002 opening of Wharton’s Huntsman Hall kicked off a building boom at business schools across the country that is still going strong today. Huntsman was designed to flexibly support the specific needs of an innovative curriculum and changing student body. Wharton undertook the development project the way any smart business would: by conducting research and holding focus groups of its constituents (faculty and students) to incorporate practical needs into the core of the design. At the time of its opening, Huntsman Hall was by far the most advanced and innovative business school facility in the world. Huntsman is still new enough that its technology infrastructure is still relevant; however, technology support for students is a moving target that business schools often struggle to keep up with. Wharton’s peers have, of course, studied Huntsman in the quiet quest of top schools to one-up each other, and you will find as good as or better features in the new buildings on other campuses, such as those opened at the University of Chicago in 2004, Stanford in 2011, and Yale in 2013.