Introduction of new concentrations and majors will prepare future leaders for the evolving global landscape
Over its nearly 150 years as the global leader in business education, the Wharton School’s continued curricular evolution remains a cornerstone by which the School’s excellence is sustained. This month, as the University of Pennsylvania’s fall semester unfolded, Wharton again applied this philosophy in acknowledgement of the rising relevance of two burgeoning industry priorities.
Wharton’s Curriculum Innovation and Review Committee (CIRC) voted to approve the introduction of two official curricular designations to the School’s existing fold of robust and renowned educational opportunities: 1) Environmental, Social and Governance Factors for Business (ESGB), and 2) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Both ESGB and DEI are available to function as either a concentration at the undergraduate level or a major at the MBA level, and will see its first students graduate in May 2025. As Deputy Dean Nancy Rothbard puts it: “We are proud and delighted that Wharton will be offering these new concentrations and majors, supported by the School’s world-class evidence-based curriculum. We look forward to seeing what our graduates accomplish.”
This decision came in response to the extensive undergrad and graduate-level interest in coursework devoted to these developing areas in business. As Stephanie Creary, Assistant Professor in the Management Department, who has taught the Leading Diversity in Organizations course at the MBA and UG level for several years, explains “in recent years, our students have challenged us to do more to prepare them for the new realities of leadership, which involve creating and sustaining diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations. However, only recently have we had sufficient coursework to support students’ wishes to become more prepared for DEI-focused careers or leaders of DEI-related change in any organizational role.”
Vice Dean of Entrepreneurship Lori Rosenkopf notes, “While the Management department has offered relevant coursework in this area for some time, we were delighted to create this new major for MBA students and new concentration for undergraduate students.” Thus, the DEI concentration/major will be administered by the management department, and will explore issues such as equality and discrimination from an organizational content. “We can’t wait for the first students to graduate with the official DEI major in 2025, and continue to lead in helping companies become more diverse, equal, inclusive, and, thus ultimately, competitive on the global stage,” notes Corinne Low, Assistant Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy.
As Wharton’s existing Business, Energy, Environment and Sustainability (BEES) concentration/major is highly popular, it is set to continue as a specialization within the new ESGB concentration/major, in addition to a new specialization called Social and Governance (SOGO). SOGO is also a major for MBA students. ESGB will be jointly administered by three departments – Legal Studies and Business Ethics (LGST), Management (MGMT) and Business Economics and Public Policy (BEPP). Vice Dean of Wharton’s ESG Initiative Vit Henisz reminds us that “Mobilizing business to address ‘social problems incident to our civilization’ was the rallying cry of our school’s founder Joseph Wharton.” In this spirit, the Wharton community celebrates the future students of these concentrations and majors, and looks forward to welcoming them to campus in September 2023.
-Grace Meredith, Wharton Staff
Posted: September 27, 2022