DEFINITION of 'Wharton School'

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is one of America's top undergraduate and graduate business schools. The Wharton School was founded in 1881 through a donation by Joseph Wharton, an industrialist with interests in mining, manufacturing and railroads. Wharton is considered to be the world's first collegiate business school and is regarded by many as one of the most prestigious business schools in the world with top overall rankings among peer institutions. Wharton is best known for its rigorous finance program, which many employers believe stands above those of other business schools known for this academic discipline.

BREAKING DOWN 'Wharton School'

The admissions process at Wharton School is highly competitive, attracting thousands of applicants each year for the school's reputation, education and network. The Wharton School also offers a variety of business undergraduate degrees, along with an MBA and PhD program. Some specializations that Wharton offers include accounting, finance, marketing, real estate, multinational management, statistics, and entrepreneurship and innovation. The main campus is located in the heart of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001 Wharton opened a campus building in San Francisco for a West Coast Executive MBA (EMBA) program and in 2015 the school established the Penn Wharton China Center in Beijing.

In any given academic year, Wharton educates roughly 5,000 students, consisting of over 2,500 undergraduates, 1,800 MBAs, 450 EMBAs and over 200 Doctoral candidates. Additionally, over 9,000 professionals participate in the school's Executive Education program. 

As of 2018 Wharton had approximately 96,000 alumni. Notable ones include Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai, Peter Lynch, Steven A. Cohen, Leonard Lauder, Howard Marks, Leonard Green, Brian Roberts, and Ruth Porat. Warren Buffett started at Wharton as an undergraduate student, but transferred after two years back to his beloved home state of Nebraska.

Wharton Evolution

Wharton has a sterling reputation in finance. The school historically has been a feeder into Wall Street and into finance-related positions in industry. Another popular career route from the school is management consulting. However, with exponential growth of the tech sector, more Wharton students are gravitating to Silicon Valley and other tech hubs around the country and world. The school, in response, has been making greater efforts to reorient its programs at all levels to prepare its students for the workforce of the future. Finance will always be the heart of Wharton, but it must practice what it teaches - that is, adapt to the changing economy and offer a product that is useful to consumers.

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