Professional Services


Professional service firms are typically characterized by a high human capital to financial capital ratio and by the challenge of providing value when the product offered is intangible. Managing such firms requires a unique approach. To gain an edge in today’s competitive marketplace, top professional service firms focus on developing talented and motivated employees, exceptional client service, and a strong corporate culture.


Wharton Executive Education has worked with an array of global professional service firms to develop future generations of leaders, strengthen applied knowledge, and capitalize on the information and expertise that already exists inside organizations. Our industry expertise includes:

  • Advertising
  • Consulting
  • Accounting
  • Legal Services
  • Human Capital Management
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media

Thought Leadership

Wharton Executive Education creates educational experiences that will transform the way your firm does business. In creating a custom engagement, we may draw on Wharton resources such as these:

Wharton Center for Human Resources

The Center for Human Resources is a dynamic hub for academics and practitioners who specialize in human resources. Through this unique partnership, faculty share their latest research with our corporate members, who in turn benefit from numerous opportunities to network with fellow HR executives from across the country and around the world, allowing them access to the most current thinking on such topics as talent management, labor relations, workforce training and education, and diversity. Visit the Center's website »

Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative

The Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) is the preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer analytic methods. Acting as "matchmaker" between academia and industry, WCAI has a broad impact on the practice of data-driven business decision making, and the dissemination of relevant insights to managers, students, and policy makers.

Based in the Wharton School's Marketing Department and designed to capitalize on Wharton's longstanding strength in conducting empirical research, WCAI is an interdisciplinary effort that brings a passionate data-driven perspective unmatched by any other business school. Visit the Center's website »

Center for Leadership and Change Management

Increasingly, organizations worldwide are confronting turbulent markets, demanding shareholders, and discerning customers, and many firms are restructuring to meet these challenges. Their success depends largely on the quality of leadership that exists at all levels of management. Dedicated to building a basic and practical understanding of leadership and change, the Center explores and communicates effective strategies for restructuring. Visit the Center's website »

Mack Institute for Innovation Management

The Mack Institute for Innovation Management is an exclusive network that connects business leaders, researchers, world-class Wharton faculty, and students. At the Institute, thought leaders from across academic disciplines and industries come together to explore how companies survive, compete, and thrive through innovation management. The Institute’s multidisciplinary faculty and researchers develop practical approaches to managing innovation and share this knowledge through thought-provoking conferences, workshops, and publications. Visit the Institute's website »

SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management

The SEI Center seeks to identify and understand trends in management practice and their impact and to design and implement research programs to meet the future needs of management. The results will provide both educational material for faculty and guidelines for corporate action. The Center conducts a series of workshops, conferences, and lectures for the exchange of knowledge and information about of how successful enterprises will be organized and managed in the 21st century and what these corporations should do today to prepare themselves. Visit the Center's website »

Tools & Solutions

We have partnered with a range of professional service firms to create transformative executive education experiences. Some examples of solutions we have used in custom education engagements include:


Wharton Executive Education led one of the world's leading advertising groups through a five-year program designed to build and accelerate the critical capabilities of the firm’s high-potential global talent. Topics addressed in 2012 included innovation, convergence in retail marketing, new technology trends (including the role of social media in retailing), branding, and consumer insights/retention. The program used a variety of learning approaches, including simulations, experiential learning sessions, innovation sessions aligned with changing participant roles, field visits to support retailing content, business-connected action learning projects, and individual learning integration points throughout the program. Based on evaluations, participants would recommend this to other employees in their company. One participant commented that the program “left us with great thoughts to take back [to our jobs] and the ability to explore new ways of thinking.”


Recognizing that the rapidly changing economic environment is forcing insurers to constantly revisit the way they do business, KPMG has worked with Wharton Executive Education for more than ten years trying to anticipate changes. The global program is designed to assist senior, client-facing practitioners from across the firm (audit, tax, and advisory services) in addressing client concerns from a cross-functional perspective. A recent program addressed macro topics, such as the economy and risk transformation, as well as specific industry issues, including microinsurance, regulation, and governance. The program is taught by a blend of faculty experts and industry practitioners. Participants cited “the benefits of having a third-party/academic perspective” and “the value add we take back to our clients” among the reasons they would recommend the program to others in the organization.

Human Capital Management

In 2011, one of the leading global providers of senior-level executive search and assessment chose to work with Wharton Executive Education to develop the next generation of leaders within the firm. The focus of the program was on driving accountability for the leadership agenda within the current leadership ranks. A secondary goal was to instill a talent management mindset. Participants in the program were charged with translating the firm’s strategy into action in their individual business sectors. The participants were diverse according to geography, nationality, sector, and industry focus. Participants were extremely pleased with the program, noting that it was “highly relevant to our business” and “fast moving.” One participant described the program as “a nice mix of listening and practice/brainstorming that opened the room up to the issues that we face,” and another noted that the faculty director was “very connected to the audience, thanks to a solid prep in understanding our specific industry components.”


  • Sigal Barsade, PhD

    Joseph Frank Bernstein Professor; Professor of Management, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Emotional intelligence, organizational culture, team dynamicsSee Faculty Bio

  • Peter Cappelli, DPhil

    George W. Taylor, Professor of Management; Director, Center for Human Resources, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Human resource practices, public policy related to employment, talent and performance managementSee Faculty Bio

  • G. Richard Shell, JD

    Thomas Gerrity Professor; Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics and Management; Chairperson, Legal Studies & Business Ethics Department, The Wharton School

    See Faculty Bio

  • Nicolaj Siggelkow, PhD

    David M. Knott Professor; Professor of Management; Co-Director, Mack Institute for Innovation Management, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Competitive strategy, firms as systems of interconnected choicesSee Faculty Bio

  • Z. John Zhang, PhD

    Murrel J. Ades Professor, Professor of Marketing; Director, Penn | Wharton China Center, The Wharton School

    Research Interests: Channel and retail management, pricing strategiesSee Faculty Bio