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Mary-Hunter McDonnell

Mary-Hunter McDonnell, JD, PhD

Associate Professor of Management; Faculty Co-Director, Zicklin Center for Governance and Business Ethics

Research Interests:Organizational theory (political sociology, institutional theory); nonmarket strategy; corporate governance; corporate misconduct and punishment

About Mary-Hunter

Mary-Hunter (“Mae”) McDonnell is  an associate professor of management at Wharton. She holds a PhD in Management and Organizations from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as well as a JD from Harvard Law School. Previously, she has held faculty positions at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and Northwestern University Law School.

Professor McDonnell studies organizational behavior and governance within challenging institutional contexts, such as contentious social environments and uncertain regulatory environments. She has published award-winning research in leading peer-reviewed scholarly journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, the American Sociological Review, Organization Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Psychological Science, as well as law reviews including the Cornell Law Review and the Harvard Human Rights Journal. She currently serves on the editorial boards of Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Science, and the Academy of Management Journal.

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Executive Education Programs Taught

Advanced Management Program

Wharton’s flagship leadership program is a transformational and immersive program for senior executives who are at the peak of their careers. This intellectually rigorous and highly experiential program will define you as a leader and strengthen your strategic prowess. Upon completion, you will be granted highly sought-after Wharton alumni status.

Corporate Governance: Essentials for a New Business Era

Academic Director

Acquire critical management tools and gain new insight into the duties and nuances of board service. Learn how to forge partnerships with company officers to strengthen financial return, conduct better enterprise risk management, and achieve governance diversity during these complex times.

Effective Execution of Organizational Strategy

Advance your ability to expertly orchestrate the critical execution of your company’s strategies. Work alongside your global peers while building structured, actionable plans — specific to your organization’s culture — to achieve buy-in, create powerful incentives, and overcome your most challenging execution obstacles.

Health Care Leadership and Management: Leading Through Change

Successfully lead the ever-changing health care environment, by understanding the shift in technologies, trends, economics, and dynamics within the ecosystem. Leverage the world-renowned Wharton MBA and Wharton's Health Care Management program faculty to provide unparalleled perspective on the health care industry while strengthening your key leadership skills and overall business acumen. Return to your organization ready to make an immediate impact across all areas with the enhanced decision-making abilities and in-depth skills you need to cultivate innovation and propel your organization forward.

High-Potential Leaders: Accelerating Your Impact

Develop the strategic perspective required of global leaders, learn to manage uncertainty and execute your vision, and establish a firm personal foundation that can withstand the pressures of leadership.

Leading Today’s Talent: Management Strategies for an Evolving Workforce

For today’s leaders, navigating how to build and manage a team has proven more important and challenging than ever before, and attracting, motivating, and retaining talent is no longer a function reserved solely for HR. Staying ahead of the curve now requires both an evolved skillset and deep understanding of best practices, emerging trends, and technologies. This program equips participants with the proven skills required for successful people management — but through the much-needed lens of the ever-shifting future of work.

Shareholder Activism: Activating Change for Value Creation

Learn how corporate boards and C-suite leadership prepare for activist campaigns directed at their company, and discover effective solutions for managing the process when it occurs. Develop the fundamentals for both value investing and value-based management.

Wharton ESG Essentials 

Go beyond the headlines, tackle real-time challenges, and gain the clarity to not just understand the impacts of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors but to strategically harness them. Gain the tactical competencies needed to successfully link ESG to profit and loss statements, create a solid risk-management plan, and adopt proven best practices rooted in research.

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Financial Professionals

Gain a powerful, actionable toolkit for investment professionals to implement, measure, model, and optimize ESG asset integration in your portfolios for sustained value generation. This advanced certificate is designed to quickly catapult financial leaders to the forefront of ongoing ESG investment decision making, empowering them to act as informed, prepared catalysts for change.

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Senior Leaders

Academic Director

Navigate mounting ESG complexities for senior business leaders. This certificate program provides a practical mix of insights for c-suite and board members to lead the way in ESG innovation and transformation. This advanced certificate is designed to quickly catapult corporate leaders to the forefront of ongoing ESG decision making, empowering them to act as informed, prepared catalysts for change.

Wharton ESG Executive Certificate for Strategists

Rise above the rhetoric and lofty promises to affect real change. Learn how to formulate, advocate for, and implement strategies that address ESG factors and apply the relevant research and tools to lead ESG strategy integration for your firm. This advanced certificate is designed to quickly catapult professionals to the forefront of ongoing ESG decision making, empowering them to act as informed, prepared catalysts for change.

Women on Boards: Building Exceptional Leaders

Academic Director

Explore how to navigate the politics and culture of the boardroom and discover how to make your voice heard in this program that will give you a strong foundation for serving in your first director role.