Strategy program provides an actionable plan for getting to the next level of growth

July 19, 2018

Academic Director Gad Allon says Scaling Ventures: Developing the Playbook for Profitable Growth provides solutions to the critical challenges faced by growing companies.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Being at the helm of a rapidly growing business can pose multiple complex challenges that touch every area of the firm, presenting obstacles that can test even highly experienced executives. A new strategy program offered by the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania tackles that challenge for business leaders. The program, called Scaling Ventures: Developing the Playbook for Profitable Growth, takes a holistic view of the process by incorporating content covering strategy, finance, and leadership. These three pivotal elements, and how they work together to create a viable plan for growth, form the foundation of the program.

Wharton Professor Gad Allon says many organizations don’t think through the significant challenges inherent in scaling a business. Scaling is a complex, challenging process, and it requires a set of leadership skills that differs from the set needed to start a business and maintain a small organization. “Being ready to scale doesn’t mean experiencing or expecting sales increases,” he explains. “In addition to increasing top line growth, you also need to build an organizational infrastructure to achieve it, including people, processes, and systems. In addition, you need to understand funding requirements and develop a financially viable strategic plan.”

In Scaling Ventures, Allon helps participants prepare for growth using a multi-faceted approach. It begins with a change in mindset. “These leaders got where they are in part because of opportunistic thinking. That can get in the way of growth. Scaling requires a move to a more strategic mindset on the overall endeavor, and a move from short- to long-term thinking.”

Held at the school’s San Francisco campus, the program will be taught by four Wharton faculty, including Allon, who share unique perspectives from the disciplines of finance, strategy, operations, information, and decisions with participants. The first is thinking about growth from an operations standpoint: do you have or can you build the operational capacity, systems, and processes needed for growth? The second takes an innovation point of view: how do you stimulate growth in an organization through innovation? Third is financial, including understanding the cash flow risk firms face as they try to grow. Finally, growth requires hiring: who and how do you hire as you scale, and what effect does scaling have on organizational culture?

“Together,” says Allon, “these four perspectives build a holistic concept of what scaling is and when the time is right to scale. Participants leave with a playbook for scaling that includes all of these dimensions.”

The week-long program begins with a straightforward question: Are you ready to scale? Allon says to answer it, you need to conduct a stress test of your current organizational structure and processes. Adjunct Finance Professor David Wessels addresses the financial concerns related to growth, including securing the right financial backing and meeting all of the ensuing financial needs. Management Associate Professor Ethan Mollick shares new insights and best practices for making sure the right people, processes, and systems are in place. His sessions help participants determine whether their companies’ existing operational structure and capabilities are ready to scale. Karl Ulrich, Wharton’s vice dean for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, leads a session on driving innovation to support growth.

“Ultimately,” says Allon, “scaling is a complex management challenge. It’s not only about increasing top line growth. You need to build an organizational infrastructure and operational capabilities, and meet the necessary financial requirements. This new program will help participants better confront these challenges, and to understand that whatever got their organization where it is might be an obstacle as they grow to the next level.”

To enroll, or for more information about this program, visit: Scaling Ventures: Developing the Playbook for Profitable Growth or contact Wharton Executive Education at +1.215.898.1776 or

About the Wharton School

Founded in 1881 as the world’s first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is shaping the future of business by incubating ideas, driving insights, and creating leaders who change the world. With a faculty of more than 235 renowned professors, Wharton has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students. Each year 100,000 professionals from around the world advance their careers through Wharton Executive Education’s individual, company-customized, and online programs, and thousands of pre-collegiate students explore business concepts through Wharton’s

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