June 2020 | 

Wharton: Best-in-Class Online Learning

Wharton LIVE: Best-in-Class Online Learning

When Wharton’s campus closed in March, more than 40 students from Shanghai were in California en route to Philadelphia for a finance program. The global pandemic cancelled their plans, forcing them to return home. Just a week later, Wharton Executive Education brought the program to them, online.

Like all of the new Wharton Online Programs — available for individuals and teams and customized for organizations — it was taught in real time on a virtual platform. Participants experienced a high level of engagement with award-winning Wharton faculty and with each other, creating a true classroom community. It delivered the same course content as the in-person program, including interactive lectures, individual exercises, group work, and peer-to-peer dialogue.

“Engagement and participation were incredibly high,” says management professor Emilie Feldman. “The technology allowed me to seamlessly lead case discussions and breakout sessions, just as I would in person. I could sense the aha moments happening through the screen as students learned and synthesized ideas from the week, which made this a really rewarding experience.”

The first Wharton LIVE offering for individuals and teams was Venture Capital, which was sold out and well received. Dan McSpirit, formerly of BMO Capital Markets firm, noted, “If you want an experience beyond simple instruction where you’re engaged, challenged, and motivated, I recommend the Venture Capital course. The technology is flawless and the interaction between professors and peers makes the learning experience so much fun.”

New live programs launching in June are Distressed Asset Investing and Corporate Restructuring and Wharton on Financial Management, the first in a new series of lunchtime talks with Wharton finance faculty addressing how businesses can manage their cash flow and respond to the economic implications of the pandemic.

Other summer virtual programs will be equally timely, focusing on the business challenges and opportunities arising during the crisis. They include Venture Capital, Leading through Challenging Times, Designing and Managing Supply Chains for the Future, and Wharton on the Markets.

Michael Malefakis, associate vice dean of Wharton Executive Education, says the Wharton LIVE programs are in a class by themselves. “All online education is not alike. Executives who are seeking to gain new knowledge and skills during this unprecedented time need the most up-to-date, relevant research and best practices. Our faculty deliver it on a platform that makes the virtual personal.”

Irene Lee, one of the participants in the Shanghai program, says she was surprised by just how personal and engaging the experience was. “Finance is a complex topic, and it was hard to imagine how the sessions would go. We thought engagement level would be very low. But the Wharton professors were very professional and they managed the classes very well. The online platform could take in a lot more questions and comments, and the professors were amazing in how they were able to address them.”

“The pandemic has opened up new platforms for knowledge sharing,” Lee continues. “We are no longer constrained by traveling time, cost, and space. The Wharton professors, together with their support team, have made this experience so amazing. I am definitely looking forward to more online modules by the Wharton School.”