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September 2021 • Edition 1

Welcome to the first edition of Wharton Impact, a newsletter that highlights how the School keeps Wharton at the forefront of business education. In this edition, hear about a new class record; a Brazilian alumnus who established a fellowship to educate fellow citizens; and how the School works to secure future success.


For the first time in its 140-year history, the Wharton School has enrolled more women than men in its newest MBA class.

For Wharton Director of MBA Admissions Blair Mannix, the record-breaking class is the result of several factors that, at this moment in time, make Wharton a destination for female MBA students. The School’s legacy and culture, curriculum and programming, and state-of-the-art facilities all contribute to making Wharton an astute choice.

“I believe women see the Wharton MBA program as a place to develop their leadership skills,” Mannix said. “Their classmates, the faculty, the alumni, and the staff around them will all push them to be the best they can be. They can see that Wharton is a place where they will be supported.”

Wharton’s historic enrollment of nearly 52 percent women is also the result of the School’s numerous efforts to increase gender representation, which has been aided by a partnership with the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit that works to increase women’s enrollment in business schools.

“This landmark achievement demonstrates Wharton’s commitment to providing a diverse and representative community for our students,” Dean Erika James said. “As a female leader, I understand firsthand the significant impact that experiencing meaningful gender representation can have on women as they chart their careers.”

The Class of 2023 will benefit from robust support by The Wharton Fund, whose donors help provide cutting-edge programming and curricula; significant financial aid support; and technology that meets the demands of remote, hybrid, and in-class applications.

Going Forward by Giving Back

Brazilian Roberto M. Thompson, WG’86 — an entrepreneur, co-founder, and partner at 3G Capital — arrived at the Wharton School in 1984, at a time when his country was experiencing serious financial difficulties with hyperinflation and a default in foreign debt.

“Going into finance seemed to me the best choice not only to be successful professionally but also to be able to help the country get back to normalcy” he said. “Wharton stood out as the best school in finance. It was an easy choice for me.”

Over the years, Thompson has maintained a strong connection with the School through the Wharton alumni network and opportunities to meet Brazilian MBA students who impressed him with their enthusiasm — not just for the world of finance, but also for their desire to help Brazil continue to develop and grow.

But Thompson was also aware that, often, for many superb, Brazilian MBA candidates, a Wharton MBA was a financial stretch. Thompson established a fellowship to ensure some of these students attend Wharton.

“I was only able to attend Wharton because I was awarded a fellowship,” he said. “This changed my life, and I want to help other Brazilians have the same opportunity I had.”

The Roberto Thompson MBA Fellowship is awarded to eligible MBA students, with consideration given to Brazilian students who demonstrate financial need.

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The Importance of Securing Future Success

The Wharton School’s More Than Ever campaign successfully wrapped up on June 30, raising more than $1 billion and delivering a legacy that will influence and change Wharton long into the future. As part of an occasional series, Wharton Impact will be sharing how More Than Ever dollars are fulfilling campaign goals and shaping opportunities for post-campaign fundraising.

More Than Ever focused on supporting several mission-critical areas for the School, including the future of finance; analytics; entrepreneurship and innovation; people; and campus projects. Funds raised, and future funding opportunities that will span the School, are set to magnify these areas by concentrating on:

  • Student support (undergraduate and MBA)
  • Research and programs
  • Annual support (The Wharton Fund)
  • Campus spaces (buildings and other capital projects)

Importantly, Wharton will maintain its place at the forefront of business education for a new era by advancing academic and professional opportunities while expanding and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Philanthropic support strengthens the School’s ability to equip students and alumni to address the world’s most pressing challenges and accelerates its innovative research.
In future editions of Wharton Impact, you can look forward to learning how Dean Erika James is identifying and defining areas of fundraising that will shape the future of the School in this post-campaign era.