Photo of 2001 Wharton MBA Alumni

Wharton’s Success Story Is Onward —

and Upward

As the new academic year begins, Wharton Impact asked Sam Lundquist, the School’s chief advancement officer, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at how the success of Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) has set the stage for Wharton’s continued growth.  

Lundquist, in a wide-ranging interview, touched upon several points, including how Wharton excels at delivering world-class business education; ways Wharton is ensuring alumni stay connected and engaged; what “normal” now means for the School; and more.

  • “A lot of people look at Wharton and assume that being a world-class business school is an organic outcome of great faculty, students, and staff. Having an unparalleled faculty teaching powerfully invested students is, of course, a winning formula. But so much else happens to make Wharton not just what it is today but what it will become tomorrow. We have a deep bench of dedicated administrators who all go above and beyond. FY22 was something of a reckoning because, as we rose out of the pandemic, we looked at what positive takeaways could be integrated to extend the reach of the School. As a result, the global Wharton network has never been stronger.
  • We realized we had a ‘next phase’ that could permanently utilize newly developed tools to expand Wharton’s reach not just to alumni, but also to populations from underserved high-school students to other stakeholders experiencing travel challenges. By combining old and new methods of connecting, we created a best-of-both-worlds model that was invented (out of necessity) on the fly but is now the obvious way forward. And our donors have been there every step of the way. They gave us the support and the encouragement to not retreat, but rather to build Wharton quality into online programming and events, including graduation; ‘visits’ with Dean James; targeted email messaging to keep people informed; virtual alumni Reunions; and a ot more.
  • “I cannot stress enough the importance of our Lifelong Learning team in creating and maintaining engagement through online events that delivered high-value content like webinars from our faculty and other programming that kept the Wharton family together by providing familiar-feeling experiences in new mediums. And we learned that virtual programming must remain a permanent part of what we do to maintain global community spirit.
  • “FY22 was the year we got to truly see the impact of our More Than Ever campaign. New and expanded programs and centers are a lens through which Dean James is shaping her strategic priorities. For example, the School’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Initiative are set to redefine how business education prepares tomorrow’s leaders.