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Wharton Impact Tour: Philadelphia 2023

Adam Grant and Dean James energized the crowd at the Philadelphia stop of the Wharton Impact Tour

On the first night of MBA Reunion Weekend, hundreds of alumni gathered at the Loews, in downtown Philadelphia, to celebrate the impact of Wharton on their lives and their impact on Wharton.

“Isn’t this the best time of year to be in this remarkable city?” said Dean Erika James, who welcomed her colleague Adam Grant, the Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management, to the stage for a wide-ranging conversation that touched on the future of work, their academic careers, and the rise of artificial intelligence.

Noting that flexible work arrangements are here to stay, James and Grant remarked on the newfound popularity of entrepreneurship as a goal for Wharton alumni. As Grant noted, Wharton now graduates more entrepreneurs per year than Stanford, despite the latter’s reputation as an incubator for startups.

“The Wharton School’s reputation has expanded beyond finance,” said Grant. “We’re the school for analytics and rigor.”

Reminiscing about their overlapping academic paths — both James and Grant received PhDs in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan — James and Grant described their mutual admiration for one another’s research.

“You are the best listener of any leader I have personally worked with,” said Grant to James. “And you ask more questions than you give answers, which is very rare for a leader.”

Taking questions from the audience, Grant and James described how they have begun to incorporate artificial intelligence into their own work — Grant recently interviewed Ethan Mollick, Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar, and Allie K. Miller, WG’17, about using ChatGPT to augment his writing — and the ways in which Wharton is adapting curriculum to this new technology.

“We are learning how to embrace this,” said James, “and preparing leaders to use this technology ethically and responsibly.”


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