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Wharton Impact Tour: Shanghai 2023

Dean James and Professor David Hsu Discuss the Promises and Perils of Entrepreneurship

On October 17, more than 150 Wharton alumni and friends gathered at the St. Regis Shanghai Jingan to celebrate Wharton’s impact, as Dean James visited China for the first time.

The standing-room-only crowd heard Dean James note Wharton’s long history of collaboration with China. “At this critical moment,” Dean James said, “Penn and Wharton are doubling down on our engagement with China.”

In addition to fostering research, Dean James emphasized that Wharton would continue to provide students with opportunities to understand China and its place in the world. “Our nations — as the world’s two largest economies — must continue to deepen our engagements,” she said.

Following her remarks, Dean James welcomed David Hsu, Richard A. Sapp Professor of Management, for a conversation about entrepreneurship.

The two touched on Hsu’s professional background, including the fact that if he were not a researcher, he would be a farmer. Hsu noted that fostering growth is gratifying, no matter the field, and underscored the importance of scaling technology’s benefits to address societal problems.

When a member of the audience asked James and Hsu how artificial intelligence will affect entrepreneurs and laborers alike, the two argued that soft skills will become increasingly important, and that humans will ultimately do what computers cannot, by exercising empathy and judgment.

Concluding the evening, Dean James shared how invigorating it felt to be received so warmly by Shanghai’s Wharton community and expressed excitement at the prospect of returning to the region.


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