Amazon, Philly, Penn, and Wharton: Perfect Together?

When Amazon—the world’s top online retailer—began its search for a destination to build a second headquarters, hundreds of cities across the nation entered a high-stakes, high-profile pitch contest. Penn and Wharton played an integral role in the effort to propel Philadelphia forward as a frontrunner. Now that the pitch period has elapsed, the world remains at the edge of its seat waiting for Amazon to reveal the winner—expected in early 2018.

Wharton Students Pitch Amazon

To assist the City of Philadelphia’s multifaceted pitch effort, Wharton held two student contests: the Wharton Amazon Writing Competition and Philly Case Competition. For the writing competition, created by the Wharton Communication Program, both undergrads and MBA finalists wrote a short proposal on why Philadelphia is the best destination for the third most innovative company in the world.
In the case competition, students utilized financial, tech, talent-based, and legal incentives to form specific campaigns to entice the e-commerce powerhouse. Only four of the 24 teams were still standing by the final round—in which groups presented their ideas to Wharton faculty and students, city officials, and Mayor James Kenney. The two winning teams proposed a massive tax credit and an innovative Comcast partnership respectively. For more background on these competitions, check out our blog post from Wharton Magazine’s student contributor Sara Albert C’18.

The Pitch: Philadelphia Delivers

The city’s slick pitch video called upon several voices from the Wharton and Penn communities — Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, W’91; Curalate CEO Apu Gupta, WG’05; Josh Kopelman, W’93, of First Round Capital; marketing professor and star author Adam Grant; and Penn President Amy Gutmann. Wharton even gets an “organic” shoutout from Seer Interactive founder Wil Reynolds (skip to 1:18).

Wharton’s Research Power Goes to Seattle

Amazon is the data analytics powerhouse, and the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative (WCAI) is the preeminent academic research center focusing on the development and application of customer data.  In early October, the initiative’s faculty co-director and marketing professor Eric Bradlow took his research on the road to the 150 Wharton alumni working at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. As Amazon dukes it out with other big names in the realm of television and streaming, Wharton’s thought leadership will continue to inform this exciting intersection of business, entertainment, and analytics.