Faculty International Seminar in South Korea

The 2015 Faculty International Seminar took Wharton faculty and staff to South Korea to meet with business and academic leaders from June 7-13, 2015. Wharton professors Ron Berman, Bulent Gultekin, Samir Nurmohamed, Kevin Werback, and John Zhang made the trip, along with Wharton staff Ziv Katalan and Amy Miller and former student Yuna Cho.

Read more about the visit (links in Korean)

Asia Today >>
MTN News >>
FN News >>

Wharton Faculty in Myanmar and Thailand

With support from the Wharton Tanoto Intiative, the 2014 Faculty International Seminar traveled to Myanmar and Thailand. Professors David Bell, Janice Bellace, Eric Clemmons, Ezekiel J. Emmanuel, Pinar Yildirim, and Harbir Singh met with scholars and leaders, during a 2014 Faculty International Seminar to Myanmar and Thailand, visiting Bangkok Dusit Medical, Bank of Thailand, CP, PTT, Siam Commercial Bank, Siam Cement Group, and others to observe the economy and culture at work.

The team on a river boat on Aruyttha, Thailand.
The team on a river boat on Aruyttha, Thailand. Photo: Eric Clemmons
Janice Bellace and Pinar
Professors Janice Bellace and Pinar Yildirum. Photo: Janice Bellace
Eric Clemons
Aruyttha Historic Park, Thailand. Photo: Eric Clemmons
Palace in Bangkok
Palace in Bangkok. Photo: Eric Clemmons

Faculty International Seminar to Go Back to India

Yes, it’s time to go back again!

This summer, Wharton Global (led by Ziv Katalan and Harbir Singh), is taking faculty members on a two week long immersion trip to India. The plan is to visit Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and meet local businesses and conglomerates who are shaping the country and building infrastructure, technology and services locally and globally. With over 700 alumni in the country, Wharton’s relationship with the country has been alive for decades. India elected a new government in May last year and is receving global attention for Prime Minister Modi’s stewardship. The Faculty International Seminar (FIS) team is excited and looking forward to the trip.

Faculty Immersion India

Faculty International Seminar in China

It was visiting companies in China, says Wharton’s Mark O. Winkelman Professor Tom Donaldson, that made him realize how important “the wall” was in China.

The Great Wall? No. A display of photos showing company executives alongside Chinese government officials often hung near the executive offices.

“That’s important [to Chinese companies] because it shows employees that the company is connected properly,” he explains.

Faculty International Seminar in ChinaClothing and handbag factories, steel plants, automakers and e-commerce firms—many of them state-owned—were among the companies on the itinerary. Both professors were particularly impressed with Alibaba, an e-commerce firm now listed on the NYSE and bigger than Amazon and eBay combined.  Donaldson calls Alibaba’s pioneering approaches “unique” and commented on the firm’s “amazing enthusiasm.” He also notes that among its senior executives is Brian Wong, WG’03, a member of the Wharton Alumni Executive Board who spent time with the FIS group.

Nurmohamed, who studies motivation and behavioral ethics, observes that Chinese workers are not “completely motivated by the communal good” as Americans tend to assume about a socialist system.

“Many of them are starting to be part of the middle class, [and] the companies represent the vehicle for them to change their circumstances,” he says.

At the same time, both professors recognize the ubiquitous influence of the government on industry (as reflected by the aforementioned wall of photos).

“The Chinese, I think, still [feel] that it’s important … because otherwise some of the excesses of capital markets will harm everyone,” says Donaldson, who teaches in the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics.

Donaldson predicts that China’s future model will probably look more like Singapore than the U.S. In Singapore, the government weighs heavily in the business equation.

Among other FIS discoveries was a cultural one: at traditional Chinese business meetings, the most senior people are situated at the middle of the table across from each other, with others’ status indicated by how far away they are. Fortunately, says Donaldson, their group included an expert on the Chinese business world—Wharton lecturer Edwin Keh, a former senior vice president of Wal-Mart Global Procurement—who helped the travelers discreetly seat themselves.

—Carole Bernstein

Originally published in Wharton Magazine, Fall 2014.

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Tanoto Initiative for Indonesian and ASEAN Studies Launched

Tanoto-WhartonOn July 29, the Tanoto Foundation International and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania launched the Tanoto Initiative, a multi-component program to promote studies and research on ASEAN, with a focus on Indonesia.  Starting next month, selected Indonesian universities will collaborate closely with faculties in the Wharton School  to offer research grants, academic courses, exchange programs and scholarships aimed at deepening thought leadership and business education in the ASEAN region.

The Initiative was made possible through a donation by the Tanoto Foundation International, a non-profit organization founded by the family of international business entrepreneur, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto.

Speaking at one of the programs under the Wharton Faculty International Seminar held in Jakarta earlier today, Mr. Anderson Tanoto, a member of the Tanoto Foundation International’s Board of Trustees, said, “The Tanoto Initiative is another step forward for Tanoto Foundation towards fulfilling the vision of my father, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto.  As a self-taught businessman, he is passionate about providing access to world-class education for those who cannot afford it. Indonesia’s dynamic business environment will provide fertile ground to develop quality business education and academic inquiry.”

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Faculty International Seminars in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, and India

Wharton faculty witnessed some of the largest and most dynamic economies in the 2010 and 2011 Faculty International Seminars, as a multidisciplinary cohort of faculty met with local colleagues, alumni, and business leaders to seed research and collaboration. An important part of the school’s agenda for globalization of its curriculum and faculty research profile is to facilitate faculty exposure to business issues in different parts of the world.  The Faculty International Seminars take groups of faculty to selected countries where they could have first-hand exposure to business issues related to their research and teaching. Past seminars have travelled to China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

2011 Faculty International Seminars

South Africa & Kenya

July 24 – August 5, 2011


  • Jonah Berger >>
  • Martine Haas >>
  • Shawndra Hill >>
  • Stephen Hoch >>
  • David Reibstein >>
  • Kenneth Shropshire >>

Locations visited included: Johannesburg, South Africa; Cape Town, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya

Sampling of companies and organizations visited:

  • Athi River Mining
  • British American Tobacco – South Africa (BATSA)
  • Haco Industries
  • KenCall EPZ
  • Ministry of Culture, Sport & International Affairs for the Western Cape
  • Ministry of Tourism, Kenya
  • Nakumatt Holdings
  • Raizcorp Ltd.
  • Royal Bafokeng Administration
  • Sanlam
  • Simba Corporation
  • Southern Africa Enterprise Development Fund


2010 Faculty International Seminars

June 3 – 12, 2010 


  • Stephen Hoch >>
  • Anastasia Kartasheva >>
  • John Kimberly >>
  • Kenneth Shropshire >>
  • Z. John Zhang >>

Cities visited included: São Paulo, São José dos Campos, and Rio de Janeiro

Sampling of companies and organizations visited:

  • Abril Group
  • CDI (Committee for the Democratization of Information Technology)
  • Cosan
  • Casas Bahia
  • Clube de Regatos do Flamengo
  • Cyrela
  • EBX Group
  • Embraer
  • Globo
  • Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein
  • HSM
  • Instituto Pereira Passos – Prefeitura Rio de Janeiro



July 16 – 25, 2010



  • Santosh Anagol >>
  • Morris Cohen >>
  • Patricia Danzon >>
  • Kartik Hosanagar >>
  • Daniel Levinthal >>

Cities visited included: Delhi, Hyderabad, and Mumbai

Sampling of companies and organizations visited:

  • Apollo Hospitals
  • Bharti Airtel
  • Genpact
  • HDFC Bank
  • Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
  • Indian School of Business
  • Infosys
  • Max India Ltd.
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Reliance Group ADA
  • Reserve Bank of India
  • Tata Capital

See India Knowledge@Wharton for additional information on this Faculty International Seminar.

South Africa Bound: Faculty International Seminar

Faculty International Seminars gives Wharton faculty exposure to the emerging Kenyan and South African economies. What new insights will find their way into curricula and research?

By Kelly Andrews

In July and August 2011, a team of Wharton faculty visited Kenya and South Africa to learn how Africa is evolving within the global economy. They gained precious insight from local entrepreneurs and alumni.

The group was in Africa as part of Wharton’s Faculty International Seminar (FIS), which takes groups of faculty to selected countries to experience business issues related to their research and teaching.

The professors spent 12 days meeting with business and political leaders across various sectors in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nairobi. leading the eight-member delegation were Ziv Katalan, director of Wharton global initiatives and adjunct professor of operations and information management, and Harbir Singh, the Mack Professor of Management and vice dean for global initiatives.

“My take on the seminars is that they’re Wharton’s R&D for intellectual capital, which is what drives any business school,” Katalan says. “They’re about making sure that our faculty has firsthand exposure to the regions and countries where change is happening.”

This visit is expected to lead to new research problems and partnerships and provide the faculty with exposure to the business culture, issues and leaders of Kenya and South Africa.

Wharton students and faculty have increasingly come to look toward Africa in general, with such projects and activities as the Wharton Africa Business forum. Held Nov. 4–6, 2011, the 19th annual forum increased dialogue on business in Africa by engaging companies, prominent business professionals, investors interested in the region and leaders of academic thought.

In addition to Katalan and Singh, other participating faculty members on the FIS trip included Jonah Berger, James G. Campbell assistant Professor of Marketing; Martine Haas, associate professor of management; Shawndra Hill, assistant professor of operations and information management; Stephen Hoch, Laura and John J. Pomerantz Professor in Marketing; David Reibstein, William Stewart Woodside Professor and professor of marketing; and Kenneth Shropshire, David w. Hauck Professor and professor of legal studies and business ethics.

“We saw a whole host of companies of different sizes and areas— everything from shampoo factories to call centers to cigarette companies to tourism,” explains Berger, who was visiting Africa for the first time. They met with people at all levels—CEOs, CFOs and entrepreneurs who had crafted unique solutions and business models and who had worked to be innovators and leaders in their respective industries. Hill, who has taught a doctoral class at Addis Adaba University in Ethiopia for three years, says the highlight of the trip was witnessing the wide use in Kenya of m-pesa, a mobile banking solution by Safaricom.

“The success and wide adoption of m-pesa highlights the fact that we can’t always fit our western solutions to the continent,” she says. “There may be more innovative solutions that have the potential to enable a larger number of consumers to participate in business.”

Originally published in Wharton Magazine, November 11, 2011.

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