UPenn Receives $1.5 Million to Enhance E-Business Program

The University of Pennsylvania Wednesday announced the receipt of a $1.5
million gift from Internet Capital Group (ICG) to enhance its e-business
program.

The newly launched ICG/Wharton Forum on Electronic Business will
accelerate the growth of e-business and fundamentally change the way
business is done, according to a university spokesperson. The collaboration
is an extension of the university’s Wharton e-Business Initiative (WeBI),
formed in 1996.

“We are creating knowledge through research
conducted by the Wharton School’s 75 faculty members and dialog with
industry partners,” explained Dr. Raffi
Amit, director of WeBI. “We use this knowledge to enhance and augment our educational programs as well as create new ones.” Industry partners include The Gartner Group, Charles Schwab &
Co., Ford Motor Co., Squibb and British Airways.

The Fellows in e-Business Program is the first effort of the ICG/WeBI
collaboration. The program is designed to prepare senior business executives
to lead the transformation into a global e-business environment.

The model of the Fellows program is radically different than other
courses, Amit added. “The four-month program uses a combination of
one-week, face-to-face sessions at sites around the globe and is augmented
with distance learning and advanced networking technologies to build a
learning community,” he said. Sessions take place in Philadelphia, Silicon
Valley and Barcelona.

The structure of the program is such that participants can immediately
apply material covered to their firms through “shadow projects,” which they
conduct with selected employees in their own company. “In this way, the
executive becomes a catalyst for transformation within his or her
organization,” said Amit. “Further, the course is lifelong. Fellows and
participating faculty form a community of learners who jointly develop new
knowledge modules as needs emerge.”

The second effort is the Technology Entrepreneurship Internship program.
“Through this program, MBA students intern at emerging growth technology
companies or venture capital firms on both the East and West Coasts,”
explained Amit. “Once enrolled in the program, participants access a secured
course site that will serve as their primary communications hub for course
assignments, readings, and online discussions and interaction.

“During their internships, the students have joint learning sessions
where ideas are communicated and the students present those ideas to the
company. There is no other way that this information can be so easily gained
and easily shared. This is a unique opportunity to turn theory into
practice,” he said. “Since we are holding the class on both coasts, this
program provides a great opportunity for students to compare East- and
West-Coast perspectives on major technology entrepreneurship issues.”

The Internet Capital Group engages in B2B e-commerce through a network of
partner companies and provides operational assistance, capital support,
industry expertise and a strategic network of relationships.

The collaboration with Wharton will accelerate e-business adoption,
according to Walter Buckley, president and CEO of ICG. “The skills,
experience and legacy understanding of business evolution within this
collaboration represents a cumulative and aggregate B2B knowledge base
unmatched in the industry,” he said. “We welcome the opportunity to share
our knowledge while leveraging Wharton’s deep understanding of business
evolution and the Fortune 500 to benefit the growth of our partner
companies.”

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