While it’s not uncommon for Wharton EMBA students to hear from guest speakers in class, the Wharton | San Francisco Friday Night Panel Series provides another opportunity to learn from business leaders on topics ranging from venture capital to managing organizations through change. A recent event on “Business Exits in the Current Economic Environment” featured panelists such as Larry Sonsini, chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Wharton alumnus Frank Quattrone, former managing director of CSFB and founding partner of Qatalyst, Wharton alumnus Ted Schlein, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and Wharton Prof. Raffi Amit.
“This is great access to information that affects my job when I walk into work on Monday,” says second-year Wharton | San Francisco EMBA student Mike Krems, senior vice president at PCG Asset Management in San Diego. “The Friday night panel series help provide a great depth of experience because you have the benefit of learning from someone else’s story. A lot of what comes out of the events are personal anecdotes that help leverage someone else’s experience for your own development.”
The recent event hosted by Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs on business exits was so popular that it was standing room only, notes Krems. “The topic was relevant to my business, but the quality of the speakers on the panel was such that I probably would have gone to see them no matter what they were talking about.”
With so many students and alumni in attendance at these events, networking is always a big part of the sessions as well. The VC event began with a social hour followed by the panel discussion and ended with additional time for networking.
“I’ve been to three or four of these Friday night panel discussions and they have all been a great addition to our regular classes,” adds Krems.