What do you most need to learn to be an even more effective leader?

Share your Doubt

A Wharton Alumnus can learn or study “technical” skills (like finance, statistics, languages, products, advertising, etc) but very often that’s not what he needs to learn to solve critical problems or take fundamental decisions. At a certain point in the career, one needs other skills that go beyond problem solving and that have a lot to do with experience and knowledge.

Wharton owns a wealth of experience and knowledge through Faculty, Alumni and Students.

The idea then would be to use this distributed experience and knowledge to focus on a specific “Doubt”: a critical problem or a fundamental decision.

Once a problem or decision is identified:

- The proponent could frame the Doubt and the context as necessary pre-work,

- Wharton could help in the choice of the team members (based on industry experience, similarities, background, volunteers, etc),

- The team members accept to prepare and participate to this unique “Board Meeting” (a “Sounding board Meeting”…), with the aim to contribute and candidly express their opinions and questions

- A working session (Sounding Board Meeting) takes place, with presentation, debate, conclusions and possibly short term follow-up.

- Once the main objective is accomplished, the working session can also broaden the discussion to other related themes or… Doubts

- The Faculty can of course decide to use the case in the courses

- The Faculty can also define the Frame or general Theme, within which proponents can add their Doubt

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What societal challenges could be improved by the Wharton alumni network?

Endowments in Non-Profits and Higher Education

An alien observing human life from afar might be puzzled by these weird financial institutions called "universities" that have inexplicable educational operations attached to them. What does it mean that Penn and the other Ivies amass huge fortunes and spend only 4 percent of them each year. One explanation is that they need big reserves to buffer business cycles. That might explain a billion or so. But, why do they need 10s of Billions. Doesn't hoarding cash imply that the institutions can not productively invest that cash? Stakeholders would take a very hard view on a company that hoarded so much cash and did not invest it productively. It is time for some clear economic reasoning to be applied to philanthropic capital and the financing of higher education.

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What do you most need to learn to be an even more effective leader?

Fixing Real Estate to Prevent It from Causing Another Recession

Real estate's central role in the Great Recession needs to be reviewed by a highly knowledgeable speaker, who then will discuss regulatory, taxation, industry, and other proposed reforms that will dramatically lessen the chance of another debacle like the one that we're currently enduring. I might suggest Peter Linneman, economist and former Wharton Real Estate Center director, to be the speaker. This topic, which is general in nature, should be relevant and important to everyone at the reunion.

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