Wharton San Francisco at a Glance

Our vibrant San Francisco campus embodies the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit of the Wharton School. We took a chance building a new campus on the West Coast in 2001, and Wharton San Francisco has continued to scale ever since. Here are a few of the highlights and a little bit of our history.

Wharton on the West Coast

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Campus History

Established in 2001, Wharton San Francisco is part of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Founded in 1740, Penn is America’s first university and a member of the Ivy League. The main campus in Philadelphia was established on the western edge of the city in the 1870s and covers over 300 acres of city landscaping.

In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at Penn. Wharton’s pioneering vision was to produce graduates who would become “pillars of the state, whether in private or in public life.” The Wharton School maintains a long tradition of educating visionary business leaders in academia, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.

In 2001, the Wharton School expanded its reach to the West Coast, establishing a presence for the Wharton School in the Bay Area. Initially located in the historic Folgers Building, the Wharton San Francisco campus welcomed its first cohort of students in the MBA for Executives program that fall.

Originally nicknamed Wharton West, the campus soon became known as Wharton San Francisco. Over the next decade academic programming expanded considerably, and the campus became a hub for entrepreneurial activity and alumni life. In 2011, Wharton San Francisco relocated to a larger space in the Hills Brothers Plaza in the SoMa district to accommodate its growing needs.

Wharton San Francisco Timeline

1996

Wharton opens a San Francisco-based office to conduct a variety of activities, including corporate outreach, interviews with potential students, and the creation of a stronger alumni network.

2001

Wharton officially establishes its presence on the West Coast with a new San Francisco campus at the heart of the city’s business and financial district in the historic Folgers Coffee building.

Wharton West welcomes its first class of 65 Wharton Executive MBA Program students in San Francisco.

2010

Wharton Entrepreneurship launches the first in a series of Wharton Entrepreneurs Workshops at Wharton San Francisco with “Starting Up: Is it a Product or is it a Company?” featuring Rob Coneybeer, WG’96, co-founder and general partner of Shasta Ventures.

2011

In addition to celebrating a decade on the West Coast, Wharton hosts the 40th Global Forum in San Francisco — the first ever to be held in the United States.

2012

Wharton San Francisco moves to its new 37,000-square feet home in the 1920s-era Hills Brothers Plaza to expand its presence on the West Coast.

65 full-time MBA students spend a semester studying at Wharton’s West Coast campus to pilot Wharton’s MBA Semester in San Francisco program.

Wharton Entrepreneurship expands its Venture Initiation Program (VIP) to Wharton San Francisco, hosting its first Spring Startup Pitch.

2015

40 undergraduate students spend a week in San Francisco for a unique on-site look at the Silicon Valley ecosystem in Vice Dean Lori Rosenkopf’s pilot course WH 297x: Wharton Industry Exploration Program: The San Francisco Bay Area Tech Sector.

After three successful years in pilot mode, the MBA Semester in San Francisco officially becomes a core offering in Wharton’s MBA Program.

2016

Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship launches Wharton Scale School Workshop to help guide entrepreneurs who are making the transition from a successful startup to a large enterprise.

Wharton San Francisco pilots a new Open Space initiative to open up the campus as a physical resource for coworking space to aid our students and alumni in launching their business ventures.

Wharton San Francisco hosts an Anniversary Gala to celebrate 15 years on the West Coast and the MBA Program for Executives welcomed alumni from the first, fifth, and 10th Reunion classes back to campus.