As the culmination of a multi-year strategic planning process involving conversations with thousands of its stakeholders, faculty at the Wharton Business School have voted in favor of a massive overhaul of its curricular design, which would offer students more flexibility, greater chances at customization and what Dean Thomas Robertson describes as a framework for success in a rapidly changing world.

The school also commits itself to a professed new vision that views business education as a life-long knowledge partnership between Wharton and its graduates. As an extension of the same, the School will now offer graduating alumni the unprecedented option of tuition free executive education every seven years throughout their careers. According to Professor G. Richard Shell, Chair of the MBA Review Committee that created the new design, Changing careers and a changing world bring new problems and the need for new knowledge...our goal is that all of our alumni will remain at the forefront of business knowledge and practice throughout their careers.

The financial crisis of 2008 that precipitated into one of the most paralyzing global recessions in history had thrown the fundamental effectiveness and values of existing business education under the scanner. Since then several business schools such as the Yale School of Management, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Carey School at the Johns Hopkins University, to name a few, have implemented changes in their curricula and focus. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania now joins the list.

The revised design introduces an innovative element which will enable students, based on their background and experience, to customize learning by selecting a course pathway through six distinct content areas.

It also involves strengthened course content in microeconomics and statistics, greater focus on written and oral communication skills, new methods of leadership development through more effective self analysis and also, perhaps as a corollary of the examination of the values of business education following the financial crisis, an integrated focus on ethical and legal responsibility in business.

According to a statement from the School, significant financial resources are being committed to assure the success of the enhanced curriculum, with a partial rollout in 2011 and full implementation in 2012.