The Wharton Scale School series hosted in conjunction with Lifelong Learning in San Francisco guides entrepreneurs making the transition from a successful startup to a large enterprise. Hear from experts who share solutions to critical challenges faced by rapidly growing companies.

What You'll Learn

Scale School is your guide as you move beyond initial product-market fit to the creation of a large enterprise of tremendous value, giving you the opportunity to:
Gain insights from cutting-edge Wharton research as well as from experienced leaders who have effectively scaled their organizations.
Apply key principles in small group working sessions.
Ask questions of the experts about the challenges you face in scaling your own organization.
Gain The Business Skills To Scale
Ideas are essential to innovation, but it takes real business skills to transform a great idea into a sustainable business. That’s why Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship launched this initiative in partnership with Wharton Lifelong Learning in March 2016.

Hosted at Wharton San Francisco, these workshops feature expert Wharton faculty, alumni entrepreneurs, and Bay Area industry executives who share their insights about how to address common challenges like finding new customers, growing your workforce, managing supply chains, and navigating complex regulations as you scale your business.
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Featured Scale School Event

Maintaining Culture in Scaling a Business

As smaller companies grow, the greatest challenge lies in maintaining company culture when business owners feel that their spirit and values are lost during rapid expansion.

Research shows that companies with well-established culture have significant advantages, but how do business leaders transition from small companies to larger enterprises and keep the same values? What are the steps to ensure that growth is reflective of the company’s initial values? In this session, Professor Mike Useem and panelists Rahgu Raghuram, WG’96, CEO of VMware, Meaghan Rose, WG’06, co-founder and former CEO of Rocksbox, and Ania Smith WG'02, CEO of TaskRabbit, will discuss these challenges and provide a framework of action items for maintaining a value-driven culture for scaling enterprises.

This event was held on April 2, 2024. View the recap gallery below.
Mike Useem
Faculty Director of the Leadership Center and McNulty Leadership Program, The Wharton School
Raghu Raghuram, WG'96
CEO, VMware

Meaghan Rose, WG'06
Co-founder and former CEO, Rocksbox
Ania Smith, WG'02
CEO, TaskRabbit

Scale School: Maintaining Culture in Scaling a Business

As smaller companies grow, the greatest challenge lies in maintaining company culture when business owners feel that their spirit and values are lost during rapid expansion.

Past Scale School Events

VC Funding in Today’s Market
As we continue to navigate the current economic uncertainties, how are venture capitalists making decisions about which companies to invest in? What should founders do to attract funding and set themselves apart?

In this session, we will discuss how funding strategies and decisions are evolving as well as share perspectives on where they might be heading in the short and long-term future.

DATE: February 9, 2023

Moderator: Professor Ethan Mollick, Ralph J. Roberts Distinguished Faculty Scholar, Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Panelists: on Auerbach C’89, General Partner @ CRV; Iris Choi WG’04, Partner @ Floodgate

Scaling in an Ecosystem: Strategies and Tradeoffs
No enterprise is an island. Rather, every enterprise is embedded in an ecosystem of partners to create and deliver value. How should enterprise leaders think about scaling up a new initiative when growth is not only a function of the enterprise-level capabilities but also a function of the broader ecosystem of partners and their capabilities?

In this session, Professor Rahul Kapoor and panelists: Rocky Garff WG'07, Head of Trucking Operations at Waymo, Ashmeet Sidana WG'03, Chief Engineer at Engineering Capital, and Christine Yip WG'01, Advisor and Former Fintech Executive, will discuss the thinking behind scaling technology initiatives in an ecosystem as well as how leaders can navigate through some of the key strategic tradeoffs in their ecosystems.

DATE: November 1, 2022



Perspectives on Start-Up Acquisitions
The past few decades have shown a dramatic rise in start-up acquisitions, which have become the dominant channel through which ventures successfully exit. But how effective are start-up acquisitions (1) for big companies as a source of new innovation and talent and (2) for the careers of acquired founders and employees?



To Change, Pivot or Persist
Entrepreneurs and investors love to talk about pivots that saved or elevated young firms, but hero stories about turning hay into gold don’t offer an accurate or instructive picture of how entrepreneurs wrestle with choices about whether or not to change. In this session, Professor Jacqueline (Jax) Kirtley and panelists Jeff Fluhr, ENG’96, W’96, General Partner at Craft Ventures, and Andy Friedman, WG’95, Managing Partner at Pin High Capital LLC, and Founder and former CEO of SkinnyPop Popcorn, will discuss the thinking behind their own pivot decisions as well as how recent world events have led to choices to change, adapt, or persist.

Date: September 14, 2021


  • Jacqueline (Jax) Kirtley, Assistant Professor of Management, The Wharton School


  • Jeff Fluhr, ENG’96, W’96, General Partner, Craft Ventures
  • Andy Friedman, WG’95, Managing Partner, Pin High Capital LLC, Founder and Former CEO of SkinnyPop Popcorn

Perspective On Investing In Scale
Most enterprises need significant investment to scale. What strategic considerations should ventures give to this stage of financing? How can enterprises best demonstrate their readiness and potential for growth to not only attract the desired amount of funding but also the right kind of investor relationships? In this session, Professor David Hsu and panelists, Eurie Kim, WG’09, General Partner at Forerunner Ventures and Ravi Viswanathan, ENG’90, WG’98, Founder and Managing Partner at NewView Capital will discuss the criteria and thinking behind decisions to invest in scale as well as how their perspectives may or may not evolve in the near or distant future.

Date: September 14, 2021


  •  David Hsu, Richard A. Sapp Professor, Professor of Management


  • Eurie Kim (WG’09), General Partner, Forerunner Ventures
  • Ravi Viswanathan (ENG’90, WG’98), Founder & Managing Partner, NewView Capital

Making Bold Decisions In Challenging Times
While many enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat through the pandemic, some leaders have made bold strategic decisions to scale during these profoundly uncertain times. How should founders weigh the risks, particularly when even more factors are out of their control? In this session, Professor Mike Useem and panelists Amy Errett, WG’88, CEO and Co-Founder at Madison Reed and Partner at True Ventures, Chad Robins, WG’02, CEO and Co-Founder at Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation, and Davis Smith, G’11, WG’11, CEO and Founder at Cotopaxi will discuss the challenges business leaders and their firms have faced when deciding to scale as well as the opportunities they continue to eye for the future.

Date: February 3, 2021


  • Mike Useem, William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management; Director, Center for Leadership and Change Management; Editor, Wharton Leadership Digest


  • Amy Errett (WG’88), CEO and Co-Founder, Madison Reed; Partner, True Venture
  • Chad Robins (WG’02), CEO and Co-Founder, Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation
  • Davis Smith (WG’11), CEO & Founder, Cotopaxi

Balancing Growth & Profitability Through Uncertainty
How should founders and managers balance growth and profitability? When is the right time to prioritize growth and how is that answer different in these uncertain times? In this session, we will discuss the key challenges firms face when trying to scale: balancing the need to grow with long term profitability. We will explore this question from the point of view of the operation manager as well as the investor.

Date: September 9, 2020


  • Gad Allon, Jeffrey A. Keswin Professor and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions; Director, Management and Technology Program at the University of Pennsylvania.


  • Joseph Ansanelli (W’92), CEO, Gladly & Partner, Greylock
  • Cate Khan (WG’05), Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Verishop
  • Ted Schlein (C’86, PAR’20), General Partner, Kleiner Perkins

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