Ivy League B-School launches first-of-its kind metaverse program

BY Sydney LakeJuly 27, 2022, 7:43 PM
Attendees use a virtual reality (VR) headset during a presentation from March Gaming during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California as seen in May 2022. (Photo by Patrick T. Fallon—AFP/Getty Images)

The digital landscape is becoming more of an all-encompassing reality—in fact, Fortune 500 investment bank Citi projects that the metaverse could be worth as much as $13 trillion by 2023. To keep pace with this evolving technology, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday it’s launching a six-week certificate program in this virtual, immersive world. 

The announcement makes Wharton, which Fortune ranks as having the No. 3 full-time MBA program in the U.S., the first Ivy League business school to launch a course on the metaverse. Wharton developed the new online certificate program, Business in the Metaverse Economy, with economic consulting firm Prysm Group—and it’s designed for business and technology professionals seeking to learn about metaverse technologies, development, and economic value of the new market. 

“Between the interest in these technologies expressed by businesses and recent advancements in metaverse-enabling technologies themselves, such as consumer-facing [virtual reality] headsets, we believe now is the right time to make sense of these trends,” Cathy Barrera, a founding economist of Prysm Group and the program’s industry leader, tells Fortune. “This course is catered to executives to help them determine how adopting these technologies can add value to their businesses.”

Some Fortune 500 companies have already started making their way into the metaverse. For example, consumer goods company Procter & Gamble has started using the new technology to interact with prospective customers, according to previous reporting by Fortune

“Among Fortune 500 companies, some may benefit from using metaverse technologies such as [augmented reality] to improve efficiency in their manufacturing processes; others may use metaverse [virtual reality] to facilitate remote collaboration; others may use virtual worlds to reach retail customers and build brand loyalty,” Barrera says.

What to expect in Wharton’s certificate program

The online program takes six weeks to complete and includes six industry case studies and more than 50 lectures by Wharton faculty and industry experts. It’s catered toward business professionals and executives from a “range of backgrounds, including finance, management, and tech,” Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor and the program’s academic director, said in a statement. 

“Executives need to be ready to adopt the technologies that will be relevant to them in order to stay competitive,” Barrera adds. “They also need to be able to discern which opportunities have the potential to add real value.”

The program is asynchronous and can be completed at your own pace. It also includes group discussions, weekly office hours with instructors, a capstone project, and networking events. The time commitment per week during the program is about eight-to-ten hours, and the program costs $4,500 to attend. The first cohort start date is Sept. 12, 2022, and interested participants can start enrolling now

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