Galleon Group

Wharton grads respond to Rajaratnam conviction

May 17, 2011: 2:55 PM ET

The embarrassing conviction of Wharton alumnus Raj Rajaratnam loomed large at the business school's graduation ceremony this year. Reactions from this year's graduating class ranged from the angry and fearful to the confident and hopeful.

By Joel Schectman, contributor

( -- Storm clouds spread across University of Pennsylvania's gothic campus yesterday on Sunday, threatening to thunder on the graduation of one of America's top business training grounds. As more than 800 Wharton MBA graduates donned

Raj Rajaratnam

Raj Rajaratnam (Wharton '83) was convicted on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy

their regal blue, red and brown sashes, the possibility of a downpour forced the school to move the ceremony to an indoor basketball arena. Segway-riding security officers shepherded the mob of relatives through the confusion.

The coming storm didn't dampen the celebratory mood. Neither did last week's conviction of Raj Rajaratnam (Wharton MBA '83) in the biggest insider trading case since the 1989 conviction of junk bond king Michael Milken (Wharton MBA '70).

The billionaire Galleon manager was recently convicted on 14 counts of fraud and conspiracy. The case centered on illegal tips that he received from several people, including two other Wharton MBAs who he first met while studying at the school in the early 1980s. Those Wharton alums pleaded guilty to insider trading in the hopes of receiving lenient sentencing.

"We are all ethical, we are not speaking for the school, and there's no comment," snapped one grad as she helped two friends make last minute adjustments to their gowns.

The embarrassing fall of three Wharton alumni loomed large at this year's ceremony. "This is something we are hypersensitive to right now," said one 31-year-old graduate. One graduate who spoke positively about the school's ethics curriculum later asked repeatedly that her name not be used in this story, after her husband worried that her comments could harm her career prospects. More

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