Spring 2017 Reunion Presentations

During the 2017 Spring Reunions, HBS faculty members, industry leaders and non-HBS scholars will present their most recent research on a wide range of topics.

To view presentation materials from prior reunions, please visit past reunion presentations pages: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Session 1: 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Seeing What’s Next
Lynda M. Applegate, Sarofim-Rock Professor of Business Administration

In the early 1970s, Alan Kay—who at the time was a research scientist at Xerox PARC—told a group of skeptical Xerox executives, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” At the time, the pace of technological change in the computer industry had accelerated and the shift from the mainframe to the personal computer was in its infancy. Today, we are in the midst of another technological and scientific revolution as we shift from proprietary to open platforms. Participants will leave this session with an understanding of the shift from product disruption to platform disruption and with approaches they can use to “see what’s next” and “invent” the future.

The Low-Risk Anomaly: Implications for Investment, Asset Allocation, and Corporate Finance
Malcolm P. Baker (PhDBE 2000), Robert G. Kirby Professor of Business Administration

One of the basic principles of finance is that, in competitive and efficient markets, investors earn higher average returns only by taking greater risks. Asset classes follow this pattern: Stocks have returned more than bonds, and bonds have returned more than cash. But within the stock market, the pattern is reversed. Low-risk stocks, whether measured by volatility or market beta, have outperformed high-risk stocks, on average, in 80 years of US stock market history and in 30 years of international data. Participants will leave with an understanding of the behavioral and institutional explanations for this anomaly and the potential implications for investment portfolios, asset allocation, and corporate finance.

Failing to Notice: An Application to the Current US Government
Max H. Bazerman, Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration

Much of Professor Bazerman’s work in recent years focuses on failure to notice critical information in one’s environment. This session will provide an overview of his research on this idea and discuss applications to the early days of the new government in Washington. Current issues will include the executive order on immigration, creating uncertainty for 11 million undocumented individuals; making false threats to allies (i.e., NATO, Australia); openness to a one-state solution in Israel and Palestine; deregulation rather than regulation reform; undeveloped threats against trade agreements; and creating incentives for the best people in government to leave.

The Next Harvard: Planning for Transformation
Angela Quinn Crispi (MBA 1990), Executive Dean for Administration; and Andrew F. O'Brien (AMP 188, 2015), Chief of Operations

Harvard and HBS are undertaking one of the largest real estate developments in the City of Boston. This interactive discussion will showcase these evolving plans. Learn how Harvard’s vision for Allston will create a campus of the next century, putting HBS, long recognized as one of the most renowned campuses in higher education, at the center of the University’s master plan. Hear how the HBS campus has evolved over the past five years and which innovations are planned for the next five as the School designs the campus of the future. Attendees will be invited to peek into the future through a virtual reality tour of Klarman Hall, the School’s state of the art convening space slated to open in Fall 2018.

You May Not Be the CFO, but You Should Think Like One
C. Fritz Foley (PhDBE 2002), André R. Jakurski Professor of Business Administration

What is the most important report a CFO creates? How tightly should a CFO control expenses? What kinds of meetings should CFOs attend, and with whom should CFOs interact? Over the last two decades, the answers to these questions have changed as the CFO role has evolved into one of the most powerful positions in many organizations. Drawing on research for his second-year MBA course focusing on CFOs, Professor Foley will describe key considerations behind fundamental choices that CFOs face and highlight effective financial decision-making processes. He will emphasize how employees throughout an organization can enhance value creation by developing the skill to think like a CFO.

Driving Profitable Growth in Turbulent Markets
Ranjay Gulati (PhDOB 1993), Jaime and Josefina Chua Tiampo Professor of Business Administration

Spurred by visions of a dismal future and haunted by intense competition, companies are rushing to cut costs across the board. At the same time, there are others who view this time as opportune to break away from the pack. While others are hunkering down, these few are running forward. How do such organizations deal with the seemingly competing sets of demands of cutting back and investing in the future? What do they do to expand while others contract? In this session, participants will learn to think more creatively about leveraging tangible and intangible assets as they develop strategies for growth.

Thriving in Our Over-Connected, Always-in-Meetings, Hyper-Demanding Global World
Leslie A. Perlow, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership

Technology enables workers to work from anywhere, anytime. Globalization requires them to work across time zones. The world has changed, yet the way people work has not kept pace. Workers have become less efficient, less effective, and more harried—but it doesn’t have to be this way. Professor Perlow’s research shows that we must go beyond simply accommodating these recent developments—we must change the way we work. She will share an exciting new approach for teams to alter their work practices and achieve impressive results: improved performance for companies and better lives for workers.

Building a Culture of Health: A New Imperative for Business
John A. Quelch (DBA 1977), Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration

Every company, knowingly or unknowingly, affects public health, laying down a population health footprint in four areas: consumer health, employee health, community health, and environmental health. The net impact of the footprint can and should be measured. A company that incorporates a Culture of Health in its mission and daily decision-making will not only seek to make its net impact on public health as positive as possible but also create business opportunities for itself in doing so. This session is based on Professor Quelch’s new book, Building a Culture of Health: A New Imperative for Business.

The Basis for Optimism
William A. Sahlman (MBA 1975), Baker Foundation Professor; Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff – MBA Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration, Emeritus

This session focuses on the challenges confronting the United States and other countries and the entrepreneurial actors who are hard at work finding solutions. If K‒12 education is failing in the United States, entrepreneurs are designing new systems that are less costly and more effective. If climate change threatens life as we know it, entrepreneurs are searching for scalable, clean, low-cost alternatives to hydrocarbons. Participants will leave this session with fresh insights into how entrepreneurs turn problems into opportunities.

Learning From Harvard’s "Great Negotiators"
James K. Sebenius (PhDBE 1980), Gordon Donaldson Professor of Business Administration; Director, Harvard Negotiation Project; Chair, Great Negotiator Award Program, Harvard Law School

Since 2001, the Program on Negotiation—an interuniversity consortium involving Harvard, MIT, and Tufts—has annually bestowed the Great Negotiator Award on men and women such as George Mitchell, Bruce Wasserstein, Richard Holbrooke, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Charlene Barshefsky. Members have also conducted detailed interviews with former American secretaries of state—Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton—about their most challenging negotiations. Having systematically probed the strategies and tactics of this distinguished group, Professor Sebenius, who chairs the Great Negotiator program, will offer session participants valuable lessons about complex dealmaking.

Corporate Governance Lessons from Activist Investors
Suraj Srinivasan (DBA 2004), Philip J. Stomberg Professor of Business Administration

Activist hedge funds have changed the US corporate governance landscape in recent years. The number of activist campaigns has grown, and larger companies have become targets. Drawing on his research, Professor Srinivasan will discuss lessons that boards of directors and corporate executives can learn from successful and unsuccessful activist interventions. Participants will leave this session with a deeper understanding of the current corporate governance landscape, the strategies adopted by activist hedge funds, and how managers and boards can become “internal activists” to improve corporate performance.

Closing the Trust Gap: How to Earn Trust in Troubled Times
Sandra J. Sucher (MBA 1976), MBA Class of 1966 Professor of Management Practice

How should business leaders navigate the political and economic tsunami of mistrust that is sweeping the globe? For answers, Professor Sucher will turn to Katharine Graham, publisher of the Washington Post from 1969 to 1990, to learn how she successfully led the Post through the back-to-back challenges of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. Participants will explore three defining aspects of trust: that others confer it; that it can be given as well as received; and that it cannot credibly be asked for. Trust has to be earned through action, and participants will leave this session with a practical framework for earning trust, built over eight years of research in global companies.

Session 2: 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Life Itself: An Astronomer's Perspective
Charles R. Alcock, Director, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Professor of Astronomy, Harvard University

There have been exciting recent reports of potentially habitable planets; the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, for example, has seven planets, three of which are potentially habitable. How will astronomers learn whether any of these planets hosts living organisms? The Giant Magellan Telescope, a new device being built in Chile, will allow them to answer this question. Participants will leave this session with an understanding of an emerging connection between astronomy and biology, and with the reasonable expectation that they will know during their lifetime whether or not there are signs of life on any of the planets orbiting the stars in the night sky.

The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change
Bharat N. Anand, Henry R. Byers Professor of Business Administration

Digital technology is changing many industries: cars and taxis, hotels, and fashion. But it changed the media and entertainment industries first, wholly affecting how consumers engaged with music, newspapers, books, magazines, TV, and movies. What have we learned from two decades of history of digital change in media and entertainment? Professor Anand will present findings from his book The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change. Participants will learn about approaches that work and don’t work as companies craft digital strategy. Anand will also discuss how lessons learned from these strategies shaped the execution of HBX, HBS’s own digital learning initiative.

The Software Complexity Catastrophe: What Is It, and What Can We Do About It?
Carliss Y. Baldwin (MBA 1974), William L. White Professor of Business Administration

Software complexity is increasing at an exponential rate. With the Internet of Things, the amount of software in physical and electronic products gets larger every day. Every company is now a software company, where code purchased from vendors is mixed with customized code written by internal systems developers. In addition, companies tend to build on legacy code instead of starting afresh. This legacy code is often modified without proper documentation—and as a result, code “maintainers” have no idea what depends on what, leading to unintended crashes and freeze-ups. In this session, participants will learn how software complexity affects their businesses and how to combat it.

Patent Trolls and the Death of US Innovation
Lauren H. Cohen, L.E. Simmons Professor of Business Administration

The United States is a land of innovation. New products and services are being invented and marketed every day. A legion of young, talented entrepreneurs is starting countless new ventures, and venture funding is abundant. What could possibly be wrong with this picture? Unfortunately, a lot. A new organizational form, the nonpracticing entity (NPE), has emerged as a major driver of the explosion in IP litigation. NPEs amass patents not for the sake of producing commercial products, but in order to prosecute infringement on their patent portfolios. Participants will leave understanding patent trolling, its future, and proposed solutions.

Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center
Rohit Deshpandé, Sebastian S. Kresge Professor of Marketing

Walk-ins are welcome; no pre-reading is required.
Join a case discussion about the business of jazz in America. In lieu of readings, excerpts from the “Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center” multimedia case will be shown during the session, featuring video interviews with Marsalis, senior executives at Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC), and audience members. The case covers the history of jazz music, the evolution of the music industry, and changing tastes of consumers. Participants will explore how the declining interest in, and sales of, jazz music can be reversed; what the role of Wynton Marsalis and of JALC is in this context; and what the lessons are for arts and cultural institutions worldwide and for cultural entrepreneurs.

How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network
Shane Greenstein, Martin Marshall Professor of Business Administration

How do major technologies deploy and spread? Professor Greenstein will use illustrations from his book, How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network, to deconstruct internet exceptionalism, the prevalent idea that the internet defies economic logic. This session will show how the internet followed economic archetypes and patterns of economic behavior that show up repeatedly throughout history. Greenstein will highlight the lessons of this observation and how those lessons apply to thinking about new major technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things.

Health Care—What's Next?
Regina E. Herzlinger (DBA 1971), Nancy R. McPherson Professor of Business Administration

Professor Herzlinger will discuss the impact of the health care reform legislation on the US health care system and economy, worldwide developments, and the HBS curriculum for innovating in health care.

Tour of the HBX Live Studio at WGBH
Patrick J. Mullane (MBA 1999), Executive Director of HBX

HBX Live is a one-of-a-kind virtual classroom that allows students to interact in real time with HBS faculty and alumni from around the world, much as they would in a traditional Aldrich classroom. HBS has partnered with the public broadcasting company WGBH to create a state-of-the-art space that will allow engagement with up to 60 participants at a time. Join a tour of the studio where faculty members go to teach and the control room where production is managed, and hear about how and why this unique learning platform was built. The tour is limited to 50 participants.

Why Competition in the Politics Industry Is Failing America
Michael E. Porter (MBA 1971, PhDBE 1973), Bishop William Lawrence University Professor

It is often said that “Washington is broken,” but this reflects a common misunderstanding of the problem. Washington isn’t broken—it is delivering exactly what it’s currently designed to deliver. The problem is that our political system is no longer designed to serve the public interest. Rather, it has been structured and optimized over time to benefit the interests of two private, gain-seeking organizations—our major political parties and their industry allies. In this session, Professor Porter will discuss his new work, co-authored with Katherine Gehl, which applies the lens of industry competition to politics. By analyzing politics industry structure using the five forces model, Porter hopes the audience will better understand how our political system actually works, what is driving poor outcomes, and how we can recapture our democracy.

What Great Service Leaders Know and Do
Leonard A. Schlesinger (DBA 1979), Baker Foundation Professor

We know what has produced success in service endeavors in the past. However, what it took to produce a winning hand in management in the service economies of the 1970s and 1980s is quite different than it is today. Management responses have to change to reflect future challenges facing service industries. In every service industry, one or two organizations are leading the way with breakthrough services. What is different about leading a breakthrough service organization? Professor Schlesinger will guide a highly interactive discussion about the challenges and opportunities. This session is based on Professor Schlesinger’s book What Great Service Leaders Know and Do: Creating Breakthroughs in Service Firms, coauthored with James L. Heskett and W. Earl Sasser Jr.

The Dawn of CEO Activism
Michael W. Toffel, Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management

Corporate leaders are increasingly speaking out on controversial policy issues. These “CEO activists” are making public statements on topics ranging from same-sex marriage to immigration, racial discrimination, and climate change—typically in ways that aren’t apparently tied to promoting their companies’ bottom lines. Professor Toffel will share his research based on interviews and experiments that describe the impacts of CEO activism, including its benefits and risks. He will also lead a discussion about when leaders should engage in CEO activism, how to avoid backlash from customers and employees, and how to measure its impact.

Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons
David B. Yoffie, Max and Doris Starr Professor of International Business Administration

Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs were masters of strategy who led Microsoft, Intel, and Apple to become the world’s most valuable companies during their tenures. Based on more than 20 years of research, Professor Yoffie argues that these three CEOs shared a powerful, common approach to strategy, which he describes through five rules: (1) look forward and then reason back; (2) make big bets but without betting the company; (3) build platforms and ecosystems rather than just stand-alone products; (4) exploit both leverage and power, or “judo” and “sumo” tactics; and (5) drive execution by shaping the organization around the CEO’s “personal anchor.” This session is based on Yoffie’s book Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs, coauthored with Michael Cusumano.

Session 3: 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Why US Health Care Needs a Dose of Competition—and How to Deliver It
Leemore S. Dafny, MBA Class of 1960 Professor of Business Administration

In this session, Professor Dafny will describe why competition in the health care industry has been so limited, what factors are leading the status quo to break down, and what actions stakeholders can take to accelerate progress toward a competition-driven, value-oriented health care marketplace—one that serves the needs of patients, controls costs, and rewards providers who can innovate and execute.

Design Thinking and Innovative Problem Solving
Srikant M. Datar, Arthur Lowes Dickinson Professor of Business Administration

In their book, Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads, Professor Datar, the late Professor David Garvin, and researcher Patrick Cullen identify creative and innovative thinking as an essential skill for managers operating in a world of rapidly evolving product and business models and ever-increasing complexity. In this session, Professor Datar will describe how managers can develop design thinking and innovative problem-solving skills. These skills include the ability to gain deep insights about users (the core of design thinking); to define and reframe problems; and to overcome fixedness in thinking to generate, develop, and implement novel and effective solutions. Datar will also discuss how managers can build innovative organizations, identify innovative individuals, form innovative teams, and nurture innovative cultures.

The Future of Tax Reform
Mihir A. Desai (MBA 1993), Mizuho Financial Group Professor of Finance

The new administration has made tax reform a priority, with business taxation a particular focus. Reform is long overdue, with the last significant reform occurring 30 years ago and with the tax system distorting many business decisions. What will tax reform look like? Who are the winners and losers? And how will US tax reform affect or reflect changing global pressures? This session will provide perspective on how tax reform will shake out domestically and globally.

How Biology Has Changed the Global Economy, Is Transforming the World's Largest Businesses, and Will Change Even the Human Species
Juan Enríquez (MBA 1986), Managing Director, Excel Venture Management

As humans modify viruses and bacteria to compute, vaccinate, retrovirally treat, or crowd out harmful pathogens, they begin to take direct and deliberate control over the evolution of various species. This changes man from a humanoid that is aware of and modifies its environment into a species that directly and deliberately guides evolution. And this is changing everything, including our life span, religions, ethics, and the power of various countries. Participants will leave with a sense of just how important bioliteracy is and why the life sciences are becoming the greatest single driver of the economy over the next few decades.

Alumnae Circles
Jill Ratish Fink (MBA 2005), Director, HBS Alumnae Circles, Laurie Matthews (MBA 1983), Facilitator Cochair, HBS Alumnae Circles; and Beth Grannan, Liasion, HBS Alumnae Circles

Join a conversation about HBS Alumnae Circles, the new program for alumnae taking place in select cities. HBS Alumnae Circles are small groups of alumnae who get together monthly to discuss myriad issues. Circles are designed to foster genuine relationships between alumnae and give them the opportunity to learn from, support, and inspire one another, both personally and professionally. Circles is an HBS-supported, alumnae-driven program with roughly 750 participants in four cities—Boston, New York City, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C. This informal session will provide participants with an overview of the program, a short Circles experience, and information about the potential future of Circles, including how the program may launch in smaller markets in the future.

Digital Innovation and Transformation
Marco Iansiti, David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration; and Karim R. Lakhani, Professor of Business Administration

The ubiquity of digital connectivity is creating new giants and transforming old industries. This session will focus on the changes driven by digital innovation and its implications for business value creation and capture. Participants will discuss emerging business and operating models and their foundations in technology and economics.

Immigrant Innovation and Entrepreneurship
William R. Kerr, Dimitri V. D'Arbeloff – MBA Class of 1955 Professor of Business Administration

Immigrants to the United States contribute disproportionately to US innovation and entrepreneurship. This session quantifies the magnitudes of these impacts, what we know about how immigrant-led innovation and businesses differ from those of natives, and the economic impacts that American workers experience. Skilled employment visas like H-1B are the source of substantial policy controversy, and Professor Kerr will consider the theory behind the design of these programs, alternative approaches, and possible reforms. Participants will leave this session with greater insight into this long-run economic strength and its current fragility.

Ten Essential Leadership Lessons from the Musical Hamilton
Herman B. Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management, Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration

The music and characters in the musical Hamilton give us a wide range of sometimes-competing ideas and claims about how to make progress personally, professionally, organizationally, and societally. How does a "bastard, orphan, son of a whore…impoverished, in squalor…grow up to be a hero and a scholar?" Why does Hamilton "write like [he's] running out of time?" Is Burr right when he advises, "Talk less; smile more"? After listening to some of the music from Hamilton, participants will discuss which characters may have it “right” and examine what conclusions we can draw about our own conduct and the challenges of leading 21st-century organizations.

Angel Investing: Today’s Challenges and Opportunities
Ramana Nanda, Professor of Business Administration

Technological changes over the last decade have dramatically lowered the cost of starting new ventures. This has led to an explosion of startup activity and numerous changes in the early stage financing landscape, from the rise of super angels and accelerators to crowdfunding platforms such as AngelList. How have these changes affected traditional models of angel investing? And what is the broader impact on innovation in our economy? Participants will leave this session with a deeper understanding of these issues and an appreciation of the new opportunities and challenges for angel investors in these changing times.

Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending
Michael I. Norton, Harold M. Brierley Professor of Business Administration

Can money buy happiness? Professor Norton will share insights from his book Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending, based on cutting-edge research in behavioral science. Norton will provide five principles designed to guide not only individuals looking to gain more happiness, but also companies seeking to create happier employees and provide “happier products” to their customers. He will show how companies from Google to Pepsi to, yes, Charmin have put these ideas into action. Participants will explore fascinating research revealing how they can use their money in happier ways, whether they have a little or a lot of it.

Why There Are Big Opportunities in the Marketplace to Buy a Smaller Business
Richard S. Ruback, Willard Prescott Smith Professor of Corporate Finance

Acquiring the right kind of smaller firm offers very compelling economic rewards. These well-established, enduringly profitable businesses offer fewer risks than startups and greater professional independence than working in someone else’s company. Thousands of these small firms come up for sale each year, principally as founders retire, and they require buyers who can organize the capital to complete an acquisition and have the ability to run the business as its CEO. This session introduces participants to this opportunity. It also provides guidance to owners of smaller businesses who are interested in selling their companies and potential investors in small business acquisitions.

Designing Transformational Customer Experiences
Stefan H. Thomke, William Barclay Harding Professor of Business Administration

Walk-ins are welcome; no pre-reading is required. Space will be limited to classroom seating only. Please arrive early to secure a seat and LEGO kit.
Why do some product or service experiences have that undeniable “wow” factor while others lack that pizzazz, relegating them to either being loathed or simply forgotten? This session is about the design of great customer experiences which create memories for years to come. Each participant will receive a LEGO kit and, using the LEGO Serious Play and storytelling methodologies, Professor Thomke will lead participants through building exercises and discussions that will generate new insights and deepen learning. Be prepared to use creativity and imagination and to have some fun.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
Working Knowledge: Business Research for Business Leaders
Carmen Nobel, Senior Editor of Working Knowledge; and Sean Silverthorne, Editor-in-Chief of Working Knowledge

Academic research often yields important insights for business leaders. Alas, time-crunched managers can find themselves thwarted by the obscure language and lengthy descriptions inherent in many scholarly publications. Harvard Business School Working Knowledge is here to help! Open to the public and updated daily, this popular online publication offers thousands of brief, clear, practicable articles about the cutting-edge research and ideas from HBS faculty—as well as an opportunity to share your own ideas and insights. Learn how to make Working Knowledge work for you.

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Baker for Business Research
Jim Borron, Managing Director of Baker for Business; and Kathryn FitzGerald, Information Research Specialist of Baker Library | Bloomberg Center

Successful businesses need reliable information to move ahead with efficiency and confidence. Join Baker for Business (B4B) researchers to learn how you can leverage the research expertise of Baker librarians to get the information you need. They will provide an overview of current research tools and services and unveil premium research services available to HBS alumni.

Session 1: 10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Talent Management at Egon Zehnder
Francesca Gino, Tandon Family Professor of Business Administration

Registration is full.
This case investigates both micro and macro issues around strategic human capital development. First, it explores how Egon Zehnder, a leading global search and advisory firm, assesses talent in the firms for which it works. The case discusses the deployment of a unique potential model that substantially shifts how the company views individuals. Within this framework, Mary Caroline Tillman, the case protagonist, is faced with an evaluation decision between two candidates who have different competencies, past experience, and potential. Second, the case explores the macro issues of running a professional services firm, examining how and if the organization can change its focus to include more assessment opportunities.

Panel – Aging Parents: Navigating the Journey Successfully
Moderator: Janet Simpson Benvenuti (MBA 1985), Founder and CEO, Circle of Life Partners
  • Sachin Jain (MBA 2007), President and CEO, CareMore Health System
  • Marti Jiménez (MBA 2002), Founder and Managing Partner, Verdeza Senior Housing
  • Stephen Spano, Esq., Principal, Spano & Dawicki, Elder Law

Are you responsible for aging parents and other relatives while juggling the demands of your professional career? Are you planning for your own longevity? If so, join a panel of alumni and aging experts to hear about specific strategies and resources for navigating your parents’ and your own later years successfully. Learn how to address the legal, financial, medical, and caregiving challenges while enjoying the benefits of multi-generational families. Each participant will receive a copy of Don’t Give Up on Me! Supporting Aging Parents Successfully, Ms. Benvenuti’s highly acclaimed guide through the unpredictable last years of her journey with her own parents. This book has become a must read for adult children who find suddenly, just when life is on overload, that their parents need help.

Panel – Climate Change: Risks and Opportunities
Moderator: Michael W. Toffel, Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management
  • Diogo Castro Freire (MBA 2012), Founder and Filmmaker, Adaptation Now
  • Ned Harvey (MBA 1997), Managing Director, Rocky Mountain Institute
  • Rick Needham (MBA 2002), Partner, Energy Sector Lead, TPG Rise Fund
  • Cindy Tindell (MBA 1997), Vice President, NextEra Energy

Panel – Does Impact Investing Have a Bright Future?
Moderator: V. Kasturi Rangan, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing
  • Maya Chorengel (MBA 1997), Senior Partner, Impact and Financial Services Impact Sector Lead, The Rise Fund
  • Sasha Dichter (MBA 2002), Chief Innovation Officer, Acumen
  • Tracy Palandjian (MBA 1997), CEO and Cofounder, Social Finance
  • Leo Letelier Pimstein (MBA 2002), CEO, SITAWI Finance for Good

Panel – Entrepreneurship
Moderator: Thomas R. Eisenmann (MBA 1983, DBA 1993), Howard H. Stevenson Professor of Business Administration
  • Jennifer Fonstad (MBA 1997), Cofounder and Managing Partner, Aspect Ventures
  • Frida Polli (MBA 2012), CEO and Cofounder, pymetrics
  • Michael Schrader (MBA 2012), Cofounder and CEO, Vaxess Technologies
  • Paris Wallace (MBA 2007), Cofounder and CEO, Ovia Health

Panel – The Future of Asset Management
Moderator: George Serafeim (DBA 2010), Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration
  • Michael Beal (MBA 2012), CEO, Data Capital Management
  • Michael Johnston (MBA 1962), Executive Vice President, Capital Group Companies, Retired
  • Shirley Mills (MBA 2007), Analyst and Portfolio Manager, The Boston Company Asset Management
  • Brad Singer (MBA 1997), Partner and Chief Operating Officer, ValueAct Capital

Panel – The Future of the Education Sector and HBS Alumni Roles
Moderator: Herman B. Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr. Professor of Public Management, Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration
  • Marcelo Burbano (MBA 2007), Partner, PRISMAPAR
  • Beverly Denny (MBA 2002), Chief Operating Officer, Research for Better Teaching
  • Mohit Kumar Jain (MBA 2007), Managing Director, Northwest Education
  • J. Kathleen L. Zimmermann (MBA 2002), Executive Director, NYOS Charter School

Panel – The Future of Health Care Innovation
Moderator: Cara Sterling, Director of the Health Care Initiative
  • Lisa Alderson (MBA 1997), CEO and Cofounder, Genome Medical, Inc.
  • Jonathan Bush (MBA 1997), CEO, athenahealth
  • Graham Gardner (MBA 2007), Cofounder and CEO, Kyruus
  • Marlene Krauss (MBA 1967), Managing Director, KBL Healthcare Venture

Panel – Living an Examined Life
Moderator: Mary C. Falvey (MBA 1967), President, Falvey Associates
  • Heidi Kuglin Beck (MBA 2007), Senior Director of Group Strategy, Westpac
  • Ann Fox (MBA 2007), President and CEO, Nine Energy Service
  • Mike Kennealy (MBA 1997), Assistant Secretary for Business Growth, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Brian Weintraub (MBA 2007), Director, Financial Institutions Group, Corporate Finance and Head of Financial Institutions Capital Markets, Asia, Deutsche Bank AG

Life, before and after HBS, presents a plethora of professional commitments, spouses, children, and parents to consider, all amidst the complexity of daily life. How do you follow your “north star” without letting circumstances determine the trajectory of your life? Our panelists cover a wide range of choices and different points in examining and living their lives. Hear how they change sectors, plan or adjust to the arrival of kids, raise a family all over the world, deal with the unexpected—opportunities, imperatives, illness. We aim to spark curiosity and ideas you can take with you.

Panel – Should Every Business Be a Technology Business?
Moderator: Karim R. Lakhani, Professor of Business Administration
  • Samhita A.P. Jayanti (MBA 2002), Business Development, Palantir Technologies
  • Chuck Scullion (MBA 1997), President and CEO, FoVI 3D
  • Andreas Stavropoulos (MBA 1997), Partner, DFJ
  • Patricia Wexler (MBA 2002), Managing Director, Tembo Capital

Session 2: 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
HBS Campus Tour
James E. Aisner, Director of Media and Public Relations

Want to see what happened to the WAC chute? Interested in learning what an i-lab is? Ever wonder why the chapel is round? Join 30-year HBS veteran Jim Aisner on a campus tour filled with anecdotes and memories.

An Introduction and Tour of the Harvard Innovation Labs
Jodi Goldstein (MBA 1996), Bruce and Bridgitt Evans Managing Director of Harvard Innovation Lab

Participants will attend a presentation and tour of the Harvard Innovation Labs, a vibrant, cross-disciplinary ecosystem for the Harvard community to explore innovation and entrepreneurship while building deeper connections. An excellent example of the One Harvard vision, the Harvard Innovation Labs are a leading catalyst for the Allston Science and Enterprise District. The labs began in 2011 with the opening of the Harvard i-lab, expanded in 2014 when the Harvard Launch Lab opened its doors, and continue to grow in both breadth and depth with the opening of the Harvard Life Lab in November 2016.

HBX: Business Education Reimagined for the Digital Age
Janice H. Hammond, Jesse Philips Professor of Manufacturing

HBX is Harvard Business School’s new online education platform that offers interactive learning experiences in keeping with HBS’s mission to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. Participants will learn about HBS’s strategy for creating a unique learning environment. Professor Hammond will provide a deep dive into the Credential of Readiness (CORe) program, a primer on the fundamentals of business, and HBX Courses, specialized offerings that allow learners to engage with leading-edge ideas from HBS faculty. She will also discuss HBX Live, a one-of-a-kind digital classroom that is enabling learners worldwide to connect in real time. Platform demonstrations will illustrate the technology and teaching elements that make HBX unique.

How Do HBS Careers Progress? Alumni Survey Results
Lauren C. Murphy, Director of MBA Career and Professional Development; and Christine Van Dae, Assistant Director of Market Intelligence

Have you ever wondered about the career paths of fellow HBS alumni? Perhaps you may be curious about the types of roles they pursue beyond graduation. The Alumni Career Pathways Survey explores the decisions and experiences that shape alumni careers 5, 10, 15, and up to 30 years after graduation. Ms. Murphy and Ms. Van Dae will present findings from this study to illustrate the potential trajectory of career choices. Learn the answers to the following questions: How often do HBS alumni change positions and what drives these decisions? Which industries have high retention rates? How and when do alumni generally factor in family, travel, and other nonwork interests into their careers? Do alumni take time out of their careers? Are Harvard MBA alumni satisfied with their careers?


The following sessions are a showcase of HBS associate professors, whose cutting-edge research and insights are defining the future of business thinking. This next generation of faculty members is helping to keep HBS at the forefront of management education with innovative ideas and tools, groundbreaking research, and rigorous scholarship.

Business Responsibilities: Back to Basics
Nien-hê Hsieh, Associate Professor of Business Administration

Business managers face ever-increasing demands from society, and there is no shortage of competing views of what counts as responsible behavior. In this interactive session, Associate Professor Hsieh will share his Back to Basics framework, which aims to provide guidance amid the complexity of competing demands. Central to this framework is the principle of “do no harm”—a basic idea that many take for granted. The session will center on using this idea to address questions about the responsibilities of business. Participants will have the opportunity to test their experiences against the framework of and explore the case for the Back to Basics approach.

The Privacy Paradox: Privacy and Disclosure in the Digital Age
Leslie K. John, Marvin Bower Associate Professor

Why are people so willing to share personal information on ambiguous quiz websites but still skeptical about making online payments through official online retailers? Why do people post salacious photos or incendiary comments on social media when the damage to their relationships, reputations, and careers could be permanent? These phenomena relate to an emerging area of inquiry: the psychology of privacy. This issue is central to understanding human behavior in consumer/firm interactions, job interviews, social media, romantic relationships, and beyond. Participants will leave this session with answers to these questions and the implications for firms. They will also gain a better understanding of how the privacy paradox plays out in their everyday lives.

The Language of Global Success: How a Common Tongue Transforms Multinational Organizations
Tsedal Neeley, Associate Professor of Business Administration

English has been the language of cross-border business for decades. In her forthcoming book The Language of Global Success: How One Language Transforms Multinational Organizations, Associate Professor Neeley studies the high-tech giant Rakuten for five years following its English mandate. Through 650 interviews conducted across eight subsidiaries, Neeley shows how language is the catalyst by which all employees become “expats,” detached from their mother tongue, home culture, or both. Neeley demonstrates that language can serve as the conduit for corporate culture, often in unexpected ways, and that there are lessons to be learned for all global companies as they confront language and culture challenges.

Management and the Wealth of Nations
Raffaella Sadun, Thomas S. Murphy Associate Professor of Business Administration

Productivity—one of the most important drivers of economic growth—has experienced a dramatic slowdown over the past decade. Associate Professor Sadun will discuss the role that “basic” management practices play in driving productivity both at the country and the firm level, based on more than a decade of detailed investigation on management around the world. Participants will come away with a sense of how the adoption of basic management practices affects economic performance, as well as of the main factors inhibiting the diffusion of these seemingly simple practices across firms and countries.

Can Companies Maintain an Entrepreneurial Spirit as They Grow?
Tatiana Sandino (DBA 2004), Associate Professor of Business Administration

As businesses grow, founders lose their ability to set direction through informal interactions. They increasingly rely on formal structures and systems to implement their strategies and hold employees accountable. Yet many executives worry that these systems could strangle their firm's entrepreneurial spirit. Is there a way to avoid this tradeoff? Associate Professor Sandino will share insights from her research on how to build systems that promote, rather than stifle, adaptability and entrepreneurship in growing service organizations. Participants will learn how to build systems that incorporate flexibility of strategy implementation, promote critical thinking and innovation, and emphasize a common purpose throughout a growing organization.

The Changing Societal Context: Getting Ahead of the Curve
George Serafeim (DBA 2010), Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration

We are living in an age of transformative change when outperforming organizations are both adapting and shaping their operating context. Fast-moving forces, such as technological advancements, have dramatically increased levels of transparency around organizational impact and changed workplace practices while simultaneously affecting income inequality. Moreover, slow-moving forces, such as environmental degradation and climate change, are putting stress on access to clean water, food supply chains, and geopolitical stability. Participants will leave this session understanding how business leaders can stay ahead of the curve by creating purposeful organizations.

Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal
Eugene F. Soltes, Jakurski Family Associate Professor of Business Administration

Rarely does a week go by without an executive being indicted for engaging in a white-collar crime. Perplexed as to what drives successful, wealthy people to risk it all, Associate Professor Soltes spent seven years in the company of the men behind the largest corporate crimes in history—from the financial fraudsters of Enron to the embezzlers at Tyco to the Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff. Based on extensive interaction with nearly 50 former executives, Soltes will explain his findings as described in his recent book, Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal.

A Recipe for Disruption
Thales S. Teixeira, Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration

Is there a “recipe” for disruption? Is there a “counter-recipe” to avoid being disrupted? In recent years, a new wave of digital disruption has been taking over the internet. It is characterized by business models focusing on the separation of consumption activities that traditionally went together, such as content and advertising, or browsing and purchasing products. In this session, Associate Professor Teixeira will show how a variety of firms, both incumbents and startups, are using digital technologies to break the bonds between (i.e., decouple) activities that consumers want to do and what they previously had to do. Takeaways for startup founders include a recipe for disruption; for established business executives, a recipe to respond to disruption.

The Roots of the Debate over Tax Reform
Matthew C. Weinzierl, Associate Professor of Business Administration

Tax policy is where we must decide—not just debate—some of society’s most important and difficult tradeoffs. Fundamental tax reform is on the agenda in the United States, and the eventual result will reveal much about what Americans value as a nation and what role they envision for their government. Associate Professor Weinzierl combines economics, philosophy, and public opinion to shed new light on these decisions. In this interactive discussion, participants will explore with him some of the underlying tradeoffs at stake. They may even come to appreciate the other side of the debate a bit better.

Promises of Globalization: Is the World a Smaller Place?
Gwen Yu, MBA Class of 1962 Associate Professor of Business Administration

Market forces of globalization have been strong for countries and firms. This session will look at how local institutions and culture interact with forces of globalization. It will also review recent trends and examine new developments from the emerging markets. Participants will leave with ideas on how to build a successful globalization strategy and how to communicate effectively in an increasingly global market.

Session 3: 2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

As part of our spring reunion programming, we are running this exciting program featuring alumni from the 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th Reunions. The goal of the program is to showcase and support reunion attendees who are in the process of building new business ventures, while creating entrepreneurial spirit within the HBS alumni community. For this event, a startup will be considered a company or partnership designed to create a repeatable and scalable business model. These companies, generally newly created within five years, are in a phase of development and research for markets. Each startup will have the opportunity to give a 60-second pitch on its basic concept, funding to date, potential application/market, and what it needs. All alumni and guests are invited to attend as audience members.


Be part of the live studio audience as we record a special Skydeck podcast interview with Neil Pasricha (MBA 2007), author of five books, including The Book of Awesome, a catalog of simple pleasures based on his award-winning blog, and The Happiness Equation, his bestselling guidebook to happiness. Neil’s books have been on New York Times and international bestseller lists for over 200 weeks and sold more than a million copies. Join in this first-ever reunion Skydeck session, and have a chance to ask a question for the podcast as Mr. Pasricha offers strategic frameworks for your life and work and challenges you to elevate expectations of yourself and commit to the habit of happiness every day.

Receptions: 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Join leaders of the Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI) and fellow classmates who are interested in furthering the work of nonprofit organizations, businesses with a social mission, and/or the public sector for an afternoon of mingling and an opportunity to hear about SEI’s latest work.


All alumni are invited to attend any of the following:

  • African American Alumni Assn.
  • Angels Alumni Assn.
  • Christian Fellowship Alumni Assn.
  • Healthcare Alumni Assn.
  • Latino Alumni Assn.
  • LGBT Alumni Assn.
  • Women's Assn. of Greater New York
  • US Service Academy Alumni and Veterans