01 Apr 2002
Student Conferences Spark Discussion, Promote InteractionRe: Brit Dewey (MBA 1996); Ken Powell (MBA 1974); Mugo Fields (MBA 2002); Marleta Ross (MBA 2002)Topics:
Beginning in late January, the School's student
clubs host a series of annual conferences that explore a wide
variety of specialized business issues. Organized and staffed
by hundreds of hardworking HBS student volunteers, the conferences
bring in provocative speakers and expert panelists to discuss
areas of interest ranging from opportunities in Asian markets,
to managing work/life balance, to the impact of wireless technology
on business strategy, to the achievements of African Americans
in business. Highlights of some of this year's events follow.
For more coverage, visit the "Special Reports"
section of HBS Working Knowledge at www.workingknowledge.hbs.edu.
Technology and Tradition at Cyberposium
attendance at the 2002 Cyberposium is any indication, student
interest in the high-tech sector remains intense despite the dot-com
economy's downturn. Over one thousand students representing
25 top MBA programs attended the conference, which brought together
some two hundred speakers and panelists for an exploration of
new-economy topics that ranged from the wireless Internet to digital-rights
management in media and entertainment. The lineup of keynote speakers
included Internet guru Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings;
Matthew Szulik, president and CEO of the open-source software
company Red Hat, Inc.; and Dean Kamen (7th OPM), chairman and
CEO of Segway LLC and creator of the Segway Human Transporter.
A Saturday morning panel featured speakers from corporations
described as "American icons" by moderator Tom Davenport,
director of the Accenture Institute for Strategic Change. Jack
Duffy, SVP of corporate strategy at UPS, noted that the process
of integrating technology into the company's infrastructure
has been part of a gradual shift. "Now it encompasses how
we think about everything," he remarked.
"Information technology has to march in lockstep
with business," agreed Verizon CIO Shaygan Kheradpir. Software
that automates complex transactions and expanding customer service
on the Web are both ripe for high-tech development, he noted.
"We're getting back to basics," said Bruce Harreld
(MBA '75), SVP of strategy at IBM. "Our goal is to increase
the efficiency of organizational systems by creating software
that remaps how processes work together." Steven Elterich,
president of Fidelity eBusiness, who expects that technology will
one day allow brokers to talk to Internet customers in real time,
cautioned that advances in quality and service should be introduced
over time. "It's important to stay on the leading edge
with customers without falling off," he concluded.
"Technology has always been a major source of
both evolutionary and revolutionary advances in business,"
said John N. Maxemchuk, who, with Marie-Laure Goepfer (both HBS
'02), cochaired the three-day February conference, sponsored
by the High Tech & New Media Club. "This year, in addition
to addressing the keen ongoing interest in entrepreneurship and
high-tech advances, the conference examined the application of
technology in traditional businesses and the innovations that
will influence the everyday activities of a broad spectrum of
WSA: Focus on Work/Life Balance
"Women have always been dynamic, and they've
always been in business," declared HBS professor Nancy F.
Koehn in the opening keynote address at the Dynamic Women in Business
Conference, held at HBS in late January. Organized by the HBS
Women's Student Association, the eleventh annual event attracted
a sold-out crowd of nine hundred attendees.
In her talk, Koehn drew on examples from the history
of women in business to give her audience some perspective on
the transformational effects of economic independence. Among the
first places U.S. women worked outside the home were textile factories
in Massachusetts, she noted. The work was often arduous and the
hours long, but the upside for women was the power to control
their own money and time. Koehn quoted Josephine Baker, a factory
worker who, in 1847, wrote, "The money we earn comes promptly
and comes to us. When we are finished we feel perfectly free until
the time to commence again." Koehn also drew on the lives
of women who had carved out business opportunities despite formidable
odds, including Madam C.J. Walker, a
daughter of slaves who founded a million-dollar hair-care enterprise.
Gail J. McGovern, president of Fidelity Personal Investments
in Boston, asked audience members at the afternoon keynote, "How
many of you would be fifteen minutes late for an appointment with
your CEO?" A cautious few raised their hands. "Now,
how many of you would be fifteen minutes late for an appointment
with a friend or family member?" she inquired. About half
of the audience slowly raised their hands. Her point on the importance
of balance in work and family life was well made. McGovern, named
one of Fortune magazine's fifty most powerful women in corporate
America in 2001, smiled and nodded knowingly. "Treat the
appointment with a friend or family member as you would a meeting
with your CEO. It is just as sacred."
Participants enjoyed sessions on topics that ranged
from biotechnology to media and entertainment to social enterprise.
A panel of six entrepreneurs, moderated by HBS professor Lynda
M. Applegate, discussed their experiences in light of the recent
economic downturn and agreed that whatever the climate, entrepreneurs
have to make tough choices all the time. Andrea C. Silbert (MBA
'92), founder and CEO of the nonprofit Center for Women &
Enterprise, advised, "Don't go with your gut without
doing analysis." In contrast, Roxanne Quimby, founder, president,
and CEO of the personal-care products firm Burt's Bees Inc.,
adopted a different approach, recounting how a twenty-minute yoga
session recently helped her make a difficult business decision.
"Follow your bliss," she told attendees.
Asia Business Conference Looks Ahead to Economic Recovery
years after the first rumblings of the Asian financial crisis,
students from the HBS Asia Business Club and the Harvard Asia
Law Society hosted "Phoenix Rising," a two-day conference
with some seven hundred participants that focused on the future
of sustainable economic growth in the region.
The annual conference, held on the first weekend in
February, featured a keynote address by Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky,
who, during her tenure as U.S. Trade Representative from 1996
to 2001, pursued an aggressive agenda to open foreign markets
around the world. Barshefsky, currently senior international partner
at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, discussed China's inclusion
in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
As a member of the WTO, Barshefsky said, China is moving
from a protectionist position to a more active, strategic role,
an international function it hasn't played for the last two
hundred years. In forecasting the possible effect of this development
on Sino, U.S. relations, Barshefsky was cautiously optimistic.
"I think the Chinese will make a strong, good-faith effort
to implement the WTO agreement," she told the audience in
Burden Auditorium. "We have to work with China and the international
community. I do think this evolution will take a healthy direction,
with the end effect of helping both of our governments manage
crises more efficiently."
Additional keynote speakers included Jin Liqun, China's
viceminister of finance, and Jeffrey R. Shafer, managing director
of Salomon Smith Barney and vice chairman of SSB International.
Saturday's discussion panels examined four main themes: restructuring
and economic reforms, humancapital development, industry adaptation
in Asia, and multinational corporations and entrepreneurship.
A plenary panel on leadership in Asia's recovery,
moderated by HBS associate professor Yasheng Huang, opened with
a spirited presentation by Ko Kheng Hwa (AMP:ISMP 152), managing
director of the Singapore Economic Development Board. "Asia
is not just China, you know!" he said. In addition to highlighting
Singapore's contributions to what he called "rising
Asia," Hwa noted that India's economy is the secondfastest
growing in the world and that Japan, despite its troubles, is
the world's second largest.
Panelist Richard Smith, president of Eli Lilly's
Asia division, noted that China seems to be the odds-on favorite
for leading Asia's recovery, but cited potential for social
unrest as the disparity between rural and urban populations widens.
Wanda S. Tseng, deputy director of the IMF's Asia and Pacific
Department, offered an overview of Asia's current economic
strengths and weaknesses. "There are no quick fixes,"
she stated, an observation echoed by other participants. "The
strongest results will come through the consistent pursuit of
policies that streamline the judicial process, strengthen corporate
governance, and liberalize markets."
Fitzhugh Conference Marks Three Decades of Achievement
celebration of its thirtieth anniversary, this year's African-American
Student Union (AASU) conference was renamed in remembrance of
H. Naylor Fitzhugh (MBA '33), a leader in industry and a
pioneer in business education honored for his role as a mentor
to generations of African Americans. Held the last weekend
in February at the Cambridge Marriott, the conference, titled
"Excelling in the New Competitive Landscape," brought
together some 450 participants to focus on challenges arising
from the current political and economic climate.
Given the prominence of Fitzhugh's legacy throughout
the weekend's events, it was a particularly fitting time
for the PepsiCo Foundation to announce an additional $100,000
donation to the H. Naylor Fitzhugh Professorship, a capstone contribution
for the three-year, $5 million fundraising effort that included
earlier gifts from PepsiCo, alumni, and corporate donors. "H.
Naylor Fitzhugh left a legacy of achievement as a business executive
and a business scholar," said Maurice Cox, PepsiCo's
vice president of corporate development and diversity. "Helping
to endow the chair at HBS, as well as establishing the fellowship
program in his name, is a small way for PepsiCo to acknowledge
his many, many contributions to our business and community."
In a break from tradition, the Civic Commitment Award
, usually given to an alumnus, was presented to HBS
professor emeritus James L. Heskett for his role in creating the
Summer Venture Management Program (SVMP). Founded sixteen years
ago, the SVMP, a weeklong session held at HBS, exposes talented
minority college juniors and seniors to general management issues
through the case method and encourages them to consider careers
Saturday morning packed with sessions covered topics ranging from
consolidation in the media industry to privatization of the public
education system. Ann M. Fudge (MBA '77), recipient of the
Bert King Service Award, delivered the lunchtime keynote address.
In her talk, Fudge, a former group vice president at Kraft Foods,
emphasized the importance of community service and strong values.
"Hold on to honesty, integrity, and respect, for yourself
and everyone else," she said. Material goods are all well
and good, she continued, but the value of "stuff" doesn't
last. "What happens to it all?" she asked. "The
real wealth is family. The true currency is love and friendship."
Later that afternoon, teams of entrepreneurs presented
business plans to a panel of leading venture capitalists. Taking
top prize were Kareem Howard (HBS '02) and Olufemi Omojola
with VehicleSense, a venture that will manufacture wireless magnetic
sensors for use in the telematics area of the transportation industry.
Pamela Thomas-Graham (MBA '88/JD '89), president
and CEO of CNBC, received the Professional Achievement Award and
addressed participants at the black-tie banquet that evening.
Calling on the audience to realize their full leadership potential,
Thomas-Graham said, "Be visible, lead in a visceral
way, even if it means putting yourself at risk."
Another highlight of the conference was the announcement
of a partnership between the HBS African-American Alumni Association
(HBSAAA), the AASU, and the Boys & Girls Club of America to
launch "Connecting Through Caring," an initiative led
by Ann Fudge that focuses on improving literacy in children from
kindergarten through fourth grade. The first phase of the initiative
, an on-campus book drive led by Matthew S. Fields and Marleta
Y. Ross, both HBS '02, has resulted in the collection
of nearly one thousand books. In its second phase, the initiative
will include a reading and coaching program staffed by HBSAAA
volunteers in Atlanta and Boston, the initiative's pilot
"We hope this positive, hands-on approach to reading
will extend the horizons and imaginations of our youth and will
favourably impact their academic performance," said Kenneth
A. Powell (MBA '74), president of the HBSAAA. "This
will give HBS African- American business leaders and their colleagues
the opportunity to have a direct and positive influence on the
development of children, our most important resource for the future."
A number of potential MBA students who participated
in the conference also attended a Prospective Students' Day
on the HBS campus Friday afternoon. The oversubscribed event included
a case study led by HBS professor Thomas J. DeLong and a talk
by Lillian Lincoln (MBA '69), the first African-American
woman to graduate from HBS. "Prospective Students' Day
is an integral part of the School's diversity outreach efforts
to provide minority students with an opportunity to visit HBS
and get to know the community better," said Brit K. Dewey
(MBA '96), managing director of MBA Admissions and Financial
Aid. "This year the event was particularly successful due
to the terrific energy and collaborative spirit of alumni and
the School's minority student leaders. We're very grateful
for their support."
Class of MBA 1969, Section D
Class of MBA 1988, Section H
Class of MBA 1977, Section D
Class of AMP 152
Class of MBA 1992, Section H
Class of MBA 2002, Section K
Class of MBA 2002, Section B
Class of MBA 1975, Section F
Class of OPM 7