22 Feb 2019
Empowering a New Generation of Business Leaders
Clubs News: Atlanta mentors middle-schoolers; Florida's fireside chat with Titans of broadcastingby Margie KelleyTopics:
Ten alumni from the HBS Club of Atlanta spent a day in early February mentoring and coaching 70 middle-schoolers as they learned how to launch a small business.
Working with Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia, the HBS volunteers joined the young entrepreneurs at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta for a program called JA BizTown, where students learn business concepts and skills through a simulated economy in which they create and run a company.
“We had a very rewarding JA day,” says Tom Mallory (MBA 1990), who organized the effort. “We [worked with] 6th graders from a local public school, and each adult volunteer was assigned a team of about 7 kids. These groups were tasked with starting and running a company while the adult volunteers would act as consultants to help out when needed, mostly guiding and encouraging group communication.”
Each group was assigned a product or service to turn into a business, and then the rest was up to them. That included raising money to start the business, creating a marketing plan, and developing some of the company’s operations, like banking, sales tracking, payroll for the 7 employees, inventory management, and invoicing of other services. Mallory says the kids would shop at each other’s companies, but only “after the company was operating and employees were paid.”
In the weeks prior to JA BizTown, students get instructions on how to start and operate a business.
“Even so, a lot of mistakes were made which made for great teaching moments and unanticipated creativity and fun,” says Mallory, who also served as a team consultant. “For instance, after a considerable period of anemic sales of their product (neon rubber wrist bands), the Chief Marketing Officer of my team’s company created a new concept for the product—wearing these wrist bands around your ears and eye glasses. He then paraded through JA BizTown like an eccentric and crusading entrepreneur, hawking the product’s cool use. Suddenly, our store was flooded with buyers!”
Overall, the day was a success, and Mallory is optimistic that the club will work with JA again.
“We had never done anything with JA before, but clearly there is an interest,” he says. “I enjoyed watching and interacting with these high-energy kids as they blossomed and got more excited as the day progressed. I also felt appreciated by the kids and JA staff, who set a very positive and spirited tone.”
A Fireside Chat with Titans of Broadcasting in South Florida
The HBS Club of South Florida and the HBS Latino Alumni Association co-sponsored an exclusive, sold-out Fireside Chat on February 4, featuring César Conde, Chairman of NBCUniversal International Group and NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, and moderated by HBS Professor Henry McGee, former President of HBO Home Entertainment.
Held at the brand-new, nearly half-million-square-foot Telemundo Center, the new Miami headquarters of Comcast-NBCUniversal, the event started with a cocktail reception before guests were treated to a private tour of the massive media production facilities.
Jaqueline Burgos (MBA 2014) opened the chat by introducing Professor McGee, a media industry expert and entrepreneur who was named one of the 50 most powerful African Americans in the entertainment business by Black Enterprise magazine.
“Then we had a very lively discussion about the current state of the media industry in general and its future, as more non-TV delivery methods—like streaming to your phone—take over. Professor McGee and Cèsar Conde gave some background on the economics of the entire industry and how the business model has changed,” says Luis Zuluaga (MBA 2001), who organized the event with Shirley Cardona (MBA 2012) and Lulu Curiel (MBA 2010).
Zuluaga says Conde and McGee also referred to a recent HBS case that explored Conde’s role in making Telemundo the “fastest-growing network in the U.S.” Guests were able to read the case prior to the chat, which made the discussion quite substantive, according to Zuluaga.
Under Conde’s leadership, Telemundo has become the leading Spanish-language network for the first time in the company’s history. He has overseen Telemundo’s transformation into an increasingly innovative media company, with an emphasis on original programming, reality television, sports, music, and news. Conde has also implemented an aggressive multiplatform digital strategy to reach tech-savvy consumers through streaming services, social media, virtual reality and programming partnerships. As a result, Telemundo has become one of the top networks in social engagement in the industry.
“Conde talked about the challenges of understanding the changing preferences of young American-born Latinos,” says Zuluaga. “He calls them the two-hundred percenters—they identify as 100% Latino and 100% American. They’re comfortable with both Spanish and English. They’re similar to millennials in terms of the challenges in figuring out what they want.”
During the Q & A, one guest asked Conde to share what he’s learned from his mistakes in the industry. “He talked about a few television programs that fell flat, despite big investments,’ says Zuluaga. “He told us to be sure to hedge your bets because there are big risks in trying to understand your audience.”
Class of MBA 1990, Section D
Class of MBA 2014, Section H
Class of MBA 2001, Section C
Class of MBA 2012, Section I
Class of MBA 2010, Section I