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Biz Buzz

BIZ BUZZ

B School in 3-D
INSEAD has created a campus in the 3-D online world known as “Second Life.” This virtual community claims more than 5 million users who, as “residents,” populate Second Life with characters, or “avatars,” of their own invention. INSEAD’s presence in this digital village is a nod to both entrepreneurship and innovation. Miklos Sarvary, director of INSEAD’s Centre for Learning Innovation, said the school’s presence on Second Life “is a natural extension of our dedication to provide participants with the most current, real-time technological advancements and deliver top leadership development programs, whether it takes place on a physical campus or online digital world.” INSEAD plans to integrate Second Life into some of its MBA and executive MBA programs. It also plans to use its online campus to stage virtual tours for prospective students interested in studying at INSEAD’s brick-and-mortar campuses in France and Singapore.

Summering in Business
The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) announced this month that it will create the Summer Business Scholars Program, a three-week series of courses on marketing, accounting, finance, and strategy for college juniors and seniors. The program is designed to help undergraduates transition to a career—and to train them to shine among job-seekers. Lecturers for the program include some of Chicago’s top faculty, as well as GSB alumni.

Stanford, meanwhile, is promoting its Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIE), a program in its Graduate School of Business. The SIE targets graduate students who want to learn more about what its takes to turn an entrepreneurial idea into a solid business venture.

The Name of the Game? Competition.
Everywhere you turn, MBA students are competing with one another. Here’s a sample of recent contests.

  • The results of Columbia Business School’s eighth annual “Outrageous Business Plan Competition” came in on March 20, and the name of the game is “organic”—as in GreenWare, the line of disposable, biodegradable plates, cups, and bowls that took top prize in the contest ($6,000 and the title of “Most Outrageous Business Venture) for its creator, student Michael Dwork. (Second prize went to a website that helps groups brainstorm and problem-solve.)
  • Going green was also on the minds of the 10 teams that competed in Thunderbird School of Global Management’s sustainable innovation competition. Student participants tackled a real-world challenge: developing innovative concepts for sustainable business practices by two corporations, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, based on questions from the two companies. Graduate business students from Instituto de Empressa in Madrid took the contest’s top prize (and $20,000). Their solutions suggested ways for Merck to integrate technology in healthcare education for rural consumers. For Johnson & Johnson, they proposed partnering with other corporations to provide affordable healthcare solutions for emerging economies.
  • With $345,000 in cash and prizes at stake, MBA teams from 36 business schools pitched business strategies in seventh Rice University Business Plan Competition, which concluded March 24. The winning plan, from the Johns Hopkins University team, was an idea for cutting the cost and expense of drug discovery by determining new uses for existing drugs. The idea was judged worthy of the competition’s grand prize, which included a $100,000 equity investment, $20,000 in cash, and $85,000 worth of business services.

NEW PROGRAMS
Harvard Business School (HBS) launches a hybrid business/government MBA in conjunction with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The fully integrated, joint degree program will prepare students to “lead at the interface of the public and private sectors.” This June, HBS will offer a new executive education program, Leading Science-Based Enterprises, targeted to executives in the life sciences and biotechnology industries .…. Northwestern’s Kellogg School teams up with the scientists and physicians at Johns Hopkins Medicine to start a new series of programs on “the business of life sciences.” They’re starting with executive education courses in “Business for Scientists” and “Science for Managers,” along with a one-day program with a “strategic thinking” focus for CEOs of biotech and pharmaceutical companies .…. Boston University’s School of Management creates the Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, which will help entrepreneurs in healthcare, life sciences, alternative energy, and other fields transform business plans into sustainable enterprises ….. At the University of North Carolina, the Kenan-Flagler Business School starts “Leveraging the Power of Experience.” The non-degree, executive development initiative is designed to create a focused process for learning from experience as a tool in building leadership talent.

Business and Pleasure? Take 1.
Deep in the heart of California wine country, one of Napa Valley’s major vintners wants MBAs to consider careers in oenology. Jack Cakebread, founder of the eponymous Cakebread Cellars, used to visit a dozen business schools each year, where he’d lecture MBA graduate business students on topics like how finance, marketing, and distribution play out in a winery. Now he brings the students to him, inviting students from top business schools to “Cakebread U,” an immersion field experience. Students spend a few days at Cakebread’s winery, taking in lectures, learning the latest wine-making techniques and, yes, tasting the product. Cakebread’s mission is to attract new business talent to the highly competitive wine industry.

Business and Pleasure? Take 2.
You’re a professional football player eyeing the end of your playing career. How do you prepare for life after the gridiron? This year, more than 100 professional football players decided the answer was graduate management education. Or to be precise, the NFL Graduate Management and Entrepreneurial Program, offered by top business schools in conjunction with the NFL and the NFL Players Association. Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, and Stanford all offer the program, which covers topics ranging from real estate development to stock market investing.

Marketing around the camp fire: summer camp for future entrepreneurs
To try to attract more women to careers in business, Cornell University has for the past five years sponsored Camp $tart-Up, a week-long program for girls ages 13 to 19. From lectures, guest speakers, and classroom lessons, attendees learn some of the basics of finance, marketing, and operations. Their culminating project is the presentation of a business plan for a company they create during the week. Local entrepreneurs address the camp, as do some accomplished graduates of Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Current students in the Johnson School get academic credit for helping to run the camp. The 2007 session of Camp $tart-Up takes place June 23–30 on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York.

Yale Goes Green
As part of a new curriculum at the Yale School of Management, students are required to travel abroad in the International Experience. This year, a group of students wanted to make sure their classmates kept a close eye on their trips’ environmental footprint. Five students organized a voluntary program that let students and faculty purchase “carbon emissions offsets” to make up for the more than two million pounds of greenhouse gases that all trips together were expected to produce. Students, faculty, and two anonymous donors purchased enough offsets to make the estimated three million miles traveled essentially carbon neutral. The money for the offsets is invested in the production of renewable energy, reforestation, and other greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

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