The first QUEST & GE Innovation and Consulting Conference, held on
December 13, 2006, was the highlight of the year for seniors in the
Smith School’s Quality Enhancement and Teams (QUEST) Program. More
than 200 people gathered to view the storyboards and hear student
teams describe their consulting projects on a night that capped off
months of hard work and preparation.
The projects form the senior practicum portion of the QUEST
Program. QUEST, one of the Smith School’s specialized Undergraduate
Fellows tracks, is operated jointly with the A. James Clark School
of Engineering and admits students from the Smith School, the Clark
School and the College of Mathematical, Computer and Physical
Seniors in the QUEST program spend the better part of the fall
semester working with a faculty advisor on consulting projects for
corporations, all of which have real-life importance and
implications. This year student teams worked on 15 consulting
projects for 14 companies in industries that ranged the gamut from
aerospace to auto manufacturing, and hospitality services to health
care. QUEST consulting projects gave companies a chance to see some
of the school’s best students in action and gain valuable business
solutions, while giving students the opportunity to work with
real-life executives on real-life business problems—a win-win
situation for both students and businesses.
about the QUEST program and about last fall’s consulting projects.
AOL’s Ted Leonsis Speaks at CIO Forum
video of Leonsis' speech
academicians and students gathered for an exceptional day of
learning and sharing at the Smith School’s 7th Annual CIO Forum,
held on November 3, 2006. Keynote speaker Ted Leonsis, vice chairman
of AOL, talked about strategically managing information technology
for the past three decades and how the recent shift in consumer
needs is changing business.
Leonsis told his audience that the nation’s media model is
insufficient for a world where young people spend the hours from 3
p.m. to 8 p.m. with six things going at the same time: cell phones,
Internet (instant messaging), music, video games, TV, and homework.
People are becoming massive multitaskers, and they expect — and
demand — both choice and control. The world to come is one where
niche marketing is king, says Leonsis, and consumers want to be able
to plug and play, to interoperate.
Leonsis described AOL’s recent strategy in terms of capitalizing
on, not capitulating to, this new reality. “We wanted to take AOL
back from Time Warner and Wall Street and stabilize, revitalize and
reconceptualize our company,” said Leonsis. In August of this year,
AOL went from a 20-year subscription business with an ad business
attached to it, to an ad business with a subscription attached to
it, and grew revenues ($563 million of profit in this quarter). “We
gave away what we used to charge for,” he said. “I believe it
happened because AOL bottled up this new consumer and algorithmic
Check out video highlights from Leonsis’
speech and video of Martin Menard, director of the Product
Capability Group, a part of the Information Services and Technology
Group (ISTG) at Intel Corporation, speaking on the future ubiquity
of wireless Internet.