Topic: Business Analytics
Moderator: Arnie Greenland - Decision, Operations & Information Technologies
Not Your Father's Database
Information abounds in the digital age, as more people engage in social media and conduct business online. But emails, tweets and other data sources — such as security camera archives — lack the structure of classical computer databases. How, exactly, can organizations analyze photos, videos and text messages to make better business decisions? Smith School professor Arnie Greenland will lead a discussion on the future of unstructured data, focusing on the analytical methods and tools developed to deal with the complex technical challenges.
Moderator: Charles Olson - Logistics, Business & Public Policy
Lean, Green and Disruptive
Fracking, ultra-deep sea drilling and cleaner alternative technologies have shaken up the energy industry. The next decade could bring even bigger disruption. Will streets go silent with driverless electric cars, while delivery drones hover overhead? Will smart homes and appliances study your habits, then take steps to cut your utility bills? Smith School professor Charley Olson will lead a discussion featuring key players in the industry, including producers, distributors and new players working to provide consumers with real-time information about their energy usage.
Alternative Investments and the Global Economy
An "alternative investment" is any that lies outside the familiar asset classes of cash, stocks and bonds. This can include real estate and even fine-vintage wine, but the panel will focus on the alternatives that have been in the news so much recently: private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. With some 10,000 alternative-asset firms managing $7 billion globally, they are a crucial component of the world economy, but they remain little understood — or eyed with suspicion. The panel will discuss the role alternatives investments can play in a portfolio and how these big players ought to be regulated — or, in some cases, left alone.
Topic: Women in Leadership
Moderator: Joyce Russell - Management & Organization
Business Athletes: Perspectives From Senior Women Leaders
The qualities that make a great athlete are strikingly similar to the qualities that make a great business leader. To rise to the top of an organization or a sport, you have to have passion, total commitment, tenacity, a strong work ethic and a goal-driven mentality. These are just some of the key differentiators of the best athletes and top leaders in business. In this panel, female leaders in a variety of professions — from marketing to sports to finance — will discuss how you can make use of a "business athlete" model to make it to the top of your profession.
Topic: Social Value Creation
Moderator: Christine Beckman - Management & Organization
Stakeholder Orientation: The Key to a Resilient Enterprise
Some companies are embracing a perspective that values not just shareholders but all "stakeholders" — including customers, suppliers, employees and the environment. Many consumers know that Patagonia, for example, publishes the environmental impact of its clothing and uses recycled materials in many of its products. Starbucks has recently received attention for providing free tuition for employees to receive a bachelor’s degree online. The panel will discuss how a stakeholder orientation can be incorporated into business, and why that might be an attractive option.
Moderator: Rajshree Agarwal - Management & Organization
The Next Big Idea: Attend This Panel
Steve Jobs was a college dropout who tinkered with computers. What if he had come to your insurance company or shoe factory looking for work? Would you have turned him away because his background didn’t match your expectations or narrow job requirements? Companies that thrive in the knowledge economy of 2025 will be those that learn how to span boundaries and collaborate with diverse partners. Smith School professor Rajshree Agarwal will lead a discussion on how to unleash innovation — drawing insights from experts working on the front lines of research and development.
Topic: Leading with a Global Mindset
Moderator: Gary Cohen - Logistics, Business & Public Policy
Leading with a Global Mindset
Business leaders increasingly have dealings with colleagues outside the U.S. They work abroad, they manage foreign branches, or they simply source materials from overseas. These executives need a skill set that extends beyond business expertise. They need awareness and openness — awareness of the diversity of cultures they will be interacting with, openness to learning more about those cultures (including distinctive business customs and conventions). The panel will share insights about what it means to have a global mindset, and offer tips on how to get one.
Moderator: Elana Fine - Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship
Fundraising 101: Advice From Founders and 'Angels'
The Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship's Angel investor network is made up of successful business owners, CXOs and venture capitalists. Since its inception, its members have collectively invested more than $10 million in nearly 50 Mid-Atlantic startups, focusing on the technology sector. In this primer on fundraising, you'll hear from both sides of the table: Company founders will discuss how they've raised capital while the Dingman Center Angels reveal what inspires them to open their checkbooks. We'll discuss funding options, give advice on pitching, and outline the resources the Dingman Center can offer to startups as well as aspiring investors.
Moderator: Kenyon Crowley - Center for Health Information & Decision Systems
What's the Rx for Our Ailing Health Care System?
U.S. health care is the most expensive in the world, yet outcomes here are typically no better (and in some cases are worse) than those seen in other developed nations. The industry is bedeviled by software systems that can't communicate, by complex regulations and by a lack of transparency. But industry leaders, policymakers and entrepreneurs are finding new ways to improve the patient experience, support clinical providers, evaluate the cost-effectiveness of interventions, identify at-risk populations and educate health care consumers. The panel will discuss new developments and opportunities in this vital sector.
Topic: Sustainability and Supply Chain
Moderator: Taylor Wilkerson
Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
More and more consumers want companies to be environmentally and socially responsible — sustainable, in a word. Whatever its other merits, sustainability can be good for business (by encouraging brand loyalty, for example). But maintaining standards can be difficult across a sprawling supply chain. Experts from various backgrounds and industries will discuss different ways to define sustainability and explore how the concept influences how they vet business partners and subsequently work with them. At a time when one slip-up by a partner can damage your brand, this is a crucial conversation.
Moderator: Joe Bailey - Decision, Operations & Information Technologies
Technology and Innovation Leadership
It used to be that business leaders could leave technology to the engineers. The spheres of the MBA and the techie rarely overlapped. But more and more, technology is a crucial part of almost every type of business — meaning businesspeople need to have a working knowledge of what technologists do, and vice-versa. Professor Bailey will lead a panel discussion touching on such questions as: How can my company help people blend business and technical skills? What makes a good leader of a technical team? And if I'm an MBA, do I really need to learn to code?