Posts by Kelly Vo

Oct 20, 2017 by

Oxford Saïd Dean, Together with Apple’s Tim Cook, Launches New Entrepreneurial Hub

Building on the success of Saïd Business School’s Oxford Launchpad and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Oxford University has launched a new entrepreneurial hub: the Oxford Foundry. Saïd Dean Peter Tufano and Apple CEO Tim Cook helped kick things off at an October 11 launch event.

The new student-led and student-centric hub will be open to all 23,000 Oxford students and is part of an effort to inspire campus-wide innovation. Its focus will be to help students develop their entrepreneurial skills as well as create and scale ventures.

The Oxford Foundry will welcome students from all academic disciplines, from engineering and medicine to history and business. The goal is to take these students from all different backgrounds and bring them together to learn from one another, generate new ideas, and tackle business and societal issues.

In particular, the new hub will support students in the three following ways:

  • Community Building: The Oxford Foundry will draw inspirational and leading figures in the entrepreneurial world to speak to students and exchange ideas. It will also have a student advisory board and will partner with societies across the university including the 10,000-strong Oxford Entrepreneurs.
  • Experiential Learning: The Oxford Foundry will host problem-solving competitions and workshops to help students put various skills and ideas to work.
  • Start-Up Support: Each year, a select number of ventures will receive support including dedicated workspace, access to networks, and industry expertise to scale and start their ventures.

Oxford has a strong history of entrepreneurship and has produced more founders of “unicorn” businesses (worth $1 billion or more) than any other school in Europe. The new Oxford Foundry promises to only further strengthen this entrepreneurial community.

A look inside the new Oxford Hub.

“Entrepreneurship is of increasing importance to students. As a generation, millennials desire to be more socially responsible, innovative and to make an impact,” Oxford Foundry Director Ana Bakshi said in a university press release. “Whether starting their own ventures or aspiring to lead in organizations, the Oxford Foundry will develop students’ entrepreneurial skills, understanding, and self-efficacy. The aim is to create future leaders whatever career they pursue.”

The Oxford Foundry spans two floors in a renovated Victorian ice factory. It offers co-working space, presentation areas, a café, and incubator space for accelerating new ventures.

To learn more about the Oxford Foundry, visit the school website.

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Oct 19, 2017 by

What Georgetown McDonough MBA Students Learn Outside the Classroom

georgetown mbas

What do Colin Powell, an Indiana dairy farm, the DC Department of Public Works, and a triathalon have in common? They are all part of the fabric that comprises life outside of the classroom for MBA students at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Sure, it makes sense to judge a business school on what takes place inside the classroom. But in skimming three seemingly unrelated recent news briefs from the school, we realized that taken together they help paint a picture of what life outside the classroom can look like.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell Speaks

In September, the former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell visited Georgetown McDonough to speak on the subject of leadership. He discussed his former military and government experience, as well as a turning point in his career: earning his MBA. The event was part of the Stanton Distinguished Leaders Series and was hosted by the McDonough Military Association, an MBA student club for military veterans.

Faculty, staff, alumni, and students were all invited to observe the conversation, which began with Powell touching on his MBA education. He shared with attendees about how his MBA—which he earned from George Washington University in 1971—enabled him to focus “on the more human elements of leadership,” explained the McDonough press release. He also talked about how he improved his management and leadership skills by gaining a better understanding of basic human psychology.

Powell then went on to speak about his career. He shared his experience of being pulled in a variety of different directions, including public service positions, telling audience members: “You serve where you are needed. This is what service is all about.”

Then, he went on to highlight what he views as essential components of effective leadership, namely helping others, stressing the human element of an organization, and building trust. He explained that he never tried to be an authority but to influence others, stating “leadership and followership are completely enmeshed.”

Finally, he touched on the importance of diversity. “We are a vibrant economy because of immigration,” he said. “We shouldn’t demonize anyone.” He talked about how diversity is important for leadership and for building a stronger America. The event ended with questions from audience members and drew praise from many in attendance.

As Prashant Malaviya, an Associate Professor of Marketing at McDonough, said on Twitter: “Honor and privilege to welcome Colin Powel to Georgetown McDonough. Amazing talk! Thank you!”


Hands-On Experience

Outside of learning from presentations and speakers, MBA students at McDonough also learn through hands-on opportunities such as a recent visit to Fair Oaks Farms, a sustainable dairy farm in Indiana, as well as a summer internship with the DC Department of Public Works (DPW).

The farm visit, which included 18 MBA students, was part of the course “Principled Leadership in Business and Society” taught by Associate Professor Ed Soule.

The trip was designed to help students learn more about sustainable business by seeing it in practice. Fair Oaks Farm is the sixth largest dairy cooperative in the nation and an agri-tourism destination owned by Sue and Mike McCloskey. While visiting, MBA students were able to see how the farm employed various practices and technologies to minimize its environmental footprint while maximizing the comfort level of the cows.

“It’s one thing to read a case about a sustainable business, but seeing it and meeting the people adds another dimension,” Soule said in a news release about the trip. “The other objective of the trip was for them to interface casually with the McCloskeys, to pose questions, and get a more nuanced understanding of the business.”

Second-year MBA student Emma Loughman called the farm an “epicenter of innovation” and said she enjoyed learning about the difference between organic and sustainable farming.

As for the internship with the DC DPW, two students—Paul LaCorte (MBA ’18) and Leo Dzidziguri (MBA ’18)—participated in the trial program between the department and Georgetown McDonough. Over the course of the hands-on, three-month experience, the students responded to a request by the city administrator to evaluate two critical areas: light vehicle repair turnaround and citywide compliance and preventative maintenance.

The internship required data collection, analysis, visualization, process mapping, site visits, and audits. “We were involved in projects that required knowledge from multiple fields,” Dzidziguri said in a news release. “For example, I performed statistical analysis on several years of data to identify reasons why the Fleet Management division could not meet its key performance indicators, while at the same time studying the operations and recommending a new map for more efficient processes.”

Extracurricular Fun and Fitness

Finally, no MBA program is complete without a bit of friendly competition. Early in September, three Georgetown MBA students participated in the 12th Annual Nation’s Triathlon. Hall Wang (MBA ’19), Taylor DeVoe (Evening MBA ’20), and James Hesburgh (MBA ’19) signed up for a 1,500-meter swim, 26.2-mile bike ride, and 10k run relay—respectively. This was an opportunity for the MBA students to meet outside the classroom and campus to explore their common interests.

In a short news brief on the school website, Wang described the triathlon as a relationship-building experience. “I like to think we showed what the Georgetown MBA experience is all about,” he said. “Regardless of cohort or program, we build relationships and partake in our community, one fun adventure at a time. Ours just started with a really early alarm clock and ended with some sore body parts, but now we have an exciting story to tell.” 

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Oct 11, 2017 by

Social Impact MBAs: Programs That Help Students Make a Difference in the World

Social Impact MBAs

For years, social impact has been a growing area of emphasis at business schools. Increasingly, MBA students are stating that a well-paying career isn’t enough: They also want to make a difference.

As Sherryl Kuhlman, the managing director of the Social Impact Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told U.S. News & World Report: “Our students want to make the world go round in a different way. [They are no longer willing to] take a job they don’t like so they can give their money away later. They want to merge the money and the purpose.”

MBA programs incorporate social impact into their programs in various ways, through global experiences, coursework, clubs, competitions, and more. MBA students may also have opportunities to team up with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to get hands-on experience during their graduate studies.

So if you’re interested in social impact, what opportunities should you look for within an MBA program?

Centers and Initiatives

Some schools run entire centers and initiatives dedicated to the idea of social change. Typically, these centers provide the foundation around which a variety of social impact opportunities are built, including research, career help, events, and course development.

For example, the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin recently launched its Social Innovation Initiative, which provides students, faculty, and the community with preparation to promote social change. The initiative offers graduate-level curricular offerings, with courses such as “Energy Technology and Policy” and “Invisible Global Marketing.” There are also many extracurricular activities such as the Social Impact Investment Fund, a peer-created fund that provides financial support for MBA students pursuing internships in the social impact space.

“The creation of the Social Innovation Initiative is a crucial step in bringing UT’s overlapping communities together to collectively address the world’s most pressing challenges,” Dr. Meeta Kothare, managing director of the initiative, said in a press release. “The interdisciplinary nature of the initiative is key because the most impactful social innovations often result from collaborations among private, public, and social sectors.”

At Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB), the Center for Social Innovation aims to bring about social and environmental change through research, education, and experiential learning opportunities. For MBA students, the center offers social innovation courses, study trips, the potential to participate in an investment committee, and fellowships to provide leadership opportunities. The school even hosts an annual ceremony each spring drawing together a tight-knit core of students, faculty, and alumni who share a commitment to social innovation. Three classes of awards are handed out to a dozen students at the event, and Dean Emeritus Arjay Miller, 101, attends to encourage the continuation of a community of social innovation he helped found at the GSB while dean from 1969 to 1976.

Then, there’s the Yale School of Management Program on Social Enterprise. This initiative supports faculty, students, alumni, and practitioners in their pursuit of using business skills to achieve social objectives. It does this by offering a span of programs including courses such as “Global Social Enterprise” and “Managing Sustainable Operations,” as well as research, conferences, and publications. For extracurricular activities, students can participate in the Social Impact Lab, a weekly forum with opportunities to engage with industry leaders and each other, as well as the Economic Development Symposium, an annual conference that brings together eminent scholars, action agents, and key opinion leaders to work on solutions to pressing economic development issues.


For many business schools, social entrepreneurship is offered part and parcel with their MBA degrees. These programs can range from a one-week social enterprise trip overseas to a formal concentration within the MBA program.

At Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, MBA students can elect a Social Impact pathway concentration. This pathway is designed for students who want to create positive social change and includes required courses on a variety of topics from “Leadership and Crisis Management” to “Public Economics for Business Leaders” and “Health and Human Rights.” Within the pathway, there are three tracks: policy, nonprofit, and social innovation, each offering in-depth coursework to position students for their desired careers.

Meanwhile, MBA students at Emory’s Goizueta Business School can explore social impact through an annual seven- to 10-day Social Enterprise @ Goizueta Trip. These trips take students to countries around the world to observe the challenges that local economies face and develop market-based solutions. Alumni and evening MBA students can also travel to Nicaragua to visit coffee farms and meet growers. Full-time MBA students can visit Nicaragua or El Salvador to explore social enterprises on the ground and work on community health projects.


Some schools offer hands-on experience in social impact to their students in the form of social venture competitions.

Through Harvard Business School (HBS)’s Social Enterprise Initiative, which aims to educate, inspire, and support leaders across all sectors to create social change, MBA students can participate in the New Venture Competition (NVC). The competition offers participants a grand prize of $50,000 as well as workshop opportunities, feedback, and business plan development advice.

Designed for students and alumni interested in using their business skills to create innovative approaches to tackling social problems, the Social Venture Competition at NYU Stern School of Business is similar to that of HBS’s NVC. Over the last 11 years it has awarded more than $900,000 to startup social ventures developed by students.


Net Impact is one of the most popular social impact clubs, with chapters across the globe. More than 100,000 individuals have joined more than 300 chapters across the world to take on social challenges, protect the environment, and orient business toward social impact. The Net Impact chapter at UCLA Anderson School of Management, for example, has been awarded Gold Status, which recognizes it as a high-performing chapter and qualifies it to serve on the national Net Impact advisory board.

One of highlights of Net Impact is the annual Net Impact Conference, which welcomes attendees from across the globe to hear from keynote speakers, such as Clif Bar CEO Kevin Clearly and Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the Center for Civil and Human Rights. Attendees at the Net Impact Conference can also take part in a variety of workshops, panels, and boot camps on topics ranging from civic engagement to equity.

In addition to Net Impact chapters, many MBA programs also offer their own social enterprise-focused student organizations. For example, the Social Enterprise Club at Columbia Business School connects students with faculty, alumni, professionals, and organizations to develop business skills and create social, environmental, and economic value.


At Oxford Saïd Business School, MBA students have the opportunity to apply for the Skoll Scholarship, a competitive award for students pursuing entrepreneurial solutions to urgent social and environmental challenges. The scholarship provides funding as well as opportunities for the award winners to meet and interact with world-renowned entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and investors. To qualify, an applicant must have three years of experience in social enterprise and be an incoming MBA student.

At Duke’s Fuqua Business School, there’s the CASE Social Sector Scholarship for incoming daytime MBA students. Scholarship recipients receive at least 25 percent tuition support as well as funding from the CASE Summer Internship Fund. Incoming MBA students who can demonstrate their commitment to applying their business skills in the pursuit of social impact are eligible to apply.

This is far from an exhaustive list—rather it’s a sampling of the wide-ranging opportunities to study social impact across MBA programs around the world. We hope it can provide a jumping off point as you begin to investigate social impact opportunities at your target schools.

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Oct 6, 2017 by

Chicago Booth Alum Pair Give $75 Million to Their Alma Mater

chicago booth $75 million

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business’s coffers just grew—and its top scholars will be called by a new name—thanks to a $75 million alumni gift announced today. In recognition of the gift, students who earn highest academic honors while at Booth will be known as the Amy and Richard F. Wallman Scholars, after donors Amy Wallman, MBA’75, and Richard Wallman, MBA’74. The Wallmans’ gift will be used to support several initiatives, including scholarships for students in the full-time, evening, weekend, and executive MBA programs, as well as enhanced co-curricular programming, faculty research, and emerging priorities.

“We have great affection for the University of Chicago—the Booth School of Business is world class, and we hope our gift makes it even better,” Amy Wallman said in a press release. “The Booth School is very special to us not only because we met there,” Richard Wallman added, “but also because we have sponsored 26 scholarship recipients over the years and are delighted to have had a modest impact on these students’ lives.”

Amy Wallman began a 26-year career at EY after completing her Booth MBA, retiring as an audit partner in 2001. She later served as director at pharmaceutical firm Omnicare from 2004 to 2015. Richard Wallman began his post-MBA career with the Ford Motor Company and went on to serve as chief financial officer and senior vice president of Honeywell International Inc., a diversified industrial technology and manufacturing company, and its predecessor AlliedSignal, from 1995 to 2003. He also held senior financial positions with IBM and Chrysler Corporation.

Dean Madhav Rajan, who took the helm at Chicago Booth this past July, welcomed the generous gift, calling it an “endorsement of Chicago Booth’s enduring strengths, in our programs and our extraordinary faculty.” Continued success rests on maintaining and extending the school’s prominence in research and in developing the world’s next leaders, he added.

“The Wallman Scholars will be recognized as preeminent in this cadre of future leaders, modeling the potential and the spirit of their benefactors,” Rajan said. The permanent designation will be bestowed upon graduating MBA students who earn high honors at Booth. It will also be given retroactively to top alumni, according to the school’s press release.

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The Wallmans, for their part, shared that they were impressed with Rajan’s vision for the school and hope their gift will help advance that vision. “This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the careers of Chicago Booth students for generations to come and express our gratitude to those who have helped us,” Amy Wallman said in the press release. “Our parents were great role models to both of us; they gave us the confidence that we could accomplish anything.”

Richard Wallman also shared appreciation for the impact working for former Honeywell International Chairman and CEO Larry Bossidy had on his career and his life and thanked friends at Centerbridge Partners and Merrill Lynch, whom he called “key enablers of this gift.”

For more about the Wallmans’ $75 million gift to Chicago Booth, click here.

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Oct 5, 2017 by

Oxford Saïd Launches New Virtual Hub

Oxford Said Virtual Hub

The Oxford Hub for International Virtual Education (HIVE) is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and the second of its kind in the world. Located at the University of Oxford Saïd Business School, the new virtual classroom will use technology to connect students, faculty, and participants from around the world. It’s the latest development in the school’s digital agenda.

HIVE is a physical room with 27 high-definition screens shaped in a U. The technology—developed by SyncRTC and operated by the software—will allow up to 84 participants to engage with each other at one time. It’s far more advanced than traditional conferencing platforms. The software uses robotics along with facial recognition technology and 4D high-definition projections to create an immersive experience for both learners and teachers.

Oxford Saïd plans to use the HIVE in many ways, for everything from classes to pitching competitions. It will be especially useful for connecting faculty and students around the globe. Teachers will be able to address participants individually, split users into groups, conduct polls, and more. It’s a fully immersive experience that allows all participants to see and hear one another. Not only that, the software monitors the attentiveness of each individual and provides a score for them at the end based on their facial expressions and engagement with the class.

A look inside the Oxford HIVE

“While the Oxford experience is an integral part of our approach, the methods by which we teach and learn are changing,” Saïd Dean Peter Tufano said in a press release. “At Oxford Saïd we’ve been making decisive investments so we can learn about new pedagogies. The Oxford HIVE will allow us to teach, learn, and share ideas as a global community, and we see it as a crucial tool to unite our global community in support of our mission to tackle world scale challenges.” He added that it will also allow alumni to gather virtually as if they were on campus in Oxford.

“In a hive, bees work to make honey. At the Oxford HIVE, we will work to build knowledge,” Tufano said.

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Sep 29, 2017 by

LBS Opens New Sammy Ofer Centre Expanding Its Teaching Space by 70 Percent

LBS Sammy Ofer Centre

On September 26, the London Business School opened its new, state-of-the-art teaching hub: the Sammy Ofer Centre. Located in Old Marylebone Town Hall, the new center will increase teaching space at LBS by 70 percent. It includes 37 seminar rooms, six new lecture theaters, a new library, and multiple breakout areas. The center also features a mix of classical 1920s structure with the latest in architectural design for a beautiful aesthetic.

Of the new center, LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné said in a press release: “The school’s London location puts us at the heart of the world’s financial and business community and has shaped our character and success since the early 1960s. The Sammy Ofer Centre embodies the quality of the LBS brand and promotes an exciting future for the school.”

The opening of the Sammy Ofer Centre was made possible due to a fundraising campaign that raised more than £125 million, a portion of which was used to develop the new facility. During the campaign, LBS also received its largest gift ever, a £25 million donation from the Idan and Batia Ofer Family Foundation. Thanks to that generous gift, the new center was named in honor of the late Sammy Ofer KBE, an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

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As for the motivation behind the £25 million donation from the Ofer Family Foundation, Idan Ofer was an MBA graduate from LBS and wanted to give back to the school that helped shape him.

“Seeing the new center with my own eyes has brought alive to me the tremendous spirit of this institution and why it deserves its reputation,” Idan Ofer said in a press release. “LBS is rightly considered among the best in its class, renowned for nurturing the entrepreneurs and leaders of tomorrow, something which has always been close to my heart. I am confident that this wonderful new building will ensure the school is fully equipped to serve the next generation of students and to remain at the front rank of business education worldwide.”

Many school officials and influencers attended the official September 26 opening ceremony for the Sammy Ofer Centre. Among them were Idan and Batia Ofer, the Hon Apurv Bagri, chairman of LBS’s governing body and managing director of the Metdist Group of companies; LBS Dean François Ortalo-Magné, and former LBS Dean Sir Andrew Likierman.

For more on the much-anticipated new addition to the LBS campus, click here.

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