Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Spring 2005Kellogg School of Management
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  Robert Grady
  © Nathan Mandell
The Private Equity Conference held March 9, spotlighted the current golden era of private equity, which keynote speaker Robert E. Grady, managing partner of Carlyle Venture Partners, said has greatly benefited the U.S. economy.
Upcoming Kellogg School conferences:
  Biotechnology Conference — April 15-16, 2005
European Business Conference — April 20, 2005
Manufacturing Business Conference — May 11, 2005

Conferences create intellectual capital while testing student leadership

by Deborah Leigh Wood

When it comes to hosting quality conferences, the Kellogg School excels, mainly because of the second-year students who organize them, says Debra Steele, coordinator of special events at the school.

Over the last three years, Kellogg has orchestrated 36 conferences, most of them sold to capacity, attended by students, alumni and guest speakers from around the world. After undergoing a training program, conference coordinators set to work establishing a theme, soliciting sponsors and recruiting experts to deliver keynote speeches and participate on panels, among other details.

In addition to delivering valuable content for both practitioners and scholars, the conferences give student coordinators "a wonderful leadership opportunity that will serve them well when they graduate," says Gina Chiasson, assistant director of corporate relations, who, along with Steele, leads the training programs.

This year's initiatives included the Oct. 27 Finance Conference, which focused on restoring public confidence in light of corporate scandals. Business and financial institutions must employ in-house programs that go beyond the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, said keynote speaker James Dollive, executive vice president and CFO of Kraft Foods.

The Leadership Conference, held Nov. 17, featured FBI Director Robert Mueller, who said that after 9/11 his priorities switched from running a crime-focused organization to one that combats terrorism. To make that switch, he said, "You have to identify leaders within your organization and make them part of your team."

The Women's Business Association Conference on Jan. 19 focused on succeeding professionally while also balancing family obligations. Clif Bar CEO Sheryl O'Loughlin '94 said merely acknowledging the tension of that challenge can help women make good choices.

Private Equity Internship Program gives students firsthand experience
Now in its second year, the Private Equity Internship Program (PEIP) at the Kellogg School gives first-year students the opportunity to work at a private equity firm in the Chicago area for eight weeks in the summer.

"The firms benefit because they have talented students working for them. The students benefit because it greatly accelerates their learning of private equity," says Derrick K. Collins, clinical assistant professor of finance at Kellogg. Collins oversees PEIP and advises interns on writing a case study of the host company, a component of the internship.

The interns receive a half-credit and $1,000 a week, supported by the Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice at the Kellogg School.


The Jan. 28–29 Marketing Conference emphasized the importance of flexibility, innovation and creativity to reach consumers in an increasingly competitive marketplace. One good example is consumer ethnography, or "deep hanging-out with consumers," said John F. Sherry Jr., Kellogg School professor of marketing.

Sometimes word-of-mouth turns out to be the best form of marketing, said second keynote speaker Gary Briggs '89, vice president and general manager of eBay Canada.

At the Feb. 12 Latin American Business Conference, Bruce Boren '95, CEO of Televisa Networks, said his company's rapid global growth is indicative of burgeoning trade between Latin America and other countries.

As Asia's culture and goods flow throughout the world, its business leaders grapple with how to offer improved goods and services and still remain competitive, said experts at the Feb. 26 Asian Business Conference. For the first time, the conference merged the Asian and Indian business conferences.

Pokémon is one company that has successfully made the transition, said Akira Chiba, president of Pokémon USA. The Japanese company markets its products in five languages. On the other hand, some storefront businesses in Asia engage in piracy to compete and are now facing litigation and shutdowns, said Guy Bouchet '94, vice president at A.T. Kearney.

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University