Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Spring 2003Kellogg School of Management
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  Dean Jain and Mayor Daley
Dean Dipak C. Jain with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley at the DFC Conference.
  Steven McMillan
C. Steven McMillan, chairman, president and CEO of Sara Lee Corp. McMillan
  Bryan Cressey
Bryan C. Cressey, managing director of Thoma Cressey Equity Partners
All photos
©2003 Nathan Mandell

Student conferences keep delivering excellence
Innovation and leadership on display at Kellogg School student conferences

by Kari Richardson & Matt Golosinski

Cell phones, instant messaging, wireless Internet access, data marts and video conferencing. Despite the high-profile failures of many dot-coms, these technologies and more have quietly shaped the inner workings of business, government and education, and continue to do so, said industry leaders at the Kellogg School of Management’s Digital Frontier Conference.

The conference, held Jan. 17 and 18 at the James L. Allen Center, featured two dozen panelists with expertise in high-tech business, as well as keynote addresses by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt, Mark Hurd, president and COO of Teradata, and former Napster CEO Hank Barry. Kellogg students organized the ninth annual conference, themed “Technology Means Business,” to bring together industry leaders, executives, alumni, students and faculty.

“The press says that the dot-com boom is over, that the Internet is dead,” said Schmidt, CEO of Internet search firm Google. “All these obnoxious young people are going to go back into hiding. The movement is over. What’s interesting is that there are roughly 100 million homes that claim to have Internet access.”

Mayor Daley (top photo) said technology continues to transform the way the City of Chicago operates, whether it’s by allowing workers to track roadway improvement projects, or make essential information available to citizens online.

While other locales have suffered as a result of over-reliance on one or two industries, Chicago has combined its strong manufacturing base with strengths in the service industry, as well as a growing technology sector, Daley said.

Schmidt said Google, launched well after Yahoo and the now-defunct Excite, managed to become a leading search engine, in part, by remaining a private company while other e-businesses scrambled to go public.

  Online Videos

Richard M. Daley
Mayor of Chicago

- 44 minutes
   Question & Answer - 33 minutes

  Dr. Eric Schmidt
CEO, Google

- 36 minutes
   Question & Answer - 29 minutes
  Mark Hurd
President and COO of Teradata

- 28 minutes
   Question & Answer - 31 minutes
  These videos require RealPlayer

“Access to information is not a trivialissue,” said Schmidt, adding that Google gets hundreds of thank-you letters each year, including notes from people who used the site to find missing children or research the symptoms of heart attack, getting them to the hospital sooner.

Information and innovation were also among the topics at the sixth annual Kellogg marketing conference, where marketing executives emphasized the need for constant innovation to create products that appeal to new and existing customers. Titled “Marketing as a Sustainable Competitive Advantage,” the Jan. 29 event attracted hundreds of participants, including Kellogg School alumni, students, faculty and corporate leaders.

“If you focus only on what you can make versus what the customer wants, you’re in trouble,” said keynote speaker C. Steven McMillan, chairman, president and CEO of Sara Lee Corp. McMillan said Sara Lee developed a culture of change to stay competitive, making hard decisions to sell off 19 businesses within a year to realign its portfolio, and changing management compensation methods to spur innovation.

Other keynotes at the conference were Target Corp. President Gregg Steinhafel and Anne Nelson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Ameritrade Holding Corp.

Panel discussions addressed new product innovation in the consumer packaged goods sector, as well as sports and pharmaceuticals marketing, and how to leverage the latest technology to gain market leadership in the entertainment industry.

The fourth annual Kellogg Private Equity Conference, with its theme of “The Road Ahead,” took place Feb. 19.

With more than 30 speakers from leading venture capital and buy-out firms, the event built on the success of the 2002 conference, which drew some 450 attendees, including principal investors, entrepreneurs, senior executives and Kellogg alumni, faculty and students. Conference keynotes included Bryan C. Cressey, managing director of Thoma Cressey Equity Partners, and T. Bondurant French, CEO of Adams Street Partners. The conference focused on how the private equity industry would emerge from one of the most turbulent economic periods in history.

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University