Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2009

Student-run conferences focus on the future

Over the past few months, a host of student-organized conferences at the Kellogg School have taken a fresh look at a multitude of business issues. The Business of Healthcare, Real Estate, Marketing (article one and article two), Private Equity and Venture Capital, and Black Management Association conferences addressed a broad range of concerns, including emerging opportunities to invest worldwide and ways to stay relevant in the changing global economy.

In addition, Kellogg students planned and managed two well-attended new conferences: the Africa Business Conference and the Sports Business Conference. Each event brought students, alumni and industry professionals together to discuss insights and trends in areas of rising interest to the business community.

  Joseph Nyagah
  Chris Granger Photos © Dan Dry

Africa Business Conference

More than 250 alumni, students and professionals attended the Kellogg School's first-ever Africa Business Conference, which explored the theme "Emerging Africa: Value Creation in the Next Frontier." Keynote speakers and panelists at the Jan. 30 event emphasized that Africa needs businesspeople to take advantage of the continent's burgeoning opportunities. "You must change the way you perceive Africa," said Joseph Nyagah, the Republic of Kenya's honorable minister of co-op development and marketing. "It's changing politically, economically, socially. It's not like it used to be. The old Africa is gone. We have problems, but we are trying."

Other keynote speakers included Tunde Omotoba '03, Nigeria's minister of aviation; Vijay Mahajan, author of Africa Rising and a professor at the University of Texas; and Arnold Ekpe, CEO of Ecobank Group. Panel discussions focused on the impact of private equity and venture capital in Africa, governance in Africa and the African consumer marketplace.

Sports Business Conference

About 185 students, alumni and sports industry professionals turned out for the Sports Business Conference on Feb. 20. Speakers at the inaugural conference went into depth on the theme "Blazing New Trails: The Growing Need for MBAs in Sports." During a panel discussion on MBA sports careers, Vic Gregovits, Cleveland Indians senior vice president of sales and marketing, said MBAs are needed to help translate data on ticket trends and fan behavior into strategy. "Where you're sitting is good because sales and analytics are growing in our world," Gregovits said. "You've got to be smarter."

Kevin Plank, chairman and CEO of Under Armour, and Chris Granger, a senior vice president at the National Basketball Association, gave keynote addresses. Other panel discussions addressed entrepreneurship, sports sponsorship and the global world of sports.

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