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MBA@UNC New York City Immersion – Day Two
This weekend, 323 MBA@UNC students have assembled in New York City to participate in one of four immersion weekends offered each year. The NYC immersion focuses on the finance and media industries. For media track students, day two will focus on recent macro-level shifts in various sectors of the media industry, including a moderated discussion on the evolution of sports entertainment featuring John Kosner of ESPN and Vishal Shah of NFL. Finance track students will spend today delving deeply into topics on investment, featuring discussions on private equity, hedge funds, and venture capital with business leaders like Jeff Glueck of Matrix Partners and Rob Cohen of 2U.
MEDIA: The Power of Storytelling to Sell Your Brand
Heidi Schultz, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
About our speaker: Heidi Schultz is a professor of management and corporate communication and director of the management and corporate communication program at UNC Kenan-Flagler. She teaches oral and written business communication. She is the author of two books, Business Scenarios: A Context-Based Approach to Business Communication and The Elements of Electronic Communication. Her corporate and executive clients have included the American Financial Services Association, Cisco, Constella, GlaxoSmithKline, Environmental Protection Agency, Misys Health Care, Performance Food Group, Syngenta, U.S. Postal Service, W.C. Bradley, Xerox, public health managers and sports managers.
UNC Professor Heidi Schultz kicked off Saturday morning’s session with a discussion about storytelling and the importance of building a personal brand. She cited examples proving that branding is important even for small household items. Given that, it should certainly be a top priority for you as an individual (not to mention for your business). So how do you differentiate yourself, and your brand, from all of the competition and clutter? As it turns out, building your brand is a byproduct of creating your personal story – and the “so what?” of your story. Professor Schultz helped us understand how to best get our point across by crafting and building the content for our stories, and leveraging these stories to form our own personal brand. It was an engaging and relevant session for every person in the room.
The Immersion weekends are one of my favorite parts of this program. This is my second immersion and I look forward to attending at least two more! The immersion weekends are learning-intensive, but there’s also a very social component, which really solidifies the relationships that you’ve been forming with your classmates during the cohort. Last night, I got to see the Statue of Liberty while dining on a dinner cruise on the Hudson River. It was incredible. -Melanie Bullock, October 2013 Cohort
FINANCE: Opening the Black Box: Understanding Different Investment Approaches
Venture Capital/Private Equity Panel
About our speaker: Josh Cohen is the Managing Partner and cofounder of City Light Capital. He is also the Chief Investment Officer for Tyden Ventures, a single family office based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is currently on the Board of HeroX, a joint venture with the X Prize Foundation, and is an Observer to the Boards of 2U and StraighterLine.
Today’s afternoon panel with Josh Cohen reminded me of the benefits of being in a highly reputable MBA program. The relationship that Kenan-Flagler has with successful field practitioners allows students to more intimately explore possible careers options. Without Kenan-Flagler, I doubt I would ever have the opportunity to get face time with Josh and listen to him describe his own career, the venture capital industry in general, and more importantly, factors that drive his decision making process. Overall, the panel was very engaging and Josh’s firsthand accounts of his own adventures as a venture capitalist complemented very nicely the theoretical lecture regarding the venture capital industry we heard earlier in the day.
I was convinced of joining MBA@UNC for the flexibility and presumed high quality education. However, one of my biggest reservations was how to go about building a network and comradery without close physical proximity. After attending three immersions, I am comfortable to say that MBA@UNC is definitely capable of instilling a strong sense of community. During these immersions, I am not only excited to see some familiar faces but I also greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet fellow Tar Heels who have incredible stories and career experiences. It’s said that one of the best aspects about attending a top-20 business program is the quality of the students. I can absolutely validate that truth for MBA@UNC after my immersion experiences. Immersions allow me to appreciate fellow classmates for who they are beyond the classroom. I must say that I’ve always left an immersion not only with more friends, but also more inspired to make an impact. -David Kuo, April 2013 Cohort
MEDIA: The Evolution of Sports Entertainment (moderated discussion)
John Kosner (ESPN) and Vishal Shah (NFL)
About our speakers: As ESPN’s executive vice president, digital and print media, John Kosner heads up development for ESPN.com, the world’s leading online sports service, ESPN The Magazine, and ESPN’s industry-leading applications for all screens including SportsCenter, the most popular sports app of all-time. Kosner also oversees ESPN’s digital content development in Social Media and its partnerships with Facebook, Twitter and other top third-party networks.
Vishal Shah is the VP of Media Strategy & Business Development at the NFL, responsible for the strategy and execution of NFL’s domestic media growth initiatives, including those related to NFL’s owned & operating properties as well as partnerships. Prior to the NFL, Vishal was a venture capitalist at GGV Capital, focusing his time on mobile and digital media investment opportunities in the US and China. Vishal graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
Concluding the second day of the NY immersion was a panel discussion titled, “The Evolution of Sports Entertainment” featuring John Kosner of ESPN and Vishal Shah of the NFL. While the focus of the discussion was geared toward the role of media with regards to the NFL and ESPN, the panel was conducted exclusively through student submitted questions covering a variety of topics. Instead of a prepared presentation, the candidness of this format allowed the students to touch on some of the more controversial topics including player safety in the NFL and DirecTV’s exclusive contract with the NFL. The discussion was certainly enjoyable for an avid sports fan like myself, but also tied in more general business topics including the use of advanced data analysis and the importance of innovation in a rapidly changing market.
Today’s panel discussion has absolutely reinforced the value of the MBA@UNC immersions — the opportunity to sit with my classmates and interact with innovative business leaders in a more personal setting. I’m attending my third immersion and this experience has once again proven to be a great blend of student networking, highly informative educational sessions, and creative group problem solving.-Kevin Liekweg, October 2012 Cohort
FINANCE: Entrepreneurs & Operators: Raising Money to Run Your Business (panel)
Jeff Glueck, Matrix Partners; Rob Cohen, 2U
About our speakers: Jeffrey Glueck is the newly appointment COO of Foursquare. Previously, Glueck served as CEO of Skyfire. Glueck grew Skyfire to win multiple Tier One wireless operator infrastructure and CMS customers, and led Skyfire to develop carrier-grade optimization solutions that elastically boost bandwidth capacity by 65% across smartphones, tablets and laptops. Glueck is an entrepreneur whose first start-up, site59.com in 1999, grew to over $125 million in travel ecommerce sales in two years before being acquired by Travelocity in 2002. Glueck was named CMO at Travelocity in 2003 where he helped grow sales from $3 billion to $11 billion globally.
Rob Cohen was the founding CFO for 2U, an education and technology company, and in that role led raises of $96mm in venture capital. Since early 2012, Rob has served as 2U’s COO, taking responsibility for closing new program acquisitions and managing technology, content, post enrollment Services, and legal/compliance.