San Francisco: March 2012

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco Global Immersion Weekend

Recap of the MBA@UNC Global Immersion in San Francisco, CA., March 13-18, 2012

In March 2012, MBA@UNC students, faculty and staff gathered for the second MBA@UNC Global Immersion in San Francisco. This course focused on entrepreneurial and innovative thinking. It featured meetings at Google's Mountain View headquarters; lessons from a venture capital panel with renowned panelists from Redpoint Ventures, Highland Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Synecor/Synergy Life Science Partners; and a visit with Pandora's CEO Joe Kennedy.

To kick-off the immersion, students and faculty enjoyed a welcome reception. The MBA@UNC leadership team, including MBA@UNC Associate Dean Doug Shackelford, addressed the students, who came from cities in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C. – as well as Kuwait and China.



To begin the academic sessions, students and faculty headed to Google’s HQ in Mountain View, Calif. Brent Callinicos, VP of Treasury at Google and a UNC Kenan-Flagler alum, hosted the students for a series of presentations from Googlers about the company’s culture of innovation, its media and platforms and its green initiatives.

They work for Tata, Lockheed Martin, active and former military, Deloitte Consulting, CNN, Bank of America, Charles Schwab, The Home Depot, Wells Fargo and many more organizations.



Brent Callinicos described what makes a successful manager at Google:
Empowerment: Hire awesome people and don't micromanage them.
Have a vision and priorities.
Care about your people: Know and understand them.
Innovation: Build a culture of innovation and leadership at all levels.

The students returned to San Francisco for their first full class of the weekend with Dr. Sridhar Balasubramanian. Dr. B’s session focused on exploring innovation through the lens and framework of the customer.

The day concluded with dinner at the Delancey Street Restaurant followed by a discussion about the work of the Delancey Street Foundation, country's leading residential self-help organization for substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless.

Saturday morning kicked off with the "Innovation Marketplace" with Action Learning Associates. The session featured a live simulation to help students understand the innovation process.


After the "Innovation Marketplace," the students heard from a Venture Capital panel about investors’ perspectives about what it takes to move a great idea from concept to a great business.

Tim Haley, Redpoint Ventures; Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners; Dan Rosen, Highland Capital; Bill Starling (UNC Kenan-Flagler alum), Synecor/Synergy Life Science Partners
Moderator: Susan Cates, MBA@UNC

Taking a break from the academic sessions, students and staff donned their Carolina Blue and spent Saturday evening together for an NCAA Tournament watch party.



The final morning of the weekend started with a class taught by Dr. Brad Staats on disruption and accelerating the curve of innovation in which where students examined how disruptive and sustaining innovations change market dynamics. The session included a case study about Samasource, a non-profit that brings dignified, computer-based work to women, youth and refugees living in poverty. Patricia Li of Samasource joined the students for the discussion.

To wrap up the academic sessions for the San Francisco Immersion Weekend, Joe Kennedy, president, chairman and CEO of Pandora, shared his experiences at the helm of Pandora, a company challenging traditional business models in the music industry.

Before our students all headed to the airport for their flights or drives home, we gathered them together for a group photo!



Before we head overseas to London in June for our next immersion weekend, you can check out MBA@UNC student Brian McGrath’s recap of this immersion weekend on the MBA@UNC blog.

You can also see the products that our students created concepts for during the “Innovation Marketplace” by checking out this blog post and the links within the article.

For an outsider’s perspective of the weekend, check out the article by John Byrne, founder of Poets & Quants, about the immersion weekend and MBA@UNC.

If you have any questions regarding the immersion weekends or MBA@UNC, feel free to reach out to us on Twitter: @MBAatUNC or via email,