Breakfast with Visa’s SVP, Head of North America Marketing

Last month, 11 Kellogg ladies and I had the opportunity to grab breakfast and chat with Lara Balazs ’00, Visa’s SVP, head of North America marketing. Prior to Visa, Balazs held a variety of marketing and strategy roles at Prophet, Gap and Nike. She was recently named as one of Brand Innovators’ 2015 Top 50 Women in Brand Marketing, alongside the Chief Management Officers of the NBA, Nestle USA and JPMorgan Chase.

‘Dream big and do big things’

In the mid-1980s, Robert Swan found himself surrounded by the white, icy nothingness of Antarctica, leading an expedition with two other men who, by that point, had grown to hate each other. His team, with no radio communications or back-up support, had trudged more than 400 miles already, and it was time to make a decision.

They could either turn back and retreat to base camp or continue on and haul their 360-pound sled an additional 500 miles toward the South Pole.

If he reached the pole, a feat that would take a total of 70 days in subzero temperatures, Swan and his team would complete the longest, unassisted march in history. But if he failed, they would die.

Networking can lead to growth

By Theo Anderson Success in the emerging global economy requires the ability to adapt, and your power to do so depends on the vitality of your network, says Ellen Levy, managing director of Silicon Valley Connect. “There’s a capability that very rarely gets mentioned or recognized, but is becoming more and more powerful, and more… Continue reading

Growing 7-Eleven through ‘servant leadership’

Serving others has a business benefit: growth.

Just ask Joe DePinto ’99, who has spent the last 10 years practicing the principles of “servant leadership” while sitting at the helm of 7-Eleven. During DePinto’s tenure as president and CEO, the convenience-store chain has grown from 27,000 to 57,000 stores, with sales doubling to $8 billion worldwide.

Today, the company is expanding so quickly that it opens a new store every three hours.

The changing scene of social impact

Net Impact Week is a series of events organized by the Net Impact Club at Kellogg to expose members of the Kellogg community to the world of social impact. The focus of this year’s Net Impact Week was “Inspiring Growth and Impact.”

My main learning from Net Impact Week was that social impact can’t happen in a vacuum. Partnerships with for-profit companies and access to stable sources of financial capital are key to making a sustained impact. Transferring expertise or skills isn’t simply a matter of flying from one country to the next; it takes time to immerse yourself in the culture of the destination country and to start adding value that is tailored to what people actually need. In order to have the time to actually make an effective impact, social entrepreneurs require access to capital and resources.

The world is changing to accommodate these two needs.

Kellogg, Booth partner to host entrepreneurship conference

Stockton and Malone. Chip and Dale. Han Solo and Chewbacca. Kellogg and Booth. Some of the great companionships of all time. Only one of these pairs is not like the other. Kellogg and Booth are often thought of together, but on more of a different type of list. Think Ali and Frazier, Celtics and Lakers, and Ohio State and Michigan.

However, on Friday, October 30, Kellogg and Booth will come together and partner to host the second annual Entrepreneurship through Acquisition (ETA) Conference at the University Club of Chicago. ETA Investors and CEOs will congregate with roughly 300 students to share valuable insight into their experiences with this unique form of entrepreneurship.

What should Volkswagen do (Part II)? | MBA Learnings

I shared a framework we discussed in a crisis management class three weeks ago – a few days after the Volkswagen emissions debacle came out in the press. I thought it was time for Part II.

I recently woke up to the following paragraph as part of my “Economist Espresso:”

“Volkswagen’s boss in America offered a congressional hearing a “sincere apology” for the company’s use of “defeat devices” which helped diesel engines cheat in emissions tests. Stressing that he was not an engineer, Michael Horn blamed “a couple of software engineers” for the modification, of which he said he had no prior knowledge. German prosecutors searched the carmaker’s headquarters.”

Examining entrepreneurship in Cuba

The famous American Economist, Frank Knight said, “Profit is the reward for taking risk.” Dr. Knight argues that profit and risk are intertwined. In seeking profits, we must therefore seek risks that are attractive.

That is how Kellogg students are introduced to Risk Lab, an experiential learning course that allows students to examine the attractiveness of risk in a real-world investment decision. Last year, the course examined the opportunities and challenges facing Cuban entrepreneurs.

The students worked with the Cuba Study Group, which released its full report based on the students’ findings this summer.

Carlos Castillo, who was one of the students in the course and graduated in June, took some time to talk about what he learned from the experience.

I gave a TED talk. Here’s what I learned.

As I stood at 4 a.m. in the stairwell of an apartment building in China trying to email a minute-long video via a horrendous WiFi connection, I thought, “This will never work.”

The video, taken in selfie mode on my cell phone, was of me attempting to compress five years of thought and research into one compelling minute. I had to email the piece as my application to speak at the upcoming TEDxNorthwestern conference, which I had just heard of that day, and the directions stipulated that all applications had to be received the previous day.

My cover email vaguely blamed my late submission on time zones and begged that I still be considered, but after the organizers’ email systems wouldn’t accept the large file, I sent one more desperate email to a general NU email address, gave up, and went to bed.

A few weeks later, I was genuinely shocked when I found out that I had been selected to present. As you may know, TED conferences present “ideas worth spreading.” Like many of you, I have been edified and moved by TED talks. I’ve always loved the idea of giving a talk, and it just so happened that when I heard about the conference at Northwestern, I had something to say.

‘Learn how to walk the high wire’

Gil Penchina has failed in epic fashion, and not just once.

“This is the life of an entrepreneur,” Penchina ’97 told the incoming Class of 2017 during the second day of the school’s Complete Immersion in Management (CIM) Week. “Silicon Valley is a town full of people who are failing all the time.”