Students Define An Education in Possible
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 21:05
In two short weeks, each of you will start a new chapter in your journey,
whether to pursue the next step in your career, prepare for your summer
internship, or celebrate the end of spring semester before summer intensives
begin. Wherever your journey may take you next, I invite you to reflect
on an empowering thought—business is one of the most powerful forces we
have to improve the world. Think about that.
Each of you possesses the ability to redefine what business can achieve, to
create value for yourself, your organization, your industry and for society.
The possibilities for business to improve the world are endless. And so,
too, are the possibilities for each of you to raise your own ambitions about what
role you can play to make a personal impact.
It is, in fact, this opportunity that inspires the Stern culture we call “An
Education in Possible.” The only thing that can stop us is our mindset and our
imagination. As each of you turns the page in your own story, I want to present
you with both a promise and a challenge.
My promise to you: I will continue to fuel a culture that empowers transformation,
that considers the world’s most pressing issues as our intellectual incubator,
and most important, one that welcomes students, faculty and alumni to engage, innovate and create value.
And my challenge to you can be captured in two words: disrupt and broaden.
I call on you to release yourself from the constraints of “tried and true” paths as
the only means to solve problems. The potential for reinvention is all around
us. Elevate your thinking beyond the short-term goal and think broadly and
freely about how to create value beyond the immediate need or stakeholder.
Growth opportunities will lurk in areas unlike those of the past. Seek them
out! Look not merely on narrow, linear paths, but rather push yourself to
uncover unforeseen opportunities at intersections — the intersections between business and society, the developed and developing worlds, the intersections
of local and global.
At the beginning of this academic year, I similarly challenged our incoming
full-time MBA class to begin to write their own stories and to seize opportunities
at Stern during the year to create value for business and society. Many
months later, I would like to share examples of what I call “Education in Possible” stories that so many of you shared with me.
Charter Cities Project with Paul Romer - a group of MBA
students working with Professor Romer through the Stern
Consulting Corps on the groundbreaking issue of redefining
urban development in the developing world.
Universal IDs in India – MBA students in the Stern Consulting
Corps work alongside Professor Arun Sundararajan on his project
to study the socioeconomic impact of bringing a Unique ID to
India’s 1.2 billion people.
Sternies for Ed Reform - a self-organized group of a dozen MBAs
passionate about education reform and the role business can play have
organized several New York City treks to different schools, and is
leading the way on getting Stern talent into the Education Reform
world in New York City.
Hans Taparia’s Class to India -
15 students from Stern, Wagner, ITP, and Gallatin all traveled to
India over winter break to explore the intersections
between social challenges, entrepreneurship and public policy.
Students broke into teams and created startups to transform
social problems into value-creating businesses.
Jill Kickul’s Class to Colombia - Several teams of Stern MBAs
went to Colombia over winter break to participate in strategy
consulting projects for local NGOs in Medellin and Bogota.
They applied their Stern skills in real time, helping with a variety
of organizational development issues, honing their interpersonal
skills, and maybe even picking up some Spanish.
Adam Brandenburger’s Launch
Class - 14 students embarked on an intellectual journey to tackle a core question facing business and society. Adam, who is also exploring his journey to understand
“value” through game theory, led the group. The class is
structured like a writers’workshop and will produce a final product of
an academic journal, innovative multimedia content, and more.
The Jeffe Scholars Project -
Stern MBA student Allison Whaley partnered with an NYU
Medical School student and a few others at NYU and Stanford
to build health care solutions in Central America.