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School of Business Hosts MBA World Summit, Drawing Top Global Business Students to Campus

March 18, 2016
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mba world summit fuchs reiss

MBA World Summit founders Thomas Fuchs and Yannick Reiss

As Evan Peskin (MD, MBA ’17) weighs whether he wants to practice medicine or go straight into industry upon graduation, he looks for opportunities to learn about his options. When he heard that the School of Business Administration would be hosting the MBA World Summit, a conference bringing together the brightest business students for three days of networking, interviewing and learning, he applied for a spot.

The payoff: he spent nearly an hour with a partner at Bain walking around campus and talking about life experiences. “It was extremely useful,” Peskin said. “The Summit really reinforced that business does all hinge on who you know and not what you know.”

Peskin was one of three of the School’s MBA students to join about 100 others from around the world for the third annual MBA World Summit, which drew students representing more than two dozen nationalities and 31 business schools. It was organized by QX-Quarterly Crossing, a German company that offers networking and recruiting services.

Thomas Fuchs, founder and CEO of QX-Quarterly Crossing, said his company’s goal is to create the premier networking experience for the brightest emerging business leaders, and Miami, as the gateway to Latin America, was the obvious choice for the U.S. host city. “You have to build an infrastructure, and by bringing together the greatest people, the people themselves can make things happen,” he said. “They learn from one another and grow from one another.”

School of Business student Felipe Gaviria (MBA ’17) confirmed that quick friendships were formed. “There were social events where you could dig in deep with people and create meaningful connections,” Gaviria said. “That’s huge in business. If I go to Germany or Singapore, I now have someone I can meet up with and have connections to personally and professionally.”

He also took pride in showcasing his school. “As a UM student, it was very nice to have these people see the University,” Gaviria said. “The more the school has these bigger events on campus, it adds value to the school and to my degree.”

The Summit began with Canes alumna Geraldine Hidalgo (BA ’09, MBA ’15) who introduced the keynote speaker and offered advice to the new crop of attendees. “Talk to everyone,” Hidalgo said. “Take advantage of the diversity – it’s an amazing experience to learn about everyone’s diverse interests.”

francisco ballester

Keynote speaker Francisco Ballester addressing the
audience in Storer Auditorium

Keynote speaker Francisco Ballester, president of Latin America Sandoz, the generic pharmaceuticals division of Novartis, spoke about the vast opportunities in emerging markets. Those who expect volatility and can react quickly, he said, will find success. He also emphasized the importance of having the right people on hand to make the tough decisions.  “I recommend counter-intuitive investing,” he said. “It’s cheaper, but it’s risky so you better do it right.”

During hour-long interactive seminars, students heard from fellow MBA students and from presenters representing companies like Bombardier and Bertelsmann, Good Game and Big Idea Lounge.  A session with Shruti Jindal of Boston Consulting Group encouraged students to refresh old ideas into new innovations, while those in the Amazon session heard how the ubiquitous company aims to be the most consumer-centric in the world. 

Gerrit Nolte, finance director and CFO for Amazon in Germany, said those who work for Amazon need to be willing to fail and/or be misunderstood for long periods of time, take a long-term view of success and be customer obsessed. He described the company’s culture: “We are nonpolitical,” Nolte said. “If we are in a meeting and you call me stupid, that’s fine – as long as you say why!”

A Q&A session yielded discussion about how Amazon knows more about its customers than even the customers themselves, making for an interesting future filled with growth. It segued nicely into his pitch for applicants. He had a prime audience, after all. 

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