Hard Rock Café founder Isaac Tigrett illustrates a point during the keynote address at Goizueta’s annual UBSLC. Photo: Tony Benner
In conjunction with the 15th Annual Undergraduate Business School Leadership Conference (UBSLC), Goizueta Business School welcomed keynote speaker Isaac Tigrett, co-founder of The Hard Rock Café and creator of The House of Blues, to campus on Thursday, February 6.
The student run UBSLC, previously hosted by corporations such as GMAC, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte and The Home Depot, provides a forum for undergraduate BBA students from top business schools around the world to gain valuable leadership skills. Through distinguished speakers, mutual academic collaboration, development workshops, case competitions, networking, and exposure to prominent business leaders, attendees develop new leadership skills and build a social network among some of the world’s most promising future business professionals.
This dynamic conference attracts well-known speakers such as Joey Reiman, founder and CEO of BrightHouse and iconic recording artist and performer Usher Raymond. This year, Isaac Tigrett proved to be an unparalleled fit considering the Conference’s theme “Culture and Leadership.” A renowned builder of brands, Tigrett created over a billion dollars in equity for his investors, and took the Hard Rock Cafe through three successful public offerings in the United States and Europe. His keen insights into trends and social movements, together with his expansive creative capabilities, fuel his visionary approach.
Tigrett’s opening words, “I’m a weird cat. I’m going to say a lot of things that you are not going to like,” set an unconventional, funky tone for the rest of his address. After a brief description of his early life, during which he accrued $250,000 by 18 years of age by selling cars, Tigrett turned off the lights in the auditorium for a communal listening of “It’s Alright Ma” by Bob Dylan, offering sensory insight into his youth.
He then turned his lecture to the evolution of The Hard Rock Café, which he deemed not only the first American restaurant in Europe, but also the first “classless” restaurant in London – where both banker and a baker could gather. Tigrett defended his challenge to this status quo and shed light on a tenet of his branding philosophy by saying, “You do not exploit culture, you have to represent it.”
Lastly, Tigrett spoke directly to the young, professional audience offering his opinion on today’s culture. “Social media, as beautiful as it can be, can also be very dangerous if taken too seriously,” he said. To illustrate he held up two recent conflicting editions of Time Magazine. The first bore the headline “The Me Me Me Generation: Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.” The second displayed the headline “Mindful Revolution: The science of finding focus in a stressed out, multitasking culture.” He then begged the question, “So what is your culture going to do that mine didn’t? I don’t know, but let me tell you, you gotta fight for your right to party!”
For Patrick McBride 14BBA, BBA Council president and UBSLC 2013 Chairman, this year’s conference was a winner. “Jonathan Robeny 15BBA [UBSLC 2014 Chairman] and his team did an amazing job of securing great speakers and workshops for the participants,” notes McBride. “From the more ‘out there’ style of Isaac Tigrett and his companies, to traditional cultures found within investment banking and consulting firms, this year’s conference really featured something for everyone, which is why I think the 15th annual UBSLC was one of the best ever.”
For more on Tigrett’s visit, see the Emory News Center.
In a recent feature by USA Today, Emory University Goizueta Business School BBA senior Faizan Bhatty shared his insight into his decision to choose a finance position with Google over a more traditional position on Wall St. The article, titled “Move over Wall Street – some students are running toward Silicon Valley” shares that many students are choosing more desirable career paths that incorporate more friendly office environments as well as preferable work hours.
Bhatty worked closely with several key Goizueta faculty to identify his desired career path, including Elliot Bendoly of Information Systems & Operations Management and Manish Tripathi of Marketing. Tripathi also had thoughts on the recent shift of business graduates shifting away from the usual career positions and companies in business, “Marketing students have a unique opportunity to apply their skills in knowledge in a wide array of capacities. Many students are realizing that their skills are transferable to areas outside of just traditional career paths.”
Click here to read the full article on USA Today.
Professor Thomas Smith
Goizueta Business School’s Thomas Smith, assistant professor in the practice of finance, was recently referenced in an article by WalletHub.com which offered “2014 Predictions for Your Wallet.”
As put by WalletHub, “2013 was a year characterized by economic distractions, with things like the government shutdown, concerns about a potential U.S. default, and overall political obstinacy taking center stage. So, it’s fair to wonder: Will 2014 be any different?”
Covering everything form GDP, unemployment, the stock market, and interest rates to Congress, Obamacare, and gas prices, WalletHub referenced experts like Smith who says, “I am very bullish on the economy and have been for a few years. I’m waiting for the economy to bust out. The problem, however, is that everyone else is just itching for the next recession so they can say ‘See, I knew another recession was heading!’”
In particular he is cited for his outlook on the stock market – predicting that it will be solid, though volatile. In his words, “These markets are primed for a big correction. A lot of this is speculative demand pushing equity values up, and this could keep up for another year. But I am pretty confident that we are going to see drop in the averages. And if this happens, we could see a drop in other sectors and the start of a little recession.”
Specializing in cultural, sports, religion, educational, labor, and urban economics, Thomas Smith joined the Goizueta Business School faculty in 2008. He has held faculty positions at the University of Illinois–Chicago, National-Louis University, Loyola University, and North Central College. Smith received a PhD in labor and demography/cultural economics and policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Smith has presented dozens of papers at academic and professional conferences in the U.S. and abroad, while also serving as a consultant for the arts, music and entertainment industry and in curriculum development.
Venessa Jeswani 08BBA, manager of digital strategy at BBDO, NYC
Immediately after a power outage caused a bank of lights to go out in the Superdome during this year’s Super Bowl, the creative team at Oreo jumped into action. Within minutes, the team tweeted a photo of a partially obscured Oreo cookie – mimicking the scene at the Superdome – and the phrase: “Power Out? No Problem. You can still drunk in the dark.”
On a night when 30-second television spots set advertisers back as much as $3.8 million, the 11 word, no cost, real-time tweet stole the show. It’s the kind of immediate impact that makes digital strategy so exciting, explained Venessa Jeswani 08BBA, manager of digital strategy at BBDO, NYC. Positioned at the intersection of strategic management and marketing and business strategy, digital strategy draws on a clear understanding of an organization’s vision, goals, and advantages to maximize the effect – and business benefits – of digital initiatives.
At BBDO, Jeswani analyzes “what content people are engaging with and what they’re doing with it” across various digital platforms. After gathering data, she drives insights and provides BBDO’s creative team with an additional, analytically informed perspective. “I get to use my analytical skills set to develop big picture strategies,” she says.
Given the relative newness of digital strategy, it’s not surprising that every member of BBDO’s 12-member digital strategy team is under the age of thirty. Perhaps more surprising is the client Jeswani is currently charged with assisting: ExxonMobil, the world’s largest company by revenue, and one whose history predates the invention of the automobile. These days Jeswani’s job is to help the corporatation ensure that its online presence is relevant and accessible for users across all devices, especially mobile, so consumers can access real-time, relevant information about its products.
Prior to joining BBDO, Jeswani held a similar position at Digitas. She began her career at Ogilvy & Mather and while there recognized that “digital was the way to go.” Emory connections helped Jeswani land a summer internship Ogilvy that morphed into a full-time job. “Emory gave me a foot in the door,” she says. The Emory network also gave her a base in her new city. Several alums worked alongside Jeswani at Ogilvy, and she became a regular at Emory alumni and industry events in Manhattan.
It didn’t take long for Jeswani to fall in love with the city. From exploring new restaurants to working with Free Arts NYC, an organization that provides underserved children and families with arts, crafts, and mentoring programs, Jeswani was hooked.
On her Twitter page, Jeswani describes herself as of “Indian descent, Manila born, Barbados heritage.” She grew up in the Philippines, and her grandparents currently live in Barbados – a place Jeswani might begin visiting more often to check off an item on her to-do list: surfing. “I love water sports and adventure sports,” she says. Jeswani has been skydiving, scuba diving, cliff diving, and parasailing, but she has yet to surf. If flying to Barbados to hang ten with her grandparents isn’t an easy option, there’s always the Jersey Shore.
On a quest to enhance his alumni experience and create better ways for other alumni to connect with the school, Daniel Philips 99BBA brought alumni from New York to Goizueta to share their professional experiences with BBA students for the second year in a row.
“We wanted to create an informal environment for younger Goizueta generations to learn from our experiences. As alumni, it has been incredibly rewarding to connect with the students and the school,” says Philips.
On Friday September 20, Philips and ten fellow alumni hosted a one-day finance career exploration event including a panel discussion, breakout one-on-one sessions, and a networking barbeque. Candidly relaying their missteps, triumphs, and advice, the alumni offered students a better understanding of various careers in financial services, from real estate and insurance to investment banking and hedge funds.
Pam Brown, senior director of the BBA Career Management Center, enthusiastically helped organize the successful event. She notes that these kinds of alumni interactions help not only to educate students about what to expect of their future, but also to provide them with contacts for potential job opportunities. As she says, “This is only the second year we have done this panel and it has become one of the best attended and most anticipated events of the fall. This group of alumni has become very special to Goizueta very quickly. I have been trying to thank these guys and every time I ask what I can do to thank them they say, ‘It’s not necessary, we love to do it.’”